Everett Bogue Is Doing My Head In

I’m having a lifestyle crisis and it’s all Everett Bogue’s fault. I’ve recently dived into Planet Blog, one click led to another and I discovered Bogue. He is a key figure in the online movement to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. On a superficial level this means hard-core de-cluttering and having less ‘stuff’. On a deeper level it’s about mass consumerism, the environment, energy and freedom.

Bogue is a fan of having the ability to live and work anywhere in the world without fuss. He advocates a minimalist lifestyle as a way to reduce stress and increase productivity and contentment. This all makes so much wonderful sense to me because I teach yoga  and we yogis know that nothing you really need for joy exists outside of you.

So I’ve been reading Bogue’s  posts, downloaded his e-book and became his fan on Facebook. I’ve realised that I’ve been on a very slow path to minimalism for a while now (recycling, reusing, buying most things second-hand on eBay and asking people not to buy us gifts). But still I am in crisis. And here is why: I am about to have a baby.

All parents know that children demand huge lifestyle changes. And then as they grow they develop their own interests (my daughter likes to create and play with small, weird things like pipe cleaners, elastic bands, lizards and slime).

The arrival of our baby in five weeks time has been the impetus for some serious action in our home (nesting anyone?). We have repainted, removed, installed, dusted, decorated, scrubbed, sorted, washed and folded. The amount of stuff we have and apparently still need has alarmed me not only because of the cost but because of the storage and the fact that I am too busy (and lazy) to keep on top of it all.

So Mr. Bogue, while I am deeply inspired by your movement and your writing, I think it’s an unfair coincidence that I’m being driven towards minimalism right now because I am in nesting mode. And nesting involves making a nice, warm, cosy home for a baby…you know, with blankets, booties and bunnies (it’s Autumn Easter time in Sydney).

I have asked my family to please not buy anything for the baby and the responses have ranged from polite nods, quizzical stares and a blunt, “That’s just stupid.”  It seems people cannot comprehend coming to meet a new baby empty-handed and I don’t want to offend anyone. I also don’t want people to think that I don’t want their gifts just so I don’t have to buy them gifts! So I find myself at a confused crossroad.

Nevertheless, I will try my best over the next few months to only accumulate amazing babymoon memories…I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

How do you negotiate your minimalist lifestyle with your family and friends?

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Nesting in 2010

I am not a bird but I am nesting. Nesting is what animals do when they are expecting a baby. It’s about preparing a warm, comfortable home that will help the new baby survive. Birds gather twigs and leaves. Cats and dogs pad around until they find somewhere soft and warm and then they work on smoothing it out. Rodents scurry about searching for a low, dry place to birth and humans? Humans spend money.

We have lived in our home for over three years. It’s in a nice street, in a nice neighbourhood. The layout is great and we have more than enough room. When we bought it we knew there were improvements to make here and there but we were happy enough to have stopped renting and got on with life.

Magazines are a passion of mine and home decorating ones are no exception. So I’d peruse them with sticky notes in hand, visualising what our home may look like one day when we ran into a truckload of cash. Well the truckload never materialised but I did become pregnant…

Now there are just seven weeks to go until our little girl makes her entrance and I have had:

  • The entire house painted (including front door in a sexy deep blue)
  • New doors and door handles installed
  • Old wardrobes ripped out
  • Carpets ripped out
  • Floorboards sanded and varnished
  • All the windows professionally cleaned
  • New blinds installed

I have also bought new furniture, bedding and electricals and have a little list of items still to purchase once I’m on leave. On top of all this I am cleaning with gusto; mopping, soaking, wiping, disinfecting.

Thousands of years ago expectant women probably just swept out the cave with a broom made from animal hair. But not I. I often ask myself where these urges are coming from (nature or nurture?) because I know the newborn won’t come out admiring the white skirting boards and window frames. Nor will she notice that the books on the shelves are organised categorically or that her wardrobe has a double-hanging feature.

She may notice though that we don’t have any money left and we are living in a nest made of twigs and leaves…