Simplify Your Life

During my Google research of slow living info this morning  I found the website simplify.de (unfortunately only German) by Werner Kuestenmacher, a protestant theologian in Bavaria, who started in 1990 as a freelance writer, cartoonist and speaker.

The cartoon with the seven-stage simplify pyramid reminded me a little bit of my own mess, so I immediately subscribed to the newsletter … and also ordered the book Simplify Your Life by Werner Kuestenmacher and Lothar J. Seiwert.

In the next few weeks I’ll tell you about my self-experiment with the implementation of the tips.  I will keep myself largely to the seven-stage simplify pyramid, but also include other sources, for example, The 7 Secrets of the turtle by Aljosha Long and Ronald Schweppe (unfortunately this book is only available in German), Cut the Clutter by Cynthia Ewer and others.

And now a brief description of the Simplify pyramid:

  • Level 1: Things
    Simplify things on your desk, in your wardrobe, in your apartment, in the garage, in your car – in that order and without separation between private and business utensils.
     
  • Level 2: Finances
    A difficult issue that is more difficult to manage than the chaos at home and in the office. We are talking about cash, account balances, debt, loans, savings, expenses and about mental blocks in dealing with money.
     
  • Level 3: Time
    Organizing the daily 24 hours, in order to get more meaningful free time. Time for your partner, children, friends, bosses, relatives, but also for the daily routines, hobbies, and especially for yourself, time to reflect, recharge your batteries, do nothing.
     
  • Level 4: Health
    Avoid diseases in the long run, achieve a healthy interaction between body and mind, and thus a healthy relationship with your own sexuality, eg. by losing weight, healthy diet, relaxation exercises.
     
  • Level 5: Relationships
    Social relationships can be complicated and often lead to intrigues, disputes, jealousy, bullying. Therefore, it is important to become free for contacts that really enrich.
     
  • Level 6: Partnership
    A partnership does not necessarily exist between spouses or partners; this can also be special friends, relatives, or other important relationships or God for religiously oriented people.
     
  • Level 7: You yourself
    The top of the pyramid. The goal is the realization of your own idea of happiness and fulfillment, the meaning of life.
     

I am looking forward to the result and to your comments.

Literature:

Links of the Week

This time I have to disappoint you … I can only provide German “Slow Living” Links at the moment. But in a short time you may find also English homepages here. So please come back soon.

I wish you a great weekend

Don’t toss it – repair it

Reparatur-Café

We live in a throwaway society. Unfortunately, one of our gadgets is broken and we consider whether it is worth to have it repaired. We quickly decide that a repair is more expensive than buying a new device.  And certainly the item ends up in the waste.  Often enough in household waste, although it is actually e-waste.  Admittedly for many repairs you need a certain expert knowledge and appropriate tools.

One solution for non-amateur crafters: why not ask your friends or neighbours.  And in return offer your expertise.  Sure you can find a bulletin board somewhere in your vicinity, e.g. in the supermarket.

Repair Café

Another positive trend are Repair-Cafés, originally from Holland – initiated by Martine Postma in 2007.  Usually they are organized by local economic agents, volunteers and repair experts; you can bring your defective items to fix them and – most of all – together with the experts.  You receive valuable tips and instructions for making it yourself.

The particular benefit of this project

  • waste prevention
  • environmental protection
  • sustainablility
  • learning
  • knowledge preservation
  • contacts
  • appreciation

The required tools and materials for the repair of furniture, appliances, clothing, toys and bicycles are largely available, e. g. carpentry tools, tools for electrical appliances, sewing accessories.  Having coffee, tea and cake you can now screw, solder, cut, sew.  You may also find interesting books about repair and home improvement on a reading table.  The chance of success is actually the greatest when you bring all the cables, accessory and operating instructions.

Locations

There are now Repair-Cafés in 15 countries worldwide, e. g. the Netherlands, Germany, France, USA, Australia.  Here you will find a list of cafés near you.  By the way, if you want to open your own Repair-Café, you receive a lot of support and information – and all at a very reasonable price.

What do you prefer? Repair it or toss it? Please tell me your experiences?

Get rid of old and odd things

declutter 15 minutes

In a previous post I have already written about decluttering.  Our goal is to lead a “simpler” life with more time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Let us look around.  Do the files pile up on your desk? What is the appearance of your apartment?  The garden? You hope to get a better overview? Too many knick-knacks in the way.  The stunted plant on the windowsill is not motivating, too.  Piles of documents, all waiting to be read.  And then the kitchen, the wardrobe, the nursery, the garage, the attic …  Pretty much ballast …  And this ballast blocks us.

The first important discovery:  Clutter cannot be organised.

 

With what do we start?

Everything visible.

 

Where do we start?

Everyone needs to find out for oneself.  I start in the living room and work my way from there to the other rooms. The garden follows later.  It’s winter now … (At least in the Northern Hemisphere)

 

How do we start?

I set a timer to 15 minutes, take a garbage bag and a box or more bags and grab a duster and a damp cloth.  Anything can be done for 15 minutes.  For each part, I now have to make a tough decision:

  • waste or not repairable – into the garbage bag
  • seasonal items – in a labelled box
  • keep it – clean it

    I take pictures of valuable items and file them with purchase date and price (ideally with proof of purchase) in an inventory folder

  • items with emotional value that don’t match the furnishings – in a labelled box
  • items that you do not like, but are too good or too valuable for waste – give away or sell

    Books to the public library, dresses for second-hand shop, tableware and decoration to the flea market

You will see, in 15 minutes you can accomplish a lot.  And now have fun with decluttering.  Important: throw the filled garbage bag immediately in the bin!

And now we repeat this every day!

How do you declutter?  Do you have any other suggestions? Just write me.  The best ideas will be published here?

Slow Living

Zeit zum Entschleunigen

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“Slow Living means structuring your life around meaning and fulfillment. Similar to “voluntary simplicity” and “downshifting,” it emphasizes a less-is-more approach, focusing on the quality of your life. …  Slow Living addresses the desire to lead a more balanced life and to pursue a more holistic sense of well-being in the fullest sense of the word.”

(Wikipedia)

Live a full life, give the “spent” time sense and meaning – Desires, that come into everybody’s mind more or less,  whose implementation,  however,  get stuck in the daily “rat race” all to often, the restless and mostly meaningless race in a hamster wheel.

Deciding to immediately bring more quality to the everyday activities and life in general  through  deceleration is a first step, no more. Unfortunately the all that willingly used proverb “The first step is always the hardest” doesn’t really apply, but the  much more accurate “Starting is easy, insisting is art”.

Why this blog? 

“Slow Living” is intended to be a continuing source of information. With a variety of suggestions and arguments he tries to replace the kick in the ass;  the kick that shall assist probably the most important aspect of decelerating your life:  sustainability, the long-term persistence of your motivation.

So stay tuned!

Goal for all of us is a fulfilling life: not waiver in itself, but the proliferation of the joy of life!

That does not mean a “Back to the Middle Ages” attitude, a mere simplification in terms of “no car, no tv in the home – voila life is decelerated.” Detailed information and consequent decisions will yield a reasonable way.

No area of personal and social, and presumably also of political life will remain unconsidered, neither in the short term, nor in the context of sustainable, long-term perspective.

We want to make you fit for the many small and big decisions in the field of tension between renunciation and supersaturation, quantity and quality, expenses and results – all in a fun way – you can find your individual “right” pleasure somewhere in the middle.

Slow Living
Slow Living – Time for you, time for friends

We are most excited to see in what way this blog will evolve, not least through the fact that our daily work on it will take influence on the progress of our own lives.  We want you to contribute in many different ways.  So please feel encouraged.

Do what you gives pleasure and enjoy what you do!