My simple home: what I don’t own

Posted on May 16th, 2013

I’m going to take a step or two back. And explain the “simple” in the My Simple Home experiment. I’d like to be clear.

Image by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

Image by Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

You’ll notice the series is not called “My Minimalist Home”. Minimalism is a righteous aesthetic, but not always practical. All those ardent minimalists out there can be painful. And their all-in-one gadgets can cost a bomb. I really enjoyed reading this Slate article on how minimalism isn’t sustainable….and how the original minimalist zealots have backed off on their message to something…simpler. You might like this fresh perspective too.

I don’t call it “My Green Home” either. Sustainable timber and chemical-free options are great. But generally green home features and rants suggest more buying…More Stuff, albeit derived from new-growth shrubbery. It’s consumerism dressed up in hemp clothing.

You’ll also notice I don’t speak of “Decluttering”. Decluttering denotes chucking stuff out, and often perfectly good things that are then replaced by a less cluttery version of the original. And complemented by a visit to The Storage Shop to buy a whole heap of containers and filing solutions. Which is More Stuff.

Instead, I’ve gone the simple slant. Simple is minimalist, green, decluttered, low waste, practical, economical and all the rest of that good stuff rolled into one. Well it should be.

Simple has as its mantra one word: less.

Go to the shops less. Buy less. Consume less. Recycle less (recycling should be a last resort). Less furniture. Less gadgets. Use up what you have first. Improvise. Make do. Use the same thing for two purposes. Need less.

Recently Leo Babauta listed what he didn’t own over on mnmlist. I’ve decided to do the same, as prompted by his elegant list.

I don’t own:

A toaster (I use the oven grill)
A microwave
Paper towels (I lick my fingers)

An electric jug. I use a kettle on the stove top.

Books that I’m not going to pass on to friends (I’ve written about this before.)

Wrapping paper

Candles, knick-knacks that don’t serve a purpose or have sentimental value, scatter cushions.

Collectibles

Tissues (I use loo paper)
Debt (I save up, then I buy)

A DVD player (I use my laptop)

Gears on my bike

A dryer

A heater (although I’ll be getting one shortly…but only the one. I prefer thick socks and jumpers)

Air-conditioning and fans (in hot weather I sleep with wet sheets and a wet flannel)

An eReader/tablet (my phone and laptop are enough for now. I’ve written on this before.)
Hair styling products (I use salt water)
A gym membership (I run, do yoga, ride my bike)

Coffee table books

Books about books or decluttering

My own yoga mat (never have had one, not in 21 years of doing yoga twice a week)

Nail polish, polish remover, cotton balls

Magazines or newspapers (I’ve never bought a magazine in my life)

Exfoliator (I, seriously, use sand when I’m at the ocean.)

More than one of the following: beach towel, chopping board, running shorts5

More than two of the following: bikinis, running bras, socks

More than three of the following: bras, serving/salad bowls, kitchen knives, saucepans, necklaces, rings

….

The above does not make me a better person. But it does make my life easier and more elegant. I save time from not going to the shops. On weekends I get out of town and do fun things instead. I save angst not deliberating whether I should buy something. I either really need it, or I just don’t. I don’t have to tidy much. Or look for things. Over the next few months I will have to buy a few more things. Like a couch (nope, I don’t own one), and some plates (I own four) and some wine glasses (I drink out of some antique vases). But at each step I will endeavour to keep things simple.

A small update: I appreciate all this can sound awfully pious. I will stress that I do this “simple” stuff, in part, – and here’s the caveat – because I do happen to get given/sent/offered a lot of stuff. Which I resist and discourage. I guess it’s a reaction to this excess. And perhaps to off-set it. A commenter below made the point I probably don’t own a hairdryer because I get my hair done professionally. This is a little true. I do TV appearances weekly and can usually stretch out one of their blowies for a few days. I also got given two of my bras…four years ago. And I get sent a lot of books…which I give away. I was given my one chopping board…it’s not what I’d choose myself…but I stick with it rather than buying another…

Anyway, I was thinking you might benefit from my list, and from thinking about what you can use up and not replace. How you can do “less”…feel to share your suggestions on what you use in a dual purpose kinda way below…

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  • Dave

    Ahhh, I like your approach, but you can’t stop me saving this under my “minimalism” bookmarks ;)

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    picardie.girl Reply:

    Agreed, simple = minimalist. I think you’ve misrepresented minimalism in your opening paragraph, Sarah.

    Minimalism is a tool, not a way of being. It is a tool you use to eliminate the unnecessary from your life – pretty much exactly as you have done!

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    sandi Reply:

    Sarah you are so contrived……seriously WTF ??

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    Gcake Reply:

    Try not to be negative Sandi. If Sarah was being contrived she wouldn’t have stressed the point that she doesn’t believe this makes her a better person. I think it’s an interesting post which has certainly made me think about my own belongings and my attachment to them.

    Instead of posting nasty comments, read another blog.

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    erin Reply:

    Contrived vs nasty. I’d rather be contrived.

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  • Tammy

    I agree. Over the years, I’ve called it different things, but if ‘simple’ works for you… definitely agree. In fact during my late twenties when I lived in various places it was a source of pride that I could independently hire a car for the day, pack and move myself to where ever I was going. Life was full, without the stuff. Now as I reach the end of my 30′s and have a permanent home, kids, husband I find myself feeling sick from our stuff.

    Like you my husband and I hate waste, live without a lot of common things like stereo systems, (TV) and air conditioning. Don’t get me wrong we have computers and can watch movies etc. HOwever we are a bit odd for an inner city, white collar couple with most people fitting the ‘we deserve this’ or ‘we work for this’ mold. The thing I’ve been struggling with is how to get back to simple without moving. It’s hard and slower than I expected. We have somehow gotten family to agree to experiences over gifts for the kids or us, but it is a difficult area to navigate.

    Good luck..

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  • http://www.dailykale.com DailyKale

    Wonderful post. Inspiring, Sarah! xo

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  • http://hailtothenihilist.wordpress.com Hail To The Nihilist

    It seems, to me, that you have been reading your reader’s comments. Kudos, Sarah. This post hits the nail on the head.

    I think “simple living” requires one to ask more questions than ditching things left and right. I’m about to move to a much smaller, smarter space. The courtyard is as big as the apartment, which I am happy with. I intend to ask questions of everything I bring through the door. I intend to repurpose as much junk that I own as possible. I really feel I need a fresh start so I will get rid of much. But nothing will be wasted. I have caught the Gumtree bug, as a means of ridding oneself of things, I think.

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  • http://onlineinfluence.com.au Trish

    Well said Sarah, something to aspire to. I love old style furniture but I guess just because its not new doesn’t mean it’s not “more”.

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  • Jennifer

    Sounds great and I used to live like this but try it living with a male and young child.

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  • Jane

    Oh, Sarah you obviously haven’t been to ABC Carpet & Home in NYC!

    Long live beautiful things.

    I do appreciate where you are coming from though,

    Il m’est impossible de le faire

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I like looking at beautiful things…I just don’t need to own it!!

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    Hail To The Nihilist Reply:

    Hear hear. Sure, we can all own beautiful things. That’s not bad. However, we should all ask ourselves, before we do, “Why”?”

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    picardie.girl Reply:

    Absolutely.

    And about the things we currently own: “Does this add value to my life?” The answer will be different for everyone.

  • Kelly

    All sounds great, but for those of us who entertain at home we need a couch and more than 4 plates/cups!

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    Kirsten Mcculloch Reply:

    Haha, yeah, or for those who have more than five in their family/household!

    Still, I have just realised that we have 4 or more kitchen knives we just don’t need anymore (having kept them as we’ve accumulated better ones over the years), that should be included in our next Vinnies run. So that’s a win :)

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  • Justine

    I agree with the idea of this, and I dont own many gadgets either, but some things are just easier…… especially with kids.

    Come to think of it, I have 5 kids…. maybe thats too many ;)

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    Kez Reply:

    Lol :)

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    Kathryn Reply:

    LOL!!!

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  • V

    Econest wrote a similar post recently: http://econest.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/things-i-dont-have-that-many-do.html I only have 4 plates, bowls, glasses. When people come over for dinner they literally “bring a plate.”

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    picardie.girl Reply:

    Ha! I love it!

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  • http://www.boda.com.au Tara

    Fabuloso! Whether you’re single, partnered, large or small family – this approach is doable. Keep life simple, I totally agree and am further inspired to pay off my mortgage NOW! Thanks Sarah!

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    Tara Reply:

    I mean Thanks Sara!

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  • http://pimpmybricks.wordpress.com pimpmybricks.wordpress.com

    So much of what you write I agree with. I appreciate the risks you take and your honesty. I also subscribe to the view that we’re drowning in material goods that don’t make our lives happier. But I can’t see that having only one chopping board, three bras etc makes a life more elegant or allows a person to do fun things at weekends which those with two chopping boards and four bras would be excluded from. Sorry.

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    It’s about not shopping…less shopping, less things, more time.

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    Stormageddon Reply:

    Ah, but if you have less stuff, dont you have to replace it more often? Because you are using it all the time? Ergo, shopping more in the long run?

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    Hail To The Nihilist Reply:

    I think you miss a deeper point. It’s about owning what you require rather than owning what you think you require. Perhaps you need multiple chopping boards because your lifestyle dictates that–you may be a chef. However, what of that person that doesn’t cook? Interesting example: I have a housemate, he cooks maybe once a fortnight, the rest of the time he is out being a social butterfly. He regularly buys new kitchen things that he doesn’t, or rarely, use(s).

  • Bianca

    I Love your blog Sarah and have followed it for a while, however you state that you have never bought a magazine in your life, with the inference that this would be wasteful etc. and yet you were a magazine editor, celebrating this fact recently at events for Cosmo. I find sometimes that these holier-than-thou statements and posts are somewhat contradictory.

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    Tori Reply:

    I agree. Sorry Sarah, but to say that you have never bought a magazine in your life, when for years you made a living from the industry, is somewhat self righteous.

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    Angelique Reply:

    This doesn’t mean she has never read one! In fact, she would have received them all for free as all editors do (subscriptions to magazines).

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    Kate Reply:

    I agree, completely self righteous… and as for no air conditioning? clearly you live in a place with mild weather. would like to see you brave the 45+ degree weather this summer in the central west with no fan or air conditioning. and honestly.. no gears on your bike? well its clearly a place with no hills either! how on earth does having gears on your bike detract from living simply..?

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    Chrissy Reply:

    Sarah is not insisting you too have no airconditioning or gears on your bike!

    She is merely listing things she does not have.

    I too have a fixed gear bike – not for any minimalism but because I grew up in the late 70s and never got the hang of multiple gears.

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    Michaela Reply:

    Totally agree with the magazine thing.
    I’m trying to get a start working in magazines, after a childhood idolising Sarah and her fellow editors. Now all the titles are being closed down due to people not buying them, and my career dreams are dying. I’m disappointed that Sarah refuses to support the industry that gave her so much, after all those potential future magazine editors like myself spent our last dollars leftover from food, rent and uni fees to support her.

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    Hannah Reply:

    Amen, sister. Talk about biting the hand that fed you. It seems that it’s just expected that all of us complicated and inelegant consumers buy those items while Sarah gets all her freebies, photo shoots and endorsement deals (oh, the irony) off the back of a career in an industry she apparently never monetarily supported in the first place.

    This post is the last straw for me. *unsubscribe*

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    Leea Gilmour Reply:

    Agreed. I’m not trying to be cruel or mean, but to me, this post does actually come across as contrived… I know she’s not saying it makes her a better person… but she’s thinking it.
    It’s like this guy I knew who wanted to be a movie director, but was the WORST downloader of pirated movies ever – therefore ruining his own future industry. Actually it was my ex husband.

  • Sara

    It’s such an individual decision really. What works for one won’t work for another and I don’t think anyone should lose much sleep over it. I try not to consume as much…only buy what I truly need. However, I need a car for work, can’t get around it. I have many, many books and wouldn’t dream of culling them and I don’t worry about it…living simply is great but it has to work with your life, not against it.
    I mean you could go really nuts…do I really need to purchase another e-book? I’m not having a dig at anyone but how far you take it is up to you. In my own life I found that you start small and then without even realising it other things follow.

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    Hail To The Nihilist Reply:

    It’s an individual decision that has become political by virtue of its consequences. The only way to stop the beast is to deprive it of food. The beast being a system that insists us to buy buy buy. The food being our willingness to buy.

    I agree that our lives are all different. Some of us need cars, that’s fine. However, I think we should all start by reconsidering the stuff we buy to satisfy our ‘wants’. That is the stuff that the beast impels us to consume, with pictures of the good things it will do to our lives. If it wasn’t for the marketing, we wouldn’t even know these things exist–we don’t have any rational urge for these things; they satisfy wants not needs.

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  • Stormageddon

    “Minimalism is a righteous asthetic” – well, it certainly can be! That’s for sure. Some people take it way too seriously. I think the stress from never having spare batteries or a screwdriver around what far outweight any benefits.

    I do love minimalism in music and architecture, so I like it when referring to my own house and self. To me, it means keeping only that which is beautiful and useful, and having nothing superfluous to distract from that. Your mileage on labels may vary.

    I think if you choose good quality basics, you dont need many of the other things. As you said – if you have decent socks & jumpers, you dont need a heater. There is nothing nicer on a cold night than snuggling deep into a doona with a book and mug of tea!

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  • Katie

    lol no gears? I don’t see how that fits with the rest of the list.

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    Wendy Reply:

    It fits cos she doesn’t need them. That’s what this post is about. Having the things you need. :)

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    Wendy Reply:

    ‘And use’ I should add.

    Sara doesn’t use gears when riding. Therefore doesn’t have them, these types of extras and accessories are what we buy cos that’s what everyone else has on their bikes (for example). Makes sense right?

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    Carissa Reply:

    I was hoping it meant her bike was recycled as in she didn’t need to buy a new one…

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  • Brooke

    I do agree with the no shopping – I have only recently discovered in my quest for simplicity I have not had to go for the girly outing of shopping – instead I find much more appreciation in exchanging books and enjoying sitting in my simple clothes and reading

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  • Patricia

    With due respect, that all seems a bit obsessive to me.
    The lengths gone to so as not to shop, live simpler, counting utensils, clothing. That alone indicates anxiety and would involve some stress just to keep it that way. Is it keeping it simpler or is it just being in control and some obsessive compulsive.

    Regarding not buying magazines, I presume you would have had access to them all for free when working for a magazine.

    I do believe buying excessively and unnecessarily to give one self a happy/feel good feeling, can become like a disease.

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    DANIELA Reply:

    GOOD!!!! HA, HA, HA YOU ARE RIGHT! WITH FEW WORDS (BEING MINIMALIST :) IS IMPORTANT IN THSE DAYS) YOU SAID EXACTLY WHAT I MEANT BUT TOOK ME MORE AS YOU CAN SEE BELOW

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  • http://www.tresordejour.com Courtney

    Wow! This is so inspiring Sara.

    It totally comes down to personal preference at the end of the day – not sure why people are getting a little heated over it!

    I would just like to say that this post was exactly what I needed. I’m moving overseas in two weeks to go backpacking around the world and am having a lot of trouble chucking out my possessions! (I have waaay too many nail polishes).

    Living simple must feel so freeing!

    I’m going to go home tonight, chuck everything in a box and donate it to charity!

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  • Clare

    Yeah but….

    You drive a Jeep… probably provided by Jeep

    You appear on TV…. probably get loads of free clothes

    You worked for a magazine company… you got the mag’s for free that’s why you never bought them

    I liked your blog til you got a bit “Holy”

    Yes buying nothing is fine if you are sponsored by BIG luxury brands

    I lived in Berlin the anti-capitalist centre of the world… all the “poor but cool and trendy’ folk there are like you…. “buy nothing”… “lets all share”… then you find out they have their Swiss Trust Funds

    Trying being really poor and living hand to mouth doing temporary work in rental accommodation in London… you will find simple is not a choice – simple is life and there is bugger all glamourous and elegant about it

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    Oh Please Reply:

    Agree…and I’m sure clothing companys provide you with outfits & a stylist looks after your makeup and hair (hence no hairdryer). But good luck to you and your freebies…just don’t pass it off as ‘minimalist’ living.

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    Sara Reply:

    I read this post this morning and have been thinking about it and I also agree with you here.
    I know you don’t write this as a ‘bible’ for people to follow but…f**k, it come across as sanctimonious sometimes.
    I mean your own site promotes things for people to buy (glasses, beds, cookbooks)! I ve followed you for years and love your posts but don’t dress up what you do as something deeper than it is.
    No electric jug but a kettle that goes on the stove? No gears on my bike? No yoga mat Stop… No more self-righteous f**ckery!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Fair point Sara…I do sound a little sanctimonious. I don’t mean to. Less is my aim. My aim is also to plant some ideas…. I don’t necessarily pull it off myself.

    Stormageddon Reply:

    I wouldn’t say sanctimonious, just a bit unaware of how privileged you are. You could do to be a bit more grateful.

    If we didn’t buy magazines, you’d never have gotten the great start in your media career that editing Cosmo gave you. You seem a bit unaware of that, and a bit snooty now that you are “above” the magazine life.

    You have people showering you in free cars, free mattresses, free glasses, etc – which you freely accept and in turn promote to your readers. You are an ambassador for Jeep. You send us multiple emails every week promoting your books. All this is fine, until you pretend you are too good for the consumerist cycle which you yourself are perpetuating. You sound a little snobby and ungrateful.

    Also, I’d recommend your own yoga mat, just FYI. As someone who had to have a wart burned off her face (yes, it was as painful as it sounds!) from a sharing a communal gym mat, there are a lot of contagious skin diseases you really don’t want to know anything about. Trust me!

    Much love, and I hope this comes across in the right spirit.

    Mia xx

    Hannah Reply:

    Thanks ladies.

    allie Reply:

    Sara, I appreciate the message and ideas you are trying to spread. In a lot of ways, this is how I try to live and even share some of my own thoughts on my blog. I refer to it as both minimalist and simple living, and never read too much into the word choice of either. We still have more than we truly “need”; but my husband and I would rather get outside and play or take weekend road trips than spend time/energy on constantly acquiring more unnecessary “stuff”. (I’m actually inspired by your post to think more on these ideas and do a writeup in the near future, perhaps sharing my own list.)

    However, after reading your post, I can’t help but feel uneasy and roll my eyes over the consumerist-promoting links you have on your sidebar. Do I NEED an IQS Chocolate Cookbook? No, but it might certainly help my health journey and make it more enjoyable. Eyeglasses? Jeep? I’m sure it was an oversight, but you do come off as ungrateful. You are where you are in many ways, because of the nature of our consumerist society. If people didn’t consume based on your recommendations, would you be blessed with these sponsorships? If they stopped buying your books, could you continue to publish?

    K Reply:

    I do sort-of agree with this.

    While it doesn’t bother me personally, I can understand why some readers may take exception to things like ‘debt’. It’s a great achievement that you’ve been in a position to be able to save up and buy property in Sydney outright (a huge achievement!)

    For others who aren’t so fortunate though, a mortgage or a HECS debt may be a necessary thing for them to improve their current situation and, as you say, make life easier in the long run.

    Aside from that, I do enjoy ‘list’ posts. I like having a peek into other people’s lives and it makes me reflect on what my ‘list’ would be :-)

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  • Emma

    Ha ha, every time my lovely mum visits I get comments like “I can’t believe you don’t have a citrus zester/clothes pegs/a parsley grinder/a chopping board dedicated to garlic/specific gardening tools/etc – I don’t know how you can live like this!”
    Funny thing is she’s really not the kind of person you’d expect to care about things as much.
    But I do have masses of books, love them far to much to get rid of them, it would just make me sad.

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    grace b Reply:

    Same here! Didn’t have a proper bed for six months so some family members generously gifted me the money and I was able to get a gorgeous eco-bed and mattress for me and my boyfriend. So sometimes all of the mutterings pay off!

    Just today my boyfriend was lamenting how poor he feels compared to his parents. But really, we have CHOSEN to live like this in a lot of respects.

    I think most of simpler living just indicates a real sense of knowing oneself and what you need. Things are thought over, considered, and never seen as just a “whatever” purchase–everything has SOME kind of meaning.

    Which can actually be exhausting if you let it take you over which I think Sarah might be in danger of here….

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    Laura Reply:

    That’s not living simply, that’s just hoping (or expecting?) that others fund your lifestyle.

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    Nat Reply:

    I understand what you mean about parting with books! Sometimes there’s emotion there! bookcrossing.com is a lovely way to pass on and find all of your loved books. Hope this is something you find joy in:)

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  • Patricia

    After posting my comment above, I remember this as I was reflecting over a cuppa. Thought I would share as it suits Sarahs post today. Though I must say it is to the extreme, but nonetheless so interesting and intruiguing (Will try and keep this short as I can)

    Twenty years ago we moved into an apartment on fringe of CBD, living there for 5 years. There was neighbouring couple, he a former Merchant Banker, she a former International Flight Attendant. They day they moved in I remember them bringing beautiful expensive looking furniture, ie dining tables, chairs, couches, etc..

    But further down the track down I observed furniture also being picked up and taken away. On one occasion I had reason to discuss a matter so introduced myself, they invited me into to their apartment. They decided to share their story with me, when showing me their cutlery draw with no cutlery at all, only cassettes (remember – this was 20 years ago) No food at all in their pantry, only shampoo, soap, toilet rolls. That was it. After selling off most of their furniture since moving in, they left themselves with two lounge chairs, 2 beds and that was it.

    They had moved to the apartment from their little terrace house in a trendy inner Melbourne suburb. They had it all. One day an expensive plate fell from the wall, they didn’t replace it and proceeded some time later to remove the other plates.
    As time went on, they saw how much stuff they had, so they sold one or two things. They then realised that nothing was going to happen to them by not having these missing pieces. She said she sold some Chanel outfits that she cherished. They then decided to sell their beautiful little home and rent an apartment. They both stopped working, their income coming from his investments in the stockmarket.

    She cut her long hair short, make-up free, as she didn’t own any make-up any more. Their wardrobe consisted of 2 sets of track-suits each, from target, except for a warm coats, saying when track-suits wore out they would buy more at cheap price from Target.

    They didn’t cook or eat at home. Therefore no cooking utensils. I saw them walking a few times a day. They said, they had breakfast at a cheap place, reading the morning newspaper (hence didn’t have to buying newspapers or magazines) walked down again for lunch and then again for a quick evening meal.

    The one thing that he kept and would sell when he was really ready was a beautiful car parked in the underground car park below was a Lotus Espirit ($$$$$$$) But…eventually he did. They then decided to spend our winter in Queensland in warmer and come back down South for our summer.

    The discovery they made from freeing themselves from all of this materialism is they said that nothing awful happened to them by getting rid of that stuff. He said his father was very wealthy and his house was guarded by every conceivable security device and high fences. His comment was ‘what for’ ?

    So my perception from this was he had difficulty in shaking off what he had been brought up to believe, that having stuff was success. Though obviously his solution was to the ultimate extreme and therefore not feasable lifestyle in the long term. But who knows, they may now have come to a happy medium and now enjoying a few more basics.

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    Jo Reply:

    Love this story, thanks for sharing.

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  • Shannon

    I am in the process of simplifying (yes, some decluttering and getting rid of involved), your post has made me think again about what I want/need to have around me.
    Thanks Sarah

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  • http://na Leonie

    Again, you write exactly what I need to hear at exactly the right time! I’ve just moved overseas (from Australia to London) and have spent weeks feeling “lost” without all my THINGS!

    Not even super “material” things, just the things that I have always associated with “me” and “home” – books, my collection of tea cups, my abundance of clothes (most from op shops), my rugs, chairs and pieces of art. I’ve stressed because of it, wandered around this big new city aimlessly looking for “THINGS” to make me feel at home. And this week I realised that I don’t NEED any of it. Home is a feeling from within. I actually have everything I could ever need.

    Thankyou for the reminder and reinforcement!

    Also – just another thing on living simply, as a result of staying in self contained hotels for work in the last few years, I’ve started EATING simply. Without condiments, without fancy cooking utensils. It’s totally changed the way I eat and approach cooking. Breakfast is an egg, cooked in a little bit of water so it doesn’t stick with whatever veggies I have in the fridge. Lunch is lentils or meat and salad. Dinner is meat and veggies. The fanciest I get is a little bit of chilli or salt. And most of the time I use only water to stop things sticking, or a small amount of butter. Shopping is easy, cooking is easy and hours aren’t wasted thinking about WHAT to cook!

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  • Lena

    You say you prefer wearing socks to heating (I do too), but then you say that you only own two socks. They must get a lot of wear in winter – when do you wash them?

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    Justine Reply:

    ha ha Lena…. this topic has alot of people a bit stirred up, but I love your no nonsense – common sense !!!

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  • Victoria

    How dreadful would it be if we all lived,owned and did the same as each other.If someone has a castle and moat great,if someone else lives in a caravan with all the gadgets great..Great stuff Sarah,whatever works..Personally I’d like the last twenty years stuff gathering dust in our garage to magically disappear,feel free anyone to come and take what you like..Victoria

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  • Rickie
  • http://ashleigh.keeling@hotmail.com Ashleigh

    Thank you for this post Sarah, I enjoyed it. I think your simple home posts are my favourites :)

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  • grace b

    After helping my boyfriend clean out his 8 x 13 storage unit last year and a move across the country in a van and a rental car, I am pretty happy with what we do have.

    The hardest thing to resist is clothes but I do my best to only keep around what I really use.

    And I often get rid of things when I bring something new into the house.

    And I most of the time buy secondhand.

    I’m very good at feeling that I don’t deserve certain things so I don’t buy them.

    I’m really trying to have more experiences than stuff this year.

    And to pay down my damn student loan debt! It’s a bugger.

    [Reply]

  • Melissa

    Thank you Sarah for your honesty and the courage to be you in such a public world. Stuff is a truly contentious issue. People identify with their stuff and when someone expresses their need for less stuff than the average this opens up a Pandora’s box.

    I agree with simple living philosophies and practice. The trick is it’s a sliding scale and it all depends on your values in life and your personal context. I note with interest some not so positive comments in this space. I think when someone like yourself hangs something of her inner world on the community clothesline of the net there is the occasional soul who will be confronted by it. They believe they are being judged so jump right in and make comment in a defensive mode.

    For what it’s worth I think raising the issue of stuff, commenting on it and disagreeing about it is a major step forward in consciousness raising. It’s not new but it is simple and powerful. if you ever wanted to think more about the ‘Story of Stuff’ try http://www.storyofstuff.org/.

    As for me…I try to minimise my world of ‘stuff’ but my values and context are different from Sarah’s so here in Singapore I do have an air conditioner and a fan but no car. Stuff is all relative. The key, I believe, is to be conscious and purposeful about the collection and use of stuff in my daily life.

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  • Tommy

    Sarah!!!

    Nice post! Coming from you it sounds so genuine. You drive a jeep..lolz..accept money from the meat industry to promote their products..more lolz..edited a magazine designed to manipulate teenage girls into buying overpriced hair and makeup ect..even more lolz….fronted one of the most heavily branded tv shows pushing worthless kitchen utensils and cookbooks on every poor bastard within earshot..lolzozoz..all I can say is it’s lucky you’re good looking hun..nobody else could ever get away with it!!

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    I like the less is more approach but I prefer the way the French do it. They have style. They may have a minimalist wardrobe but it doesn’t mean that they own and live in one pair of tracky dacks from Target.

    [Reply]

    Hannah Reply:

    I agree.

    I have scatter cushions, candles and buy fresh flowers for my beautiful mercury glass vases. I love beautiful things and I can assure you owning them doesn’t stop me from having an elegant life or time for the simple things. I am honestly kind of offended at the implication that my life is less simple because I own those things.

    ZZZ.

    [Reply]

    Rose Reply:

    Well said Hannah.

    [Reply]

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes, I say well said Hannah also!

    [Reply]

    Dell Reply:

    100% agree.

    I usually love Sarah’s posts. But this one was so painful. Especially when you get everything for free. Why buy a magazine, books etc when you get the for free.

    I am a designer. I design beautiful things and surround myself with them. They inspire me. I love to shop. I don’t see it as a waste of time, I go to shops because the designs I see get my creative juices flowing.

    I like the idea of this post, we should reuse/use less. Like the ‘Vegetarianism causes you anorexia’ post you have gone from thought provoking to unnecessary in my opinion.

    Still love your view points, just wouldn’t want to live with you! Xx

    [Reply]

    Hannah Reply:

    Thanks ladies. I was always a fan of Sarah but she’s lost me in the last year. Enough with the preaching, already.

    Rose Reply:

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking this post or Sarah. What I said was that simplifing is a great idea but you don’t need to sacrifice beauty in the process. I’m all for quality over quantity! Afterall quality should last for longer reducing the need to always replace things.

    Shannon Reply:

    Agree Hannah, you managed to beautifully articulate exactly what I was thinking!

    [Reply]

    kat Reply:

    agree with you all…

    For me this has gone from an inspirational blog that I could really relate to and looked forward to reading, to a blog I’m beginning to read for the fun of scoffing at (you know, like those Facebook friends you can’t bear to delete, because they p*** you off so much it’s kind of fun?).

  • Em

    Sarah – can you elaborate on the salt water for your hair please? Is it a rinse or a spray?

    [Reply]

    Stef Reply:

    I’d say Sarah is referring to water straight from the ocean when she goes swimming.

    [Reply]

    Sia Reply:

    Yes, was wondering same. Do you just rely on leaving your hair unwashed after a swim or do you bottle actual sea water or do you make your own??

    [Reply]

  • bubblewubble10@hotmail.com

    Youre annoying

    [Reply]

  • Jessica

    This is exactly what I needed to read at the moment.
    I will be moving out on my own very shortly and have been stressing about all the “stuff” I will need to set myself up independently, but after reading this post I don’t need it. So what that I won’t have a couch, washing machine, dryer, toaster, scatter cushions and some pretty candles…I can and will make do without and will use my well earned money for experiences not materialistic makes life easier “stuff”. Thanks Sarah.

    [Reply]

  • Anna

    I agree with some of the others – the tone does come across a bit pious/holier-than-thou, and you have to remember that some of us have hair dryers because we can’t afford to get our hair done, and some of us have nail polish and nail polish remover etc… because we can’t afford to get our nails done all the time either. In fact, having these things is my way of keeping my life simple – I don’t need to spend money on paying other people to do things for me.
    That said, I think it boils down to not consuming more than we need. So sure, I prefer an electric kettle because it’s easy to use, and I do use it quite a lot. But I don’t have a TV, because I never even watch it – I prefer to watch things on my laptop. It’s about tuning out of the messages that pressure us to consume things just because others are, when we should be listening to our needs and having/not having things that suit our own lifestyles.

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  • Melita

    I read your blog last week on your online dating experiences & felt like it could have been me who wrote the article, as my view & experiences have been somewhat very similar. Now I have read your blog this week & am getting quite freaked out! I left my husband (partner of 20 years) 5 years ago & over out time together we accumulated a lot of ‘stuff’. When I moved out I went back to live with my parents for 9 months before I got back on my feet & moved in to my own unit. In the time I lived with my parents I lived out of a suitcase in a small bedroom, with very little need for anything more & it made me realise that I really don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’ to fulfil my life & make me happy. I didn’t need that large house with the newest & best of everything. I am still living by those principles & only have & buy what I really need – it helps that my unit is small therefore I don’t have the space to get things I don’t really need, which is great. I love your approach to life, it’s very inspiring!

    [Reply]

  • Z

    Interesting post, something I admire but in reality if we all lived this way there would be a lot of people out of work with no money, food or shelter. Consumerism unfortunately is what makes this world go round……and it’s consumerism by others that allows you to live the life you lead…..but I do admire you for it!

    [Reply]

  • Wendy

    I just ask myself before I buy anything. From a pragmatic point of view – do I really need this, will this be a practical and positive addition to my life.

    I do this with food, alcohol, clothes and accessories as well.

    I’ve learnt that so many things are bought to keep up with the Jonses when the Jonses are too busy worrying about themselves. Or fake needs set up by corporations and strategic marketing to sell more stuff. No-one even notices what your wearing, buying, driving, have on your feet, number of eye shadows you own, whether your towels are Egyptian cotton or what kitchen gadgets you have – a deep pet hate of mine: a bench top cupcake machine really? Isn’t that what an oven is for??

    What they do notice is if you’re happy, loving and healthy. So I try to do more of that.

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  • Evmoburg

    I’m sick to death of “stuff”….I’ve been de-cluttering and simplifying the house for months now….but having a 2 year old and baby on the way, kind people and family keep giving us “stuff” – toys, hand-me-down clothes 20 sizes too big for my son and more!
    Whilst it is kind, I have requested everyone to save their money and withhold all the gifts and “stuff”…..it drives me batty! There’s no need for all of these belongings!
    In saying that, there are still a lot of things you need to raise a child and can’t do without…and I’ll be honest, I don’t have the time or patience for such things as cloth nappies.
    When I was single, everything was simple, my spacious (because there was no clutter) 2 bedroom apartment was easy to manage – no heater, no dryer, the dishwasher stored my shopping bags, I barely had any kitchen appliances and utensils but ate better than I do today!
    I miss open spaces lol

    [Reply]

  • picardie.girl

    Ironically Sarah, I read a post this morning from The Minimalists along the same vein. But their article is simpler and more elegant: http://www.theminimalists.com/

    “I don’t own many things. But everything I own adds value to my life.

    Each of my belongings—my kitchenware, furniture, clothes, car—functions either as a tool or gives some sort of positive aesthetic value to my life. That is, as a minimalist, every possession serves a purpose and/or brings me joy.

    Over time, though, situations’ll change. They always do. And so I’m forced to ask the same important question over and over and over again: Does this thing add value to my life?

    And but it’s not just material possessions at which I posit this query. I ask it, too, in regard to relationships, social media, and any other potentially superfluous matters in life.

    I constantly ask this question because circumstances constantly change. Just because something adds value to my life today, that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily add value to my life tomorrow. So I keep asking, and I adjust accordingly.”

    [Reply]

  • http://www.spinnacles.com.au Sara

    This post reminded me of one of the things I really love about South East Asia – how you can go to a roadside stall or tiny restaurant and all they have to cook with is a flame and a little grill. And damn it if the food isn’t 1000 time better than anything I can cook with my fandangled contraptions that for some reason I honestly thought I NEEDED when I bought them.

    One thing I don’t get though is the tissue/ toilet paper thing? Aren’t you going to use as much using one or the other? Or is it about the packaging the tissues come in? I have to say no triple ply toilet paper can beat an aloe-impregnated tissue when my sinuses flair up! Ah, small issue compared to to other comments but it just got me curious.

    (Different Sara to the above by the way)

    [Reply]

  • Tammy

    I think it’s important to remember that it is ‘voluntary simplicity’, that Sarah, and most of us are talking about. This is a choice not dictated by our circumstances or what happened in our past.

    The choice to live simply does not mean you judge someone who wants to live with more negatively and this should flow both ways. It is a brave thing to own up to your aspirations so publicly. Many of us know that doing this in our small communities or among friends is difficult when you hold different ideals. I commend you to keep with the thought provoking posts.

    [Reply]

    Miss Lilapud Reply:

    I agree with you Tammy – ‘voluntary simplicity”, I’m kinda stunned by how many people find this post offensive and how many feel it’s some kind of personal judgement against them that it causes them to lash out at Sarah!

    Sometimes I worry that we not only have attachment to ‘things’ (and I’m a top offender here – but working on it :)), but that we are also attached to our view of how people ‘should’ be – that people ‘should’ think twice about what they post on their own blog, have we forgotten that we are all entitled to live as we choose, that no blog can ‘tell’ anyone how to live – or is that what some people are clinging to? I don’t understand it. What happened to live and let live?

    Maybe some people need Sarah to reflect on only the things they agree with otherwise her blog is not worth reading – so maybe they need to be surrounded by ‘yes people’, so they can go ‘oh yes, you’re so right- WE”RE so right and everyone else is weird/wrong’ etc etc … how can we evolve if we don’t learn about and work at accepting each other’s differences?! It can be a really hard thing to do, but it’s worth trying, I know it brings a lot less suffering to our lives & to the world, and it opens us and allows for more stimulating and interesting experiences – and while I’m a million miles away from the way Sarah lives and wouldn’t want to be the same anyway, I find it somewhat distressing that we often take the easiest option which is to tear down and criticize someone because we are at odds with their view .

    Personally I find it really interesting and curious – and while the tone of some comments make me feel a bit sad and despair at humanity, I’ve learned a lot from reading this!

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you get rid of your washing machine too, Sarah? Maybe head down to the rocks on the beach and hand wash your three bras, while exfoliating your skin? Eh?!

    SUCH an outrageous post.

    [Reply]

  • Kelly

    Yep, agreed. It seems very odd that someone chooses to live a ‘simple’ life and not buy magazines, but worked for a magazine that requires people to buy them to survive. As a side note, I couldn’t live without nail polish! I don’t have enough money to get them done professionally, so DIY for me!

    [Reply]

  • Becky

    Hi Sarah,

    I loved this post! I am recently moved into a new house and have been trying to resist purchasing “current” furniture and accessories to brighten my home! I have found fresh flowers do wonders to a bland room

    I was hoping you might be able to post something on restoring furniture? I have a big old TV cabinet which has a great structure but is just very 90s pine! I don’t want to throw it away but also don’t love the piece being there!

    [Reply]

    Raw Once More Reply:

    I don’t think Sarah’s a furniture restorer. More of a ‘just don’t have it, or if you do, have it how it is’ kind of person. Correct me if I’m wrong Sarah.

    [Reply]

  • Lorrae

    I don’t think that owning less exercise clothes would make my life simpler, it would infinitely add more stress . I train 5-6 times a week, work full time and have two children. I’d have to be washing every single day . Sometimes it is actually more “simple” to have more. Having said that, I have set my children and I a goal of consuming less and experiencing moreexperiencing more. However the things that bring us joy and quality of experience/life , like music, books and sporting equipment are exempt. But we don’t own kitchen gadgets , I’m using saucepans handed down to me from my mother and they are 35 years old. Yes we need less than we think but I certainly exercise this mantra with an element of common sense and obsessively.

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    wow so many people are not understanding what this post is about. Sara is not telling everyone to only have two sets of exercise clothes. It’s just an example of how she has found a way to simplify her life.

    Don’t take it so literally :)

    [Reply]

    picardie.girl Reply:

    She does come across as sanctimonious though. Far more so than most minimalists!

    [Reply]

  • Sasha Heywood

    I think it’s great that a lot more people are embracing this practice now. Reading this is ‘Zero Waste Home’ by Bea Johnson déjà vu. I like how she sums it up in a nutshell:

    Get your 5Rs right: Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse what you consume, Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, and Rot (Compost) the rest.

    The link below is damn fascinating and full of ‘simplifying’ tips that work (and the ecenomical benefits are great too!) I hope it provides some tips and insight for anyone interested.

    http://www.sunset.com/m/home/natural-home/zero-waste-home-0111-00418000069984/

    [Reply]

  • Jen

    I can’t believe people can read a blog and take it all so personally, I mean really.. This must be a reflection on themselves that they are rattled so easily, take a chill pill everyone and be happy for what you have or haven’t.

    I heard recently that you should only have in your home what you actually use or love..anything else is clutter.

    Nice work Sarah x

    [Reply]

    Evmoburg Reply:

    Well said! :-)

    [Reply]

  • Penny

    Hi Sarah,

    I love your blog but have become a bit frustrated with the ‘JOIN MY NEWSLETTER’ pop-up that launches every time I click to read more.

    The worst part is, when I try to read your blog on my iPhone, the pop-up obscures the entire page and can’t be closed. For some reason a bug prevents me zooming out of the screen to actually reach the ‘close’ button.

    As a result I’m only clicking on your newsletter items to ‘read more’ when I’m on my laptop, rather than my iPhone, which is rarely. Such a shame as I used to love reading your stuff regularly.

    [Reply]

  • Kate

    Good in you Sarah. You are doing what was normal before the consumerism chaos took over. You’ve inspired me. I’m going to go an an anti- stuff experiment. Oh and have you noticed how stuff ultimately becomes a burden- like people who can’t move house because they don’t know / feel trapped by and overwhelmed by all their STUFF!

    [Reply]

  • http://mypeartreehouse.blogspot.com Jane

    Tend to agree with other commenters that this perhaps doesn’t come across that well Sarah. I agree with the philosophy that we must learn to realise that we don’t NEED a lot of the stuff we have, and that we have to stop buying so much stuff. And of course as someone points out above these types of decisions must be made in the context of your own life. If you are single then of course you can watch films on your laptop no problem.

    I think the problem with your post is that it is a bit hypocritical (ie you yourself encourage people to buy things (glasses and cookbooks just for example!) and some of the things you do without are frankly a bit strange. Gears on a bike? I don’t get that. Toilet paper instead of a tissue? If you are concerned about waste buy a hankie. And only books you are going to pass on? What if you want to re-read? I think that is really quite sad to deprive yourself of the pleasure of a shelf of treasured books.

    On a lighter note I am completely with you about the appliances esp a microwave. They take up so much space!! and are so pointless? People used to say to me ‘Gasp!! but how do you reheat food for your little children? ‘ Well it’s quite simple, put in a pot over the stovetop and heat gently.

    [Reply]

    Mary Reply:

    Completely agree!

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  • john

    I really appreciate your blog and views on life.. Over the last few years I’ve been in the process of donating clothes etc that I have accumulated over the years and still i find I have too much stuff.. Time to go through more stuff and find appropriate homes for it:)

    [Reply]

  • Eve

    I appreciate the “let’s not buy more than we need” approach and let’s face it we all have way too much stuff !! But if we don’t buy things like say….magazines…or books…how are the authors and the journalists and the printers etc etc expected to make a living? After all money is meant to go around and when I spend it it goes into the pockets of a business which allows them to pay rent, taxes, employ people and pay wages and super etc etc….

    And if we don’t all go out for a coffee / lunch at a local cafe and dinner at a restaurant now and again what will happen to all the people that work there ?

    so you see it’s not quite that simple……

    I wish it was !

    So my solution is don’t buy more than you need and for heaven’s sake whatever you do make sure you buy Australian !!

    [Reply]

    Frances Reply:

    Love this Eve

    [Reply]

  • Glenda

    I’m really enjoying these posts about about your simple home and the subsequent debate that has ensued. I admire your restraint and am amazed by the criticism. I am certainly going to try and buy less stuff but I love candles, cushions and need more than one cutting board. Paper towels are also mandatory.

    [Reply]

  • Stef

    Why are so many people calling you ‘Sara’ in their comments?? Have you even minimalised your name HAHAHHA.

    [Reply]

  • Lisa (Yrlocalmarkets)

    I was worried for a minute that undies were going to fall into the “no more than 3″ category but breathed a sigh of relief to see them missing from that list :-)

    [Reply]

  • sara

    Sarah you would like Courtney Carver, I have been following her for a while…. she has inspired me to live a more considered and simple existence….Sara

    bloghttp://bemorewithless.com

    [Reply]

  • Mary

    Hi Sarah,

    I am not sure if people who don’t agree with you are allowed to post on your blog but I am going to attempt it anyway. I just can’t believe you have never bought a magazine in your life. I’m sorry but weren’t you the editor of Cosmopolitan for quite a few years? So even if you personally haven’t purchased a magazine you spent years at the helm of one of the highest selling magazines in the country and the western world. I’m pretty sure your work as an editor attempting to coerce thousands into buying this magazine meant that although you might not have bought a magazine thousands of people did buy one at your behest. Also I feel like its fairly disingenuous to try to sell a magazine to so many readers when you yourself had not purchased a single one in your life. Also you are featured in many magazines today so why on earth would you brag about not having bought one?

    [Reply]

  • Jill

    This is a very confusing post. It seems more about an obsession with being frugal rather than living simply.
    I’m not surpised that many of your readers are upset ( i am one of them).How very smug of you to say that you have never bought a magazine or a newspaper, given that yes, you were a magazine editor/journalist and that you do promote magazines here on your blog from time to time ( The Simple Things is one that I remeber).

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    and in any event I wonder if it can even be true? To say that you have never ever bought a newspaper? Never? I haven’t bought one for many years, no point when you have internet and access to them in cafes.

    But I have certainly bought newspapers in the past, especially when travelling (Love foreign newspapers, especially the UK ones)

    [Reply]

  • Candi

    Thanks for this post Sarah – It has really made me reassess what I things I can do without.

    [Reply]

  • Dawn

    why oh why is it wrong to own Candles, knick-knacks that don’t serve a purpose or have sentimental value, or scatter cushions?
    My home is my happy place, and candles and cusions and knick-knacks serve a purpose in life – they make me feel cosy, warm, happy!

    [Reply]

    June Reply:

    Ohhhh me tooo! I love my candles and cushions. I don’t own much but these little gifts from the universe make my heart sing and for that I am so lucky and grateful!!

    [Reply]

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes Dawn I agree!!

    [Reply]

  • Eliza

    Sarah,

    You have lost me.

    Totally immersed in yourself and I now begin to question if you are mentally ok?

    To make such statements about magazines when you have driven then yourself makes me really wonder.

    Enjoy Potts Point – the simplicity that surrounds you…and all the mediums you use to expose yourself.

    [Reply]

  • Dawn

    yes. I think you just put into words exactly what I was thinking. ‘broke the magic spell’. I almost feel embarrassed now at having shared this I Quit Sugar with so many of my friends and family.

    [Reply]

  • Dawn

    and… doesn’t using the oven grill to make toast use MORE electricity??? what if you’re only making two slices?

    [Reply]

  • Lumo

    If you need a car, you need a car. No problems with that. From your twitters & instagram photos, it seems you catch the train to the Blue Mountains for your bush run. So why the hell do you need a wanky Jeep 4wd?? Esp when you live in the city.

    [Reply]

  • Louise

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the idea/inspiration about living with less. I know the blog post was just to inspire and help to stimulate ideas in peoples minds about living with less. I think perhaps this was taken a little too serious. You were a magazine editor but not anymore…perhaps you moved away from it as you grew and learnt more about yourself and your interests which include living a different lifestyle.
    Keep up the inspriring ideas…cheers.

    [Reply]

  • Samantha

    I often look around my home and feel sick about the money I have spent on unnecessary items that I have bought to make my house feel more homey and welcoming. It’s a feeling of regret at not having shown self-control, especially when I know that there are so many more important things to save up my money for. Your blog just confirms the seed that was planted in my mind a long time, and am only now just starting to listen to, or perhaps it’s the wisdom that starts to come with age. Whatever it is, in spite of the media’s insistence that we need to support the economy by spending, I too now/will be questioning myself before I make that next purchase. In the end, it’s just another thing to keep clean.
    We have all done things in the past that we may not be proud of or feel we could have done differently, but the point of living is learning from our past mistakes and trying to make life easier and less complicated.
    Keep up the simple living blogs, I thoroughly enjoy reading them.
    P.S Who the hell cares if you own a Jeep?????

    [Reply]

  • Patricia

    Oh too much info there!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Kez Reply:

    Glad I am not the only to think this was an over share.. Thought it was a joke ?

    [Reply]

  • Patricia

    Gosh I am doing well, 4th comment. Well………….who would have thought that living with comforts and making home feel like home not a house, could put some on a such a guilt trip.

    I know….it seems some would be best suited to a sparse life in a Monastery.

    Eliza’s comment made me laugh.

    [Reply]

  • Patricia

    Just dirty, revolting, unhygienic!!!

    [Reply]

  • Patricia

    Ooops meant to say those ‘habits’ are dirty, revolting, unhygienic!!!!

    [Reply]

    Nat Reply:

    Actually it’s not unhygenic. A specific tea towel for food only that gets washed with other towels in detergent. ……..and I’m sure I’m not the only person who has ever picked their nose!…it goes straight in the bin or down the sink. Pretty clean I’d say. And it IS in the privacy of my own home.

    [Reply]

  • Mariam

    I love this! I thought I couldn’t live without a microwave but ours broke nearly a whole year ago and we’ve learnt to live without (though I do miss being able to heat things up in just seconds). It’s also so lovely to see such a prominent health promoting figure who doesn’t have a gym membership!
    Thank you this taught and reminded me a thing or two x

    [Reply]

  • Jess

    I think i’d rather have enough bras and socks so that my personal hygiene doesn’t become questionable… or have to throw them into the washing machine too often that I am wasting water + energy… just sayin.

    [Reply]

  • Em

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for always sharing your thoughts, ideas and experiences
    so honestly with the world.
    They dont always suit me and my lifestyle but I always take something with me and share
    your tips with others. Thanks for this post, I also loved Leo Babuta’s list. Its a super reminder!
    Sorry that people get so mean and personal, you’re obviously on the right track ;)

    [Reply]

  • Rickie

    Thank you for sharing Sarah, I hope you continue to do so. I really wonder about some of the comments…..you are not telling people how to live, rather sharing how you do. The underlying premise of the post is clear. Keep it up!

    [Reply]

  • Jess

    Seems like you tried to copy Babauta’s list, almost, but stumbled on a few like “I don’t have ads or pop ups on my website, hair, car, smart phone”. Glad you don’t sleep on the floor, but rather have a soft expensive latex bed that was given to you and then you wrote a glowing sponsored review.

    [Reply]

  • Emma

    Haha, yes it looks like people who don’t agree with Sarah are allowed I comment negatively on her site. I just started eating sugar again! Mmm yum what a rush! While sitting on my couch, I might go and put all 20 clean undies at once, and sit on my poofy scatter cushions.

    [Reply]

    mw Reply:

    I, like most men ??, am not a big fan of scatter cushions .. but your comment really made me laugh.
    I found myself fighting an almost incontrollable urge to break out the TimTams as I was reading Sarah’s original post ..
    as an antidote to the whole Capricorn OCD vibe ..

    [Reply]

  • Dawn

    O.M.W Nat you are so funny! You know you could just use a cotton hanky, dedicated for blowing your nose… and chuck it in the wash? Had a good laugh reading this.

    [Reply]

    Nat Reply:

    Thanks Dawn:) Yes, I probably could use cotton hankies. Even though I’m fortunate to not have major hayfever / sinus I usually wonder whether I’ll have a particularly snotty day and then be carrying it around with me! That’s where I usually use the ones that someone else provides IE- clean tissues at the doctors office, clean freebie serviettes at a food court etc. You’ve inspired me though Dawn, I’ll be buying some mens hankies tomorrow and see how they fare. Cheers! :)

    [Reply]

  • Kaci

    Sarah, can you explain how the wet sheets, etc. works? Does the mattress get soaked? Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]

  • Amie White

    ”Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” This saying from the Great Depression shows the way to true frugality and was quoted lovingly by our dear Prophet Gordon B Hinckley. I’m a Mormon. We call it “provident living” and we’re all a work in progress. I love your list! Thank you for sharing. I love your blog!

    [Reply]

  • Kate

    Sarah,

    I have lived like you are for years, I also sort a quiet life beside the sea when I was 23. I yearned for simple everything…house, community, work. I refused and still do to buy into the premise that ‘things’ were going to make me happy or in fact make my life easier. I have two young boys now and sometimes I feel a bit ‘mean’ because I want them to live a simple life too. I explain to them that yes one day we will get an iPad, but when our Laptop dies (it’s on its way out!), they can have new ‘whatever’ when they have grown out of, used up, or worn out.
    I wanted for myself and my children a continuation of my childhood and even that of my parents, a simple life with real pleasure. Not contrived or motivated by keeping up with others.
    Incidently I too have thyroid issues! Perhaps a quiet simple life is instinctive and one we can easily manage and function in.
    PS. I have a Nokia where you have to press buttons , when people ask why I say simply that it still works, I can still make calls and receive them and it also forces me to stay present. I can’t play on it when my boys are at the park – I play with them!

    Well done to you.

    Kate x

    [Reply]

  • Dee

    I aspire to a simpler lifestyle with less stuff, and admit to being sucked in on occasion
    to shopping for its own sake. The things I have difficulty with are family heirlooms that carry so many memories. When I think of selling or giving away everything to begin a new life, I can’t imagine what I will do with some of these precious objects and furniture. It’s so easy to criticize, but I think Sarah, like so many is just trying to live a more considered life, she’s not perfect, nor does she pretend to be. I think the key is to be more conscious of my choices, in all areas of life.

    [Reply]

  • http://sallytusa@hotmail.com Sal

    Good on you Sarah…
    for being REAL & not faking it!
    yes, you worked for a mag, but not ever buying them…i wish i could say the same.

    to the people commenting on the air con & bike gears etc… don’t be petty! appreciate what life people around us live, especially those who inspire us!

    Peace out

    [Reply]

  • girlbarista

    Some of the comments on this post are, just, wow… I enjoyed reading what Sarah has to say here because honestly a lot of it is in line with my own beliefs. A lot of our furniture is second-hand, and we try to MOSTLY only own what we use (eg one set of bedlinen, with a cotton blanket for summer and a doona for winter, two towels each, a cast-iron pot that does for most cooking duties, a stick-blender for soups and smoothies rather than Vitamix, a glass chemex and inexpensive herb grinder for making coffee etc). But YES we do own decorative items, and many, many CD’s, and have art on our walls, and books, and I probably own a few more pairs of Black Milk tights than I truly ‘need.’

    Anyway – my point is that I think everyone could find some benefit in considering ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’ in the stuff that we bring into our lives. And admitting that some of the things we own are about want and indulgence and pleasure rather than necessity IS TOTALLY FRIGGING FINE and part of the process of identifying genuine needs. Additionally – not everyone has the same ‘needs’ because we all live different lives. I don’t think I’m ‘better’ than Sarah for not owning a posh pricey blender, just as I’m sure she wouldn’t consider herself ‘better’ than me because I own a PlayStation and she doesn’t.

    Finally… Yes, Sarah does promote her own products here. And she does make appearances in media. Because that’s how she makes her living. We all have to have a job. And just because she works in a job with a perceived high status doesn’t means she doesn’t have to manage her money and resources in the best way she sees fit. I got yelled at at work this week over the price of our coffee, and my response then was pretty much the same as here. In a capitalist framework, if you don’t agree with/support something, you’re more than welcome to vote with your dollar and take your business elsewhere. But is it really necessary to be a dick about it?

    [Reply]

  • L.

    I think the problem here may have been that the post needed to be simplified. I agree with most of the comments here. Did it come across as sanctimonious? Yes. Contradictory considering Sarah’s own lifestyle outside her home? Yes. Did I, as a long time fan of Sarah Wilson read this post and think WTF?? Yes I did.

    But I think we all realise (hopefully) that Sarah is not telling us how to live our lives, but is sharing how she lives hers. I think the discussion and the feelings expressed in the comments is a positive thing.

    But I do think that she set herself up for the wrath of (some of) her followers but over-explaining the post. Perhaps a simple post of just the list, no explanation would have been better? By trying to justify and over explain the list I think she just kept digging herself a bigger hole…

    I didn’t like this post and I think someone like Sarah needs to be careful about not coming across as ungrateful and pious and maybe should refrain from making, I thought, some pretty wanky statements but all in all this is why I like her so much.

    I don’t agree with everything she writes but I am fascinated by the way others live their lives and I’m appreciative that she is willing to share everything with a bunch of strangers.

    [Reply]

    Z Reply:

    Agree well said!

    [Reply]

    mw Reply:

    Also agree !

    [Reply]

  • Sally

    I’m intrigued by the antique vases used as glasses, sounds like a line from a poem. Pic please!

    [Reply]

  • Amy

    I’m liking Sarah’s point on the bike with no gears. Isn’t a bike made to be a instrument used for exercise? Granted it can just be for pleasure also. Having gears is contradicting the whole point, not having gears means you have to work harder to get up a hill, using gears means you aren’t getting the full benefit of going for a bike ride. I guess my point would be the simpler you keep life, the more you get out of it, ie: you use your own muscle power to get up that hill instead of making it easier with the gears. Your challenging yourself and making your body better for it and knowing you did it all on your own. I like the idea Sarah is trying to get across, but like always, it is Sarah’s opinion, she’s not telling you this is what you have to do!

    [Reply]

    Emily S Reply:

    I believe some people use it for actual transport, so getting gears would be useful…

    [Reply]

  • Maja

    Very interesting post. Each of us will have different views of what living simply means. I grew up in a small apartment with a hoarder mother so my mission in life has always been less. For me having less material stuff means more time, less worry. But I also believe that if you do buy go for quality. This I learned from my gran who owned only two well tailored skirt suits she wore for 30 years. She always bought good quality, saved for months, sometimes years, but then wore or used her stuff for decades. I remember her quoting Kerry Grant who said something like “I’m not rich enough to afford cheap stuff”. She was a very elegant lady!
    My pet hate is IKEA furniture. Nothing against the brand (I have their wine glasses!) but it’s usually their stuff that ends up on the verge and it’s full of toxic glues & formaldehyde. People buy their stuff to fill the space, then chuck it out when it gets chipped or broken (most can’t be repaired). Why not repurpose an old wooden bookshelf from an op shop instead? Or why not live without, save and buy the best quality you can afford and enjoy for a long time?

    [Reply]

  • katie

    Hi sarah, this is a great and inspiring list.

    Reading your blog makes me really curious about your days as editor of Cosmo, as that magazine’s very existence represents almsot the antithesis of everything you say on this blog. It’s not at all a criticism, in fact the opposite – I think your your approach is awesome, really down to earth and honest and no BS. Did you start thinking more fully about this stuff as a result of being embedded in a massively consumerist industry, or is it something that’s always been with you??

    [Reply]

  • Carol

    Whenever I have read these kinds of posts, I find that they are nearly always written from a point of privilege. People with more money dictating about consumerism to the little people.

    I’m a single parent on a not spectacular income. I don’t own a car, because I cannot afford to buy or drive one. I walk nearly everywhere, because I have to make a choice between buying school dinners/pack-ups for my son or spending the money to jump on a bus.

    I don’t own a house because I cannot afford to buy one.

    I buy clothing from charity shops when necessary, because I have to.

    But my son and I live a very happy life with lots of love. And when I have the money, I buy candles and cushions because my home is my sanctuary, it is the place that provides me and my son with comfort.

    And guess what? There are millions of people who live like I do. People with limited income who are trying to make their life as comfortable and simple as possible because we have to.

    So we don’t need another privileged individual dictating to us about how to live simply, because it’s our reality, we live it every single day.

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    Beautifully put, Carol. Such dignity.

    [Reply]

    Carol Reply:

    Jane, I’d like to say though, in Sarah’s defense… that I do understand the point that she is attempting to make with her post. Maybe it is how she has communicated it and that’s what’s riled me up and caused me to express my indignation ;-)

    There is a lot to be said about living a ‘simple’ life not suffocated by our desires for the material, the need for ‘more’. Which is why I enjoy reading Zen Habits so much, but Leo has had more time and experience on how to communicate these things than maybe Sarah has.

    Ultimately, I do enjoy Sarah’s blog posts and irrespective of the fact that this post has riled me, I will keep coming back to read her posts. Because don’t we all make mistakes when it comes to communicating sometimes? We are human after all.

    [Reply]

    Stormageddon Reply:

    Yes, Carol, you are so right about everything. (And can I say, your child is the richest boy in the world from where I am sitting? He has a mother who loves him and communicates the important things in life, who is intelligent and well -spoken. What a beautiful example you are to him!)

    I think a lot of people were riled BECAUSE we are such big fans of Sarah’s. She might not know this, but I followed her since her Cosmo days. I loved her writing style, and the idea that women could be cute in heels & skinny jeans AND be well-spoken, intelligent, passionate and fired up! I bought Women’s Health, hell even Woman’s Day (which I would NEVER otherwise do, I hate tabloid gossip aimed at middle-aged women) just cos she had a feature article in it. I bought her IQS books for myself & my family, and have read her blog for years. I think a few people feel affronted because perhaps our continued support felt somehow unimportant in this post. Of course I am probably reading too much into it and taking shit personally that has nothing to do with me. I do that.

    But it bears reminding that of course, we all know, she is human and perfectly imperfect. It’s easy to be critical from the comments section. And we all communicate things that come out differently than we intend. She hasn’t lost a reader in me & won’t ever, I dont think.

  • Ali

    Hello!

    I just wanted to pass on to Sarah and all your readers ….have you heard of FREECYCLE?

    It is a fantastic way to recycle stuff you don’t want.

    And to those with families or who are time poor, people will actually come to YOU to collect the stuff you are giving away …

    …. And you know it is going to a home where it is wanted or needed!

    Win-win :-)

    I have used it to get an iron and ironing board, and my close friends have literally got most of their furniture (they don’t have much money, and live in a shed), plus lots of gardening items for their vegie garden and chooks from the network.

    I just thought I’d pass this on, because I think it is a wonderful network and a fulfilling way of enhancing your good suggestions, Sarah.

    Happy freecycling my friends!

    [Reply]

  • christine

    hi Sarah!

    I’m sorry, this is probably not the appropriate place to ask about this, but I couldn’t find other contact info on your site!

    I just purchased your IQS ebook and I’m really excited to delve in! However, I just realized that if you are purchasing it for an iPad, you should first download it on your computer and save it to iTunes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a computer or any other device besides my iPad! I was wondering if there is any kind of workaround that will enable me to download this to my iPad?

    Thank you so much for your help!! =) I love your blog and appreciate you sharing your journey with us, so very much! :)

    Best,
    Christine

    [Reply]

  • DANIELA

    Maybe you should eliminate for us that annoying box asking if we want to subscribe to your page. I am already signed to your newsletter, I have bought your book, the printed version of it, which I have waited for more than a 1 month, finally arrived and every time I come on your blog, seriously I do not need this bloody box appearing on the screen.
    It would be a sign of respect for your readers. If somebody wants a newsletter will find on the sidebar (where usually it is) where to do it.
    Otherwise the page looks very commercial also the continuous bombarding about your books….
    Then another thing- just under this box where we leave our comment it is already ticked : yep, please sign me up to the free friday newsletter!!!!
    Please! First I am already signed as I said above and second if I am not awake enough I would sign to it without knowing….. Is that nice?
    Licking the fingers is not very elegant, sometimes can be disgusting too…. You said you try to live in an elegant way.
    The oven grill consume more energy than a toaster for the same purpose.
    Kettle? I have never had one. You can reheat the water in a little saucepan.Thai is crazy if you think about useless things. An electric appliance only for boiling water???
    Then about books, considering your philosophy we shouldn’t buy your book! Just ask to one of the readers that already owns one to donate their copy to other readers or friends… Very bad suggestion :(
    I think you intended to make a positive post about living with less material stuff but maybe you ended up to be a bit over the top……

    [Reply]

  • Emily S

    I agree with a lot of the above comments that this post can seem very… Gwyneth Paltrow-y ;) As in good ideas that from the privileged, but a lot of it is inapplicable to people from less affluent backgrounds.

    Still, this post is refreshing. On my blog roll, all the posts are compelling me to buy more clothes/makeup/jewellery so I do like the message of this post :)

    Though I think you should invest in a kettle or a toaster depending on how often you use them. I believe they use less energy than your alternatives and would be the more “minimalist” way in the long run.

    [Reply]

  • http://oneaprilmorning.net Laura

    I like your simple home project Sarah.

    It’s the idea, rather than the execution, which is helpful & valuable. I mean, most people reading this would already have tons of stuff which, as you say Sarah, it would be wasteful to get rid of now. So upon reading this it helps me to realise that I don’t need most of the stuff that I have – so when it breaks down/ deteriorates I won’t need to replace it – and I also don’t need most of the stuff that I want. We live in a consumerist culture & it’s so easy to let the marketing sweep us away with need without even realising. I find Sarah’s voice refreshing.

    Yes, Sarah gets free stuff and blowdried hair and doesn’t have kids to cater for so she will execute simplicity in a different way to people to don’t or do have those things. But it’s not about that. It’s about taking the idea and applying it within your own life.

    P.S. I don’t think decluttering HAS to be wasteful. I have clothes I know I’ll never wear again, for example, so I have sold them and put the money into savings. Other things that were too cumbersome to sell we gave away to charity. I don’t think that is wasteful; we didn’t need them but other people do.

    [Reply]

  • Nat

    Possibly she means damp-ish? The way your sheets are when they come out of the washing machine- spin dried, not dripping water and wet :)

    [Reply]

  • Priscilla

    Hi Sarah

    I love your writing and exploration of ideas but this list doesn’t help me at all (but clearly does others).

    I don’t see how liking your fingers makes life more elegant! Or using toilet paper instead of tissues! What’s wrong with handkerchiefs and fabric napkins ? I personally love filling my two bedroom flat with favourite books I re-read for comfort and and there for my visitors to peruse when they come over, visually and sensually appealing candles, plant pots, flowers, whatever. I also have a thing for beautiful ceramics so have an odd collection in bits of ones and twos so I can choose what mugs and plates ‘suit my mood’.

    Anyways each to their own, a bit of ‘simplicity’ wherever you find it in life is good, and I’m all for sustainable and not wasteful living.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.evanjenkinsglass.com Fair Jenkins

    Dear Sarah,
    I appreciate your ideas and writing greatly. As a working artist, I do, though, hope people continue to buy art. Even when choosing consciously to live simple, eat simple, and raise a family simply, there must be a way to financially sustain said lifestyle. Please support local artists wherever you may be.
    Mahalo,
    F. Jenkins
    Sculptural Glass Artist

    [Reply]

  • Victoria

    Gee and all I’d like is a reply to some queries I have from your IQS book??.I’ve tried all ways to get some replies maybe this will catch your attention.Thanks in advance.Victoria

    [Reply]

  • Nancy Mutzl

    Hi, Sarah,
    Found your post via a Twitter feed here in the US. Maybe because I am not from Australia and have no history with you, I read your post from a different perspective. Thank you for examples of how to further simplify my life.

    I have lost a considerable amount of weight over the last year. So much, that I cannot wear anything I wore last year. They fall off, literally. Your list reinforces my commitment to not overstuff my closet when I purchase my new clothes. I also hope to find most of what I need at a wonderful consignment shop here in the States called “My Sister’s Closet”.

    In response to many comments: I think the idea of no gears could be the simplicity of maintenance/ease of use. My road bike has 21 gears and the tranny can get cranky at times. The benefit, to me, of having only toilet tissue is not having facial tissue on my grocery list; I only have to worry about keeping one product stocked in my home. I have limited numbers of under clothes and workout clothes because I will handwash when needed. I work out a minimum of 30 minutes a day up to several hours.

    For me, having fewer things around is about reducing my stewardship debt. I have fewer things to repair, clean, and insure. My mind is clearer to do the other things in my life such as participate in my teenagers school activites, visit my grown children, and be active in professional organizations.

    One day, I dream of owning no more than will fit in two duffle bags (after my last 2 children are grown). I make my choices in life striving towards this goal. Limit my purchases and donate items or don’t replace worn out items based upon my goal. It has been freeing and calming to me.

    Sarah, wonderful post.

    [Reply]

  • Lucie

    I’ve been into many many homes that are far more simple than yours – no furntiure, just rugs on the floor that are moved round for sitting or sleeping, no stove, just a gas ring, no fridge, no cupboards because no extra food, no car or bike etc etc…these houses are full of people and full of love for the most part – full of dreams, but totally lacking money or any way to fulfill these dreams.

    Why don’t you go on tour to somewhere in Africa or Asia, and stop going on about activated nuts and latex mattresses and see what a simple life really means. But you don’t have to go that far either, go search for a recently-accepted asylum seeker, there’s heaps in the big cities – check out how they live, and check out how people with so little will still maintian a grace and dignity and an incredible sense of sharing.

    You’ve really lost me with this post, sorry.

    [Reply]

    Kath Reply:

    I think you’ve missed the point of Sara’s post. I think Sara is fully aware of how lucky we are, as Australian citizens, to have the CHOICE to consume or not consume. Many in the world do not have this choice, as you have pointed out. We have the choice, and Sara is choosing to go without many things, but not everything. If the families without a fridge or spare food had the choice, they would own a fridge I’m sure. I don’t think it’s fair to criticise Sara for eating activated nuts or having a healthy mattress. She could choose to have 4 spare beds and mattresses, 2 cars and 2 bikes like many Australians, but she doesn’t, leaving more resources to share around.

    [Reply]

  • Anna

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately too. Stuff is just stuff. Stuff can’t make you happy. I really like living simple. There’s something fun about being a little bit creative and intuitive in making do using what you’ve got. I love it! I went to a tuppaware party recently (and bought nothing) and I came away feeling quite disappointed. I see people spending up big to get the latest and greatest containers and nifty kitchenware, and it just makes me sad. I have a few tuppaware containers given to me by my grandma and mum, and I collect take-away containers on the very odd occasion I have take away. And I already have so much more than I need! I guess it’s easier when you live by yourself, but still..

    Like I said, stuff is just stuff. It can’t satisfy you. The only thing that truly satisfies me is the the peace and love that is freely given to me by God – my saviour, creator and best friend :-)

    [Reply]

  • Zell

    For me the message of this post (rather than the actual list) plants an idea similar to this quote from GK Chesterton:

    “There are two ways to get enough: One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”

    [Reply]

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  • michelle

    Hi,
    I am interested to know why you boil your kettle on the stove?
    I have a gas stove and often wonder if it is more sustainable/economical to boil water on the gas stove?
    Also, when cooking, would you say the oven is the most conventional way to cook as opposed to a gas cooktop?
    Any information or links would be great :)

    [Reply]

  • Leea Gilmour

    AND I have to say… preaching being minimal and not succumbing to the consumer roundabout, while having an ad stay at the top of your blog to buy your new MUST HAVE cookbook… Come on. Hypocrisy, anyone?

    [Reply]

  • Michelle

    This post was timely for me.

    I was *this close* to buying an IQS chocolate cookbook I do not need.

    Simple living feels good.

    [Reply]

  • christine

    Hi deb!
    Thank you soo much for your reply!
    Sadly, it still doesn’t seem to be working for me — when I click on the download ebook link from my email, it leads me to a page where I can click on the download file but it is a .ZIP Afioe and only gives me the options to open it in Evernote or google drive (neither are working). Do you know if there is any other alternative solution?

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Christine

    [Reply]

  • sarah

    I’m sorry, but your life and your house sounds quite dull to me.
    Scatter cushions are comfortable. Candles smell nice.
    No magazines or newspaper ever? Get out of town and stop fibbing.
    Lucky you have your readers who keep your life ‘less simple’ for you. I bet you would have a toaster, kettle, scatter cushions and candles if you didn’t have us.
    Sorry but your post just sounds very ‘up yourself’.
    I am unsubscribing. Stat.

    [Reply]

  • tj

    hi Sarah,
    i just read your article, not all the comments, but i see your edit about someone commenting you don’t have a hairdryer.
    i just wanted to let you know that I LOVE YOU & YOUR BLOG, always have since i first discovered it, and i’m sorry you get so much negativity on here and people trying to call you out on everything.
    i think you are fabulous <3
    and thank you for sharing you insights and ideas with us on the regular!
    TJ

    [Reply]

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  • http://pitytrain.com ‘Dr Sniffle’

    Well hello Sarah, I used to work as a contractor with no fixed abode, I rented spare bedrooms from people, thus I needed to be able to pack all my belonging in the car and be on the road within at most 3 hours to my next contract.

    This meant one holdall for all my clothes, if they did not fit in they got chucked, I still have too many shirts so that’s a work in progress but did I ever really need 3 suits.

    Now with my own place for the first time in 3 years, I am determined not to relax and start gathering needless stuff, plus as I found out, paper is the heaviest and hardest thing to transport thus I actively avoid gathering non essential paperwork.

    [Reply]

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  • Ayesha

    I am absolutely bewildered why people are having such negative reactions to this article. In NO way did she come across as ‘better than’ anyone else with this. If you are going to over the top trash talk someone in their own comments take your negativity somewhere else. If she wanted to judge people I’m sure the post would have been titled ‘Things that I don’t think people should own’

    How is it such a crime to tell people how you like to live? It is your own choice and sharing that with others doesn’t mean she is trying to force her life on you! Who cares if she has never bought a magazine in her life! I have only ever bought one (all others have been borrowed from friends or family) and she would have got them for free when she was the editor – which she worked hard to be I’m sure- she just personally does not like buying them. Where did this rule come from that she absolutely must ‘support her own job’. As if everyone here only buys from the job they work for!

    Everyone gets so jealous at the concept or her getting free stuff (when it is pretty much part of her job) then rips her apart for not ‘supporting her own job’ by buying more stuff- it does not make sense! She just doesn’t like stuff! Just because she edited a magazine does not mean she was forcing people to buy it- Like reading this blog, everyone has a choice -some people buy magazines some people don’t.
    Stop being so jealous that she ‘gets her hair done or ‘gets free clothes’ it is part of her job -maybe if you had chosen the same career angle you could get these free things too that you so crave, but you didn’t- so get over it.

    Perhaps people are posting such a negative comments because they are so attached to their own ‘stuff’ and they think it makes them a better person? Such violent reactions are being triggered and it really makes me wonder why! This is a consumerist society that is not going to notice if one person is not buying a magazine or more training gear because everyone else is buying so much crap they don’t actually need to make up for it. So please just let her live her own life- not yours.

    Just to end this here is a list of things I don’t have…
    -Scatter cushions
    -Ornaments
    -A fancy phone
    -Such a trash talk attitude to a blog I choose to read and is provided to me for free.
    -The thought that Sarah can post one thing that I don’t agree with 100% -so I should unsubscribe because she is a different person than me.
    -The agenda that Sarah owes me something (because she doesn’t)

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    No Ayesha I think you may have missed the point.

    Only an idiot would think that Sarah is actually telling people what to exclude from their lives. Obviously it is a personal list for Sarah.

    And I couldn’t care less if she gets free stuff and that is not what annoyed me about the post. I believe that she truly does live a pared down simple life (I recall for example her post from some time ago about what she packs when she goes away and I was impressed by how little she took), and would do so whether she got given freebies or not.

    The problem is the hypocrisy which is innate in some of the items with which Sarah does without. And the implication that yes it’s fine for all you readers, but I myself am above it. Or, as a commenter put it above (better than I could):

    ‘..you pretend you are too good for the consumerist cycle which you yourself are perpetuating.’

    It’s not about supporting your own job, as of course you are right, Sarah buying a magazine makes no difference either way. It is about believing in what you do. And if she had said something like that she tries to avoid buying them, or tries to share magazines then it would have come across better. But to say she has never bought one is on a par with ‘I am a doctor but I would never go see one if I was sick’. Or, ‘I run Apple but I don’t have an Iphone and never will’. Just kind of weird. And disappointing.

    (And I wonder how or if Sarah would have got her start in journalism if she had said at her various interviews ‘I never buy magazines’. !!)

    [Reply]

    Leea Gilmour Reply:

    Yes, I couldn’t care less if she gets stuff for free – good for her. I work in the same industry and it happens all the time, it’s just part of their job. In saying that, if one of the employees from the major newspaper I work for was to say “oh I write for it but I would never buy it…” ESPECIALLY in a public forum… that person would receive disciplinary action!

    But to make out like she is above us because she doesn’t feel the need to buy stuff… STOP SELLING YOUR BOOK AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE THEN!

    It is hypocritical.

    Minimalist? Buy an electric car instead of a Jeep. I mean, a Jeep. Come on. But hang on, it’s ok to have stuff like that if the company pays you or gives you their stuff.

    It’s just not ok if you need to go and buy it.

    [Reply]

    Leea Gilmour Reply:

    And I know she no longer works for Cosmo, I’m just making a point.

  • Olivia

    Ayesha,
    Couldn’t agree more! Well said.
    This is a free blog! Not for you? Unsubscribe! Simple :-)

    [Reply]

  • Leea Gilmour

    Ayesha, is that you, Sarah? LOL

    You are right. I’m now going to unsubscribe to this, a massive waste of time. I actually cannot remember why I subscribed in the first place, cause this is not me.

    [Reply]

  • Frances

    Too much art?? Not possible!

    [Reply]

  • e

    I simply do not believe you on this.. sorry!..

    [Reply]

  • Cc

    I have never read such negative and dare I say bitc*y comments before in my life!!!

    Thank you Sarah – I read your post and its made me look at how much I waste. Starting tomorrow, I’m jumping on eBay and getting rid of the two of everything I bought in “different colours”. Time to de-clutter!! And I love your iQS book too! It’s changed my life – thank you for sharing your experiences too.

    As for for the nay sayers, gets off! You’re cluttering my head!

    C

    [Reply]

  • Howard

    Three quick things for my penny’s worth:

    When it comes to “stuff” I’ve always kept that William Morris quote in my mind “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”

    Second, love the idea and sentiment here. ‘Less is more’ is surely the only really logical choice if we starting thinking about the world 100 years from now.

    Third, i’m rubbish sticking to new habits so I’m easing myself into this gently! I’ve decided to no longer ‘own’ music. With a decent radio, spotify or pandora, I can live without a large record collection acting as some status symbol. Gulp. Oh and paying for live gigs is making me feel less guilty about not giving artists €€.

    H

    [Reply]

  • http://thezeka.tumblr.com/ Ana

    Yup.

    This is me, all th way.

    [Reply]

  • http://cheriemenzies@live.com.au Cherie

    My mother has always lived like this. We lived like this as kids. I strive to live like this and get so annoyed at myself for the amount of stuff I add to my stuff. My mother always looks gorgeously dressed. She doesn’t wear the same thing all the time. Every time I see her she just looks so cute and modern. She’s 76. She told me she doesn’t buy something if she already has something like it. She wears what she has and when she’s ready for something new, she donates the old stuff to charity. She buys second hand, or she buys new. But only what is just right. Her home is simple. There is nothing there that she doesn’t need. This simplicity is calming. It feels like you step out of the chaotic world into serenity. Her home looks like she just moved in. She’s lived there 35 years. I always thought she’d make a good nun. Albeit, a nun who has a cute bob and wears gorgeous clothes.

    [Reply]

  • http://cheriemenzies@live.com.au Cherie

    I also want to add to Lucie’s post. When my children were small, and I was a single mother trying to study and get my teaching degree, we had times where we did not have enough stuff. We did not have enough food and we did not have a working fridge. I could not buy my children presents for Christmas. We almost had nowhere to live. My mother had taught me how to live simply and this was the greatest gift she could give me. Because I made it ok. I knew how to make a home liveable with the minimum. I knew how to keep my children happy without expensive presents. I knew how to ask for help, yet still remain gracious and make my own efforts to get my family back on our feet. Knowing how to live simply helped me.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqoAWnBzHg0 piano playing tips

    I used to be recommended this blog by way of my
    cousin. I’m no longer sure whether this put up is written by means of him as no one else know such specific approximately my trouble. You are incredible! Thanks!

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  • Vanessa

    Oh Sarah,

    I have really enjoyed some of your posts, most in fact and I too am an Australian journalist in my late 30s who tries to live a simple life. But, seriously, you LOST me with the, “I dont own gears” thing…. I dont want to sound like a troll or annoying, but that just came across so pretentious, smug and sorry, but like a wanker!

    Its like that recent buzzfeed list of pretentious things, your comment in my opinion should be on that. Sorry to say this, but as you know, blogs are subjective opinion pieces and with no sub-editor to bring one down to reality, its up to your audience to hopefully do that in a way that is not cruel or mean. I hope I have done that to some extent.

    [Reply]

  • Eve

    I am so on the same page with you on only keeping things that make you happy in your life and make life simple. I did however, overlook my particular husband and his ways when I kept only 2 cups, 2 glasses and two forks, knives and spoons. He promptly left one cup somewhere, broke one glass and threw one fork, apparently in the trash. LOL

    I now keep four of everything for us and a couple more cups and glasses for company. Still a lot less than it use to be. I love cleaning when there is clear counter tops plenty of space. Books, clothes don to just what I wear, only have just a few books, most are on my kindle. Great blog. : )

    [Reply]

  • Eve

    I am so on the same page with you on only keeping things that make you happy in your life and make life simple. I did however, overlook my particular husband and his ways when I kept only 2 cups, 2 glasses and two forks, knives and spoons. He promptly left one cup somewhere, broke one glass and threw one fork, apparently in the trash. LOL

    I now keep four of everything for us and a couple more cups and glasses for company. Still a lot less than it use to be. I love cleaning when there is clear counter tops plenty of space. Books, clothes down to just what I wear, only have just a few books, most are on my kindle. Great blog. : )

    [Reply]

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