The hidden downside of wanting to turn your life around

Hillside in sepiaThere’s a dark side to wanting to improve your life.

It’s a depressing one, but it’s one I want to talk about today.

Many people get to a point where it hits them: this isn’t the life they want to live. For me, I realised stress and debt were pulling me down.

You might then start to wonder how your life, once so carefree and full of spontaneity, friendship and joy, somehow became all about the daily grind, paying the bills and doing the chores.

You might start to question everything: what you do for a living, how you spend your time, what your home looks like or even where you live.

You might start, as I did, researching different ways to live. You might start reading about people who retire in their 30s after saving like mad and drastically cutting their expenditures. You might start reading about people who sell almost everything they own and start travelling around the world, living out of a backpack. You might start reading about people who make their fortunes by setting up their own businesses after leaving low-paid jobs. You might start reading about people who, conversely, packed in highly-paid but soulless jobs to pursue their creative passions despite earning peanuts by doing so.

Many, if not all, of these ways of living might sound very appealing indeed, even the ones which directly contradict each other. You fantasise about every life but your own.

Wanting to make big changes to your life is a worthwhile goal. But it can have the effect of making you even less happy with your day-to-day reality. Very few of us can just flick a switch and retire early, or go travelling, or create a lucrative business empire. These things will take years, if not decades, so if your goal really is happiness, you need to find a quicker way of getting there.

This week, I tried something a little different. I called it my ‘reverse bucket list’. I didn’t make a list of all the high-falutin’ goals I wanted to achieve or things I wanted to do. Instead I listed loads of cool, interesting and impressive things I’ve already done.

This included flying in a helicopter, experiencing an earthquake, partying at a cherry blossom festival in Tokyo, watching an event at the Olympics, getting my MA, kayaking around a tropical island, taking part in jury service, dying my hair purple and (one I can add from just last week) sitting in the cockpit of a commercial airliner.

It wasn’t an exercise in boasting. Other people will have done different cool things – perhaps things that would terrify me, like getting a tattoo or skydiving or even (gulp) having children.

Instead, it was a reminder that life isn’t something that starts when I’ve got that dream job, or I’ve quit the rat-race, or I’ve moved abroad, or sold all my stuff. It’s happening now and it can be bloody awesome.

A total f***ing life-ninja

harmonicasmallDitching stuff, beating debt, getting a life.

That’s the sub-heading I chose for my little blog when I set it up last year. It was these three areas where my life was falling woefully short: I was up to my eyes in consumer debt, drowning under crap and had little time, energy or money to get out of the house, meet people and have fun.

Now my piles of rubbish have subsided and my debts are a third of the size they were a few years back.

But there’s one area I’ve been neglecting: getting a life.

As a result, my life (and by extension, this blog) has been pretty po-faced and serious. Sitting at home poring over the latest zero percent credit card offers has been really important in busting my debt pile, but my god it’s been dull.

I’ve been reining in my spending for longer than I remember, which has put a serious dent in my social life. Restaurant trips, fitness classes, hobbies and nights out drinking all took a hammering.

Now things are going to change.

I’ve just finished a great little book called Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb. He describes how he realised he was living vicariously through characters in action movies and computer games rather than getting out there and experiencing things for himself.

So he started his own ‘Epic Quest of Awesome’ by hiking the Inca Trail, living like James Bond for a weekend in Monte Carlo, and all sorts of other great things.

As a self-confessed nerd, Kamb has peppered his book with references to action films and video games. I’m not that into sci-fi or fantasy stuff, so some of the examples from Star Wars and Harry Potter went over my head, but his passion for grabbing life by the balls was infectious.

And it’s not just about doing awesome ‘bucket list’-style things.

Kamb talks about harnessing the principles which make computer games so addictive (small challenges, frequent rewards) and using them to improve your life. This can push you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t, like exercising or mastering a new skill.

I’ve now created my own ‘Epic Quest of Awesome’, with loads of challenges in areas like hobbies, travel, having fun, finance, learning and fitness.

Some examples (complete with my own cheesy titles):

WALKING DEAD: Take part in a real-life zombie adventure

I’ve enlisted my wife and a friend to join me on a 5k run with a twist in October, the twist being you’re chased by zombies. Most other friends recoiled in horror at the idea. All I can say is, they will be the first to the wall come the zombie apocalypse.

SHE’S ELECTRIC: Learn how to change light switches and change at least two

This is something I’d always been too afraid to do myself, for fear of it being ‘game over’. But a friend inspired me, I did lots of research into how to carry out the work safely and now I’ve updated three of our light switches and counting.

THE MUSICIAN: Play the harmonica in a band

I’ve bought a cheap harmonica and instruction book off t’internet and I’ve started teaching myself. At the minute, I well and truly suck (pun intended).

I’ve also been trying to say yes to new opportunities as often as I can, even if they are daunting.

For now, I’ve decided my challenges can’t break the bank or involve buying a lot of stuff, as it’d throw all my other hard work off-course. But that still leaves me with loads of other ways to have fun, meet new people and learn new skills.

As I keep enthusiastically proclaiming to my long-suffering wife this week, I’m going to be a total fucking life-ninja!

A beginner’s guide to minimalism

DSCF4591smallSo, you want to get rid of some stuff but don’t know where to start? Hopefully, this FAQ-style post will help you out.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism can refer to pared-down, simple styles in art, architecture and other areas but in this context we are talking about living with fewer material possessions.

Why would someone want to live with fewer material possessions?

For all sorts of reasons. Here are some of the main ones:

  • To save space. If you have fewer things, you need less space to store them. Simple.
  • To clear your mind. A cluttered space can be distracting and stressful.
  • To save time. Possessions need to be kept in good condition, cleaned and tidied. If you reduce them, you reduce the work required.
  • To save the planet. The stuff we buy takes energy and resources to make and often ends up in landfill or an incinerator. If we don’t need the stuff in the first place, this is incredibly wasteful.
  • To save money. Buying stuff is rarely a money-spinner, is it?
  • To prioritise other areas of your life. If you’re not shopping for the latest gadget or pair of shoes, you can be doing more interesting things instead.
  • To make your life lighter and more flexible. Stuff can tie you to one place but having less of it means it’s easier to move.

How many things can a minimalist own?

Right, let’s nip this one in the bud right here. Minimalism is not a competition. Yes, there are people with fewer than 100 things, who can put them all in a rucksack and go travelling the world, but minimalism is more of a mindset than a badge of honour.

Essentially, minimalism is about getting rid of the stuff you don’t need. But for goodness’ sake, keep the things you do need. You do not have to get rid of everything you own to be a minimalist. Everyone needs some stuff to function and you’ll probably also want to hang onto a few things which have no real purpose but light up your life.

What should I get rid of?

Well, this is the tricky bit, isn’t it? There are things you definitely need (say, a toothbrush) and then there are things you definitely know you can get rid of (say, clothes that don’t fit). But in real life, most things fall in that grey area in the middle. How far you go is entirely up to you.

What if I live with other people?

Then don’t get rid of their stuff. Even if you’re married to them. That’s not cool. In a similar vein, you can’t make someone else become a minimalist if they don’t want to. Instead, concentrate on yourself and your household may be inspired to follow suit, or may not.

Where do I start?

Start at the easiest point. This is not the time to tackle the huge cupboard teeming with belongings. Try one drawer or shelf to begin with and organise stuff into different piles: keep, bin, donate, sell.

What about sentimental stuff?

This is the most difficult area, so it’s probably not something you would start with. But in my experience, getting rid of your clutter will cause you to question why you’re sentimental about some items and make it easier to let go. You can also take photos of possessions which have memories attached to them, then give up the objects themselves.

I’ve hit a plateau, what do I do now?

There are loads of challenges out there to inject a bit of fun into this admittedly quite dull process. You could try wearing just 33 items of clothing in the next three months, in Courtney Carver’s Project 333 fashion challenge. There’s the month-long MinsGame, where you try to get rid of one thing on the first day of the month, two on the second day, and so on. Or try my own five-minute five-in-five decluttering challenge, where you have to beat the clock or a rival player by rounding up a quick five things to get rid of.

Isn’t this all a bit self-obsessed and inward looking?

Well, yes. But so is buying and accumulating all the things. The idea is to get this bit out of the way and start doing better things with your time.

Where can I find out more?

Here are some resources I have found useful:

  • Video: The Story of Stuff
    A quick film which helps explain why materialism is destroying the planet
  • Podcast: The Minimalists
    Best friends Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn host a show about minimalism, with some great Q&A segments
  • Blog: Becoming Minimalist
    There are lots of blogs about minimalism out there, but this is one of the biggies. It’s by Joshua Becker, who writes about how his family-of-four in the American suburbs became a minimalist household

Smartphones and me

phoneUntil a few days ago, I had never owned a smartphone.

This wasn’t some kind of hipster statement. It’s just that I had a non-smart mobile phone, and it worked. Gosh, I also had a home phone. And if I wanted to go on the internet, I would use a computer.

(Perhaps this is the reason why mine is the only lifestyle blog not populated with endless photos of smartphones-lying-next-to-cups-of-coffee-on-rustic-tables?)

I was on pay-as-you-go so I had no contract to worry about. No danger I’d accidentally rack up a £500 bill by checking a few emails on a Thai beach. I paid less than £10 topping up on credit each month, which fitted in with the extreme budgeting I’ve been doing to get out of debt. All was well with the world.

People under 25 were always utterly incredulous that I could go without such a device, but here I was, still functioning as a human being. If anything, I enjoyed not being disturbed by my phone. I didn’t look at it in bed. It didn’t join us for dinner. I didn’t take it to the loo.

Eventually, my employer lent me a smartphone to use for work, but I still pretty much never used it. It all seemed so needlessly complicated and fiddly: passwords, settings, account names, push notifications.

Then I did something very silly and left my trusty dumb-phone in a crowded cafe. I had to buy a new one.

Technology has come a long way in the four years I’ve owned my phone, and I picked up my first smartphone – a 4G, 4.5in, Android handset – for just £35. And, do you know what, I love it. I’m no Luddite, and I’m looking forward to using Uber and WhatsApp for the first time, posting smug holiday photos on Facebook with a few clicks or checking emails without having to turn my computer on.

But yes, I have found myself looking at it when I should be enjoying a meal with my wife. I have taken it to bed. Modesty prevents me from saying whether I’ve taken it into the bathroom… but you can probably guess.

My budget meant I could only get a handset with a teeny, tiny bit of storage. This could be really frustrating for some people – I tried downloading fancy games and didn’t get very far before having to delete them all again.

So I’ve now used this as a prompt to set up a really minimalist phone. I’m still avoiding contracts, so the finances are kept really simple. Meanwhile, out go all the notifications, bleeps and buzzes, and in comes a small selection of hand-picked apps I know I’ll use.

It’s going to suit me just fine. I don’t want to spend all my time staring at another screen, playing silly, never-ending games. I don’t want to feel tethered to my phone or anxious when I don’t have it near me. My years without a smartphone have taught me to be smarter than that.

But it has meant I can finally take that lifestyle-blog money shot. Here goes:

table

Aaaaah… that’s better, isn’t it?

I’ve done a very silly thing

purse

There’s one thing I never plan for: making a really, really idiotic mistake.

How’s this for stupid: taking a break from a long car journey to stop in at a crowded cafe for lunch, then walking out without your bag, phone and purse, getting in your car and not even noticing you left your stuff behind until you’ve got home, nearly 200 miles away?

I really have excelled myself this time.

I’ve had to give everything up for lost. Being a broke (aspiring) minimalist means I don’t have a spare bag or purse, so this week I’ve been replacing my lost items with a kind of mad, resentful grimace on my face, which I’m sure has alarmed one or two shop assistants.

I’ve also had to go through the hassle of calling the phone company and banks to get my sim blocked and cards stopped.

And do you know what, I have found out the hard way that I really need to simplify my finances. I lost count of all the credit cards I had to cancel, and I’m pretty sure there were three different current accounts I had to sort out as well. It was a massive hassle.

I have had to pay cash for everything all week, until my new bank cards arrived. I felt decidedly nervous going out and about with just a few quid in notes and no phone to boot. I kept worrying about what I would do if my car broke down. It was all pretty unsettling.

Looking on the bright side, my stuff wasn’t worth much – it’s cost maybe £100 to replace it all. The fact I write a blog called ‘Want Less’ may have given you a clue that my handbag was unlikely to be a Prada one and my phone was definitely no iPhone 6s. A stroke of luck meant neither my keys nor my glasses were in my bag too. They would have been a real pain to replace.

But in future I must remember to budget for stupidity. I never know when it will strike me.

Don’t let your life get overgrown: creating a low-maintenance existence

garden - webMy garden is in a real mess. There’s a loose fence panel, broken plant pots, litter blowing in on the wind, grass where there should be flowers and weeds where there should be grass.

It’s not a big garden, but it was evidently too much for me because I’ve let it get out of hand. I wanted the sweeping flowerbeds, the fruit-laden trees, the welcoming barbecue patio and the rows of produce growing in the vegetable patch, but I simply didn’t have the time and energy to make this all happen.

So this weekend, I’ve started turning the vegetable patch back into a lawn. I’ll soon be looking for other ways to simplify the garden so it’s something I can comfortably maintain. I want to set myself up for success rather than stretching myself too thinly with an overly ambitious plan and inevitably failing.

How many other areas of life do we try to do too much, rather than do a few things well?

There’s a fine line between having enough to do that you feel driven, and having so much to do that you feel paralysed and overwhelmed.

There will be lots of people who, like me, often feel themselves being pulled in too many directions. Developing a career, looking after children or pets, maintaining a home and a car, looking after your health, helping others, sorting out your finances, spending time with loved ones – it all takes time, energy and money.

And don’t forget those harder-to-spot, insidious commitments: checking social media throughout each and every day, keeping up with the Joneses by having the right house, the latest clothes and the picture-postcard holidays, carrying out all the beauty regimes expected of you, keeping up-to-date with current affairs so you appear informed, watching the hottest TV series and being at the right social gatherings.

You can get to a point – I know I did – where it all completely gets on top of you.

Getting into debt and having too much stuff were two symptoms of an underlying problem I had with my life, and I think many others do too.

Paying off the debts and clearing out the junk will be really helpful, but it won’t be the end of the story.

I also need to make my life as low-maintenance as possible so I can concentrate on what really matters.

Ways you can simplify your life:

  • Try using a capsule wardrobe
  • Grass over a flowerbed you’ve been struggling to maintain
  • Run one car instead of two
  • Close social media accounts you don’t value (see my post Simplify your online life)
  • Downsize your home
  • Get rid of your crap
  • Decline commitments you don’t want to take on
  • Turn off the TV
  • Pare down your beauty regime
  • Unsubscribe
  • Stop playing games on your phone
  • Read one book at a time
  • Close unused bank accounts, credit cards and store cards
  • Don’t buy more houseplants than you can look after
  • Leave work at work
  • Resist the latest kitchen gadget

What the Budget means for side-hustlers, financial independence geeks and debt-busters

CashSo today was Budget day (non-UK readers, you have my permission to skip this post!), and I sat through the speech so you don’t have to.

I have plenty of opinions about the government’s priorities, but this blog isn’t about that, so I’m going to take an unbiased look at what the changes could mean for those who, like me, are approaching personal finance in a decidedly unusual way. I’ll give each one a thumbs-up, a thumbs-down and a thumbs-waving-about-in-the-middle as I see fit.

For those desperate to quit debt, build savings, escape the rat-race and distance themselves from consumerism, there were some really interesting announcements.

Firstly, there’s going to be a new £1,000 tax allowance for side-hustles. Becoming an Airbnb host, an eBay seller or a loft storage space renter are all opportunities touted by those trying to become debt-free or financially independent. But they have also been pretty awkward in terms of tax. You’d have to register as partially self-employed, fill in an annual tax return, etc.

Now, we’re told we don’t have to worry about the first grand, fill in any forms or anything. To be honest, the spectre of paperwork has always put me off pursuing a side-hustle, so this opens up a few opportunities for me. All in all, this one gets a thumbs-up.

In other news, the government has announced it is raising the annual ISA allowance per person from just over £15,000 to £20,000. This means the interest you get on savings or investments up to this level will be tax-free (mostly – it’s complicated). Now, you may be thinking, who the hell saves £20k each year??? And you’d be right to think this. But what seemingly only benefits the rich can also benefit those who are mad-frugal with huge savings rates.

Having said that, I’m guessing even the very frugal will struggle to put aside £20k each year. Hell, most people barely take home that sort of money. So, I call bullshit on this new ISA raise. It gets my thumbs-down.

Ever look at your pay packet and curse at the amount of money you never even see before it’s whisked away by the tax-man? This next one may be for you.

The amount people can earn before they start getting taxed is going up a bit. It’s £10,600 now and we knew it would be going up to £11,000 next month. Now, in April ’17, it will go up to £11,500. My little brain has worked out that it means we’d pay £100 less tax a year. Well, it’s something, I guess. But the point where you go from paying 20% tax to 40% tax is taking a far bigger leap, of £2,000, saving higher earners £400 a year.

Personally, I think this is the wrong way round. We need the biggest tax breaks to hit all earners, not just the high earners. But every little helps, I guess, and this will make a small but tangible difference to people’s finances without making them jump through any silly hoops, so this one gets a thumbs-waving-about-in-the-middle.

Capital gains tax is being cut. This is the tax you pay if you make money on shares, for instance. It’s a thumbs-up for those investing money in the hope of retiring early.

Then, we were told about a new thing called a Lifetime ISA. It’s a kind of spin on the Help to Buy ISA that gives people a boost when saving for a house deposit. Under this scheme, you can save up to £4,000 a year and for every £4 you put in, the state will add £1.

Sounds great for savers. But there’s more than a few catches. You have to be under 40 to start one, when they launch next year. You only get to keep the bonus if you put the money towards a house deposit or leave it sat there until you’re 60. If you take it out early, you lose the bonus and there’s a 5% charge. Etc, etc.

I’ll be honest, my little heart leapt when I first heard about this one. I thought it was ideal for those pursuing financial independence, like I hope to one day, once I’ve beaten my debt mountain. But the more I think about it, the less useful I think it’ll be. For a start, limiting access until you’re 60 sounds pretty dismal. This is definitely about saving for proper retirement, not early retirement.

The government says it wants to support savers and strivers, or whatever its latest awful buzzwords are for the financially responsible. But there must be simpler ways of rewarding saving.

So, I’m not sure whether this gets a thumbs-up or thumbs-down yet. The devil will be in the detail.

God, I hope that was more interesting to read than it was to write. Pass the wine…

The 10 things I’ve noticed since becoming a minimalist

Five bags fullA year and a half. That’s how long I’ve been reducing my belongings for.

Yeah, so I’m not very quick at this minimalism lark. But here’s what I’m noticing, now that my stuff is nearing a level I’m comfortable with.

  1. Tidying is easier. I had some friends come round the other day. ‘Wow, it’s … tidy,’ one said. I’m not the kind of person who gets comments like this. I’ve always been a messy person, too lazy to pick stuff up and too disorganised to have proper homes for my things. Now, either I’m becoming a very particular person, or I just have less to tidy in the first place.
  2. Finding things is easier. With fewer possessions, I tend to know where they are. They’re less likely to be hiding under piles of junk. Say I’m looking for the food blender – it’s no longer a case of emptying a whole cupboard out onto the kitchen floor to find all the bits I need.
  3. Looking after things is easier. With fewer things to keep in good condition, I’m finding that I take better care of them. I’m keeping my clothes drawers and kitchen cupboards far neater than I have ever done before. It’s like I’m a proper grown-up, finally.
  4. I’m spending less money on buying shiny, new things.
  5. I have more time, because I’m not spending it shopping.
  6. I’m buying higher-quality stuff. Yes, I’m trying to save money at the moment, but if I’m going to have just one of everything, I want it to be a really nice one and I don’t want it to break.
  7. My house feels bigger and more stylish. Ever flick through interior magazines and see really cluttered, chaotic homes? Nope, me neither.
  8. I’m becoming a more considerate gift-buyer. I pretty much always ask people whether they want something in particular, or buy something like food, drink or flowers. I don’t want to give people the stress I had about receiving gifts I didn’t know what to do with.
  9. I don’t miss the stuff I’ve got rid of. I tend to get attached to things for silly reasons. But I’ve found that even when I’m reluctant to let them go, once they’re gone I rarely give them a second thought.
  10. I feel calmer when I’m at home. Sometimes when I leave for work with everything in its place, I notice an odd feeling that all is well with the world.

So these are just a few of the up-sides I’ve noticed. Down-sides, well, I’m trying to think of one thing I’ve got rid of and regretted but I don’t think there’s been anything so far. However, I have tended to err on the side of caution, so it’s all been taking far longer than it needed to and I have definitely found myself clearing out the same space multiple times.

I guess another downside is that I can sometimes now find myself getting anxious and ungrateful about receiving gifts. I have yet to figure out a solution to this.

My other half isn’t as on-board with minimalism as I am, and I’ve had to learn to be ok with that too. For that reason, I don’t think my house will ever look like a minimalist’s.

And there are some other aspects of minimalism I really have to do some more work on.

I know I’ll never be the kind of person whose possessions fit into a backpack, and that’s ok. But now I’m nearing a level where I’m comfortable with the amount I have, I need to take what I’ve learnt and apply it elsewhere. I need to minimise my time wasted online. I need to prioritise experiences and get out more. I need to find something to do that will fill the hole that shopping and acquiring once did.

Yes, minimalism has brought me satisfaction and saved me money. But now that’s cleared out of the way, what have I made room for?

Poop poop! Cruising towards debt freedom

carSometimes, when you’re taking so many little steps towards a big goal, you can forget to look back to see how far you’ve come. Small triumphs along the way can almost go unnoticed, as you fixate on the finish line.

So I had to force myself to pause this month and enjoy one particular moment:

I’ve paid off the bloody car! That bad boy is mine, all mine, I tell you.

(And no, the car pictured is not my car. I’m nowhere near that cool.)

The car loan was the biggest chunk of my total £15,000 debt mountain at its peak. Since then, I’ve paid off an overdraft and a credit card but adding this one to the ‘out of my life’ pile is pretty damn satisfying.

Next month, I will have to make no big car payment. It had been my second biggest outgoing, after my house, for the past four-and-a-half years. Before then, I was paying off a similar amount on another loan for a postgraduate course I took. So in total, a big chunk of my wage packet has been eaten up by a loan payment of one kind or another for the past decade or so.

But while I can celebrate this month, I can’t slow down just yet. I may now have more disposable income, but it’ll just be heading towards paying off my remaining credit card debts for a good while yet. Then, once I’m debt free, I still won’t be kicking back and pissing all my money up the wall.

Here’s why: If there’s one ‘life hack’ (and boy, do I hate that phrase) I’m determined to master, it’s the idea of paying my instalments in advance rather than in arrears. It’s that simple – save rather than borrow. A simple idea that would save me thousands in a lifetime.

The more I think about personal loans, the more I dislike the idea of them. They fool you into thinking you can afford things you can’t. You’re tied to payments for something you bought years ago. If you lose your job or your income, you’re stuffed. By their very nature, they cost more than saving up the equivalent amount beforehand. I’m done with them.

Savings, on the other hand, are power. You may be saving up for a car, but if the roof leaks or the boiler breaks, it’s no biggie – you use it to fix that instead. Try doing that with a car repayment.

Then you get interest on top, just to reward you for having your shit together. You also get to look at your bank balance and ruminate about how awesome you are.

With debts, I just had a burden. With savings, I will have swagger.

The Five Tiers have fallen: the latest victim of the big declutter

IMG_0144We have a corner shelving unit in our living room affectionately called The Five Tiers of Shit.

On it lives a variety of crap. Board games, one of those head massager things that looks like a robot octopus, a set of mini dumbbells, loose change, pine cones, an often-ignored fruit bowl, a lamp in the shape of a dachshund and my personal favourite, two amazing crocheted effigies of my wife and I on our wedding day, made by a friend.

The Five Tiers of Shit once belonged to a classmate of my wife’s when she was a student about 12 years ago. He was moving out of his student house and gave it to her. It’s been with us ever since, in four homes and counting.

The thing looks, as you might imagine from its nickname, awful. It gathers dust really easily and is at the bottom of the scale when it comes to quality. But when something lives with you for that long, it becomes, well, part of the furniture. You stop noticing it. It’s just that pile of crap in the corner.

As we’ve been getting rid of stuff, the amount of items living on The Five Tiers has dwindled, as have the amount of things on shelves in other rooms. They have gone from piled-high, to normal-looking, to now quite sparse.

So yesterday, I suddenly realised we had enough room elsewhere in the house to relocate the stuff on The Five Tiers and get that damn shelving unit out of our lives for good.

It’s now gone, donated to a charity shop which takes in furniture. In its place stands a lovely, simple floor lamp, shining a spotlight on a big pile of nothing in the corner of the room.

And don’t fear, the crocheted effigies are settling into a new home upstairs. Minimalism is all about working out what objects mean the most to you, and slinging the rest. Those little champs are here to stay.

But it’s made me think about the crap in our homes that’s been there so long, we just stop seeing it. This stuff enters our lives and with no real reason to get rid of it, we let it build up and up, moving it from house to house.

Get it gone.