Kozak Yaylası’ndan arabayla geçiyorduk. Önce zeytinlerin, sonra çamların kokusunu içimize çekelim diye tüm camlar açık, rüzgârın sesinden konuşulanları duymak zorlaşıyordu. Öndeki yolcu koltuğunda oturan, o gün tanıştığım 84 yaşındaki Tevfik Amca bana döndü:
“Biliyor musun, eski bir meslektaşım ‘Less is more’ demişti. Bu benim hayat felsefem oldu. Hep böyle yaşamaya çalıştım,” dedi ve sonra önüne döndü. Ben de öyle şaşkınlığa uğradım ki soru bile soramadım ona.
O zaman Tevfik Amca’nın zamanının önde gelen mimarlarından olduğunu, bir inat yüzünden profesör olmak üzereyken akademiden ayrıldığını, spiritüelizm ve tasavvufla derinden ilgili olduğunu, şimdilerde ise tek başına memleketi olan Gelibolu’nun köylerinden birinde yaşadığını bilmiyordum.
Less is more, yani az çoktur deyimini bilmesine hayret etmiştim ama belki de Kozak Yaylası’nın havası çarptı, ben Tevfik Amca’ya bunu nereden bildiğini sormayı unuttum.
Geçenlerde internette gezinirken karşıma çıktı yeniden deyim. Altında da söyleyen kişinin adı yazılıydı: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Meğer Tevfik Amca’nın meslektaşım derken kastettiği, kendinden yaklaşık yüz yıl önce yaşamış, modern mimarinin önemli figürlerinden Mies imiş.
Mies bu sözü hayatı boyunca tasarladığı tüm yapıtlara yansıtmış. En ünlü yapıtlarından biri Barcelona Pavilion, bakınca insana hakikaten de az çoktur duygusunu yaşatıyor. Hem çok basit gibi geliyor insana hem de sonsuzluğu çağrıştırıyor. Şüphe yok ki Mies hem 20. hem de 21. yüzyılı en çok etkileyen mimarlardan biri.
Savaşların, fetihlerin, hep daha çok olsunların dünyasında yaşamış Mies. Öyle ki onun Pavilion’u tasarladığı yıllarda Almanya’da enflasyon almış başını gitmiş, ekmek almak için bile parayı çuvalla taşır olmuş insanlar. Ama o yine de azı savunmaya devam etmiş.
‘Az çoktur’ deyimini hep sevmişimdir, ama arkasındaki felsefeyi öğrenince, daha da benimsedim. Umarım Tevfik Amca gibi ben de bunu hayat felsefem haline getirebilirim.
Less is More’un anlamından daha ayrıntılı bahsettiğim videomu aşağıdan seyredebilirsiniz 🙂
Minimalist Günlük’ün Facebook sayfasına buradan, instagram sayfasına ise buradan ulaşabilirsiniz. Youtube kanalım da burada.
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
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!
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.)
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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
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. 😉
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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).
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.
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.
When I became a vegetarian eight years ago (I’m not vegetarian now, but it was a valuable 3 years’ experience), it first hit me that saying no is difficult but necessary. I had to say no to meat directly, but indirectly I had to say no to dinners out when veggies aren’t available, barbeques, “sacrifice fest” which Muslims celebrate by sacrificing an animal, so basically any gathering. Saying no meant not settling for less, and knowing my standards and limits. At first it was very difficult, then it got really easy and felt I was validating myself.
However, I couldn’t apply these standards to other aspects of my life that easily. Like when someone asks if you are free that evening, you are, but you don’t want to spend it with that person. You just can’t say, “I don’t feel like going out with you.” like Sheldon does:
That would require like zero super-ego, which is almost impossible unless we live a solitary life.
And when you decide to live a minimalist life, you’ll have to say no to lots of things/people. This will make the process of living a simpler life much easier.
I think if we understand the underlying reasons of why we can’t say no, we can choose if we are saying yes or no to things for the sake of our well-being. So here are 4 reasons we just can’t say no:
1. We fear being rejected.
We feel like when we say no to someone, they will reject us and no longer love us. Why are we so insecure and needy? If we value them, they need to value us and our lifestyle. If they just can’t accept who we are, then there’s something wrong.
If you have a meaningful relationship and reciprocal understanding, then this person won’t judge or reject you. The people we can’t say no to might be, sadly, people that we can’t connect on a deeper level.
2. We fear sounding rude.
When we say yes out of fear of saying no, we actually betray ourselves and our priorities. I am a firm believer in being kind and polite at all times, but being kind doesn’t have to mean you never reject anything that is offered to you.
Maybe it’s as simple as a candy offered by your coworker. If you believe candies are bad for your health but you don’t want to be rude, you accept it. But actually, you are being rude to your body. Or, it may be a request for a charity donation whose cause you don’t believe in. You contribute a few dollars, just not to stand in the crowd. But inside, you fill with resentment, you start to hate yourself for not being brave enough to stand for your priorities. So, I think Cinderella’s advice is really valuable: Have courage, and be kind. If we practice enough, we can do both at the same time.
A good piece of advice that I read about this topic is delaying giving an answer. If you feel an immediate no will be quite rude, you can say “I’ll get back to you.” But some people just get away with this, never giving an answer. I think this is ruder than saying no immediately.
3. We avoid confrontation and conflict.
Saying yes is much easier than no because sometimes we are too tired to face confrontations or conflicts. This is especially true with the people closest to us. We fear if we end up fighting, it is going to be bad for our relationship, so we just shut up and agree with the other party. This is actually very very serious. If we suppress our feelings every time we need to make decisions that involves other people, it means our voice is never heard. This has two big consequences. First, the feeling of resentment towards yourself and the other person gets bigger and bigger, at the end possibly harming your relationship. Second, maybe you were right in the first place. No was the correct answer. By saying yes in order to avoid conflict, you ruined the chances of making the right decision for you. So, even if it causes conflict, try to make the other person consider the choices before you say yes or no.
4. We fear being selfish
If a person asks for help and for some reason we are unavailable, we are afraid to say no because we’re afraid it’ll look selfish. We’re afraid of being a bad person and not being loved again. This is indeed very selfish, because when we say yes when we aren’t available, we simply cry for the love and the approval of the other person. We sacrifice ourselves, not out of pure love, but out of the need for being loved and valued. This also results in resentment because you are not true to yourself. When you think of it that way, this really is pathetic, isn’t it?
What can we do about it?
I don’t really suggest you start saying no to any offer or request in your life, but I think saying yes to everything, everything we don’t really want is a big problem. So as I said before, requesting for some time before you make a decision is really a great idea. That way, you can think about it more clearly and make your decision from a realistic and objective point of view.
Seeing the reasons that I talked about helped a great deal for me, I think it’ll help you, too. Realizing the patterns and the motives behind our behavior makes us more mindful, creating the path to a more fulfilling life.
Being polite is always important, but just don’t say no for fear of being rude. You can still validate your friend or loved one without agreeing with their every idea or decision. It is tricky but I believe we can come up with millions of different ways of saying no without hurting the other person.
p.s. I was inspired by this video to think and write about this topic. I also got the four main subtopics from Teal. So I really recommend watching it. 🙂
Tam yedi gün arka arkaya yapamasam da bu azaltma maratonunda beklediğimden çok daha fazla çöplük buldum evde. Çöplük diyorum çünkü insanın hiç de düşünmesine gerek olmayan şeyleri attık çoğu zaman. Bakmak yeterli oldu o objenin hayatımızda yeri olmadığını anlamaya. Ve yaklaşık iki yıldır yaptığım alışverişe, evime girenlere dikkat etmeme rağmen böyle oldu. İki yıl önceki halimle, ama şimdiki bildiklerimi bilerek bu işe girişsem herhalde evin yarısı gidermiş. 🙂
Fakat şunu da gördüm ki, kesinlikle azaltmak yeterli değil. Düzenli olmak da çok önemli ki bu benim en büyük eksiğim. Az eşyam da olsa hala kendi düzenimi oturtabilmiş değilim. Zaten bu nedenle bazen eşyaların varlığını unutuyorum ve yıllarca çekmecenin dibinde kalabiliyorlar. Doğuştan düzenli insanlardan biri olmayı çok isterdim, ama maalesef yapa yapa öğrenmek zorundayım.
Bugünkü konumuz elektroniklerdi. Yine komono kategorisine giren bu yaramazlar evin her yerinde olduğu için aslında bu yedi gün içinde onları zaten tespit ettik. Kurtulacağımız elektroniklerin listesi:
Bozuk bir hdmi kablosu
Eski bir klavye
Bozuk bir tıraş makinesi
Eski telefonun eski bataryası
İki adet hafızası düşük flash disk (verilmek üzere ayırdık)
Şimdi iş bunları nereye vereceğimize kaldı. Bitmiş pilleri TAP topluyor, diğer elektronik eşyaları ise Media Markt’ın aldığını duydum ama gözümle görmeden inanmayacağım sanırım. Bugün yarın gidip vermeye çalışacağım, bakalım başarılı olacak mıyım?
Although I couldn’t do the seven day marathon in a row, I found lots of “garbage” at home than I expected. I say garbage because the things I tossed were generally not recyclable or reusable. And sometimes just looking was enough to understand that this object has no longer any purpose in our lives. And this is happening after two years that I’m shopping mindfully and responsibly. If I had decluttered with the mindset that I have now, I would have gotten rid of half the objects in our home. 🙂
I also saw that decluttering simply isn’t enough. Being organized is equally as important, which is my biggest weakness. Although I don’t own much, I don’t have a sustainable organization style. That’s why I keep forgetting the items I put deep in the drawers and I need this decluttering marathon to remember them. I wish I was one of those people who are innately organized, but unfortunately I have to learn to be one.
Today I was supposed to declutter electronics. But honestly in the last six day, I encountered most of them and put them aside so I didn’t need a full day to inspect the electronic items at home. Here’s what we decided to say goodbye to:
a broken hdmi cable
an old keyboard
a broken shaving machine
the first battery of my previous phone
two low-memory flash disks (to be given away)
So now the job is how to get rid of them. There are local centres in TR that collect batteries, but I never recycled electronics before. I’ll check an electronics chain store which claims to be taking them for recycling, but I have see it to believe it. I hope they won’t end up in landfill.
Honestly this was one of the most cluttered places before I started this marathon but I didn’t touch it just to feel the joy of tossing so many items at once!
Açıkçası banyonun en dağınık yer olduğu başladığımda belliydi ama özellikle dokunmadım ki bugün geldiğinde fazlalıkları atmanın verdiği hazzı yaşayabileyim!
I already have a very small bathroom, so the only countertop is the poor washing mashine. And after coming back from the summer vacation I wasn’t that motivated to tidy it.
Zaten çok küçük bir banyom var ve eşyalarımı koyabileceğim tek yer çamaşır makinesinin üstü. Bayram tatilinden dönüşte de kendimi hiç motive edemedim doğrusu burayı toparlamaya.
Sometimes organized people tend to hoard stuff. My husband is the most organized person I know, and I know when he’s committed to it he declutters like crazy (like in yesterday’s post), but he has this habit of collecting little hotel shampoo bottles everywhere he goes. Luckily for us- and the environment, no hotel carries these small bottles in Japan; so we didn’t bring any of these back from our recent Japanese trip. But in Dubai, where he spent half of the last year, all hotels give these away and he made a big collection of nearly 50 bottles. I had to step in. I poured all the shower gels in the liquid soap container. We don’t use liquid soap any more but I know that my guests do, so I put it in the guest bathroom. To my surprise, it smelled great. I guess I’ll do the same with the shampoos as well. For now, I put them in the purple bag on the washer, in a drawer under the bed.
Bazen düzenli insanlarda da istif alışkanlığı olabiliyor. Eşim tanıdığım en düzenli insan, ve aklına koyduğu zaman neler yaptığını dünkü yazımda anlatmıştım. Fakat gittiği her otelden minik şampuan şişeleri ve sabunlar getirme gibi bir huyu var. Şansımıza Japon otellerinde hep büyük şişeler vardı, oradan bir şey getiremedik, ama özellikle geçen senenin neredeyse yarısını iş için Dubai’deki otellerde geçirince 50’ye yakın şişe birikti. Kullansak neyse, kullanmıyoruz da. Ben de duş jellerini sıvı sabunluğa doldurdum. Artık sıvı sabun kullanmıyoruz ama eve gelen misafirler genelde tercih ettiği için misafir banyosuna koydum. Kokular karışınca güzel kokmaz diyordum ama beklentilerimin tersi oldu. Kalan şampuanları da yatağın altındaki çekmeceye koydum, herhalde şampuanların sonu da el sabunu olacak.
I changed the tablecloth on it too, and I really couldn’t believe how much it cleared in just half an hour. There were lots of things I parted with, especially old containers that I thought someday I’d use for some diy project, but that someday never came. Time to say goodbye. I also tossed old and disliked products like that hair mousse or the deodorant. But as you see, we still have some hotel products here. These are from the hotels he spent summer holidays as a child. Some of them are over 20 years old. What can I say? They give him joy.
Üzerindeki örtüyü de değiştirince yarım saatte epey bir ferahladı banyo. Belki bir gün kendinyap projeleri için kullanırım diye düşündüğüm küçük, büyük, spreyli vb. şişeler vardı, onlara elveda dedim çünkü o bir gün hiç gelmedi. Deodorant ve saç köpüğü gibi eski ve sevmediğim ürünleri de attım bu vesileyle. Bu arada gördüğünüz gibi hala bazı otel sabunlarımız duruyor. Bunlar eşimin çocukluğunda gittiği otellerden. Kimisi yirmi yıldan eski. Ne diyebilirim ona mutluluk veriyorsa, değil mi?
Because I wasn’t at home that much during summer, no decluttering was done. Since my childhood, summer has meant home to me, spending more time at home, bonding with home. However, this summer was different. Between the travels and family vacations, home was a bit lonely. Before autumn hits and school marathon starts, I wanted to have a one week decluttering marathon. Today, I’ll start with the kitchen. Cupboards, kitchenware, fridge, food… Let’s see how much I’ll get done in a day. If I can’t finish everything, it’s OK. Tomorrow, I’ll go on with the second category, which is known as komono in Japanese.
Bu yaz evde pek olmamamdan mütevellit temizlik ve azaltma işini epey bir “salladım”. Benim için yaz mevsimi küçüklüğümden beri ev demekti, evde daha çok vakit geçirmek. Bu yaz ise daha farklı oldu. Seyahatler, aile ziyaretleri derken evim biraz kimsesiz kaldı. Sonbahar gelmeden, okul maratonu başlamadan ben de bir azaltma maratonu yapayım dedim. Bugün ilk gün mutfağa girişiyorum, kap-kacak, buzdolabı, bakliyatlar… Bakalım ne kadarını halledebileceğim… Yapabildiğim kadar, bitiremezsem yarın devam etmeyip bir günlüğüne Japonca’da komono olarak bilinen kategoriye el atacağım.
1. If you’re packing a sun hat, put it upside down and fill inside and the outer edges with soft clothes like t-shirts and socks. This ensures the hat will stay in shape.
1. Eğer bavulunuza bir hasır şapka koyacaksanız ilk önce ters olarak koyup, içini ve dışını tişört ya da çorap gibi yumuşak kıyafetlerle doldurabilirsiniz. Böylece şapkanın şekli bozulmayacaktır. Bunu öğrenene kadar bu şapkayı uçakta/otobüste elimde poşetle taşırdım. 😄
2. Fold the clothes so that they can stand up on their own, using the Konmari method ( vid below). That way you can take the clothes you need without messing the organisation of the suitcase.
Also, pack your shoes separately to make the best of the space.
2. Giysileri yukarıda görüldüğü gibi, dik duracak şekilde Konmari metoduna göre katlayın. Böylece içinden bir giysi almanız gerektiğinde diğerleri bozulmayacak ve her şeyi bir anda görebilirsiniz. Konmari metodu ile giysi katlama için aşağıdaki videoya bakabilirsiniz.
Diğer bir ipucu da ayakkabılar üzerine. Ayakkabılarınızı tek tek poşetleyin ki yer kaplamasın.
3. Last but not the least, don’t over pack. Only bring what you need. For me, for one month of visiting family and then going to the seaside, I packed 6 t-shirts, one pair of baggy trousers, one pair of jeans, swimsuits, one summer hat, a very light towel, one pair of sandals and one pair of sneakers. Besides clothes, toiletries and basic skin care products. For makeup, just a 10 ml bottle of foundation and an eyeliner. I guess this suitcase will weigh below 10 kilos it’ll be more than enough.
I hope this post helps you to pack lighter and in a more organised way. 🙂
3. En önemlisi de, yalnızca ihtiyacınız kadar olanını alın bavulunuza. Bu herkese göre değişir, ben bir ay kadar ailemin yanına gidip sonra da deniz kenarına gideceğim. Bunun için altı tişört, bir şalvar pantolon ve bir kot pantalon, bir çift parmak arası terlik ve bir çift spor ayakkabı, banyo ve cilt bakımı malzemeleri aldım. Mayoların yanında kurulanmak için bir peştemalim var ki hem hafif, hem de suyu kalın bir havludan daha fazla emiyor ve anında kuruyor.
Makyaj malzemesi olarak 10 ml lik bir fondöten ve bir göz kalemi yetti. Bana yetecek hatta artacak bu bavul tahminimce 10 kilodan az oldu.
Umarım bu yazı daha hafif ve düzenli bir bavul düzenlemenize yardımcı olmuştur. 🙂
Sometimes people think (and I think) I’m contradicting myself because I choose to live a minimalist lifestyle with less clothes, less makeup and overall less possessions. Yet, my interests are not minimalistic at all. I’m currently interested in writing: blogging, creative writing and handwriting/lettering.
But I also like to read and talk about psychology, the environment, sustainability, sewing& embroidery, botany & gardening, cooking & nutrition. Not to forget I work full time as an English instructor and I love teaching. And I’m almost sure I forgot to mention a few some.
My old (though somewhat related) interests were in playing the guitar (which I decided to sell as I wasn’t playing for nearly a decade), knitting and crocheting, animal rights, social anthropology, sociology, and political sciences. Last but not least, I also want to learn (and feel the need to learn) more about positive sciences. I’m regretful that I hated Math and Physics in high school.
Does a person who wants to lead a minimalist life style need to keep their interests to minimum? I definitely don’t think so as the whole idea behind minimalism is to keep what matters and what is valuable. So it pretty much depends on the person.
But then again, I sometimes feel guilty that instead of excelling in one particular skill, I tend to go back and forth between these areas, and knowledge and skills grow slowly. It feels like I need to have a life purpose yet I don’t. Wouldn’t life be easier for me if I just tried to excel in teaching? I sometimes wonder.
However, recently I came across a term, coined by Emilie Wapnick:
“An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.”
She also has a fantastic TED talk:
She simply describes those of us who has many interests shouldn’t blame themselves, or be afraid and discouraged. Even if you lose your curiosity in one subject and be a beginner many, many times in your life, you use all your accumulated skills and knowledge and bring a new perspective to your new areas. So in a way, you are always a beginner, but because of your complicated history, you are never a beginner.
This really makes sense to me because as separate as they may seem, all of my interests feed into each other, and help me lead a more meaningful life every single day. I can relate to most of my students, who are studying at different departments, because one time in my life I delved into their profession in one way or another.
Sometimes I decide to quit one of these areas altogether, as in the case of the guitar, and I feel a bit guilty about that too. But after watching Emilie’s talk, I realized practising classical guitar taught me rhythm and mathematics, as well as how to appreciate music. It introduced me to great musicians as well. So I’m always grateful for that. I don’t want to go back in time and become a master guitarist, though, I just wasn’t meant to be one. I didn’t have the motivation that my teacher had, for example, practising four to six hours everyday. I was too busy researching some other area I found mind-opening.
Learning that there are a lot of people like me is a relief. Learning that multipotentiality is not a burden but a gift made me more confident in pursuing my endeavours (or starting new ones, does learning really end anyway?).
Do you feel you are a multipotentialite, too? Or is specializing in one area more of your thing?
image source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-multipotentialite-judi-umali-rajkumar ( a good reading piece too if you’re into it)
you can also visit: puttylike.com (Emilie’s website)