How to simplify your life –The School of Life

More wisdom from the School of Life.

Back when I was a young boy, there was a programme on TV called The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin. It was a series that ran from 1976-1979 but was repeated on terrestrial TV during the 80s and 90s.

It concerns the exploits of a Mr Reginald Perrin, a middle-manager who becomes disillusioned with his lot in life and proceeds to fake his own death, in the hope of starting over.

However, each time, with each new life his discontent returns and he finds himself in the same place, sometimes physically, but always spiritually.

It takes a lot of effort to change course, to avoid ploughing the same furrow, but unless we do, the outcome is always going to be the same.

‘Swedish death cleaning’ is the new decluttering trend –via TreeHugger

Several years ago, I said to my mother in frustration, “It would be a nightmare to have to deal with all this stuff if you died tomorrow.” She looked at me, stunned. Up until then, I suspect she’d assumed that everyone appreciated her junk-treasures as much as she did. What ensued, mercifully, was a house purge. Mom removed much of her stuff and ceased her weekly pilgrimages to the thrift store, avoiding temptation.

Source: ‘Swedish death cleaning’ is the new decluttering trend | TreeHugger

What an excellent article. Before buying anything else, perhaps it’s time to think of the people who will have to sort through our junk after we’ve gone?

Upgrade cycles…

It was a mere couple of months ago that I was surrounded by stuff. Stuff that aged, became obsolete or nagged for software updates.

One of the welcome side effects of shedding this stuff is not just that I don’t need to download so many updates, but I’ve stepped off the upgrade treadmill for a great many platforms and devices.


A few years ago, after attempting to spend my way to happiness and fulfillment I ended up with a Macbook; an iMac; a desktop PC that I had built a few years previous; a phone; an iPad; and a couple of games consoles of various generations.

Each one required regular software updates and, due to the unique way giant corporations are funded…by selling us stuff we probably don’t need, each one needed periodic replacement.

Yes, it is true that technology moves on but, probably not at the rate we think it does. It could be argued that we probably aren’t achieving all that much more than we used to on software far less taxing to run.

Let’s take Microsoft Word as an example. Word 97 needed a 486 or better; 16 MegaBytes of RAM and 60 MegaBytes of hard drive space. Fast forward to Word 2016 and you’ll be needing a CPU of at least 1Ghz, bearing in mind they are pretty much all at least dual core these days; 2 GigaBytes of RAM and 3 GigaBytes of hard drive space.

Are we producing anything different in Word these days? Letters, standard forms and templates mostly. Perhaps you’ll also spend an inordinate amount of life drafting a long, soul-crushing document that people may read once before moving on.

Lately the churn has moved onto the mobile phone market. Most manufacturers, including Apple are throwing as many models at the wall and just seeing what sticks. They now have 5 main models on the market, some of which have jumbo-sized sisters making 8 phone models in total.

Arguably they peaked with the iPhone 6, so they’ve been re-hashing the same model over and over. They all run the same software and they pretty much all do the same thing. If you have a 6 you’ve pretty much seen it all. Best of all they’re now selling their flagship model for a grand. If you want one with enough space for all of your stuff, that’ll be £1,149.00…for a phone. Their entry level Macbook Pro is £100 more, just FYI…

Yet marketers are getting clever. They’ve been honing their skills, learning how to tempt you into giving up an eyewatering amount of money for something that probably isn’t going to be all you’d hoped for.

Spread thin

If the iPhone was the only platform you had to worry about, fine. There would be some merit in even considering keeping up. If you have a dozen devices on a number of different platforms all demanding your time and money, that’s a very different story.

Note that I’m talking about the iPhone here because the Android market makes me a little nauseous to be quite honest. Samsung for example has 42 different models on the market right now. I…just can’t. It has 11 models in its flagship “S” class for crying out loud. LG isn’t too far behind with 31; Sony has a mere 7; Huawei has 9 and Google makes some of their own too.

Pretty much every platform you are attached to is going to move on. Your phones, your tablets, your PCs & laptops, your games consoles…even your TV.

Even if you can afford to keep up with everything, seriously how much time do you have?



Thrive With Less

When did living excessively become the norm in our culture? When did we decide that more is better but better is never enough? When did social media, fancy cars, and expensive clothing take priority over family, friends and the things we’re passionate about? Somewhere along the way our society has become more focused on attaining fleeting sources of gratification rather than working towards establishing true, lasting joy. And that needs to change. —— Thrive With Less is a documentary film exploring minimal living in an excess driven culture. It was created by six student filmmakers at Michigan State University. For more information about the film and resources on living minimally, visit by Thrive With Less at

Really liked this…


Embracing Minimalism

In news that may shock those of you who have known me a while, I’ve started downsizing substantially, removing much of the extraneous stuff from my life as much as possible.

All of my CDs, DVDs, games that I’ve finished and books I am not going to read have either been sent away or are listed for sale and waiting for a new home.

For many years I’ve been accumulating “stuff” that I thought would either fulfil a need or would make me happy, only for the excitement to quickly wear off and leave me wanting something else.

One lazy Sunday afternoon I found myself watching a number of documentaries on Netflix, including “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” and one about tiny houses. It’s fair to say that they were a bit of a wakeup call and I’ve been spending the past couple of months wading through the crap on a number of levels.

Some tips

Whilst this is probably of more use to fellow UK folks, there’s a few things that I’ve realised since I started downsizing. First of all, it’s really quite difficult to get rid of physical media now, particularly as Amazon has tightened up its rules on who can sell CDs & DVDs on their Marketplace. One of the few options left is Music Magpie, who pay a pittance but will at least send a courier or pay for shipping.

The second thing is, getting rid of the DVDs and embracing streaming services can be quite liberating. If you are like me you may end up watching the same thing a number of times, but streaming services allow you to expand your horizons without too much risk. I’ve watched a number of things that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise –particularly documentaries on minimalism.

Thirdly, public libraries are great. You can borrow books to your heart’s content and give them back when you are done. If they don’t have what you want, many of them will order it in. Also, if like me you spend a lot of time on a laptop in coffee shops, libraries offer an alternative venue that doesn’t expect you to keep buying coffee & cake…

via Instagram