The Why

So why am I writing a piece of work (that is presently a spreadsheet) to help our friends and online community and families “maximize minimalism to create resilient sustainable homes”.

It will become a course you see. A pathway for ordinary people like us to live. There will be an email list. A course and a community. Tons of useful tips and facts. And a lot of discussion.

So why am I launching into this?

Well, for a start I have been walking the walk for quite some time now, so it is time I talked the talk!

Maybe it is a guilty conscience – I feel awfully guilty for the years when I did not even think of the environment I lived in. Though we have to get over the guilt. It is not useful. The planet is turning into a rubbish heap: so change it- we need to stop whinging about how bad we feel. Feeling guilty helps no-one. Get over it and get on with it.

Maybe because we have to start now. Here. To make a stand for Simply Living Simply.

Maybe because I feel happier and healthier eating clean food and living lightly and I want to help us all do that too? (yuk that sounds so sanctimonious).

Maybe because we need to combine modern technology with old fashioned norms to enable good happy wholesome lives for our grandchildren’s children. But where is that information?

Maybe because HOME is the most beautiful word and we all need to feel secure in the ability of our homes to shelter and protect us from the elements. Yes, I will be talking about architecture too.

Maybe because we are on the cusp of great changes environmentally, financially, and climatically so we have to thoughtfully design a way of living that can adapt fast to the changes ahead. I will be talking to the money guys too – investing in solar and wind is a thing. Self-powering houses! I love that!

We have become dependent. How I hate being dependent.

I saw a question on LinkedIn the other day asking how often you make a home-cooked meal but the writer had another term for it. I can’t remember what it was. Not ‘from scratch’ – some other term. Oh, I know what it was – prepped. How often do you prep a meal.

But SO MANY of the comments were from people who did not cook!

No one taught them how?

They missed the point?

So many people were saying that home cooking was for the holidays. When they got hungry they got take-out delivered or went to the supermarket to buy a meal. They gave away the power of food.

But the expense! My poor frugal heart! and the packaging! Plastic packaging is not cool. And losing touch with the concept of cooking a meal and serving it hot at a table. We are the next Incas.

Wherever I live there is a home cooked meal every night. (And to be clear I am not the only one cooking). If I am alone (and left to my own devices) I pan fry grated potatoes with bacon and onion into a kind of frittata but in a pan. Then cover it in grated cheese and flip – sometimes that works – so the cheese becomes the base and cooks and sizzles and caramalizes (and nothing makes me happier than fried cheese) then when everything is crunchy I lay it, like a huge potato pancake, on a plate and cover it in vegetables and Greek yoghurt.

When I make pasta I make extra for the freezer. Especially ravioli. That’s prepping. Right?

If I am being clever the fresh vegetables I buy are immediately cut up into serving size pieces and stored together in a covered glass bowl in the fridge. So I can just reach in for a serving of veg every night.

I need to go back and find that LinkedIn post so I can say I prep too!

So why am I writing this piece of work? Why am I creating a three month course?

I want to build a community of like minded individuals and families and companies who can support each other in building resilient sustainable homes and work spaces. So we can move forward with confidence. So our food and supply chains are safe and local. So we can save each other from the flood. Not just pretend the storm is not coming then wait for help.

I can do the heavy lifting. My team and I will do the research – by the way you are on my team. And we will get the info into peoples pockets.

I want to spread the word that we CAN do something. That our actions are viable and respected.

I know that changing from a plastic toothbrush to a compostable one won’t actually overcome plastic pollution but it will change the way we think. It is a chicken step. Scratch Scratch Peck. Remember? And we are a whole flock. Together we can make a difference.

No doom and gloom- I promise.

🌟Live Simply so the Planet can Live Large.

☀️Maximize Minimalism.

✨Create Resilient Sustainable Homes.


PRE-CYCLE! This is my new word. Or (in other words) don’t bring that shit into the house to begin with. I don’t want to have to throw it into an over filled recycling bin with another dubious journey ahead of it.

I still have single use plastic in my sights. Much of this plastic is convenient. Individual punnets of anything are a luxury. And the convenience of easy disposal has made us lazy.

Maybe we need to toughen up and get used to the idea that our lifestyles today can not be as convenient as they were a decade ago.

So – as my Farmy researchers and The Fellowship – what can you and I ban from the house this week.

The latest: Plastic Bin liners. GONE. Small containers of cat food! GONE. Plastic toothbrushes. GONE. (Though all the toothbrushes I have used across my life STILL EXIST somewhere- never gone- aah).

🤔OK – what else?

LEGO is allowed because I have Lego that is forty years old and yet another generation of kids play with it. So Lego is on the good list!! 😂😂 it is reused again and again and again.

See! Not all doom and gloom!

So, what do you think?


PS As usual I seldom edit when writing my blog – because I am amongst friends. So let’s pull this apart and put it back together in the comments.

PSS 🌳The trees come this week!

49 Comments on “The Why

  1. Excellent post! Either I or my sweetie cook from scratch, we use either cloth or paper bags for shopping and the paper bags are used for recycling. I have an electric toothbrush that is years old- and it helps me keep my 80 year old teeth! l have to disagree about small cat food containers as our Lucy will only eat Fancy Feast fish cat food. but the metal cans are put into recycling.
    Obesity is rampant and due to eating “fast food” that is not healthy food. We cook from scratch unless we are traveling and then we are particular about what we will eat. I am on your page and look forward to reading your posts. Take care and thank you!

  2. I am very excited about this. I think I live fairly simply, home cook almost all the time, packed lunches of leftovers and try to cut waste whenever I can but have a very long way to go! I am looking forward to hearing/reading more and will contribute when I can. I travelled for almost two weeks this summer and the only luggage I took for into my little day backpack. It was freeing and I realize there is a lot of stuff in my house that I really don’t need that is just taking up physical and mental space. I am mindfully weeding those things out and passing them on to others who will use them through my neighborhood buy nothing group.

    • A neighbourhood Buy Nothing Group sounds fascinating. Often we have something that is still good and just needs to find the home that will use it! Glad you have a group like that. I always your comments – thank you so much for popping in.

  3. When I was a child, the inside bin was lined with newspaper. Card and paper waste was burned in an incinerator, and the ashes put on the vegetable garden. Kitchen scraps went to the chickens or the compost heap. String from around the paper-wrapped parcel of meat from the butcher was saved. Waxed paper, not plastic bags or boxes. Glass dishes and bowls. Ma was a bit of a stickler about the vegies, though, and wouldn’t allow prep too far in advance because “the vitamins would go out of them” if they sat around. I have been looking at my home with displeasure recently, thinking there is far too much *stuff* in it. If I was single, I’d have a massive clear out and overload the charity shops and recycling centre. However, as half of a couple, these things have to be negotiated… Oh, and we just got electric motors for our bicycles to save on using cars even more. I have a cargo trailer so I can do the grocery shopping without worrying about hauling 30kg of shopping up the hill to my house…

    • Those electric bikes are a game changer – they were everywhere in NZ and Aus when I was there. I am going to be very interested to see how that develops. A ton of kids were going to school on those rental scooters too – sometimes two kids on one scooter.

      Do you think that the loss of our newspapers has changed our rubbish disposal. We wrapped everything in paper when we were kids. There was no bag in the bin because it was cleanly packed. In fact a tidy bin was a THING to be proud of!

  4. I’ve always cooked from scratch with real ingredients. Sadly, I think cooking is relative to wanting to do it. People order takeaways or buy ready meals because they can’t be bothered to cook. IMHO prepping is what you do in a professional kitchen before the customers arrive.

  5. First- the pictures! Thank you C. Many actually brought tears to my eyes. I am fascinated to see where this goes. My thoughts would center around how to make sustainable choices when living under the constraints of a fixed income and being a renter rather than an owner. There are so many choices I would make if I had much more control in those areas. The costs of food and gasoline are enormous burdens right now.

  6. I know we could do better but I suppose we do some of our part by almost never flying or driving…anyway, I’d like to do much better so I will be thrilled to have my awareness raised by the conversation that is bound to swirl here! Let’s go!

  7. Well done Celi! At my recent birthday I declared myself a re-activated activist and dedicated my remaining years to climate activism. I’m turning my apartment balcony into a food garden. The government has already banned single-use plastic bags & I don’t buy prepackaged goods if I can help it. I’ve changed my dishcloths for old-fashioned cotton ones so I don’t put microplastics into the sea. I’m a great believer in small steps. They get me engaged.

    • Oh, I agree. Here in NZ many of us are environmentally aware and so take any and all opportunities to banish/abolish the dreaded, plastic from our homes.

      • Nice to meet another Kiwi here Judith! I found your lovely blog and tried leaving a comment but it won’t let me! Now I’m wondering how to get it to you.

  8. So happy to see this post! Sometimes I feel like a lone warrior in my battle against plastic. Would love to know how you banished plastic bin liners; that is one plastic I’ve not managed to purge. Also wish the grocery stores would carry more things bottled in glass… like ketchup.

    So glad to see an army gathering here.

  9. New beginnings is a very worthwhile endeavor and I appreciate your enthusiasm. I live far away from a grocery store out in West Texas. I just planted mustard greens today in hopes of a winter crop.
    I so want to get solar energy for our Strawbale house but the financial aspects are daunting

    • You are going to need to lock me up in a lovely villa somewhere to get the writing finished I think!! I am always fantasising about one of your writing retreats! I think it would be so good for my output

  10. Brilliant post. In our village we have a recycling group that has arranged for a wide range of recycling that the local authority do not deal with (including plastic toothbrushes)! I love my electric bike and due to a huge problem with gas and electricity supply this coming Winter(availability and cost) we are all going to have to be a lot more careful with our use of these commodities. Oh and single use plastic should be banned. I try hard to limit their use wherever possible. I could bang on for hours but as you say it all sounds so sanctimonious! Thank you so much for your post which is read by so many people. I for one look forward to your course! Ps my family love knitted cotton dish cloths, so easy to make and a pleasure to use. Andy x

  11. I’m with you on all of this and have been slowly introducing plastic alternatives into the house. We use cloth napkins and a mop rag (instead of paper towels) when I cook. I don’t think Brett will ever agree to eliminating the trash bin liners. I’m used to giving all my table scraps to chickens but we don’t have them anymore in our new suburban life. But I did order a composter and in the meantime my worm bin will get most of it. I look forward to your future posts on this subject!

  12. This is great, I have been actively trying to reduce any chemicals in my house. I truly believe they are the cause of many many health issues. I make my personal care products as well as laundry soap. This significantly reduces the plastic. I do cook, even though it’s only me here. I always make enough for two meals, I’m not a huge fan of cooking and reheating is just fine! I do have to admit I really enjoy going out for a meal though. Even though I’m pushing 70 I figure it’s never too late to try.

  13. I do love these discussions. And this is a BIG conversation. I’m a maximalist but only in the sense that I derive a great deal of comfort by giving cool old stuff rather an extended life rather than buying new. So much in our home has belonged to us for decades and decades or someone else similarly before we rehomed it. We food prep every day, by shopping locally as much as possible, growing and home cooking usually in batches that gives us several days worth of leftovers… leftovers are are favourite cuisine. Living in a rural village, 30km from town and 80km from a regional city, our takeaway food/dining out options are limited anyway. The one thing we are always working on though is plastic despite over the years accomplishing much switching out single use to reusables, and only replacing items which are completely worn out and not fixable, minimising packaging is an ongoing battle.

  14. I generally cook all my own meals at home. However, I am 38 weeks pregnant at the moment, and it has been a rough pregnancy, especially this last month, where my feet have given out and I haven’t been able to stand for long. So I have been relying a lot more on bought or takeaway meals than I would normally like. Not only do I not like the extra rubbish it creates, it is also a lot more expensive. Hopefully I can get back into preparing more meals ‘from scratch’ again soon.

    And talking about babies, there are so many sustainable ideas around, but I’m just going to have to try them out. I’m horribly squeamish about nappies, so I have bought disposables to start with, but I like the idea of cloth nappies and reusable wipes. I will just have to see how I go with them! There was a good article about baby wipes here:

    • I am so excited for your baby!! and Baby wipes!! Thank you – I will read that! Thank you. And there are nappy delivery services too – you are in wellington right? You won’t be squeamish after a few weeks – promise!

      • No I’m in Australia now for the past 2 years, I have lived in NZ for the rest of my life before now. I will have to look up cloth nappy subscription services in my area, would be interesting to talk to other mums about how they got on with them, no one in my circle has used them. And yes everyone tells me that I will get over being squeamish very quickly! 😂

        • My daughter is 62 All those years ago when living in Scotland, we had a nappy service. No disposable nappies – I think they should be abolished too.

  15. Love all this so much! I’ve been hopping on this train for years which is how I found you and Janie’s mill! Looking forward to continuing the discussion and finding other local resources and to decrease my dependency and increase my sustainability! Thank you for being such a bright star! Keep shining friend! Namaste-Aubrey

    • I have just rebooted the sourdough starter that has been languishing in the fridge for 6 months! It does not smell too bad actually. It will be interesting to see how it goes!

  16. I am all in favor of your plan. We’ve had solar panels beside the house for 3 years. Our electric bill is down to 41% of what it was before. We purchase the balance from the local utility which is supplied with 40% from wind and solar projects. Win Win Win! The utility companies see the writing on the wall. They aren’t investing in fossil fuel sources.

  17. Excellent post Cecilia. I usually cook from scratch I don’t buy prepared or take-out/delivered food. And for your interest, NZ is ahead of the race again. ” From 1 October six more single-use plastic items have been banned They are PVC food trays and containers* (plastic type #3)
    Polystyrene takeaway food and drink packaging (plastic type #6)
    Expanded polystyrene food and drink packaging (plastic type #6)
    Plastic with pro-degradant additives, eg oxo and photo-degradable plastics (a subset of plastic type #7)
    Plastic drink stirrers (all plastic types)
    Plastic stemmed cotton buds (all plastic types)
    *The scope is limited to pre-formed trays used for produce, baked goods and meat.”
    I am with you, Cecilia. Together we can make a difference if everyone does something. My next thing to refuse to have in this house is plastic bags holding sliced bread. My mother lived for many years with unsliced bread – I can too.

  18. I’m curious about the bin liners. I’ll look into the compostable ones.

  19. This sounds great, Celi. What an exciting new venture! I look forward to hearing more about it and hopefully being able to join in. The piece about ‘prepping’ food and giving away the power of cooking reminded me of a section in the book Cooked by Michael Pollan. I think it would be up your street, if you haven’t come across it already. Essentially, it’s a history of food divided into the elements (chapters on Earth, Air, Water and Fire). Air is all about bread-making! And he also talks about the rise of consumerism and how the average time spent cooking has gone down since the rise of convenience foods in the 1960s, but how many people have replaced that time with screen time. More microwave dinners free up time…. to spend in front of phones and the TV.

  20. Miss C, I love your blog and topics that make me think! I struggle with people thinking that solar and wind are always “green” energy, and somehow better. It definitely can be; and has a place and purpose. However, what goes in to the mining and manufacturing of the components, the installation of equipment, and the eventual disposal is not “green” at all. We had a large solar developer talk with us about a solar farm on our acreage. He failed to mention our taxes would change from agricultural to commercial when the first piece of equipment went into the ground. He admitted they would be selling off the project once the ground was secured; he was just the broker. Most companies do not discuss the removal of and how the equipment is disposed of at the end of their life. I think it is part of the solution, but we have a long way to go. Thankfully, the generation of electricity has gotten much cleaner.

    • Really good thoughts. We have huge wind farms out here. All owned by different companies who buy and sell regularly. And the components of the will mills do break down so within thirty years or so they are expected to be abandoned. The cost of repair will become too much.
      We will see how it goes.
      However the clean energy technology itself is growing at a rapid rate too.
      It will be interesting to see what is next!

  21. I just got on WordPress and after Googling NC Extention office about starting a veggie garden I signed back on here and your site was there. Any info on planting squash or other easy things in the Triangle area of NC would be welcome. My son just rented a home with a huge backyard and I want to try my hand at some farming.

    • That sounds fantastic! Can you send me your Zone? It will give us an idea of when is the best time to plant! Bit right now Is the best time to work your ground and get a winter cover crop in – this feeds and prepares your garden for spring.

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