I have fond memories of New Jersey beaches from my childhood & teenage years. As a kid, my family all traveled to Stone Harbor. And, while in high school, my friends introduced me to Brigantine Beach, a small island just off shore of Atlantic City – simple family living during the day, fun times at night – best of both worlds!
It’s no secret that I like my handbags. I have lots of them. My husband might argue I have too many, but let’s think about this honestly – can you ever have too many?
My answer would be yes. I literally do have too many bags. And shoes. And generally I have too many clothes. My answer: I need a de-cluttering session. In the far future, of course. It might even benefit me to sign myself up for the famous 100 Thing Challenge.
Not heard of the 100 Thing Challenge? The founder of the movement, Dave Bruno, says that the goal of the 100 Thing Challenge, or 100TC for short, is a ‘way to stop participating in irresponsible consumerism and start living a more meaningful lifestyle that is economically secure and that blesses people.’
So how do we, the Average Over Spenders of the World stop filling our lives with meaningless ‘stuff’? The 100TC follows three nice and easy steps:
First things first this means getting rid of some of your stuff. Not wearing a bunch of old clothes and waiting for the day they’ll fit you? Think again. If they’ve been sitting there waiting and you wishing, they’re better off in another person’s life. Either give them away to another person or donate them to a charity. Books that you’ve read making your bookshelf look pretty but not doing much else? Get rid. With things like children’s toys you should seriously think about doing an inventory of toys. Make a list of all toys, tick off a few loved favourites and ditch the rest. Donation, donation, dontation. Oh yes and a little note: do not take out items of clothing and reminisce over memories if you’re serious about giving these things away. You’ll only get emotionally involved and this isn’t a time for hanging onto ghosts of the past.
(Image: One parent from the 100 Thing Facebook has had a major clear-out of their children’s toys.)
This one is perhaps the most difficult. Refusal is taken offensively in Western culture. This won’t be easy, but the best route is to be relaxed with people who try to give you ‘stuff.’ Don’t preach. Just calmly explain you’re having a bit of a clear-out of stuff and you really don’t need whatever this person is offering. If they are really insistent then think of someone who would benefit from whatever you’ve been given and donate to them. There is always someone who will benefit from the things you’ll never get around to using or don’t really need.
I suppose this sounds easy and as a last step you should be well on your way to your de-cluttered nirvana, but readjusting your thinking and habits you’ve acquired over your life time are not going to be easy. Take this last step in small increments. Don’t make it an all or nothing scenario. But question little day time habits;
Do I really want to spend money on snacks that I could have easily prepared at home?
Should I walk more rather than rely on my car?
How can I cut down on my weekly food bill?
Make it fun and if it helps, remind yourself with visuals as to why you’re trying to achieve this balance in your life; a photo of your family or loved one or even a photo of yourself when you were at your happiest.
The best thing that the 100 Thing Challenge has created is the self motivation in others. They want this change, too, for their own very personal reasons. And living in a World where borrowing and buying on credit is increasing I can’t help but think we’d all benefit from adopting some of the 100 Thing Challenge principles in our life.
As one person on the 100 TC Facebook said;
Quote of the day: Too many people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.
For myself there are happily not a lot of changes I need to make; de-cluttering is my only issue. Debt isn’t a feature in our lives and we are more than aware of our incomings and outgoings. We don’t make huge spends on worthless items we’ll rarely use and barely need.
How different would our World be if credit cards didn’t exist? If debt was never a consideration? I see so many people around me getting into debt when they really can’t afford too; the truth is that you can never afford debt so you shouldn’t make it in the first place. Let’s all start living within our means. Let’s plan and prepare for the future rather than party in the present. Let’s take care of our basic needs and think about our wants more carefully.
Ponder this article. Question if you’re giving your life purpose right now and ask yourself if things could be different for the better if you did something a little bit different, every little day.
I am writing this week’s article from a hotel room in Toronto. Earlier, while I was waiting in a seemingly-endless line at the check-in desk, I had a few moments to peruse the hotel’s “environmental pledge”. It got me thinking; as diligent as we are to remain environmentally-friendly at home, it seems that many of us slip into bad habits as soon as we check into a hotel. How soon we forget that the little things, like leaving the light on when exiting the room and taking extra-long hot showers, can quickly add up. You probably don’t wash your bed sheets every day or use a fresh towel (or two) for each shower that you take at home, so why should you expect it elsewhere? I’ve compiled a few tips to help you “go green” and reduce your impact when you travel. Of course, I’ve also included a few eco-friendly, handmade items to make your trip a more pleasurable one, too. (Upcycled suitcase, above, by Get Ready, Set Go!)
Have you ever wanted to throw a dart at a map and travel to the spot that it hits? While that idea has a certain spontaneous appeal, perhaps a little more thought should go into not just the location, but the timing of your trip. Traveling during the high-season can mean a higher stress level for the traveler and for the destination itself. By shifting your travel plans to even just a month after a peak period, you allow the area to recover and rejuvenate itself. Plus, chances are that you and your family will get to see things that high-season visitors don’t and you will be get a more authentic experience. It’s a great way to get to see a culture at it’s relaxed and natural best. (Passport holder, above, by My Paper Garden.)
Eco-conscious travelers choose tour operators and facilities with strong environmental sustainability policies Before you book, do a little research and ask questions about the property that you intend to visit. If they have good practices in place, then they’ll be happy to brag about them! You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your hotel composts kitchen waste, or that they are taking actions to conserve water and energy. Ask about low-flow toilets, water-saving showerheads and earth friendly housekeeping, then reward companies that put these polices into practice by giving them your business. And, don’t forget to write home – recycled map stationary (above) by Dote.
As the old saying goes, “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. While those little single-use shampoos and soaps are cute, they tend to generate more garbage than they are worth. Before you depart for your adventure, buy small, refillable containers to port your own toiletries. Not only will you reduce waste, you’ll be using products that you know are good for you, rather than leaving it to chance. Even better than bottled, the Lemon Basil shampoo bar (above) by Beautiful Soaps contains conditioning rose hip seed and neem oils and is 100% spill proof – perfect for the suitcase or backpack.
Whether you are hostelling or staying in 5-star comfort, you can always try to make a positive impact on the places you visit. By treating your home away from home with the same care that you treat your own, you help to ensure others who follow will be able to experience and enjoy it, too. We can all can make a difference, especially if we take the steps, both large and small, together. What else can we do? I would love to hear your eco-friendly travel tips – please comment and share them with us. (Travel journal, above, by Blue Toad.)
Looking for something spectacular for your yard? Stop looking now. I’ve found it.
Designed to become an everlasting part of your family tradition, The Great Bowl O’ Fire is an unique work of art hand-cut by artist John T Unger. No two are exactly alike, as the flames are drawn free-hand. Gather friends and family to celebrate around a roaring blaze year-round. The raised bowl allows you to sit comfortably without having to lean forward to stay warm. Keep your feet toasty, tucked below the rim of the bowl and bask in the full-body radiance that a raised firebowl offers. An outdoor fire pit is a great way to extend the outdoor living season.
The Great Bowl O’ Fire makes a stunning focal point for yards, patios and gardens. Unlike many outdoor firepits which look dirty or empty when unlit, The Great Bowl O’ Fire functions as a gorgeous sculptural element either hot or cold. By day, the flame shapes cast intriguing shadows both inside and outside the bowl and the rich tones of the patina suggest a warm blaze. At night, with a fire burning, the bowl casts flickering shadows as lively as the fire within.
The Great Bowl O’ Fire is a gorgeous sculptural element even when not in use. The play of light and shadow as the sun moves across it is as entrancing as the dance of fire.
Inspired. That’s what I felt after visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery last weekend. My husband and I are members, so we’re free to pop in any time we like to check out the newest exhibition which is a great luxury. So much so that we may not even look into a new exhibit in that much detail in advance like we would otherwise, we’ll just head down instead to check it out in person. For some reason I wasn’t that excited about the WE: Vancouver exhibit. I figured, I live here already, and as much as I love it I’m not super interested in some kind of rah rah city pride type of thing. I found something very very different that encouraged me in more ways than one. (The Reclaimed Dress above is from Etsy shop, Adhesif.)
Seed Bombs from Visual Lingual
With the dawn of the internet, we’ve seen the rise of countless different types of sites – and I couldn’t help but wonder after visiting the exhibit, how this easy transmission of information might be changing our collective perspectives for the better. Now it’s altogether possible that the folks whose thoughts and work were on display came to these views without the internet’s helping hand, but there were three outlooks that I have heard expressed again and again by people online and by my own friends in the last couple of years that I can’t help but wonder if there is some kind of interplay there, and a really great one at that, that is making these types of views far more mainstream than they ever have been before.
Throughout this post, you’ll find handmade items that I feel fit the various themes of this post in one way or another!
Reclaimed Wood Vase from Peg and Awl
The first “manifesto” I came across in the gallery found it’s main focus in nature and architecture, and painted an enticing vision of individuals who find themselves deeply connected to the outside world in a sustainable way. If you’d like, read more here about Mari Fujita and Matthew Soules vision of a future where we commute by kayak and pluck tomatoes from our wallpaper, right here.
Next, a commentary on conscious consumption – reminding us to be in touch with what we eat and use in our day to day lives. Either by baking bread, or planting a fruit tree or any other number of things as Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon suggest here.
Reclaimed wood terrarium from Ecogro
Next stop – a display courtesy of Natalie Purschwitz, who for one year decided to wear only things she made herself. You can read more about her project here.
If you have a chance to read these manifestos or to peruse Natalie’s blog, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you inspired like me, or do you think these lofty ideas and ambitions are unrealistic or somehow unattainable?