Rules for living simply

October 8, 2006

1. De-clutter.
This is a huge one. There are many things in life that can be de-cluttered. Your house, your financial situation, your diary / time management and I’m sure there’s more. When in doubt, throw it out. We’ll start with the stuff in the house first. Basic rule: if you don’t use it, lose it.

2. Give it away
Don’t feel as though you need to get someone to pay for your old stuff. I have a policy of never selling anything and it’s very liberating. Give to friends or charities but the best way I think is to Freecycle unwanted items. That way you have a good chance of finding the person who actually wants and needs your item, and even better, someone comes to pick it up.

3. Buy second-hand.
Reducing how much you pay for common items also reduces the need to cling onto them. Easy come, easy go. You will be surprised how good second-hand items can be. Ebay is great for this purpose, and is, I think, revolutionary. There are so many benefits including reduced manufacturing and consumption.

4. Think about your customs
I no longer iron or gift wrap presents for example. The reason being these are things I hate, I don’t think either of them adds to my or anyone else’s life. People just rip the paper off. The only exception is possibly kids, in which case the mystery can be maintained by wrapping in newspaper I think.

5. If you love it, buy it
I don’t think living simply means self-denial or a spartan existence. Getting rid of the clutter (things you don’t love) leaves room for people and things you do love. There is room for luxury, depending on what particular luxuries fuel your engine. I don’t need kitchen appliances but I love nice clothes. Think about the value not the money. If the Mercedes is going to make you happy for every one of those hours spent at work paying it off, then go for it I say.

6. Act locally.
This is a big one too. Try to imagine a world in which there was suddenly no petrol at all, none, zero. How would you organise your life? Live closer to work, shop closer to home. Make friends with your neighbours and develop a local community. The more local we are the less we need to drive.

7. Avoid using the car
Use public transport, ride a bike, walk.

8. Get rid of the car
Maybe one day…

9. Avoid flying.
This one is tough. What about that trip to Europe? But it’s worth thinking about the fuel consumption involved in planes. What is it you want from a holiday, is it relaxation, beautiful surroundings, culture, friends? Can you have a great holiday by driving up the coast to a beach house, or if it’s culture you are after can you check out what’s available in a local city. There is a lot of culture in Sydney which I don’t know about, despite the fact I’ve been to just about every continent.

10. Find other ways of shopping
Check out the auction houses, go to direct factory outlets, local markets to name a few. Avoid big malls and retail centres like the plague.

11. Reject brand names

Remember, these are my rules and obviously won’t suit everyone. Make up your own

To be continued…


2 Responses to “Rules for living simply”

  1. emma C Says:

    I love these ideas, they are good. I feel encouraged. I am currently working on myself about the not flying one; I am unsure if it should include necessary visits to family halfway around the world..

  2. Sonia Says:

    I guess the family issue is a big one. I think families are of course one of the important things, so you might just decide to fly anyway. One of the things you can do, I just discovered, is to “offset” your carbon emissions. Which means you pay someone money to do some environmental management (planting trees??) that will compensate for your emissions. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure how it’s done.

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