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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life in 2010 - Page 11

post #201 of 230
i'm thinking that perhaps your response wasn't as judgmental as it seems to read.

I do not believe that having a momento of a child's infancy is not living in the moment or not loving one's child in the moment (as they grow), or not letting go.

Most people have some momentos, and i have far fewer than most people. what i have fits into a zip lock sandwich baggy. and, i'm not unhappy with that.

As it is, i own very little.

So if i choose to buy a bowl from an artist, who is reviving an ancient practice from her community, and i utilize that bowl as an object d'art, fruit bowl, or as a reminder of my experience of my birth, then you'll pardon me if i do not accept your assertion of how i should relate to those things which i choose to bring into my home and for what reasons.
post #202 of 230
FWIW, i haven't bought a bowl for my fruit, or a bowl from this artist. we are, gently, becoming friends through a shared interest in birth and family, as well as ancient maori traditions and arts.
post #203 of 230
ah, but Zoebird, a whenua bowl is for burying the placenta, so your child's roots can be deep in the land - not for you to hold onto, but for you to return to the earth that nourished him/her

What about instead - planting a native tree on some land you can always visit? (Someone suggested I do this on DOC - public conservation - land. Yes I still have placenta in my freezer!). That way you can symbolize and signify the birth of your child, contribute to the New Zealand forests and still have a 'touchstone' that you could go back and visit if you wanted/needed to. And, a tree grows with your son - so it is a dynamic, alive thing - just as your son's birth was dynamic and full of life (I'm going to assume - I have read your birth story I think!).

Please note, I actually also have a placenta in the freezer back in Canada *with* a beautiful handmade whenua pot - waiting for us to bury too. So no judgement from me!!
post #204 of 230
ok, back to the de-cluttering

-Dropped off 4 bags of clothes at the opshop today. Yay
-Gave an extra sling away
- got another bag of clothes together to give to a friend
- box of books to donate set aside

It's a bit tricky bc I need to be buying stuff I need as well - have in the last week bought (all 2nd hand) knives, potato masher, cloth grocery bags, and old flannel sheets (for making diapers - ours are disintegrating quickly!).
I'm trying to keep a very small and realistic list so I can avoid accumulating crap and jump on good quality items that will last.

cutting board - want to get a native timber one made locally
casserole dish with lid
veg peeler

I'm pretty sure I need these items....thought about them a lot - use them everyday and don't currently own (ie use my house-mate's but we're moving out soon)

in addition I want to get:
- beeswax crayons - found some awesome local (Wellington) made ones & dd has 2 very sad crayons as the total of her art supplies
post #205 of 230
this is a buddy group for trying to live more simply, isn't it, Zoe? We're all questioning our attachments to stuff instead of to people and experiences.

I like Durafemina's idea. Maybe you could buy the bowl, meditate over it for a while, then bury it under a newly planted tree?

I'm trying to get our garden established and it seems we're accumulating so much STUFF for it. Soil testing stuff and pots and seed/fertiliser spreaders and spades and stakes and wheelbarrows and rakes. It's really frustrating.

ETA: I remembered the other exciting thing I needed to share! I gave away my sling. I'd had it in the car for over a year without using it, but it was such a lifeline and fixture in my life when my first was youngest that I couldn't let go of it. And I finally passed it on to a friend with a small baby who will actually USE the thing!
post #206 of 230

thanks. we buried the placenta in the US two weeks after DS's birth in a special ceremony.

my friend is making various objects/bowls as both objects d'art and also for use. most of her carving is that way. she wants to do utilitarian things; but also have them beautifully decorated in the traditional way.

also, i was told some years ago that NZ is looking to create a single area where women can bury their placentas since so many do not have permanent residences. I believe it was to be at the "center of NZ" in Nelson. i do not know if it is there yet.


sure, and i obviously put my questioning out there.

i didn't think it opened the door to someone telling me i wasn't living in the moment, enjoying my son, or simply wanted to collect some random tchotchke.

also, i wouldn't spend $300 buying an object to eventually bury. It would be a ridiculous waste of money. If i want it as an art object, reminder of my birth, or fruit bowl, then sure. but just to bury it? no.

and literally, you have stuff. you admit you have stuff. i own only one pot and one pan. one of each. yesterday, i went to a kitchen supply shop to begin pricing out the dutch oven that i want so that we can budget for it. there were so many beautiful ones--including these awesome ones from colombia that my friend uses--and i was in tears of excitement about the options available to me. *tears* because i do not have one and i owuld like one. back in the states, we used the dutch oven every-other day.

i'm not even buying objects that i need, let alone ones that i might want.
post #207 of 230
Go, buy the things you need. You sound really unhappy and tense in your empty house.
post #208 of 230
I believe there's always room for beauty in our lives/homes too.
post #209 of 230
tense in my home? no.

i'm really happy here. I did this on purpose. I even budgeted to set up my kitchen here minimally, and i'm waiting for my boxes to arrive (that will provide some goodies), and i am saving up to finish up the rest of it because i'm learning to live in a different economy.

but, i am put off by the idea that if i want to buy something, then i am "tense in my empty home" (a judgement) or "not living in the moment" (another judgement).

and it might be noted that none of this is a competition.

having stuff isn't a problem, it's whether your stuff has you. not having stuff isn't a problem, unless not having stuff has you.

simplicity and minimalism are defined in different ways by different people. what is simple and minimal to one, is too stark or too opulent for another.

when anyone is striving for simplicity or minimalism, they are striving for their own definitions of it, striving for ways to utilize these ideas in their lives that are healthy and helpful.

For me, my empty house makes me exceedingly happy. sure, we will need a table soon--but i am loath to buy one simply because i need it. I want to buy the right table--an investment for us. we did buy the right bedroom furnishings--exactly what we wanted and a good investment for us. and, when the time is right, i will buy the right dutch oven and other kitchen supplies.

when it's right, i'll buy what is appropriate for me, my family, and my home. not having doesn't make me tense, and having doesn't either.

i'm well aware of what i'm going through.
post #210 of 230
I don't think this is about stuff, Zoe, I think it's about the difficulty of change. Your son is growing up and you've emigrated. You want to hold on to a time when you felt special and in control, his birth. But you can't go back, and you can't dwell on that day forever. Even now your memories of that day won't be the same as what actually happened. I had a great talk with my midwife about this when I was pregnant with my second. She advised me to wait before writing down my birth story for my first, and she was right. She said all of her clients who claim to have had pain-free births were screaming in agony and talking of pain on the day, and then a few days later they'd forgotten that and had recast the experience as painless. Which is the way the body works, memories are supposed to soften and change over time. It's healthy. So let your birth go, let the healing happen and move on with your life.

I can certainly understand you wanting to go back to when you were pregnant and birthing, it was such a special magical time. But it's done now, time to move on to being the mother of a toddler.
post #211 of 230
I get where you are coming from zoebird. We didn't emigrate, but we redid our hardwood floors and had to move out all our furniture several years ago. We actually just sold most of it and freecycled the rest. It was rather liberating to live without furniture for a while. We were planning a move at that time (we didn't do it though) so I got rid of lots of our other belongings as well. I really cherished the emptiness while we had it. We chose to not replace things for a good long while. It felt good to be in such a clear space. When the empty feeling started to feel like a hindrance we started to replace it. I wish I was then where I am now, I wouldn't have just filled the house up again. Life is a journey and I wasn't at that place yet, my stuff was still bringing me comfort and security.

We did face all sorts of judgments though, everything from the idea that we were too poor for furniture to the idea that we were living an "alternative lifestyle"- said with much judgment in a low-tone. It was weird how people reacted to our sparse surroundings.

We are doing a low-scale (4-kid friendly) version of that know. We have scaled back our belongings drastically. We have the necessary furniture (and all items we love) but have gone minimalist with everything else. My thinking is that we will only keep what one would have in a summer cabin. I think that if a family could get by on that amount for a summer then why not all the time?

It has been a cathartic experience in determining the place of stuff in our lives. Once we aren't filling our homes (and by extension ourselves) with STUFF we have the openness to bring in the new. Not new stuff, but new ideas, adventures, relationships, goals, etc. It is interesting to note that as our space becomes more clear our budget improves. Our frivolous spending decreases (not by effort, it has just happened on our own). Our energy has increased, our home feels more peaceful.

We still have a ways to go, I am having a hard time figuring out things that belong to the kids and homeschooling supplies. I would get rid of it all as we don't use it, but I need to stay respectful of their wishes as well. Also, we have a few large items that I am able to let go but are waiting for their new homes.
post #212 of 230
we also felt that way--liberated--and that we are more frugal, more energetic, and the house feels more peaceful.

we still have not decided on the table.

we have one--purchased used based on our lengthy discussions--and it quickly broke. LOL! so, now it's up-side-down, waiting to be repaired or sent on it's way, and we have nick named it our "northern hemisphere table." hawk likes to play in it and make little forts, so i'm happy for it to be used that way for now. but we do need to make a decision on it.

it is interesting with the addition of a small one. they see things differently. it will be interesting to see what is up with hawk.
post #213 of 230

we have one--purchased used based on our lengthy discussions--and it quickly broke. [/QUOTE]

How frustrating ... we often think loooooong and hard about our purchases, only to regret our final decision. I think we sometimes overthink things in our efforts to live simply and frugally.

We often ask ourselves, "Should we spend more and get a better quality _____, or should we try to save money and take our chances with something off of Craigslist or the like?"

Not sure what is the best answer. We just had this discussion about a bike trailer. We decided to save money and buy used. Very used. I'm hoping to get a couple years out of it. The bonus is that no one is likely to steal it because it's so faded and rusty! But it still does the job just fine!
post #214 of 230

we don't regret the decision. we just now have to make a new one.


seriously, can you get more judgmental?

1. i don't see it as "i was special" at that time, but that the time itself was special. if i seek to memorialize it in some way, it's none of your freakin' business to judge how i do that or why.

2. i am, and always have been, "in the moment" with my son. whether i buy an object t memorialize a special time does not indicate that i am not "in the moment" with him and his toddlerhood or at any other age beyond infancy.

as it is, i am in the process of buying objects for him to facilitate his toddlerhood. we are shopping for a riding toy for the house and planning out activities for him over the next two months. this is being budgeted. so, i'm well aware of his toddlerhood and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it TYVM.

So, why don't you just apologize?


aside from it all, i have decided to not buy an object to memorialize that special time, but i have connected my artist friend with my homebirthing connections here.

but, i am still considering buying a fruit bowl from her.

and, i can't decide between the colombian pot or the le creuset one. probably le creuset, anyway. i do take to flights of fancy.
post #215 of 230
zoebird ... I'm starting to feel like this thread is all about you. Perhaps those of us who want a genuine discussion could start a new thread and leave this one to you.

This thread is not about simplicity at all, what with all the bickering.

Peace, out.
post #216 of 230
I can see where zoebird is coming from, she feels like she's being attacked and DF's tone is very condescending from what I've been reading, I don't see how her buying of a bowl is not living minimally, to memorialize something or otherwise.
post #217 of 230
I think buying the bowl is a lovely idea as well. Why not fill our homes with things we love, things that are beautiful, and things that bring us joy. Better to be surrounded by a few things that we love than lots of things we don't.

I don't see why we should be criticizing one another, we are all in different places on the same journey!
post #218 of 230
Zoebird - that's some seriously beautiful cookware! (the Colombian)

I have designs on some Le Creuset or the like one day, when we are. . . less mobile? I dunno - I'm just wary of buying 'heavy' (in the weight and budget sense) things right now. It feels better, at this stage in my life to buy very second hand and then pass it along as our needs/situation change.

Interestingly I've found in my life that often I'll put away something really special only to lose it. For instance, I kept *very few* of dd's baby clothes - just the tiny red merino hat I knit her and she first wore, and a couple very special tops. I put these in a carefully labelled box that my Dp placed in his mother's basement.
When I got pregnant with ds we asked her to mail them to us - and voila! She could not find them.


The continual occurence of this is for teaching me a lesson I think. After all I still have dd's sweet head to cherish - and even that I don't own!

Anyway, cleared out tons more clothes/books/papers today. Fit all my clothes into one large cardboard box including work clothes and winter warm stuff. I just have couple pairs of jeans, nursing friendly shirts and one nice pair of pants (for job interview) left out. The rest I'm giving away - or selling if I have the energy.
Next up - packing coats and shoes. I've whittled it down to:
winter jacket
rain coat
lighter casual fall jacket

dressy heels
skate shoes
crocs (for work)
and I would usually have a pair of flip flops, but mine broke ($2 thrift find that lasted a year) so I've been going barefoot this summer. I like it!
post #219 of 230
... i love this thread... partly b/c i am so far from this and there is a part of me that has the idea of a really sparse, simple life.... so, um, let's be kind? we are at different places.
and of course we can disagree, right? But surely we can also learn from each other.

re: the pots, my ds1 was so, and still is, super careful kid. Ds2's nickname is chaos, and that gorgeous tierra negra pot wouldn't last 1 wk in our house. I do though, have a set of Le Creuset that my mom bought for me over 15 y ago. Ages beautifully; probably will still be functional after i am long dead.
post #220 of 230
cool, thanks for sharing.

so, we are deciding whether or not to keep or get rid of our broken table. we could fix it and use it, or we can just sell it and be without a table. such a tough question to answer for us. LOL
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