Not Buying Stuff?

I have just read Joshua Millburn’s post about not buying stuff for a year. I wonder…could I do this?

It’s a similar challenge to that of cutting sugar out of my diet. I can succeed temporarily, but when I attempt to prolong the cold-turkey resolution, the reverse happens, and I have yet to quite find a balance.

Perhaps I am under the consumerist illusion that I need Stuff. At least some stuff. The things that come to mind: Journals. Pens. Books for my course. Gear for climbing. Clothes. These things seem necessary.

In fact, looking over my past two months’ worth of purchases, they are mostly for food, postage, and events (theatre, cinema, concerts). The objects I have purchased are: a copy of French Vogue, record cards for handmade postcards, an umbrella, pens, gifts for people, and a bucket for hand-washing clothes.

Sensible. But just because these past couple of months have been in place with my morals doesn’t mean that the next couple of months will be the same, unless I watch them consciously. Let’s keep checking in…


“100 Things To Do Instead of Procrastinating on the Internet” Challenge Accepted! (1/100)

Gala Darling just posted this lovely list of “100 Things To Do Instead of Procrastinating on the Internet.” Because I like lists, checking off lists, and the exciting things that she suggests about life in general, I am taking on the challenge. I haven’t read all the way through, but that will be part of the fun. I will try to do the tasks in order, but might delay some depending on location, etc.

Today I have sort of done the first task:

1. Go through your entire closet & cull what isn’t working for you. This includes anything that is the wrong colour, shape or size. It also includes anything that you TRULY KNOW you will never wear. Throw them in a suitcase & trundle it to your nearest consignment boutique. I just did this on Tuesday, & I cannot tell you how peaceful it felt!

The truth is, because of my minimalism, I am constantly doing this, so it didn’t take long. I did put a few wearing out items in my charity pile, though, and set aside some that I won’t be wearing for the rest of the summer to pack away.

The finished product (everything except a drawer with some running/climbing clothes, and three more pairs of shoes in the back of the closet):


A great benefit of paring down a bit is that I no longer rely on the extra wire hangers that were in my closet when I arrived. I would like to replace the hangers with extra pink plastic ones from my closet at home, but that will have to wait until Michaelmas.


Challenge: Sugar-Free Seventh Week

I love sugar. But I have come to realize that it does not love me back. It is detrimental to my energy, athleticism, and general health. The annoying thing is, sugar is so beautifully presented: carefully decorated cakes, enticing ice cream sundaes drizzled with chocolate sauce, brightly colored candy shoppe sweets…Not only does it taste delicious, but the treat looks like a treat.

But this week, the seventh week of term, I will resist. I have tried similar experiments, the most recent of which was the “no sugar except on special occasions” rule, which was decided upon in order to allow myself to enjoy halfway hall and baking climbing cookies, but turned into “it’s sunny outside, so that’s a special occasion to have ice cream.” No. There are no such occasions this week, so I shall resist. I will even skip my weekly pub cake on Wednesday and my traditional pre-tutorial affogatos. It’s just one week. A little experiment of my self-control with the added health benefit.

I’m announcing this publicly so that many people can hold me to it, or even help me through it. So don’t go offering me chocolate. That would be mean.

So here we go: Sunday through Saturday, no sugar. The fast will be broken with climbing truffles at the Lakes this weekend.


hey guess what i’m home and GOAL-LESS (sort of)

Thank you, little Delta screen, for illustrating my journey so blurrily!

I actually love my 7-8 hour flight home because it gives me time to reflect, plan, and watch free movies. I made a list of goals, and am currently in the process of destroying that list.

Wait what? Yes. Destroying my to do list. As satisfying as it is to check things off every day, without that pleasure, I find value and joy in the things themselves. It wasn’t a goal to wake up before six every morning (thanks, England time), but I do, and I love it, so I have continued.

Turning some goals into habits is easier than others. I do my Rosetta Stone as early as possible in the morning because I know I’ll keep putting it off otherwise, but when I do actually do it I feel accomplished. Coursework is harder to incorporate because it’s unpredictable and time-consuming.

My little secret to somewhat success: identify pit-falling habits and avoid them. Watching TV. Playing the Sims. Eating sugar. These seemingly harmless activities spiral into a time-sucking energy-draining loop. In some cases it’s easier to not start than to stop.

Off to my early morning of productivity. Cheerio! (I need to stop saying “cheers” in this country…)


2 steps to daily improvement

I have tried various self-improvement techniques. Adopting Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. Creating an account on HabitForge. Following Leo Babauta’s advice to start with one goal at a time.

These methods worked for me temporarily, but I ran into problems with each. Instead I found my own solution that has been working for me for a few weeks that I think carries the potential to last me even longer.

It’s very simple.

At the beginning of each day, I open my planner and write two things at the bottom:

1. :)

2. :(

Following my simple happy and sad faces are reflections on the previous day:

1. :) My greatest success

2. :( My weakest area that needs improvement

Throughout the day I focus on maintaining the best and improving the worst. Although my “worst” has repeated, it has yet to do so in consecutive days. Likewise, without meaning to do so, I have consistently managed to have a unique “best” each day while still maintaining the “best” from the previous day.

My method involves daily resolutions that balance the positive and negative, and overall, encourage improvement, the potential of each day.


Hello again!

Last week became busy to the extent that blogging became a chore, so in the interests of preserving its enjoyment, I took a few days off. This morning’s tutorial ended my crazy work week, and to celebrate, I decided to take the rest of the day off coursework to relax and cross items off my piling to do list.

I was tempted to plan out the day at several points, but I let each temptation pass, instead agreeing to spontaneous Christmas decoration shopping, spontaneous fairy light-purchasing, and lots of spontaneous guitaring, singing, and, unfortunately, coughing (but also laughing).

On top of the day’s unexpected enjoyments, I took out my sewing kit and mended some of my clothing, and packaged up some online shopping for returns. These are the little tasks that lurk in the back of my checklisty mind every time I open my wardrobe or reach for a book on my shelf – the little constant reminders that there are more things to do that I haven’t done.

No longer! Very little is as satisfying as crossing items off a list, especially items that have been queuing for a while.

And now I have fairy lights to show for it. Even if there aren’t very many.


HALLOWEEK: My Role Model, Kiki

Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favorite films. It always puts me in a cheerful, optimistic mood, and it always makes me want to be Kiki.

Kiki and I have a lot in common, from our overeager enthusiasm to our sometimes unwarranted confidence to – obviously – our magical powers. Additionally she inspires me to work hard and to laugh a lot, to be kind and consider others first, to explore the world, seek new adventures, and fly higher.

Throughout her whole journey, Kiki has one outfit and lives out of one bag. She shops on a tight budget, and although she yearns for a shiny pair of new shoes, she comes to love what she already has.

Today I was proud to be Kiki (all day. lecture. tutorial. climbing.). It filled me with happiness and confidence – because it’s impossible to be dressed as such a cool person without feeling empowered.

(In my last-minute costume-assemblage frenzy my room was left a bit untidy)

How to Combat a Cold Part 1: Necessary Items to Carry

When I start to show symptoms of a cold, my mind goes to checklist mode. A combination of relying on my health for singing and just really really not liking being sick has motivated me to find the best ways to combat illness.


When I have a cold, the following items live in my bag:

  • nasal spray – works wonders. can’t recommend enough.
  • tissues – I prefer to blow my nose at a sink, but sometimes tissues are necessary on the go.
  • water bottle – this is always in my bag anyway, but it is important to keep it filled when I have a cold.
  • Advil – or Paracetamol or Tylenol…I can’t tell the difference, to be honest. I take no more than two per day and it does make my head feel better. It also makes my jaw feel better when the muscles are used strangely for coughing and nose-blowing.
  • lotion – any hand or face lotion will do. My skin gets dry around my nose, which, among being painful, prevents me from smiling and laughing normally, which makes me sad.
  • hand sanitizer – keep the germs off your hands.
  • cough drops – for when my throat is unbearably dry.
  • fruit – preferably something juicy like grapes, also to cure dry throats.
  • layers – they say that the cold doesn’t give you a cold. But it does make you more vulnerable. And uncomfortable. So better to be prepared.

Have I left out anything you would consider essential for cold-combatting?


Digital Minimalism: Just One Blog

Blogging daily has made my life more structured and more simple. Even though I added a large commitment, the consistency that comes with it makes the task of writing more manageable and enjoyable.

One part I haven’t enjoyed, however, is connecting all of my different blogs: linking to a little minimalist every monday, quoting my climbing posts on xandra the adventuress on tumblr…it makes more sense to have Just One Blog.

At first I shied away from having one blog because certain topics seemed too specific to appeal to general readers. However, as I’ve started to do my themed posts, on many occasions I’ve had to stop myself from combining the different topics – minimalism and climbing, minimalism and food, climbing and photography…

All of these aspects of my life have more in common than just me. They relate to each other, and well, it makes sense that I like them as a group when they do overlap.

So the minimalist in me urges me to stick to this one source instead of linking you all over my little corner of the internet. From now on, all posts will be here (except my culture diary), available in categories via the drop down menu. easier. simpler. cozier.i’m free, i’m freeee!

(archives of a little minimalist are still available)