The Useful Drawer

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Many people have what they refer to as ‘the junk drawer’, however, if you embrace the concept of minimalism in any way or have simply decluttered, there is really no reason to have a drawer full of junk.

Therefore, I actually have a carefully curated drawer of useful things.

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Some of the things are probably a bit difficult to identify so I will list them below.

Top of photo from left to right:

2 boxes of extra-long matches
Set of mini screwdrivers
Candle
Screwdriver with multiple heads
Heavy-duty ziplock bags for reuse
Bread bags for reuse (under ziplock bags)
Small bags for reuse
Brown paper
Teatowel and muslin cloth

Bottom of photo from left to right:

Cut down milk bottle containing twist ties
Cut down milk bottle containing boxes of matches, compass, mini steel measuring tape, rubber bands, tiny ziplock bags, reusable plastic tags cut from an ice-cream container
String tin
Gas gun
Baking paper
Case containing torch and charger
Bag containing pieces of plastic from cereal box liners for reusing to separate food in the freezer
Ziplock bags for reuse

The contents are very useful as evidenced by the fact that my useful drawer is opened multiple times every day.

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Do you still have a junk drawer that looks like the one above?  It is a great place to start decluttering.  Why don’t you try it and see?

And the Cleaning

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When I cook I invariably make a mess.  In fact, we have a standing joke that I cook and GMan cleans up.  I must admit he is very good at doing the dishes and I think he spent the majority this weekend washing dishes.

I finished off yesterday’s efforts this morning by portioning up the refried beans for the freezer as well as cutting and pureeing lots of mangoes to go in the freezer.  Mango preparation is a messy, sticky business.

In between all of this GMan is experimenting with making sourdough bread and he cooked the first two loaves this evening.  I think that is a work in progress which will not be discussed any further until we have some more successful attempts.

After we had dinner it was time to tackle the last of the dishes and eliminate any mango residue from the benches and splashbacks.

The kitchen is now sparkling and my final step was to mop the floor.  Everything is ready to go for a new week.

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Lots of clean and clear surfaces.

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I remember reading about minimalism that clear surfaces simply afford possibilities.  I love the truth of this statement.  From an uncluttered sofa which invites you to sit and relax to a clear kitchen which is just brimming with the opportunity to prepare meals this logic can be applied to virtually every surface in your home.  It can be a powerful tool in creating a mindset that embraces a simple, uncluttered home and life.

 

One of Each

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I wear very little make-up but I do use a dusting of blush and some lipstick each day I go to work.  I have streamlined to the extent that I own and use just one lipstick and one blush.

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Today I noticed that both items are well-used and will be emptied at some point.

I found this blog post from 11th January 2016 in which I mentioned needing to buy some new make-up.  12 months later and these are still going strong.  I expect that it will be about another 3 months before I feel the need to buy any more.

The packaging is plastic and will be rubbish which goes to landfill.  While this is not a good thing, I feel that I am doing my bit by using very little make-up or beauty products.  By buying the absolute minimum I am making a contribution to reducing the waste produced by the beauty industry.

A Particular Passion

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During the holiday break I have had time to read and post in various groups and forums.  I participate to varying degrees in several groups.  I find that many of them have quite a narrow focus, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

Some of the topics covered include:

Frugal Living
Zero Waste
DeclutteringMinimalism
Veganism
Upcycling
Buying Nothing New
Simple Living
Plastic Free Living

I dabble in all of these to some degree apart from veganism although we have reduced our intake of red meat to quite a modest level.

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At times it seems that I am not sufficiently passionate about any single topic, however, I feel that they are all inter-related and one aspect can support another.

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Hence, this blog contains posts which cover and wide range of topics and I hope you will find something of interest to you.

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Please let me know if there are particular topics which you would prefer to see more of or less.

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Enough for Me

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In amongst all of the rubbish floating around on the internet there are some absolute gems.

I found this one the other day.

“It was relaxing and reassuring to know what I had was okay. What you are is already good enough.”

Stop and really think about it.

Here is the article.  It is a guest post by Sarah Peck on the Becoming Minimalist blog.

It really all comes down to the fact that life is not a competition.  I think that trying to meet prescriptive minimalist goals is as bad for you as ‘keeping up with the Jones’.  Be yourself, know that what you are and what you have is enough and live an authentic life.  This is the best recipe for happiness as far as I am concerned.

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What do you think?

Meaning of Materialistic

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I read an interesting question online today.

How do you become less materialistic?

The first thing to do is to define the word ‘materialistic’.  I resorted to the dictionary and this is what I came up with.

Materialistic – excessively concerned with physical comforts or the acquisition of wealth and material possessions, rather than with spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.  

I think that sums it up quite nicely.

So, how is a materialistic attitude determined?  Nature, nurture, genetics, stage of life?

I am sure that at least some of our attitude towards possessions stems from how we were brought up and the attitude of our parents.

Additionally, most of us go through what I would regard as an acquisitive phase during early adulthood as we set up a household which is independent from our childhood home.  During this period there are often children added to the family and along with that comes additional possessions.

At the other end of the scale there are those of us who no longer have children at home and are perhaps already retired or soon to be so.  Many of us are looking to remove clutter from our lives.

However, I think a materialistic attitude is more than simply having lots of stuff.  To me it means that a person places more emphasis on material possessions than values.

I cannot get enough of this video which is brilliant.

Clean and Uncluttered

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Last weekend I was doing some general housework and I cleaned and polished this small table.

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The furniture polish I use is a quantity of the cheapest vegetable oil I can find with a few drops of essential oil to create a pleasant odour.  I use either lemon or lavender oil.  I put a small amount of this mixture on a soft cloth (old t-shirts are good) and apply to the timber then rub it in and buff.

I washed and ironed the doilies and then replaced the ornaments.

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I love this table which I have had for about 20 years and all of the ornaments are special to me.

I keep most things fairly simple but do not subscribe to the minimalist style of an almost bare room.

I prefer the mantra of, “Keep only those things which you use or love”.  These are things that I love.