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What We Learnt From ‘Less is Now’

The Minimalists are back with a new Netflix Documentary: Less is Now. This documentary is about why now is the time for less and how you can take the steps towards a simpler but more fulfilling life. Join us as we discuss the key messages of the documentary, what minimalism actually looks like and the ways you can declutter to embrace the principles of minimalist living.

 

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Episode Transcript

BONNIE: Hello and welcome! I am Bonnie.

LILY: and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised the podcast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organised and reclaim time for the things you love. 

MUSIC

LILY: Before we jump into today’s episode, we just want to do a shout out and say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to rate and review the podcast.  Bonnie and I are doing our best to keep the podcast add free and one of the ways that you can support us is actually by leaving a rating and review and it helps us keep the pod going, so if you do enjoy the Podcast and you haven’t left a rating and review we would be ever so grateful for you to do it. 

BONNIE: And if you are new and this is your first time listening to the Podcast, Hello and welcome I am Bonnie and I am a Professional organiser and I have been doing it now for 10 years, I am a mother of 3, a wife to a shift worker and you know of course we renovated our house for 5 years while having babies, your turn

LILY: So basically she is a busy woman who somehow keeps it together.  I am Lily, Bonnie’s equally organised sister or almost and

BONNIE: We might have to agree to disagree on that one

LILY: I too love organisation and I am also a student of psychology, so I am very interested in the thinking that goes on in our heads when it comes to chronic disorganisation and the struggles that we have to be motivated and to get on top of our stuff.  So if you are new, welcome and thanks for listening

BONNIE: Yes thanks for joining us and please share us. 

LILY: Ahh but today Bonnie we are talking about the latest on NetflixNetflix is pumping out some quality TV at the moment and one of the shows of course that we checked out was the little documentary by The Minimalists, their new minimalism show Less is Now. So, Bonnie for people who don’t know who the Minimalist’s are can you just give a quick summary. 

BONNIE: Sure so the minimalist are 2 blokes, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus and they have been best friends basically I think since grade 5 and they did the whole

LILY: The American dream

BONNIE: They chased the American dream, they both grew up poor, there was a lot of you know alcohol abuse and just dysfunctional families happening in their childhoods and so they both thought the way the escape all of that was to you know to get really well paying jobs and so they did the corporate dream, they did the you know the flash cars, the lovely houses, all the stuff but then they just found after a few years that they weren’t kind of happy, it was actually making them you know pretty depressed and stuff so I think about the time that they were both 30 they were like, lets not do this, lets make a change and Joshua was the first person to kind of embrace minimalism and make some big changes and then Ryan saw those changes happen and he was like, hey what’s going on with you, like you seem happy, that’s weird and so he ended up embracing minimalism and he went about it a really different way as the documentary kind of explains, so that was really cool, they both kind of went on this journey together embracing minimalism, throwing off all their stuff and then they decided hey this was really cool, we really enjoy new lifestyle now maybe there are other people who can learn from it and Joshua Fields Millburn in particular he is a really big writer so he actually teaches writing classes, they have got a podcast, they have had that for years now and they have got quite a lot of online learning’s.  They have got a couple of books, you know they are really cool guys, like I really admire the stuff that they are kind of teaching people, yeah very frank about it.

LILY: If minimalism is something that you have thought about and you are interested in embracing they have definitely got plenty of resources for you to engage with that lifestyle. 

BONNIE: Yeah which I think for me in particular, I always thought that minimalism was a bit different to what it actually is and so

LILY: The common misconception. 

BONNIE: Yeah it is a really common misconception, and now for the last I don’t know 4-5 years I have been going around teaching other people, this is what minimalism really is and this is how you can embrace some of those principles in your daily life rather than feeling like you have to kind of sell everything and downsize to a backpack this is actually what it can look like for a family of five

LILY: So today what we are going to do is just chat about a few of the key things that you and I saw when we were watching the documentary but then talk about the principles behind them and how you can incorporate them into your own life if minimalism is something that sounds good to you. 

BONNIE: I really liked with this documentary how it gave us a really good snapshot into both of their lives growing up an older, because this is not their first doco, this is actually their second, their first one was just called Minimalism and that was probably 4-5 years ago and that was probably the first thing I watched that really got me onto the minimalist and I was kind of really hooked from then, it was just really eye opening and this Less is Now doco was just a really good peek into, yeah what their lives had been like growing up and why they chased the American dream and why they chose to stop chasing it. 

LILY: One of the comments that one of them made in the doco was when did I start giving so much meaning to the stuff in my life and I just found that to be such a powerful question because we all do it, literally all of us do it and we assigned different meaning to different items but when did we start doing that, why do we do that and how do we break from that so that we are not controlled by our stuff. 

BONNIE: It is amazing isn’t it how free we feel when we travel or when we go on holidays

LILY: So light weight

BONNIE: We are light weight and yet we come home and we look at this stuff and we think oh you know I might feel burdened by a lot of clutter around or I can’t let go of that because of these reasons um and yet we know that we are not using things and that maybe their purpose is not being fulfilled and they would be better with someone else but we still can’t let go. 

LILY: And also this tendency to ascribe so much power to our stuff to make us feel good and I think that is one of the big messages coming from the minimalist that your stuff is not going to be the source of your happiness, relationships

BONNIE: And that is one of the quotes that the minimalists say at the end of their Podcast, which I absolutely love and it was taken from someone else’s quote you know earlier in the 20th century I believe but they have basically altered it a little bit and it basically says “Love people, use things” because the opposite never works.  

LILY: Mmm not the other way around. 

BONNIE: Yeah but how often do you find that your sacrificing a relationship with someone or spending time with someone because you have to clean up.  You know I can’t come do this with you on the weekend because I am cleaning up and you know I have to tidy up my garage

LILY: Or you are fixated on the lifestyle and the imagery that you have for success and so you are putting your everything into your work to earn bigger, to get ahead, to get the next step and don’t have time for people anymore and don’t have time to invest in those relationships. 

BONNIE: That is one of the saddest cycles that actually comes out a lot in society and we see this all the time because we are in peoples homes helping them declutter and helping them get organised and it is that typical we work full time, we work longer hours, we work in a high stress job and we earn really good money but we buy these toys to use on the weekends that we might get to use 2 or 3 times and we have this great idea of you know spending time with our family or our friends and having experiences but we get stuck in this cycle of wanting to buy the latest gadget of wanting to buy the latest experience maker and then having to work harder to be able to keep up with the demands of wanting to own those things, like every year we buy the latest model car, or every year we go on these particular trips, you know overseas

LILY: I think iPhones are a great example

BONNIE: Yeah

LILY: My husband and I are actually having a conversation on the weekend about iPhones because he has had, his phone has had a cracked screen and he has continued using it for like well over a year now potentially even 2, because we haven’t bit the bullet to buy another on yet and it happened early on in its life but we got talking about iPhones and he was saying something about how iPhones, he is using someone’s old iPhone but now all the apps are so updated and the technology is so different that the phone doesn’t actually let you put the new apps on it, so it actually perpetuates the cycle

BONNIE: It does

LILY: It means you that you have to actually keep buying, you have to keep upgrading, you have to keep having the latest which or course all of this stuff is not great for our planet but also you have to keep spending the money to keep upgrading to keep buying the things.  You were mentioning advertising before Bon, can you think of an add recently that you saw where it started feeding information into your brain and started making you think oh maybe I should do that, maybe I should want that, or I should consider it and then you act, what is one that comes to mind

BONNIE: It is really funny you say that because we don’t watch a lot of free to air TV, we pretty much stick to like your streaming

LILY: streaming yeah

BONNIE: Streaming kind of services because hey you can watch it on demand when you want and there is no adds, but we were on holidays on the Sunny Coast recently and the TV at the apartment didn’t have, it wasn’t a smart TV and we didn’t even take like a chrome cast or anything with us so we couldn’t stream to it, so we were watching you know just like a Wednesday night movie or something and so many adds and for some reason even though the movie only started at 7.30 or 8.30pm there were all these TV SN type adds you know like the hey buy this knife set, and if you call now

LILY: Ohhh daytime television

BONNIE: Yeah and there was one that was like a ladder and it was like this ladder can be changed for like 16 different types of ladders and there was actually a point where I was looking at it and I was like oh that’s actually really practical. 

LILY: That is very practical, I love a practical purchase

BONNIE: That is really cool, like we have got a really crappy old ladder and that could do for this, this and this and then I was like, what are you thinking, like just

LILY: Just get it together

BONNIE: Yeah you do not want to be one of those people that rings up and goes I would like to have the ladder please and the extra this and the extra… like it is just, it is just crazy the amount of extra bonus things that they throw in if you call within the next 10 minutes or if you are in the first 150 callers

LILY: Oh man we are such, guys we are not suckers, it is psychology, the people who are writing

BONNIE: I mean I feel like a sucker  

LILY: The people who are writing up these add plans, the people who are delivering this marketing to you understand the human psyche,  they understand our brains and how we operate, so when you sit down in front of daytime television and you go, daytime television oh look at this add, oh look at this ladder, oh but this ladder does this and this and this and this and if you buy it now, and they instil that sense of urgency in you, they are hooking you around the finger, they are convincing you that you need this and it would be foolish not to buy it and it would be like a really great addition to your household if you buy it and if you buy it now look at this other stuff that you will get for free and then you are left thinking I would be crazy not to buy this and then you bought it and you think a year down the track, oh I didn’t really need that ladder also now I have got a ridiculous number of knives, would like a chef knives, I have got to stop watching daytime television, but it can happen for any reason and I think that is what the point it, whether its that you are actively striving to buy things to live a certain lifestyle or whether it is just a product of the you know western society, consumeristic society that we living in, the point of the message is, we end up with a lot of stuff and we accumulate, we accumulate, we accumulate and one thing that we tend to not do is stop and start decluttering, start saying how much of this do I actually need and taking it back out of our house and before we know it and on this doco that they identify is people just end up with a house full of stuff, some not knowing how it happened but they are left thinking wow I don’t really have much space anymore for all this stuff, I need a bigger home and the cycle it continues. 

BONNIE: It is a vicious cycle and imagine if you could downsize your home by 60% because that it what the study that you UCLA did showed is that we only actually use 40% of our home, so imagine if you could not only get rid of the stuff that is taking up all that space but you could downsize and buy a  smaller house or a smaller property, imagine if your mortgage could be reduced just down to 40%.  Like the cost of living would be so much more affordable. 

LILY: We are going to take a quick break for a clutter confession and when we come back we are going to talk about how you can start to embrace the minimalist message. 

CLUTTER CONFESSIONS;

WACKY CONFESSIONS ANONYMOUS CALLER 1: Hey girls I have got a clutter confession, this one is a little embarrassing but um I will tell you anyway, so I recently turned 31 and I got my first grey hair but it is no grey it is kind of white so I was really actually very excited um of course I didn’t want it in my head so I pulled it out and I kept it, I kept it in a little box and then I got a second grey hair, white hair I should say and the same thing happened, I didn’t really want it in my head but I was also kind of excited, kind of proud, kind of in shock I guess so I plucked that little one out and popped it in the little box again, so that is what I have got that I have kept hold off that I probably shouldn’t have but there it is. 

BONNIE: That is, that is awesome

LILY: That is gold, that is silver, that is white

BONNIE:  Ohhh

LILY: I love it, I before I was 30 started getting greys but they were white and you know the first place I noticed them, was my eyebrows.

BONNIE: I thought you were going to say a different region

LILY: No, no

BONNIE: You know what I have two funny hair stories that you have just reminded me of, my eldest who is 6 when we was first born, actually no it was the youngest one, sorry when we was 2, no let me start that again, okay my 2 ½ year old when he was first born he had this one hair sticking out the side of his head that was way longer than any of the other hairs, like it was you know thumb to pinky finger kind of long, where as the rest were baby length, it stayed there for like nearly a year, it just fascinated us, like we looked at it so often and was like, you know we didn’t want to cut it or anything like that we just, it was so kooky but another funny hair story that I have to tell you which is totally dumping my husband in it, um he, this is also a white hair but he gets this one random hair that grows out of the side of his nose, right up the top near his eyes and this morning I went to look in his eyes and I could not talk to him without laughing because the hair had sprouted again and we take it out every little while once we see it but obviously I haven’t looked into his eyes for a while and I looked into his eyes this morning and I just started laughing and he was like, what and I was like the hair is back and he is like ohhh

LILY: you know what folks I think this is a message that we all need to look into our partners eyes lovingly a little bit more frequently. 

BONNIE: It is just one of those things, like we are mid 30s but we are getting hair in weird places you know

LILY: Well if you start really young, my son has a long white hair and has had it since he was born and his hair is flaming red so there you go

BONNIE: It is so bizarre isn’t it

LILY: Well if you have got a clutter confession, we would love to hear it, just head to our Facebook page and you just send it as an audio file, we absolutely love them and we keep them anonymous and love to share them on the pod so head on over and send one in.

MUSIC

BONNIE: Okay so let’s chat about how we can embrace minimalism, what it looks like and what are the small but practical steps we can take to start downsizing our life. 

LILY: So minimalism is not just owning one bike, one t-shirt, one book and one spoon to eat out of and one bowl to eat out of, it is an intentional idea of minimising our stuff and only using and having things in our home that we need, that doesn’t mean you cant have pot plants, that doesn’t mean you cant have decorative pieces on the wall but it means that each item that you have is intentional and we are not filling our house with excess so one of the things that you could consider doing that I believe Josh did when he first was challenging this idea that he had so much stuff was  can I say goodbye to one item in my house everyday and he did that for a month

BONNIE: Yes and they now have the Less is now or the minimalism game where you can actually pick a friend or a colleague and say hey we are going to have, lets do this game we will each do one thing every day but we will increase it for the number of days that we are on, so on day 10, you do 10 items all the way up to 30 and the idea being that the person who gets the furthest along the decluttering wins and the other person maybe takes them out for coffee or something like that, don’t buy them an item to celebrate their win, that it not the way

LILY: Consumables and experiences only

BONNIE: Consumables and experiences, or it you both get to the 30 days and you have chucked out a couple 100 items, go out together and celebrate with some sort of coffee experience of whatever just to say hey well done we got through this tough him, but interestingly enough Ryan Nicodemus the other minimalist, he did a totally different thing,

LILY: he did, he did a packing party, he took more of an intensive approach and this is probably how you and I are different Bonnie. 

BONNIE: We are different?

LILY: Yeah you keep calling me the activator now that I mention that to you, um so basically he looked at all of his stuff and said okay I am going to pack all my stuff into boxes so intense process but he brought his mate Josh over and they did together, he packed everything into boxes labelled it very very clearly, kept the boxes open, every time he needed something he went to the box and pulled it out and did that for a period of time until he had set his limit and then he looked at all these boxes with stuff that he had not touched and looked at all the stuff that he actually used and needed in his house and that allowed him to say wow I can get rid of all that stuff in boxes and the helpful thing was it was in boxes ready to go. 

BONNIE: Yeah although I have to admit there is some stuff that you would pack up that would be completely sentimental that yeah of course you don’t use it but it is sentimental and that is where people can become really unstuck with things like minimalism because they look at that and they go oh yeah but I don’t want to get rid of those things that are sentimental to me, well no one is saying that you have to, what is good to do with stuff like that is to have a boundary, so for us for example we have one box each and that is our memorabilia and once the box is full we have to get rid of some stuff

LILY: So whatever works for you, I think it is the concept that is important, it is the visual aid that helps you see how much of the stuff that is visually in your house do you actually use, versus what you think you actually use.  On a previous episode Bon we talked about Helping Seniors Downsize and one strategy that you can use is you can have them go through all the cupboards and wardrobes in their house and pick out the things that they want to take and everything that is left behind, you know a family friend or member can come in and they can help box it up and donate it, or throw it out or whatever is appropriate for that item.  So that is potentially if you are in a living situation where you could do something like that in your room, you know that is another option for you to consider as well. 

BONNIE: Yeah and you know the packing party strategy actually kind of gave birth to a strategy we now use at Little Miss Organised because I had read about the packing party 5 or 8 years ago or something and we call it a fake move, so we actually pack up you know whether it is the whole house or a room at a time and then move it out and then kind of pretend that we have just moved back in and we go and we unpack the furniture, we make sure all the furniture is all set up and we go this is the ideal amount of furniture in here we don’t want any extra, you know there are some pieces that were in here before but are not coming back in, they are getting donated or sold or whatever and then we start unpacking the boxes and it is like we are decluttering as we are unpacking and we are putting things back in and so if you are someone who you know you are not actually moving but you would like to declutter and you are feeling a little bit stuck and you can’t just go through a box at a time do the fake move strategy, pack it all up, experience what it is like to have that empty space and go around and start dreaming, okay what does that ideally look like, what do I want this space to look like, how do I want it to function and then start unpacking things and do your decluttering that way, like we have had lots of people who have used the fake move strategy and have just said it has changed my life.

LILY: Yeah it honestly does, I think that is why we are so passionate about doing the Podcast and talking about the stuff that we do and I think that is what, you can really tell that Ryan and Josh from the minimalist are so passionate because they lived a completely different lifestyle to what they are living now and they are happier that they have ever being, having so much less stuff and one of the things I remember them saying on the documentary on Netflix was by doing minimalism you are making room for life’s most important things, and those things are things. 

BONNIE: Yes I love that, I think that is so true and on that note a lot people might look at Josh and Ryan from the minimalist and thing well you are 2 single guys like what do I do if I have got a family, you know how do I be a minimalist with a family, well you know they have both got partners, Josh has I think she is  a 7 or 8 year old daughter now but there are other people like Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist who he has two kids and they are teenagers and he shows what it is like to be a minimalist family with kids and minimalism is something that we practice in our house as well, my husband probably struggles with it a bit more than I do but I just love it, it means that it is so much easier when it comes time to move the kids up to the next size in the clothes or to pack the toys away, like it is something we will constantly struggle with the tide of clutter and the tide of stuff because we have got a lot of people in our lives who love us and want to bless us with things but slowly we are trying to transition people into buying more experienced based gifts and consumable gifts and things that will leave lasting memories.

LILY: Yeah make those memories with them. 

BONNIE: Yeah because memories are far more important

LILY: What I loved after you and I watched this documentary Bonnie, was you were feeling so inspired which is such a classic reaction to any documentary that anyone watches, you come out feeling either really motivated or really depressed about the state of the world, and you turned around and you were like kids okay because they had ended up I think they had finished their rest time and they had slowly petered their way in at the end of the documentary and they sat down and watched with us and you were like alright everyone head up to your bedroom and pick one toy that we are going to say goodbye to and I love that because I am so use to it now and other people might be sitting there and being like oh this oh you know what is with this woman and I am like standard behaviour from Bonnie, and your two kids they ran upstairs and they went through their stuff and they were like really excited, oh what are we going to pick, what are we going to pick, they both picked pet rocks which I think was really really smart on their part

BONNIE: Oh

LILY: No big giant you know toys came out but the pet rocks, they were like I think it is time to say goodbye to these

BONNIE: And what of course did I do with the pet rocks, I put them in the garden

LILY: Oh did you, but it was a really important thing that you did and this is something that we can encourage anyone to do as well, is to teach your kids how to say goodbye to things and we have talked about this in previous episodes like when we did children’s artwork, helping children be a part of the decision making process helps them build skills and habits around stuff so that as they get older and as they start to earn income and they can make choices about buying things helping them know that things come in, that things also need to go out as well and that value is not completely based on stuff, our value comes from our relationships and our connections with other people and other things that are important as well. 

BONNIE: So lets talk about this weeks tidy task, if you have got Netflix your tidy task is to watch the Less is Now documentary or the minimalism one if you haven’t actually seen that, that is a really good one to watch as well otherwise if you are not on Netflix I would highly suggest that you actually look up the minimalist podcast, find an episode that really resonates with you and just have a listen to it because you never know it could be the catalyst that you need in your life to finally click over and be able to let do of all that stuff that is kind of holding you down.   

LILY: And if you are ready to make a change in your home but you are not quite sure how to do it, we have resources available just for you so head to the website littlehomeorganised.com.au if you hit /organising cheat sheet you will be able to check out a free resource that you can download and that it just lays out the steps to go through a room from start to finish but if you are needing something a bit more you are wanting more guidance you want recommendations on what products to use in specific rooms and tips straight from the professional organising industry we also have something just for you guys as well. 

BONNIE: That is called the Essential Guide, so also head to the Little Home organised website www.littlehomeorganised.com.au  check out the Essentials Guide which was designed by the team at Little Miss Organised for the time poor parent and it can help you organise any and every space in your home.  

LILY: The thing that is so great about this course it is on line, you can do it whenever you have got time available, you can work your way through room after room and you get specific tips so if you are really struggling to envisage how you can make that chaotic toy room work for you then you go to the toy room section and it will show you the specific products that we recommend that will help you organise that space and same thing for be it the panty or the bedroom

BONNIE: And if life gets in the way as it tends to do, you have got lifetime access to that course so you can always come back to it. 

LILY: And if you aren’t already following us on socials, we would love to see you there.  Okay so that is it for this weeks episode we hope you have enjoyed it, we certainly love talking all things minimalism so thank you for lending us your ears this week. 

BONNIE: And remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. 

LILY: See you later

BONNIE: Bye

We would love to see the conversation continue, head over to the Little Home Organised Community group on Facebook, ask questions, find motivation and share your before and afters, and if you enjoyed the show please help us going by hitting subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or where ever you listen.  It is free and ensures you do not miss and episode but if you really want to share the love leave us a rating and review.  Trust me it makes all the difference in the world.