my simple life: things I don't have that many do

One of my favourite bloggers is Leo Babauta of mnmlist and zen habits fame. He truly is ace. Or at least he comes up with truly ace stuff to write about. I love his life philosophy. It's simple. Clean. Uncluttered. Easy. I'm all about the easy.

Last week Leo posted a list of things he doesn't have that many do and so inspired I was by the idea, that I'm doing it to. As Leo makes a point (twice) of saying, it's not about getting all holier than thou and implying that we're better than anyone who has these things. It's just about showing that you can live a happy and healthy and fulfilling life without these things. If such lists inspire others to declutter and simplify, well that can only be a good thing.

The list of things I don't have that many do:

  • glad wrap
  • paper towels
  • an ipad
  • the latest gadgets
  • chia seeds or green protein powder or other such 'superfoods'
  • a gym membership
  • processed or refined food
  • perfume
  • very many house decorations
  • sugar
  • a full time job
  • soft drinks or juice
  • very much furniture
  • cable tv
  • household cleaning products
  • canned food
  • credit card debt
  • tissues
  • facials and pedicures
  • a slow cooker
  • more health insurance than I need to avoid tax.

I'm not perfect. There's still a lot of stuff I do have that I wish I didn't. A car, for instance. Car insurance. And a microwave (my husband's, can't convince him to give it away). Add to that a home loan. Many things. But the point is in the striving. Striving to simplify, striving to declutter. Not to prove some pious point, but to make room for the things that most of us don't have but really need. E.g, time, love, joy, play.

What do you live without that conventional thinking says you can't?


  1. Great post, We don't have, cable, ipad, wireless internet, bought pasta/stirfry sauces, juice/softdrink, disposable nappies and wipes (90% of the time), plastic baby bottles - glass are so much easier to clean, homogenised milk, throw away sponges, household cleaning products, a lot of 'new' furniture - either made from recycled wood or second hand (not that you can tell) and weekly take away. Quite enjoy not spending the money so I have it for other things like experiences/holidays with family.

  2. I love the thought of celebrating what I don't have. Too often people dwell on the things they don't have and depression follows. Well, I don't have a MacMansion, I don't have a mortgage or any debt, I don't have fine jewellery, new clothes, make up nor perfumes. I don't have overseas holidays, restaurant dinners, cafe lattes, nights at the movies or at the concert hall. I don't have a fancy mobile, cable TV or a big wide screen plasma. I don't have shampoo, commercial cleaning products or exotic toiletries. I do have a garden to grow food in, the internet for a wealth of ideas on things to make for myself, a job I enjoy and a family to love and be loved by.

    1. Perfect, Penny. And a shout out to you:

  3. I had to think about this and come back to it. I had trouble whittling it down to 10 that kind of summed up my life. I have so many things that conventional thinking thinks are wacky, and I don't have so many things that so many others think are essential. I also, have (or don't have actually!) many of yours Maria: glad wrap, a full time job, paper towels, the latest gadgets, tissues, facials and pedicures, gym membership, perfume, processed or refined food, sugar, soft drinks or juice, very much furniture, cable tv, household cleaning products, canned food, credit card debt,more health insurance than I need to avoid tax.
    I do have the ipad (I lived overseas for two years and put all my cds, books, dvds etc onto it, then got rid of those); chia and some other superfoods (find them helpful for my autoimmune condition); slow cooker (use it to all the time to make so much of my own foods from scratch);and I do have a lot of house decorations because I've taken a lot of photos which are now on the walls, and bought a lot of art from local artists when I was overseas).
    So, my sample 10:
    1.Any storebought toiletries, personal products, cleaning products, makeup etc.
    2.Toilet paper!
    3.Shopping sprees. Ever.
    4. More than 5 pairs of shoes and NO HEELS: 1 pair boots for working in or cold weather, 1 good pair, 1 pair of throw on berks, 1 pair slippers, 1 pair sneakers for exercise.
    5.New furniture. None at all.
    6.A house, a mortgage
    7.Children. Married for 10 years, and 37 so people often find this the strangest.
    8.A big screen tv, a dvd player, a stereo, a games console, etc etc
    9.A hairdresser, hairdressing appointments, any desire to go to a hairdresser, ever.
    10.A commute to work
    I'm going to add one more thing I don't have....
    11. A feeling of inadequacy, boredom, compulsion, or societal pressure which makes me want to, or need to, buy STUFF!!!

  4. Hah, and also, it would appear, the ability to count! Don't know where I got the idea of 10 things from!! But seeing as though there isn't a limit, I'll add more...
    -fine jewellery (thanks for the idea Penny Pincher)
    -visits to the cinema, pub, nightclub, trips to the shopping centre for fun
    -breadmakers, rice cookers, coffee machines, electric candles, popcorn makers, icecream makers, cupcake makers, or any other ridiculous kitchen appliance
    -any chemicals anywhere in our house, yard, car....
    -a sat nav
    -a cleaner, gardener, nanny, poolboy, mowing guy, ironing lady, drycleaner...
    Ah, you get the idea....

    Great post Maria. Really got me thinking, and even with my minimalist home and lifestyle, I realise there's more crap I can cut.

    1. Ha ha, I could've kept going too. Glad you did!

  5. Great to see your list, we have many things in common. Or not, as the case may be!
    I'd add baking paper (just grease the damned tin) and kids' snacks in ridiculous tiny packages. But the one that gets most people is that we don't have TV. I mean, we have a TV, but the aerial broke about four years ago and we simply never fixed it. We still manage to watch our favourite series and movies, but they're all on a hard drive, which means we control what we watch and never have to worry about ads. The knock-on is that my kids have no idea what Coco Pops are and we are spared the seductive tactics of advertisers.

  6. This is a must-read! Some people have the tendency to buy more things just to satisfy themselves without thinking if they actually need it or not. But having this kind of list give us time to contemplate and value what we already have. But I’m having second thoughts on including car insurance on my list. I consider my car as an investment, and I live in a place where bad weather is a frequent visitor. Hails and snow can actually damage my car. Having insurance will definitely save me from lots of costly repairs.

    >Cayla Dupont <

  7. This is fun! I don't have:
    1. A car (and have never owned one)
    2. My own house / television / most items of furniture (thus far in life I housesit or sharehouse-rent, and live overseas often)
    3. Gluten or any kind of farmed meat (kangaroo occasionally, or sustainably caught fish)
    4. Perfume or any scented products
    5. Coffee
    6. A full-time job
    7. A 'proper' rubbish bin (of the inside variety - hence rarely use the outside one)
    8. Clothes or other textiles, jewellery etc. made in sweatshops bought in the last 5 years or so
    9. More than one doona cover, 2 sets of sheets and a couple of towels.
    10. Any insurance, except travel when I go travelling.

    But so much more than I need in my life still!

  8. I noticed on your 'I don't have list' a slow cooker, are they bad for health?

    1. I don't think they're bad for your health, I just don't like having electrical appliances that can easily break down (and are hard to fix) if I can do the job with a non-electrical pot, which won't ever break down. It's the same reason I don't own an electric kettle - I bought an old-fashion steel whistle kettle instead.



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