How To Say No To Stuff You Don’t Want

When my fiance and I moved into our new house we were given a lot of things – furniture, cutlery, crockery, towels, rugs, bedding and many other things. It were great to start with as we didn’t have to spend money on things that weren’t that important to us but it meant it became an expectation that any time someone didn’t want something that they would give it to us and we would be grateful. Except we weren’t.

So how do you go from just accepting everything thrown at you to saying no? Well it goes a little something like this –

  • ‘Thank you but no, I do not need anymore cushions/towels/cheese knives.’

If they insist or kick up a fuss –

  • ‘Thank you but again no, I don’t want it.’

If they keep insisting –

  • ‘As I’ve already said, no. Please stop insisting.’

Hopefully this is enough to stop them from continuing but if it doesn’t you may need to ignore it and change the subject –

  • ‘Have you tried that new Spanish tapas place around the corner yet?’

Alternatively you can just tell them to get out of your house for making you so uncomfortable.

I get it. This can be a difficult conversation to have and its mostly difficult because you’ve changed the script that the other person is used to. But that isn’t your problem, it’s theirs. So keep doing what you need to to make yourself clear. Steer away from ending anything with ‘right now’ because it implies that you are happy for them to try again and that is giving mixed signals. Be clear, direct and as polite as you need to be, remembering that its ok to decrease the level of politeness the more you have to repeat yourself.

Intentional Spending

I feel like I’ve been spending so much money lately that I thought it was time to reign that back in. I want to be more purposeful with my spending, to anticipate and plan my purchases instead of reacting to wants and things on sale. This has partly been inspired by my road to minimalism. I’m also going to start keeping track of my purchases again because I find it interesting to see exactly what my ‘I don’t know where all my money has gone’ money is being spent on.

So these are my intentional purchases for this month.

  • 2 birthday presents – $20 for the first and $50 for the second as it’s a 30th.
  • Dinner and drinks out for the first mentioned birthday – $100
  • Half of my eye brow appointment that I already have booked in – $320
  • An outdoor dog bed as the bed now is riddled with bugs and has been destroyed – up to $100
  • Dinner, drinks and parking before a concert – $100
  • Nibbles and food for my birthday – up to $200

I’ve also added a list of additional purchases. They’re purchases that don’t need to be made in a certain month – they’re more for when I’m looking for something but can’t really find exactly what I’m after so I want to keep an eye out for them.

This is my list of additional purchases.

  • Black loafers/shoes for work – up to $150
  • A new water bottle that tallies how many bottles have been drunk, is BPA free and made of glass – $50
  • Single serve bowls that can be microwaved x 4 – up to $50

All those purchases add up to pretty much all my spending money for the month so I’ll need to re-jig groceries as my fiance and I tend to eat expensive even at home. Or, he can pay for it all which to me is a much better system. It’ll also mean no impromptu dinners out, unless fiance is paying and no ‘just cuz’ purchases. To tell the truth even my ‘just cuz’ purchases get forgotten about. I have magazines that I’ve purchased every month this year that I still haven’t read. I have new books that I haven’t even started, I have new nail polishes even though I don’t really paint my nails anymore so it seems that I’m just spending money for the sake of it rather than because I really needed it or thought deeply about it.

I’m hoping that this will help me really think about what I’m purchasing and why I’m purchasing something. Do I really need it or do I simply want it?

Goal Update – March

March was a busy month. We got word that our renovations would be starting in April so I spent a lot of my weekends at Reece’s and Beaumont Tiles picking out fixtures and fittings and toilets and flooring and mixers and toilet roll holders – did you know that you can buy toilet roll holders that cost $300? Yea I didn’t a few weeks ago either.

Anyway here is my update.

Health

  • To reduce body fat by 5% through exercise and eating well in 6 months
    My heart still isn’t quite into this goal and I’ve realised that it’s because if I fail I know I have no one to blame but myself. So if I do it half-heartedly and succeed, well that’s great for me but if I fail then it’s not really a surprise. It’s something I’m working on. The benefit of this goal is even if I don’t reach it, my exercise routine is far more consistent in the last two months than it has been in years. I’ve quit the gym because I just don’t enjoy going but I’ve signed up to start playing netball so hopefully that’ll amp up my enthusiasm. I’ve also stopped weighing myself weekly. I felt I was getting back to that unhealthy mentality of everything being about a number so I may just do it once a month from now on. Don’t want to fall back into old habits.
  • To not smoke for 90 days
    It’s been 84 days since my last cigarette so I’m 93% through. I still at times quite enjoy the smell of cigarettes but the cravings have mostly subsided.
  • To exercise 4 times a week for 3 months
    I’m probably averaging 3 times a week at the moment. I generally do a 10 min yoga routine once a day but I’m not including that as exercising when it’s on its own. The next couple of months will be made harder as my house will be getting renovated, its raining a lot more and its getting dark and chilly quickly.

Financial

  • To save $250 a month for 20 months in order to enrol into a life/health coaching course.
    I’ve popped March’s $250 into a bank account.
  • Arrange to pay $200 a month to HECS debt by March.
    I still haven’t actually attempted to make a payment yet but I have $400 sitting in a bank account accruing interest waiting to be paid off.
  • Only purchase lunch one Friday a month and bring lunch from home all other work days.
    I’ve bought lunch twice. Both times were burgers and despite being really good at the time, made me feel quite sick afterwards. I’m getting to the point where I’m actually paying attention to whether I really like something or I just think I do so I think that’ll limit buying lunches. Its interesting that all you really need to do is be organised but some days I simply can’t be bothered.

Lifestyle

  • Declutter, throw out/donate and organise one space each month for 12 months.
    As we are starting renovations in a couple of weeks I didn’t focus on one space in March, rather I focused on what needs to be gone before the works start. I gave away an unused bass guitar and amp, a couple of paintings, a massive TV cabinet, an exercise bike and a few other bits and pieces. This also involved moving around furniture so it’s out of the way

Personal

  • To be able to do a split on left and right leg by the end of 2017
    Left is still very close. I can’t really see a difference between last month and this month but I’m at that stage where the last couple of centimetres takes FOREVER. Right feels like it’s getting a bit closer. I haven’t even attempted straddle yet but I do notice that when I stretch with my legs apart and lean forward I’m getting closer to the ground.
  • To be able to do a back and front walkover by the end of 2017
    I can hold a back-bend for a lot longer than previously so I think the arm strength is definitely improving. My legs and hands also feel closer together than previously so my back is obviously stretching more. I only notice this if I stretch in the afternoon – in the mornings I’m still tight so it’s harder to see a difference.

Minimalist March didn’t go exactly to plan. I got to day 17 and then stopped because I had to focus on getting rid of other big ticket items that I mentioned above. I did throw out a heap of items so that was really good and did another wardrobe clean out which was then donated to a local charity shop.

Digital Detox

I’ve realised that there are times when I feel really anxious and restless and I could never really work out why. When I stopped to take note, my life was pretty much in order. I slowly came to realise that whilst I was working on detoxing my life, I was only really focusing on the physical aspect of it. I was working on getting rid of clothes, books, dvds, cds, house hold items. I even went so far as to ditch friends and relationships that were no longer sustaining me or were giving me too much anxiety. What I wasn’t doing was focusing my energy on one of the biggest sources of anxiety amongst young adults these days – the digital space.

Whilst social media is a necessary way of life now, it can also be really overwhelming. It’s so easy to get lost inside the digital space because it takes up so little physical space but can be a really big stressor.

This is what I do when I feel it’s all a bit too much.

  1. Emails – Clear out your inbox. If it’s not urgent, contain important information or require an action from you, get rid of it. Either delete it or put it into a relevant folder for you to refer to when you need to.
  2. Email Folders – Speaking of moving things into folders, go through your folders. I went through mine a couple of weeks ago and found online receipts from 2008. Considering it was just clothing that I had ordered, I really didn’t need to keep it.
  3. Email Subscriptions – When I get new emails from companies, I literally take a second to decide whether I want the subscription to continue or end. Most of the time I end it. If it’s a newsletter or something like that but you find yourself always saying ‘I’ll read that later’ just unsubscribe because history tells you that you won’t ever go back to it. Alternatively you can create a number of email accounts to help you manage different aspects. I have one that is used solely for online purchases, another that is solely for newsletters and subscriptions, a personal one for important matters and a fourth one for blogging and an online presence.
  4. Social Media – If you don’t actively use and enjoy a certain social media platform, get rid of it. I love the idea of Twitter but I just don’t use it or care enough to want to use it. So I got rid of it.
  5. Facebook friends – Now this is a hard one because it can get complex. There are people that I used to work with or went to uni with who I’ve deleted off Facebook and tbh, I can’t imagine the other person has cared too much. However there are people who may be on there who cause you stress but you can’t delete them without it becoming a much bigger issue than you’re willing to deal with. If this is the case I strongly recommend fiddling around with your settings and lists and finding a solution that works for you. You can choose to limit what you see of theirs and you can also choose to limit what people can see of yours.
  6. Instagram followers – Instagram is a bit of a funny platform in that it’s pretty much the most prevalent one to give you FOMO or making you feel like shit because you didn’t have a 5 ingredient super smoothie and go for a 10km hike before the crack of dawn. So if anyone on there makes you feel like crap or doesn’t share our outcome or values, unfollow.
  7. Pinterest – Go through your pins and decide whether you want to keep them or delete them. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll know which projects and articles you’ll get around to doing/reading and which you won’t.

Doing these things has really helped me with my mindset. I feel that now I’m working on creating a stress and anxiety free existence in all areas of my life and that makes me smile.

I’ve also become very aware of how much time I spend on my phone checking things like emails, facebook and instagram. I know I’m not as bad as some people but I really thought I was better than most but the stats don’t lie. I downloaded an app called Digital Detox where I can shut off my phone for a set amount of time and I accumulate points in doing so. I don’t really know what the points do but it’s a good way to cut down your usage. It also tells you how often you’ve checked your phone and what percentage of time you’ve spent on particular apps. It’s actually quite an eye-opener.

What are your thoughts on a digital detox?

Things I’ve Discovered When Taking A Minimalist Approach

I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of stuff I have at home by taking on a minimalist approach. Here are some things I’ve discovered along the way

1. Saying “thank you but no.” Its ok to say no when someone offers you something. This was probably the hardest thing I had to do because I’m all about saving money when purchasing things that I don’t really want but need, so saying yes is easy. However the problem starts when people expect you to say yes and end up dumping their junk on you. Only say yes if you really want the item. Even if it means saying “yes I’ll take the big kitchen knife but I don’t need the entire set.”

2. Following on from number 1, this can also include people asking to use your space for storage. My partner and I have somehow ended up with big items from friends/family to ‘store for a short period of time.’ So far we have a portable air con, a portable heater, an 8 seater outdoor setting, a wardrobe and other smaller items. I wish I had just said no because those items cause me so much anxiety every time I look at them (side note: yes, I am working on getting their owners to pick them up).

3. It’s ok to have a few items that you indulge in. Mine are books, dvds and cds. No matter what, I’ll very rarely get rid of these things and consistently add to my collections. What I can do though is to store them out of the way and make sure that other items don’t start adding up.

4. Now when I go shopping, I actually think about what I need. Do I need another lip gloss or can I use one of the four I already have at home? Do I need a new brush or do I just want a new one? There are times when I get anxious out shopping because I feel like I need to spend/buy something but in reality I don’t and that feeling passes pretty quickly. The flip side to this is that buying in bulk can save you money in the long run. There are a pair of jeans from Cotton On that I love and are $30 so they’re already cheap. But Cotton On recently had a 40% off sale so the jeans ended up being around $18. I go through them quite quickly so I ended up buying 4 more pairs. I ended up saving almost $50 for jeans that I would have eventually bought anyway.

5. I ask myself “Do I have space for this?” If the answer is no, then I don’t bring it home. Think about what you already have and whether you have space for another item. If you don’t, think about what you want to give up in order to fit in the new item – it’s called the one in-one out policy.

6. Other people can get a bit uppity about your decision to cut down your spending, as if it’s a direct response to them. That’s ok. Sometimes when you change your lifestyle it forces other people to think about their own. If they feel like you’re making a judgement on them, that’s ok even if it isn’t true. Their feelings are valid. But its in no way your fault or your responsibility.

7. Its very easy to get jealous of other people’s new possessions but its important to remember why you’re reducing yours. Always remember your end game. It will be different from everyone else’s but its still a decision you set out to make. I want to reduce my possessions because I don’t want to be defined by the things I own/have. I want to simplify my life and live well within my means. I want to have fewer possessions but better quality ones. I want to replace items as I need, not buy new ones before the old ones expire.

8. Splurging once in a while isn’t going to ruin everything. Besides, it helps keep things in perspective and helps you appreciate them even more. I’ve stopped drinking during week nights and it makes that glass of wine on the weekend all the more enjoyable because its not an everyday occurrence.

For the most part, my impulse purchases have greatly reduced. When I’m out in Kmart, Target or Priceline (my weaknesses) I end up putting back more than half the things I pick up before I get to the checkout because I think about my end game. I think about whether it’s going to add value to my life, whether I really need it and whether I have the space for it.

What are your tips and tricks for getting rid of things?

What Minimalism Means To Me

If you do a quick image search on minimalism you get a whole lot of pictures of exposed brick walls, grey-scale piers and landscapes, empty rooms and neat closets with very little in them. And white. Lots of white.

But what actually is it?

According to the boys over at The Minimalists,  ‘Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.’

My interpretation of the above phrase – it’s a lifestyle about really accepting who you are and letting go of the person you think you want to be.

Take me for example. I want to be the woman who wears stunning dresses and has immaculate makeup. I want to wear beautiful lingerie, stockings and heels. But I’m lazy, I’d rather sleep in and I find those things uncomfortable. Over the years I’ve collected bright, floral dresses that I’ve never worn because of this image of myself that I aspire to which is just not me – I don’t like colour. I also don’t like floral. Most of my wardrobe is black, white, navy and grey. I also don’t love dresses because I find them uncomfortable and hate having to make sure that I’m not exposing myself.

I think minimalism is a concept that really resonates with people because we’re realising as a whole that stuff doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Advances in technology are making it easier for us to experience things we weren’t able to 10 years ago and we’re beginning to see a much bigger perspective of what life could be about.

I think so many of us get caught up in what we have because it’s easy to measure. It’s easy see how successful you are when you have physical things. You can say to yourself ‘yes I have two cars, a house, a holiday home and expensive art’ and know that that usually translates to success. Because to tell the truth, if anyone defined success as ‘being happy with who you are’ people would probably look at you a little funny.

It’s a hard concept to define and we all know we love definitions and labels.

So this is what I do know –

It’s about ensuring that everything in your life brings you some sort of joy. It’s about ridding yourself of the negative things that bring you down – whether its the millions of knick-knacks you have no idea what to do with or a relationship that has run well past its course. It’s about making a conscious decision to live in the moment and appreciate what you have in life.

Minimalism looks different on everyone. I love reading and will probably never get rid of my books but for someone for whom books are a source of displeasure, then it makes perfect sense to get rid of them (please donate!).

It can be difficult though, wanting to dive deep but I think it’s important to really think things through without getting caught up. I’ve talked to many people who have jumped right in, thinking minimalism is ridding yourself of everything and ended up regretting it.

Ultimately I really do believe its about staying true to yourself. You *can* have 100 pairs of shoes and still adhere to a minimalist lifestyle. You *can* have an overcrowded bookshelf and still be a minimalist. Its about doing what makes *you* happy, and not following someone else’s rules.

What does minimalism mean to you?

Goal Update – January

January has been an interesting month. As usual, the month has passed so slowly but so quickly at the same time. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot but at the same time I feel that I’ve done nothing of note this month.

But I wanted to check in and see how I’m going with my goals and despite saying I feel like I’ve done a lot this month, I really haven’t when it’s come to tackling the goals I’ve set for myself.

Here are my goals and a breakdown of my progress so far (here’s a hint – I’m not going great!)

Health

  • To reduce body fat by 5% through exercise and eating well in 6 months
    Well, this one I haven’t actually started. I ordered one of those fancy scales that calculates your BMI, water mass, muscle density, body fat etc but I didn’t receive it until the day before I went on holidays. Seeing as I only got back yesterday, this goal will be delayed a month and will start today.
  • To not smoke for 90 days (I’ve changed this goal to 90 days instead of 3 months as it’s easier to measure)
    My last cigarette was on the 14th January – well technically the 15th January as it was around 3am but I’m counting it as the 14th Jan. So far I haven’t smoked in 18 days which is 16.2% of my goal achieved!
  • To exercise 4 times a week for 3 months
    This one isn’t going well and I feel like it has to do with the first goal not starting as soon as I wanted but today is a new day (and month) so I’ll be imploring myself to stick to this one.

Financial

  • To save $250 a month for 20 months in order to enrol into a life/health coaching course.
    This one I will start in February. It didn’t click that my last orthodontist payment would come out of my January pay and therefore I wouldn’t have that money to put into savings.
  • Arrange to pay $200 a month to HECS debt by March.
    Still have a month to do this one which is handy as I had no idea that everyone who works in finance on my site would be away for the majority of January.
  • Only purchase lunch one Friday a month and bring lunch from home all other work days.
    This has not worked at all. I’ve bought lunch 3 times at work because I’d bought in salad and I wanted a burger. This one I will definitely work on.

Lifestyle

  • Declutter, throw out/donate and organise one space each month for 12 months.
    First space done! Redid my wardrobe and have a couple of large bag full of donations. I have no idea how I keep managing to donate so much when I’m only really buying to replace things. I must be looking at my things in a new light and not attaching so much emotion to them.

Personal

  • To be able to do a split on left and right leg by the end of 2017
    Still working on this one. My left split is closer than my right one but I’m pretty confident I’ll achieve this one by the end of the year. If I do it earlier I’ll start working on my straddle split.
  • To be able to do a back and front walkover by the end of 2017
    Backbends are a bit funny for me as whether I can hold them really depends on how I’m feeling. I have noticed that my arms are a bit straighter and my feet and hands aren’t as far apart as they initially were.

So I’m not doing super great on my goals so far but you know what? It doesn’t really matter. The point is I have things that I’m working towards and even if a day/week/month isn’t great, it doesn’t mean giving up.

How are you progressing with your goals?