Make your own deodorant- you’ll never go back to commercial deodorants!

Can antiperspirants really cause cancer or Alzheimer’s? Or, to be more exact, can aluminum be absorbed in the skin so as to cause cancer or Alzheimer’s?

From the scientific perspective, the answer is no. There is no conclusive research that clearly link aluminum intake through deodorants and diseases. There are some studies that aluminum levels were higher in Alzheimer’s patients, but we’re not sure if they were absorbed through deodorants, or other sources. Again, in another study,  women who had breast cancer were asked if they used an antiperspirant, and most of them did. But again, who doesn’t? There are so many factors to cancer, you just can’t do controlled research.

However, if you ask most supporters of Alternative (or Holistic) medicine, the answer is yes.

Well I am not for or against either of those, because I know most medical research is not possible unless you have a big sponsor (if you are curious go and check out what happened to the author of Pure, White and Deadly), and the Internet offers so many alternative medicine solutions by unauthorized people, it is unsafe to trust either sources of knowledge. So it is like a Russian roulette.

But I know for one I am allergic to most commercial skincare, especially because of the artificial colorants and aroma.

Thinking about the risks, I tried to stay away from it, and I’ve had some unpleasant experiences. Well I tried crystal deodorants (which were aluminum salts anyway), dermo-cosmetics, and some commercial spray or stick deodorants but the result was the same. They did not prevent the smell. They made it horrible actually and I sometimes felt really ashamed in public. If I had left my underarms alone it could have been better, at least the odor would be more authentic!

In my trial and error for three years, I have found  two perfect, inexpensive, harmless methods to prevent body odor (you will still sweat, and maybe we just need to accept sweating is healthy).

1) Essential Oils

lemon essential oil, natural deodorant

My friend told me one day she just uses lemon as a deodorant, she rubs it on her underarms and she is fine all day. I was hesitant to try real lemons, but I found just two drops of lemon essential oil very, very effective. I used it for over a year, and no unpleasant odor whatsoever! It hasn’t caused any irritation either (and I am super sensitive). It’s much more practical to carry and apply than the actual lemon, and ridiculously frugal. You just use a couple of drops per day. A 20 ml bottle lasts about a year.

I have also tried diluted lavender and violet essential oils. Their scent is not as vague as lemon, so it’s not a good idea not to use any perfume if you opt for floral essential oils. Their scent lasts for the whole day. And it might be worth trying to use other EOs you have at home. They may work wonders 🙂

2) Coconut Oil and Baking Soda Deodorant- My Favorite!

My Post

After moving to Singapore, essential oils were just not enough because I was perspiring like crazy (perks of tropical climate, crazy humid all day!). So I had to find another way, and I finally tried the coconut oil deodorant.

I convinced my husband too, because even his aluminum-filled, commercial deodorant doesn’t work here! And he loves the switch, we’ve been using it for months and we’re never going back!

If you live in a dry-ish, mild climate the essential oils will work just fine. But if you perspire more than normal, and live in a humid area, then this is just for you.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can play with the ingredients as you wish. Baking soda might be abrasive for some and cause irritations, in that case, you can reduce the amount or skip it completely.

If you sweat like hell, then you can add more baking soda and skip starch too. Start with a small amount at the beginning, and go for the ratio you are most comfortable with.

DIY Deodorant Recipe

2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp starch (corn, tapioca, doesn’t matter really)

optional: essential oil of your choice (lemon, lavender, orange etc.)

Directions:

If solid, melt the coconut oil first, and mix all ingredients.
Move to a jar with lid. Can be kept at room temperature.

Let me know if you try one of these awesome alternatives to deodorant. Not only is this way cheaper than commercial deodorants, it is a low-waste alternative too!

My Capsule Wardrobe- Singapore Edition

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As I always say, wardrobe has been the easiest and fastest field of minimalism for me. I can push top 5 if there was a list of the most disorganized people in the world (even after all that decluttering).

Regardless, the wardrobe is the tidiest place in my home, thanks to capsule wardrobe.

When I started decluttering, I said goodbye to bags of clothes. I had been hanging on to clothes from college years. I realized in my first round of declutter that I had a hard time saying goodbye to branded goods, like a Mango sweater that was beyond wear and tear. You can read about my first decluttering adventure here.

What I learned from having a capsule wardrobe?

I always wanted to make a visual layout of my wardrobe, and I said now is the right time. It took some time, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s why.

This layout serves as a visual memory tool for me to see how my style changes over the years. I was shopping with a friend one day, and she pointed out that I like soft, natural colors. I said yes, but I was saying, no, I like vivid colors! inside. Because I was still stuck in my college years and early twenties. I used to wear vivid greens, pinks, reds, purples. And what’s more, I really liked having different colors on.

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this is me in 2010, last year of college. I loved my copper hair, matched it up with green top, pink backpack, red nail polish and I was wearing my favorite sandals that day, in red!

Until a few years ago, I stuck to my jeans- tee style. The dress code was casual in the colleges I worked at, so I said to myself, I’ll always be a jeans and tee girl. When I moved to Singapore, because the dress code in schools here are somewhere between casual and smart (no jeans allowed), I had to adjust my style.

I always had a few dresses in my wardrobe but rarely wore them. Here I try to wear them as often as I can, because they are really airy and in humid Singapore, that really helps. But I struggle with the desire to ride a rented bike on my way home, which I can’t if I wear a dress that day. Biggest struggle ever 🙂

I also learned to LOVE the 3 linen shirts that I have. A bit harder to iron than tees but it gets easier if I iron them while they are still damp.

I bought 8 of the 30 items in Singapore: 2 shirts, 1 t-shirt, 1 dress, 2 pairs of pants, sandals and a backpack (an unused secondhand Anello for just 38 dollars, yum!). And I sold a pair of pants and my no-longer-used North Face backpack for 40 dollars. I really like secondhand shopping in Singapore, will probably write a separate blog post on it. Stay tuned!

As Singapore has a tropical climate, we have the same weather everyday, around 30C degrees, always humid. So no need for a seasonal wardrobe. I really like it on one hand, you don’t need to think about changing your wardrobe and preparing for winter. But I miss cooler weather and autumn on the other hand.

What do I have in my capsule wardrobe?

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Dresses: As I said, I started to wear my already existing dresses more. I was gaining and losing weight over the past months, so it is just easier to wear dresses. I pair them with sneakers or sandals, so they make me seem a bit smarter although I was wearing sneakers.

I had bought the black dress for a wedding ceremony but now I wear it to work too. It’s like my go-to dress for both work and fancy events. I now understand all the fuss about the little black dress!

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Tops:  The biggest change for me in this group is to move from tees to shirts. At least half and half. 🙂

In this year’s capsule I’ve got 3 tees. The black one is from Zara and the white one is from Esprit. Unfortunately both of them lost shape. Even the high quality t-shirts lose their shape and it is really disappointing. The pink one that my mom bought from a local store has proved to be much more durable, which is really very interesting.

I’m recently having a love affair with linen. It’s comfy, it’s both fancy and playful, it’s sustainable, it lasts for a lifetime. What else could a girl ask for? 3 of the shirts are linen, and I cannot get enough of them.

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Pants: I haven’t realized I have six pair of pants until I decided to make this layout. I certainly don’t need this much, but because of this losing-gaining weight thing, if one fits, the other doesn’t. So I can’t say goodbye to any of these yet.

2 of these are blue jeans, which honestly I haven’t worn 6 times in the last 6 months. In Turkey, jeans are usually okay in summers, but in Singapore, hell no. It simply was a bad choice to bring jeans here, but as they are high quality, they stay.

The Uniqlo culotte pants are my favorite bottoms in this wardrobe, I wear them all the time when I’m not working. The other three are work pants, which honestly is enough.

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Shoes: All of the shoes I own except black sandals are at least 2 years old. When I started working in Singapore, I bought some flats but they ruined my soles, so I sold the expensive one and just threw away the cheap one, it went in to a terrible state in four months (never buying cheap shoes again!). Back to sneakers!

The Singaporean teachers I work with sometimes tease me when they see I come to work in sneakers: “Are you going jogging afterwards?” “Your shoes look comfy!” I get the sarcasm, but I don’t mind. 🙂 pelo gardrob aksesuarlar

Accessories:  I’ve got a backpack, a  shoulder bag and a sling bag. The Anello backpack, which I bought secondhand, is everything I ask for. It’s spacey, it’s got tons of pockets (one for laptop too) and it’s waterproof, very important in Singapore’s rainy weather.

My shoulder is really special for me because I designed it myself. It’s quite plain, but the dimensions and the inner compartments are just perfect for me. My mother-in-law had it sewn by a leather bag tailor (I didn’t know it was a profession, a dying one, to be more precise). It’s one of the best gifts I ever got.

Watches: I love my watches! The first one is a vintage Swatch from 1997. This is one of the earliest gifts from my husband, I believe it was a new year present for 2014. I love the design and the quality. Every time I take this to a Swatch shop to change batteries, shop assistants are amazed and they want to take pictures with it. Little do they know he bought it for less than the brand new Swatches, which are deteriorating in quality.

The second one is a Fossil. I had been eyeing on this for some time, and I grabbed it in a sales two years ago. I recently conditioned it with coconut oil, and it really helped.

Jewelry: I’d already said goodbye to my big collection of jewelry items which are not gold or silver. I have here in Singapore two necklaces with me, but I never wore them. I’ll probably put them in a safe because they have sentimental value and I don’t want to sell them. But I can’t see myself wearing them often in near future.

What have I not included in this list?

Loungewear: 1 home dress, 2 tees, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 set of pajamas

2 pairs of shorts, as I want to sell these and buy a new one.

Training: 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 tee

Verdict:

Preparing a list and an outlay  has been illuminating for me. I  got to understand my style better, and if I am to shop, it makes me understand what I do and don’t need.

It definitely is not the best wardrobe out there, but it reflects Pelin in 2018 perfectly. I recommend it to you to try preparing a list or a visual of your wardrobe as well, I had a lot of fun preparing it!

p.s. As a person who learned how to use a computer in Windows 95, I was of course going to prepare this visual using Paint and Word. So forgive me about not-the-best picture quality. 😉

Mini Interview Series- Sheila from Practigal Blog

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I have this mini interview series in Turkish, where I interviewed two of the well-known bloggers in the Turkish minimalist blogging community, Turk Isi Minimalizm and Basit ve Mutlu Yasam (hopefully I’ll translate them to English one day), but today I’m happy to have had a great interview with Sheila, the creator of Practigal Blog. I truly enjoyed reading about her story, I hope you do too! So here you are.

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1. To begin with, how did you start your minimalism journey? 

I began my journey to minimalism years ago before I really knew what minimalism was. I knew that if I wanted to live a life I actually loved, I needed to remove the things that were holding me back from that. At the time, I was stressed, overwhelmed, and tired all of the time. I slowly began decluttering my belongings around 7 years ago, as well as simplifying my schedule. Over time, the amount of things I wanted to have around me diminished. Decluttering turned out to be a repeated process and still is.

A couple of years ago, I discovered minimalism. Giving what I was already doing a name really just gave me a greater sense of purpose and resolve. It was amazing to read other minimalists’ stories and see how much it had benefited them. This was how I knew I was on the right track to living the life I truly wanted.

2. So you were already ahead of game. Moving on to my next question, how did being a parent affect your way of life?

Being a parent who was pursuing a more minimal life made it so that I needed to be flexible and understanding of others. I needed to be gentle in my approach. I decided that I would nurture minimalism in them the same way I would anything else…slowly over time. For me, that was about helping switch their mindset from “I need more” to “I want more”, and finally, to “I have more than enough.” Each of my children is different and has reacted uniquely to my conversations with them. I try, more than anything, to lead by example, and I’m seeing that they are coming around and seeing the value of a more minimal lifestyle.

3. What are your criteria when it comes to deciding on what to keep or declutter (like “The Minimalists” always say value, or Marie Kondo emphasizes what brings joy)?

My approach to decluttering is a combination of both considering an item’s value and personal worth. I pay close attention to my initial reaction when I look at something in my home. What emotion did it spark in me? The amount I am willing to part with has drastically increased overtime using this approach. It allowed me to declutter to the extent that I was ready! I didn’t force more on myself than I could handle. I try to take an honest look at my life currently, and only keep what I am actually loving and using now. If I forgot that I had it, it can go. If it’s always in my way, it can go. If it brings me stress, it can go.

Meet Sheila

3. What kind of changes did you experience after you started living more simply?

Since adopting a more simple lifestyle, I have experienced more calm and more joy! I went from stressed and frazzled all of the time to almost never. In general, I am calm because I don’t take on more than I can reasonably handle. Things I don’t love to do (like cooking and cleaning) aren’t taking over my life. I’ve kept these things as simple as possible so that I have more time and energy for the people and things I DO love. And because of this, I am able to be more present in the moment and truly enjoy my time.
Additionally, I’ve noticed that my mindset has completely changed with what I allow into my life. I am more intentional when I shop, and I actually feel the need to shop a lot less than before. And, I take the time to really think before adding something to my schedule or to-do list. I really consider the value that this activity will add or take away from our family. I think about the true cost of our things, as well as what I may sacrifice when I take on something new.

4. On a similar note, did you notice any other changes related to your habits such as eating, cooking or sleeping?

I’m generally more intentional with my time, so that includes self-care. I practice self-care much more regularly than before because it is part of each of my routines. I pay attention to what I am putting in my body like never before, and I prioritize eating well and moving more. In terms of sleep, I now consistently go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This consistency has given me so much more energy during the day!
You must practice self-care in order to be healthy and present your best self. Learn how to prioritize self-care, even when you are super busy. Plus, get 20 simple self-care ideas for the busy woman that you can easily add into your routine.
an article on how to practice self-care on Sheila’s blog

5. This sounds really lovely, and something I need to work on as well. And what about your family? Did you get encouragement from family and friends during the decluttering process? Did they become a part of it, or, if they didn’t, how did you choose to react?

I would say that I was definitely alone in my new mindset in the beginning. Most people around me didn’t understand because they generally had the mindset that you work in order to have more (and bigger) things and do more (and bigger) things. Slowly over time, my husband has joined in. He needed to see the value of it first. Once he saw the changes that were happening in our home and with my mood, he was on board completely.

6. What was the easiest and the most difficult item for you to toss at the beginning of your decluttering process? What category would you recommend for beginners?

The easiest item for me to part with in the beginning was items in the kitchen. I cook frequently, but I don’t love it, and I’m not that good at it. I didn’t need a bunch of fancy baking pans and gadgets. They just weren’t getting used. The hardest items for me to part with were gifts. I had so many gifts from our wedding that we still hadn’t used…4 years later. But they were nice things and I felt like I should start using them, so I would keep them. Eventually, these things were parted with as well. It just wasn’t worth it to store them for no real reason anymore.
For beginners, I would recommend a quick sweep of the entire house first. You will probably find items in every room that mean nothing to you or are causing you stress. Next, I would recommend with whatever area is causing you the most stress on a daily basis. Start with that room, and practice maintaining the decluttered room before moving on to the next.

7. That’s great advice actually, and opposite of what I usually read. I loved the part about a quick sweep of the entire house. It’s less challenging for most and doesn’t sound intimidating.

Speaking of decluttering, are there any objects that you feel you will never get rid of? 

There are definitely pictures and keepsakes from my children that I will never get rid of. I don’t have the best memory for some reason, so I need a few things to jog my memory and help me remember old times. Here’s a picture that my my middle daughter drew years ago depicting her dream of opening an art store downtown someday. I don’t think I could ever give this one up, because she still has that same dream today!
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photo credit: Sheila Price

There’s also this figurine that topped our wedding cake. I don’t think I’ll ever part with it as it’s become a part of our home decor.

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photo credit: Sheila Price

8. Do you have any tips for our readers, or anything that makes you say “I wish I’d known this when I started decluttering”?

My biggest piece of advice is to remember that this is YOUR journey. Avoid the temptation to copy what others are doing or compare your progress to theirs. It’s super important that you are making decisions based on the life you are currently living and the life you want to live, so looking around won’t help with that! Only you can know what needs to go in order for you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of! And, only you know what will help you live a life you love. We are all wired differently and have different things that bring us joy and fulfillment.

9. Finally, a more personal question. You also write about being an introvert. Can you explain in a few sentences how you think minimalism can help introverts?

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Photo by Easton Oliver on Unsplash
I believe that minimalism (to some extent) is for everyone! For introverts in particular, minimalism helps with their need to recharge, their ability to be productive, and their desire to make deeper connections with others. A decluttered home filled with only things well-loved serves as a sanctuary for the introvert to recharge after spending time with people. A life that’s uncluttered minimizes distractions so that an introvert can focus better and be their most productive selves. And finally, the choice to prioritize healthy relationships and minimize unhealthy ones allows the introvert to invest in their relationships in order to give them the time and attention they need to continue to grow.
I once again would like to thank Sheila for the delightful answers. I recommend you to check out her blog to read about her experience with minimalism & being an introvert, and to get more tips about simple living.

Sunday Quote #10 / Pazar Alıntısı #10

Bugünkü Pazar Alıntısı İngiliz tasarımcı Vivienne Westwood’dan: “Daha az satın al, iyi seç.

Uzun süre kullan.

Nicelik değil, nitelik.

Herkes gereğinden çok fazla kıyafet alıyor.”

On being Frugal, Thrifty or Minimalist

I have written about saving money  before, but my minimalism journey didn’t start with the urge to save money, rather with realizing that I have much more than I need, decluttering and becoming more conscious about my shopping habits (besides other habits). Along the way I saw that my debts are gradually melting and I am able to save lots of money. Saving money is a plus but it wasn’t what I initially set out for.

Lately I’ve been seeing lots of posts on social media that go around the topics of being frugal, thrifty and minimalist. Some are trying to live a so-called minimalist lifestyle by just being frugal, some others are just on a no-spend challenge, and so on.  I fully support these attempts – but sometimes without understanding the idea behind minimalism, these challenges can do more harm than good, and may even affect your health.

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What I feel about minimalism is that it’s all about accepting yourself and the micro\macrocosm that you live in. If you are just beginning on the path of self-acceptance, limiting yourself and not buying what you really need may end up in frustration and self-guilt. That’s why I think it’s time to make a distinction between the three terms.

Minimalism is not frugality.

The fact that most minimalists can’t find stuff to spend their money on doesn’t mean they are frugal. The famous Minimalists, Josh and Ryan, like spending money on good coffee wherever they go and they mention going to lots of gigs too. Lots of others forego material goods and enjoy spending money on experiences. So not all minimalists are crazy about saving every last penny.

Minimalism is the art of spending money wisely. There are even discussions on reddit suggesting you need to be rich to be a minimalist. So if you think an item is going to add value to your life, why not spend good money on it? For me, for example, this could be going to places I want to see, theater or concert tickets, a high-quality pair of trousers or a really good chocolate. 🙂 You may also need to spend a lot of money (not all at once but eventually) on a capsule wardrobe that you will use for years. My suggestion is, spend money on things you LOVE. Other than that, just be very cautious about where your money goes to.

When you live more frugally, you also start to question the things you love and need. This may eventually affect your social life or your health even. So while one-week or one-month experiments or challenges are fine (I did one no-buy month back in November 2016 as well), making frugality a life style has nothing to do with minimalism in my opinion. It also can get very boring, you need to go out and spend money sometimes to do things you love (like arts, travel or sports).

Minimalism is not being thrifty.

I’m sorry but it isn’t. What is dangerous about being thrifty is that it can cause a hoarding problem. Imagine you see a big discount on toilet paper, let’s say, 70%. If you are a minimalist, you say, meh, I don’t need it right now, I’ve got plenty to last for six months. If you’re thrifty, though, you can go and buy years’ supply of toilet paper. You save more money than a minimalist too. That is the biggest difference here. While minimalists care more about living in the moment, thrifty people usually think more about the future. I can sometimes be thrifty of course, but at the end of the day what matters is what you choose to spend your money on, not how much you spend.

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At the end of the day what matters is what you choose to spend your money on, not how much you spend.

Money turns into a purpose rather than means if you obsess about how much you spend.

So which one is better?

The answer to this question is another: Which one do I need in my right now? At this stage of your life, what you need may be saving money for a purpose, or just clearing your debts. Then you can be thrifty and even frugal. But if you are financially in a good state, then you can decide which path you would like to take: finding discounts and good deals or living a more simple and minimalist lifestyle. At this stage of my life I’ve been trying to live a lifestyle that is based more on production than consumption, with minimum environmental impact as possible. And I have everything that I need, too. Need is a concept that can have various meanings depending on culture, gender, and individual preferences. So only you can decide on what kind of a lifestyle you need right now.

 

What Minimalism is not About

1. Minimalism is not about decluttering.

While minimalists find decluttering an exhilarating, freeing experience, minimalism to me is not about what to let go, it is about what to keep.

Marie Kondo asks “what sparks joy?”

“The Minimalists” ask “what adds value to your life?”

I believe the things I keep are a combination of both.

2. Minimalism is not confined to backpackers and people who live in ridiculously small apartments.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore backpackers and travelling light. I try to travel light as much as possible and learn from my mistakes. And definitely, there is something to learn from people who carry everything they own on their backs.

Similarly, I do believe living in a small house teaches you a lot. My house is also a relatively small one, with one living room/kitchen, one bedroom and a laundry room. But what I believe is that once you get the idea, it doesn’t matter where you live. You may still live with your parents, in a dormitory, or a seven-bedroom house, or on your backpack! It’s the same and at the same time different for everyone.

3. Minimalism is not about organizing and great storage solutions.

I believed (and I still do) that I had a problem about organizing. My house and my office desk were a mess, and while I thought it was a meaningful mess, I still sought help. What I found was at the core of this disorganization was my inability to say goodbye to things when I didn’t need them. Well I was one type. I lived “in” clutter and called myself disorganized. I thought if I tidied things up, clutter wouldn’t be a problem.

But there is also this type who never ever declutters and lives in a tidy mess. And these people are, well, the closest one may be your mum. You can find stashes underneath sofas, boxes after boxes never opened in years, all these small things that nobody needs or remembers even. But in the workplace I also encounter this kind of people, who file projects, keep hard copies even if there are soft copies, and bring in drawers and organizers (why buy new stuff to store the stuff you don’t need?) because the ones in the office aren’t enough. But they are very very organized and also effective, although 90% of the stuff they keep will never be needed and eat up their time and energy.

This is not what minimalism is. These can be parts of minimalism, but they do not define it. The social media likes the extreme, well, you don’t have to go to extremes if this is not you.

To reiterate,  minimalism is not about downsizing, it’s about loving/valuing/needing what you keep. It’s not about limiting yourself to a tiny backpack or a studio apartment, and finally it’s not about organizing (although I admit it is fun!).

What else do you think minimalism is not about?

 

5 Minimalist Tips for Saving Money

Türkçesi için lütfen buraya tıklayınız: Para Biriktirmek İçin Beş İpucu

Over the years as I started to live a simpler life, I’ve seen that my debts are melting and I can save money much more easily than before. My initial purpose was not to save money, but seeing that I can do stuff I love with the money that I’ve saved (travelling, creative writing workshops and fountain pens), or just knowing that I have some money aside for future troubles is really freeing.

You can actually save quite a lot of money by making some small changes to your lifestyle, even if you earn small amounts of money. You can save a few hundred bucks if you follow just one or two tips that I’m sharing with you today. And the most important outcome of this is not just saving money, but reclaiming your freedom from money and spending mindset.

Now let’s have a look at how to easily save money by having a minimalist approach to life.

1) Cook and eat at home, and bring lunch as much as possible.

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If you already try to live a healthier lifestyle then you know how eating outside can ruin your diet. You can of course spend a couple of nights outside with friends or eat out when you’re on vacation, but in normal circumstances eating at home is a lot cheaper and healthier.

If you have a group of friends that you always go out with, you should honestly tell them you’re trying to save money and you’ll meet them for a drink afterwards. You can even suggest everyone eat at home and meet just for a drink or coffee. This saves you a lot of money really.

Of course what I mean by eat at home is not frozen, ready made dinners like pizza or chips. I’m talking about real cooked food. If you’re not experienced with cooking, start small and slow: buy just the equipment and the ingredients you need for the recipe you want to make. At the end your body and your wallet will thank you. 🙂

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Bringing lunch to school or workplace also saves a ton of money. And if you have a fridge and microwave at your workplace, voila! If you don’t, that’s okay, too, there are lots of options you can bring. Salad and sandwiches are the easiest. You can bring leftovers, tuna, or my favorite, overnight oatmeals. Just toss in your favorite yogurt or milk, and whatever fruit and nuts you have at hand. Experiment with peanut butter, chocolate or honey. Even a big bowl of oatmeal doesn’t cost more than a couple of bucks, and you get a filling meal.

To save a ton of money on beverages, invest in a good water bottle and a durable mug. The first reason I bought a mug was because the coffee in the workplace tasted terrible and I wanted to bring my own, but then it turned into a money-saving habit. And when you’re going outside always bring your water bottle with you to save the environment and to save money.

2. Don’t buy if you can make it yourself.

I love pickling and yogurt making as much as I love cooking and baking. As I’m involved in the making process first-hand, I can adjust ingredients to my taste, change them for more healthy options and so on. This is the first advantage. The second advantage of this is that it helps you save money. You can make a year worth’s of pickles (and the healthy, fermented kind) with the same money you buy a jar of pickles. Yogurt making also saves you nearly half the prize of store-bought, paper-tasting yogurt. I even try cheese making but you don’t have to go this far. 😀

And there are far easier things to try out. Whenever you want to buy packaged food, see if you can make it yourself. Pudding mixes, for example. You can buy starch and cocoa and easily make it yourself for a fraction of the price. Slowly, you’ll see that you don’t need packaged food at all. Google before buy!

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I can almost hear you asking, how come I can find so much time to make this stuff rather than buy. Once you’ve made your research and experiment with a few recipes, it’s really easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. But since mall and online shopping is out of my life now, I have a lot of time for productivity, which brings us to the third point.

3. Run from malls like hell (at least for a while).

I’ve never been a shopaholic, but even now, when I go to a mall, I find myself buying at least one item. It feels like a crime, walking into a mall and not buying anything. If nothing, then at least you go to a Starbucks and leave a few dollars there (by the way, the cheapest and the healthiest option at Starbucks, or any coffee shop really, is filter coffee).

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When we talk about avoiding shopping, out of sight out of mind is the best thing to do. And it’s a good idea to stay away from shopping friends as well. Shopping is like cigarettes or alcohol. The addicts need some new victims all the time, they don’t want to go alone so you need to watch out.

4. Declutter

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It might be counter-intuitive but you need to declutter to avoid spending money. When we fill our homes with stuff, it feels like you need more stuff. When you start purging, you see that you already have what you need.

If you’re serious about saving money, promise yourself not to buy any piece of clothing for a certain amount of time (3 months or a year maybe). And then go into your wardrobe and lay all your clothes on your bed. You have so many clothes, right? And most of them have been loved and worn and torn, some never worn with a price tag on. Don’t mind. Firstly, feel grateful that you were able to buy these clothes. Then start purging.

You can donate or sell the ones still in good condition, and recycle or upcycle the ones that are beyond repair. At the end of the process, you’ll see there are still lots and lots that you can wear with love. No need for shopping at all. (You can look at my previous posts about decluttering and capsule wardrobe here).

Apply the same procedure to the kitchen as well. Years ago I read about an extreme approach, where you buy nothing until you run things out in your fridge, freezer and pantry. I think it makes sense, considering the things I had to toss in my last decluttering marathon. This is a good way to save money in the short run.

5. Take a chance on second hand shopping.

When you need something, first check the online websites and apps if you can find it second-hand. You can find second-hand books, bags, watches, clothes. Buying and selling second hand, as well as free cycle,  is good for both the hands and the Earth.

As a final word, I don’t think you should starve and tire yourself just to save money. Sometimes you just want to spend carelessly. And that’s okay because you’re saving for a purpose after all. Don’t think a lot about money, don’t make your life circle around it (or the absence of it). When you are free of the money hegemony, it can give you joy to spend it sometimes. What is important is balance.


 

Things I said Goodbye This Week

This week I said goodbye to my guitar, which has a sentimental value but has never been used for the last seven years. It’s been sitting at my parents’ house, sadly. I remember the first time I started to play when I was twelve; I had a very cheap guitar, but I was quite eager. I even filled my journal pages saying that it was my only friend. Ovsn853792er the years, however, after I saved some money and bought a Yamaha, I realized I wasn’t made for playing the guitar. I could write, or cook for hours for example, but I couldn’t stand guitar practice for more than an hour. So I slowly stopped playing it, and this photo is from 2009, when I almost never played the guitar.

I asked a friend of mine, who is a musician, what to do with it, and he said he can gladly buy it. As a matter of fact, he needed a classical guitar. I sold it for a symbolic price, after all, what matters is that he is going to use it far better than I did, and it will make the guitar happy.

 

The second thing I said goodbye to is eight books. Two of these, I realized I will never read them again. Two of them, I realized I had the original English copy of the book, and these img_0997are the translation. I never liked the other four anyway. So I put them on the Freecycle group of the university I’m working at,
and in a minute, I gave them all away.

We fill our homes with items saying “what if” to ourselves. What if I play the guitar again? What if I read this book again? What if my grandchildren want to read this book? We even imagine these items as our legacy, we see our grandchildren using them as a memory. In reality, no grandchildren will keep 500 books just because they inherited them. They will most likely keep the ones of utmost value. So I believe even if we keep some items as legacy, we must keep the best of them and in the best condition.

 

 

5 Reasons why Minimalists Prefer Short Hair

Even a very simple choice such as a haircut can change one’s daily routine greatly. Here are my top reasons why I prefer short hair.

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1. It’s practical.

You need minimum time and effort when styling short hair. Even with very stubborn hair like mine, all I need is a straightener and it takes 5 minutes at most. But for most, it’s just wash and go.

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2. You don’t need that many hair products.

When my hair gets longer, it tends to tangle and shed, which makes me worry and run to the drugstore like most women. But with a bob-style haircut, all I need is a small amount of shampoo. And now that I’ve found the right shampoo after many tries, I’m in heaven.

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3. You need less accessories.

Of course I need pins and stuff, but when my hair is long I tend to tie it, which means my husband will find hair bands everywhere in the house, and it drives him crazy. So less hair, less mess.

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4. Less hair loss

Less hair, less mess again. When my husband or I skip going to the salon for a couple of months, our house is filled with hair! Gross, and I did a little bit googling about the fact. It turns out many people experience it, but there is little evidence to suggest that longer hair sheds more.

Maybe it’s because they just break in the middle, or they stand out as they are longer. It may also because of tying the hair, which I do a lot. But when I have a bob haircut, I almost never shed any hair.

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5. It looks cool!

Some people worry that they won’t look beautiful without long hair. You never know, most people who have the guts to have their hair cut look much younger and cooler in my opinion.

As my teenage role model was Dolores O’riordan, I always thought short hair was much beautiful and interesting than long, except for Alanis Morissette of course. She should never cut her hair! 😀

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I hope this inspired you to try out a new hairstyle next time you go to the salon!

all images except Dolores and Alanis are taken from unsplash.com, a place for free photos.

 

If you liked this article, you can pin it for later and spread the word! 🙂

You go girl!

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Oyuncu Shailene Woodley diyor ki: “Özellikle kullanılmış giysiler alıyorum. Ben bu gezegenin bir vatandaşı olacağım, ve sorumluluklarımı yerine getirip, doğayla sürekli savaşmaktansa onunla barışık yaşayacağım.”

Keşke Türkiye’de de ikinci el giyinme yaygınlaşsa!

17 before 2017

As fall starts, we have a little more than 3 months until 2017. Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year. And it is a perfect time to  review my year and my goals. This year I changed jobs, I am a little freer now so I had a chance to focus on my personal goals more easily. This list also sums what I was trying to achieve this year. Minimalism, mindfulness, writing, blogging and all.

I got the idea from BohoBerry, such a wonderful idea.

So here is the list. I don’t have to finish all of them of course, but having a list make my goals visual. And actually all of them are thought in detail. I read a lot about setting goals recently, and I will share my insights on setting goals in a future post as well.

Let me talk a bit about each:

Goals 1 to 4: Minimalism

These are the goals related to my minimalism journey. For the past couple of months I didn’t spend much time at home and it will be great if I could finish decluttering my kitchen and vanity before ’17.

Also having a capsule wardrobe dedicated to work is very crucial for me. I made some new purchases and let go of some pieces, so I want to organize a wardrobe with accessories and all and never think about what to wear to work ever again.

My fourth goal, if you have heard of these challenges, will sound very familiar. I want to finish these skincare and make-up products before 2017. The products are:

  1. Sebamed Q10 Lifting Eye Cream (best affordable eye cream so far)
  2. Neostrata Oily Skin Solution (I really like it, except it is twice the price in Turkey now and I won’t be repurchasing just because of the price. I will most likely replace it with plain soap for now.)
  3. Oriflame Red Lipstick (just love this. but it is I guess maybe more than 5 years old (eww) but I can’t just let it go because I haven’t found a red lipstick just like this. So I’ll toss when I finish)
  4. Skin 79 Sué Hydrating Water (it is a very nice moisturizer but not very practical. I would expect a spray bottle instead of squirt, so I won’t be repurchasing this either.)
  5. Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Malt (2 years old, love it, I wouldn’t mind wearing it everyday)
  6. Isana Aceton-free nail polish remover (just put it because I have one more nailpolish remover at home)
  7. Diadermine Zero Tolerance Face Cleanser (no side effects so far, but not very effective either, will replace with bar soap again)

The reason why I chose them is that although they have survived my decluttering splurges for two years, they are the oldest products that I have (except Neostrata, it is like 6 months old). And because I have (or I don’t need) replacements for them it would be nice if I could get them out of my way. The trick in these challenges is that you should put all the products of these kinds away for the time being. It will be exhilarating to finish them till the end of 2016!

Also very interesting to see I have products from all around the world (Germany, Sweden, Korea, US) I think I should consider making more local choices next time I buy this kind of products.

Goals 5-9: Mind Goals

These are goals related mostly with mind. I started a novel about 4 years ago but never touched it for 3 years until I went back this year. But I am not sure if I like it anymore. I am like 5000 words in, and I’ll maybe go on, maybe not. Anyway, I would like to write an independent short story no matter what happens in my novel journey.

I would also like to read 50 books this year in total. This was the goal I set on my Goodreads account. So far I have finished 23, but I still want to keep it to see how far I will get.

My blog of course is among my goals. Keeping a record here really helps me put things in perspective. Right now I have 100 followers, I want to double it by the end of the year.

Goal 10: Job

I started my new job on January 6th, and towards the New Year the committee will decide whether I will be permanent or not. Fingers crossed!

Goals 11-14: Health

These goals are about Yoga and health in general. Yoga has been really helpful to me, so I wish to make it a daily habit.

I have recently been drinking a mixture of ginger- honey-lemon- ACV (and garlic if I’m not going out). Among all benefits, it’s helping me with sinus infections and allergies so I would like to keep it going for as much as I can.

Goal 15: Crafts

I am really into cross-stitching this year. There is one project I would like to finish this year and it is the table runner that I started.

Goals 16-17: Spirit

I started meditating for about 4 months ago but I haven’t made it a daily habit yet. I wish to do so as soon as possible.

And last but not least, finishing the year in gratitude is so important to me.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my goals and I will be more than happy if this inspires you to set some goals for yourself!

Love,

Pelin

 

Where do you call “home”?

Since I was born, I have lived in 8 different places. Come to think of it, the place where I most felt at home was the dormitory, where I spent four years at university. It was the smallest place ever, four beds( two bunk beds actually), four closets and a long table with four chairs across the beds. As you can imagine I had a very limited supply, just clothes and books. Very few sentimental items and that’s all. I was living the minimalist lifestyle before I knew about it and I recall these times as the happiest of my life. I was very productive, wrote a lot, studied very effectively and was quite social.

Why do I need to remember those times today?

Because I am at a crossroads. I may live abroad  if I want to, but for that I need to shift my career a little bit and maybe never go back to my native country. And it made me think if I ever feel at home here.

This decision also made me reconsider my belongings, so much can fit in a suitcase, right? Which of these will certainly make it with me I will have to see. And when I actually get there I can be very conscious of everything I buy to create the minimalist living I am up to.

So many possibilities. Along with so many worries. Let’s see what the future brings.

Slow down. Cut down.

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What do you do in a day?

I, for example, on a day I don’t go to work, cook, eat, drink coffee, if not enough tea. While trying to work on a fictional story, my mind says let’s go play this video game. Once in a while I get crafty and the whole house turns into a mess of yarn, fabric and needles. These are only the things I do on my own.

There is also spending time with my loved one, talking to family on the phone, and meeting and calling friends. Other than that, I also have these connections who I never need in my life but just can’t cut contact with.

The days I go to work are catastrophic. Before getting to school, the panic of planning the day, printing out stuff for students and arranging activities bite me up. And when I actually get to school, things to do in the breaktimes are neverending, and ten minutes a breaktime is never ever enough. Ugh, so much to do.

How can a normal person do all this stuff? What happens to their soul if they do all this? How does the body respond to all the chaos?

I have consciously committed to slowing down and do less just like I started to own less. And the first step was curing my addiction to video games (I’ll explain how in a later post). For nearly two months I haven’t played any video games. This is a big success for me as I have been playing video games for as long as 20 years. I think this addiction was my inability to handle the void. I’ve been learning how to handle the void, or emptiness, or doing nothing for these two months. I try to accept everything as they are. This is so powerful. If you can do nothing, you can do anything. Everything becomes so much easier. You can easily eliminate the physical and emotional excess in your life once you master doing nothing. It’s a kind of meditation actually.

Everything happens slowly, but all of a sudden. Everything is as they should be. Slowly, by little steps, but confidently. Being slow, living slowly, but never being lazy. That’s my purpose.