Small Things Others Live Without

The inspiration for this post comes from one of your requests.

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I think this is a great topic to learn more about for minimalist living. I'm also curious what other people have given up to live a little lighter and easier.

The heart of Simple Living is NOT to live in a sparse, empty home lacking in basic comforts. This movement comes from the reality that most homes in North America have way, way, way more stuff than we need. It's a landslide of stuff, and it's stealing too much of our time to move it, store it, clean it, maintain it, and replace it. It's keeping us busy and cutting into simple, joyful presence with ourselves and our loved ones.

It also takes time away from habits that keep us healthy.

Not to mention the impact on the environment.

There are so many things that we don't need. Maybe other people need or want them, maybe we have an item because it's standard and it's just always been the way things are. But simple living asks "Do I really need this?" and "What's it for, really?" and "Can something else serve just as well?" and "Is there a different way that would work better for me?"

A small and rather funny example is number one on my list:

Small Things Others Live Without

1) A cutlery separator

It's a kitchen item, usually made of plastic, that some people really love. I posted over the summer in the Minimalist Living Facebook group that I realized I don't need to buy one for each of the apartments I live in. (I'm a nomad and frequently finding myself furnishing homes).

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The bottom line?

I have no trouble quickly finding a fork, knife or spoon even when they are partying together. I save 1-2 minutes daily spent separating them when emptying the dishwasher is saved because I can simply dump the clean cutlery into the draw.

And it's not just about the saved time, it's about how the task of emptying the dishwasher SEEMS that much easier. And that makes it more likely to get done. Which makes my kitchen stay cleaner, which makes me happier.

And it all comes down to just a little more joy daily.

The comments on the post are funny in that they show our intense relationships with organizing our stuff. Many people agreed with me, and there was even a question over the need for a cutlery drawer at all.

Others, however, admitted they'd be driven crazy over the intermingling of their forks, knives, and spoons and the lack of apparent organization in the drawer.

The comment section is proof that, as the character Emma says in the Jane Austen novel of that name, "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."

Your Own Path

It seems that there is never too much encouragement to take your own path. Never too many reminders that you don't have to do or possess what others expect you to.

You're free.

So here are four more things you may never have questioned before that others are finding a way to live without:

2. A toaster (and most kitchen gadgets like popcorn poppers, breadmakers, and deep fryers)

I haven't owned a toaster in quite a while.

I'm a fan of keeping small kitchen applicances only if you're going to use them at least once a week. If you don't use it once a week, there's usually another way to make the dish.

For example, you can fry bread in a pan instead of toasting it in a toaster.

Obviously, you can bake bread in the oven instead of a breadmaker.

Coffee makers are nice, but a simple pour over brew is also quick and easy.

And you can google just about any other alternative technique you’re interested in.

Want to read more about Kitchen Minimalism? Grab the guide I wrote with my husband on kitchen essentials and how to cook great meals with a few key items.

3. High heels and "Special Occasion Clothes"

Minimalist of five years Janell Kristina shared about this in her YouTube video "Things I STOPPED Buying & Owning"

I'm all over this one.

After a long, emotional goodbye, I no longer own high heels. They are pretty, but I don't wear them. And it's silly for me to own a shoe just to look at it. As for special occasion clothes, I love them, but find no reason to own them, especially because I don't like to repeat special occasion outfits. Unless it's a very basic LBD look.

What do I do for special occasions? I will shop something from a thrift store and then re-donate after wearing. For my sister's wedding, for example, I found a dress and heels at a thrift store. And then I gave them away after the wedding.

I also love Rent the Runway or borrowing from friends as an alternative to thrifting special event pieces. I have a couple of friends who are very passionate about fashion and have fashion-based businesses. They love to lend out pieces from their extensive closets.

4. Underwear

I need to keep it fresh. Have you questioned the need for undies lately? If you want to hear from someone who chooses not to wear them, (and the compelling health reasons behind her choice) check out this video from Brittany Taylor

Truly a small thing, panties, but still worth asking if you would be healthier and happier without them.

5. A couch

This is a big thing, not a small one, but I think it deserves a place on this list.

Francine Jay of MissMinimalist.com wrote a blog post called "questioning the couch," that includes this paragraph:

"instead of arranging delivery on a heavy, expensive sofa (the resale of which we would someday have to orchestrate), we decided on a more lightweight, mobile, and versatile option: we threw two Ikea Poang chairs and a coffee table into our Mini, and were on our way. And thus we completed the task of furnishing our flat."

It's good practice to question what we can live without.

We practice this in our homes, with our stuff, and then we apply it to more areas of our lives: careers, money, lifestyle:

What am I doing because I'm just following the herd?

What can I tweak so that it works better for me?

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