How to consume less and create more in your life
When we were kids we used to save the wrapping paper off of our birthday and Christmas gifts. Back then I probably thought that was pretty naff! We didn’t have large chain stores and importing was mega expensive… so a lot of what we wanted or needed was made at home… or shopped for with intention and purpose.
We didn’t have bulging wardrobes. We got a new set of Summer clothes and a new set of Winter clothes each year as we outgrew things. We had a favourite Winter jumper. Not 10. We wore hand me downs. We had a good dress, and a good pair of shoes. Things were simple.
We kept the ribbons off of things to use again and I remember making dolls furniture with my dad in the garage… and creating dolls clothing out of offcuts from my mum’s sewing box. I absolutely loved those days. We created stuff because it wasn’t readily available to buy. But, there was also so much pleasure in creating.
Mum and dad pickled onions in season and stewed fruit while it was plentiful. Mum made and froze vegetable soup and preserved orchard fruit in season.
There’s something really magical about creating your own food. About making something… taking the time… bottling it… and seeing the results lined up in your pantry.
We need to get back to consuming less. To slow down and take the time to think about our purchasing decisions, about our consumption of things in excess. We need to think about what we are using, buying, wasting, throwing away.
We need to take a look at how we are depleting resources, destroying the planet, and making ourselves miserable in the process.
5 surprising ways to consume less
1. Figure out your true why
Discovering your true why is incredibly powerful. Why are you working on that project? Why are you in that job? Why do you want to live in that suburb or home or city? Why are you pursuing that hobby?
Defining your beliefs and your values is the perfect place to start…. Figuring out who you are and what guides you. Being mindful of aligning your actions with your values and ensuring that you’re taking action towards creating the life you actually want each day.
By aligning yourself to your true why you’re less likely to purchase things that are meaningless. Less likely to waste time or money on things that don’t add value to your journey and more likely to act mindfully in your everyday decisions.
2. Meal prep and cook at home
Meal prep for me means making sure that I have a cupboard and fridge full of staples that I can easily create a nourishing meal for me and my family from. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I prepare food in advance for the week. It means being in control of the staples that I know will nourish myself and my family.
It means that no matter what I’ll have a go to meal ready in no time at all because I know I have the ingredients handy.
Meal prep for me means keeping foods like gluten free pasta, canned tomatoes, rice, fresh vegetables and lean meat in my fridge and pantry.
It means making sure I have vegan cheese and coconut cream. It means ensuring there is always almond milk and frozen berries on hand.
It simply means that I can create healthy and no fuss meals without having to overthink. Keeping my mind calm and my purchasing habits reigned in by not having to pop out to the markets frequently… or buy take out.
I know I can whip up burgers and wedges on a busy day… because I have gluten free free range chicken cuts in the freezer… I have frozen burger buns… I have tomatoes, onions and all the condiments. I know that I needn’t spend lots of money on takeaways when we are feeling frazzled or just want an easy dinner.
My Pantry staples
- Gluten free pasta
- White rice
- Canned tomatoes
- Pasta sauce
- Vegetable and chicken stock
- Almond milk
- Steel cut Oats
- Plant based protein powder
- Canned fruit
- Gluten free bread crumbs
My Fridge and freezer staples
- Gluten free free range chicken burger
- Potato wedges
- Frozen blueberries
- Frozen raspberries
- Lean free range chicken
- Lean minced beef
- Coconut yogurt
- Vegan cheese
- Seasonal vegetables and fruits
- Free range Eggs
- Free range bacon
You can go one step further here and grow your own food! Keep some chickens… plant some herbs… or grow some berries or vegetables.
3. Buy quality – know your preferences
It’s so much easier to not get tempted by all the shiny pretty things when you know your preferences and you know your style.
I know which brands of underwear and bras I love. Calvin Klein is always my go to. It lasts! And it’s comfy and stylish. I know which brands of skincare I love and which ones work for me and are not too expensive. I’m never left thinking I should buy something just because I’m told it’s great by good marketing.
Get to know which brands and products you love and will always go back to time and time again. This way it is much easier to not get caught up in the moment at the store or online! Or be dazzled by pretty lights!
I basically wear the same thing every single day. I know my clothing preferences and what looks good on me. I know the styles and brands I love and I know what suits me. I create a capsule wardrobe… and when I get dressed in the morning there’s zero stress!
My wardrobe is uncluttered and I absolutely love everything in there. I also know that when I shop for clothes I’m not wasting my money on something that I might not wear.
4. Get organized
Declutter- see what you have and cherish it.
This one’s powerful for me. Getting rid of stuff is empowering. Regularly decluttering your home and keeping only what is cherish or what is useful allows you to create space for both your mind and your physical presence.
Donating the things that are still great but no longer useful to you means we are giving them a second life. It also means we make space in our lives for those things that matter most. Those things that will help carry us towards our journey and those things that help us reach our goals.
Easily being able to find things makes our lives less chaotic and also means we are never simply replacing items that are lost or neglected.
Creating space for our things means everything has its place and everything is where it intuitively should be. Making us feel calm and in control.
By decluttering we are also making room in our minds to stop having to mentally take care of all the stuff! We can rest easy knowing we have what we need and we know we are grateful for those things.
5. Create goals
Knowing what you want and how you’ll get there is a massive jump in thinking. If you can take the time to actively plan your goals and what you want to achieve you’ll spend less time chasing the things that will not add value to your life. You’ll create more, and consume less.
Creating goals allows you to become laser focussed on what’s most important in your life and allows the things that are cluttering your life to fall away.
Mindful living means we don’t get distracted. We don’t mindlessly consume with no thought of how it’s adding to our long term goals.
Knowing where you’re heading and why.. .and what’s truly important to you means you make better decisions each and every day about what you buy and how you consume.
This goes for not only products and tangible items but also how we consume our time!
The one thing we should value more than almost anything else.
Creating a habit of stopping to think about how you consume means giving yourself space to make better decisions on what you buy, how you use things and how you spend your hours and days.
Living with intention allows us to make sure that our most important and valuable things are at the forefront of our minds and that we are aligned with our passions and our purpose.