10 reasons I ride my bike

I bought a new bicycle last year and I love it. So much that I want to share 10 reasons with you, why I think it’s so great. This bike has brought me so much joy, that I need to share how:)

  1. It is a green choice – Mother Earth says hello and thank me when I ride my bike.
  2. The exercise. I try to ride my bike to work at least 3 times a week. This gives me about 3 hours of exercise, spent commuting. This is brilliant, as I often find it difficult to find time to work out otherwise.
  3. I have time to think and reflect. On my way to work, I go through what I am going to do this this day, the students I will meet etc. I think about what we will have for dinner and plan out the days that come. On my way home, I sometimes don’t think at all, but I just unwind. Somehow, I don’t manage to reflect in the same manner when driving a car.
  4. Outdoor time. I get to spend more time outdoors, which I really love. I feel the wind in my face, the sun and the rain.
  5. Observations. When I ride my bike, opposed to when I drive, I have time to look at the landscape, the houses, the animals and the gardens I pass. I think I notice something new, every time I ride my bike. This puts a smile on my face 🙂
  6. I use my senses: I can smell the ocean and the flowers during springtime. I have to look ahead – and behind me – and plan. I am sure this must be good for my eye sight 😛
  7. Sweat – this is obviously linked to exercising, but I think sweat deserves a point of its own. It is something very liberating about sweating. You feel kind of cleansed when you do, if you know what I mean? I usually go fairly slowly when I ride my bike, but if I am angry or if I have a lot of energy, I put everything into it and sweat it out. Haha.
  1. I feel less stressed. Having had exercised, time to think and reflect and outdoor time makes me feel less stressed. Though I may have days where I have loads of things to do, I feel better prepared if I got to work on my bicycle. I often think to myself, you just rode 10 km on your bike in 29 minutes – you got this!!
  1. I feel like super woman. Hahah. There are various reasons for this. First, if the weather is really bad, I feel strong and brave for riding my bike at all. It would be a lot easier to drive a car – and I feel the looks of the car drivers when riding my bike in bad weather. These looks say: WOW – she’s a super woman. Secondly, when I get to work, all sweaty and sometimes soaked, I take a shower and change clothes. Kind of like superman. Haha. And I’m prepared for the challenges I have to solve.
  2. The kids love it. When we take the car – there’s so much hassle. If we take the bike, they are always in a good mood, singing and enjoying the ride, which makes the mornings easier.

I’m not going to lie – some days taking my bike is hard. But once I’m done – I always feel a lot better!

Have you got a bike? Do you use it?

Kari

Decluttering with kids

One of the most challenging parts about trying to minimise with a family is decluttering with kids. I imagined, before having kids, that I would not let stuff pile up and keep the kids’ room tidy and clutter free (hahahahaha). But it turns out, it’s just not that easy. They outgrow their clothes ALL the time and toys and books pile up. In addition, as we live in Norway and temperatures during a year goes from 30 below Celsius to 30 above Celsius, we need to be able to dress for both these end points and everything in between (and almost during every month of the year- expect from this year, where we have been given an exceptionally warm summer).

I have often preferred doing decluttering when the kids are somewhere else or asleep, as it tends to become a bit chaotic if I do it when they’re awake. However, I thought I would bring them along this time. On my plan, was to go through their books and their winter clothes.

We first went through most of their books. I put all the books on the floor and I asked them which books they preferred to read. We kept a lot of books, but they decided that some books should be donated to other kids, as we rarely read them, or they are difficult to follow. I, as a mother, obviously had a say in the process, but I did not push too much to get rid of anything they wanted to keep.

Next, we went through their winter clothes. I had made a list of items I wanted us to keep for next winter, but if we had double of some pieces, I let them decide which to keep. They tried on various sweaters and looked at the colours and I told them that it is important that they keep the items they feel comfortable in and which they liked the most. Clearly, when I say I am talking to them, I mostly mean my 6 year old, as my 3 year old tends to go off track in these processes 😛

Nevertheless, I do think that including the kids in the decluttering process can be useful and perhaps help them in the future when they have to deal with clutter. I also hope it can lead to a minimalist way of thinking, that we should keep what we love, use and need, but not more than this.

Do you include your children in the decluttering process? How do you do it? Have you got any useful tips you want to share?

Kari

Book review: “The joy of living with less” by Francine Jay

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I have just finished my second book on minimalism and it has been helpful, as well as inspirational in my process of decluttering and minimising. Francine Jay walks us through four main sections in her book, starting with philosophy in part 1, continuing with part 2 where she presents her Stremaline method for decluttering. In part 3, she guides us through room by room, giving us useful tips on how and where to start, and what to be aware of in the various rooms. She introduces us to the aspects of lifestyle connected to simplifying our lives in part 4.

In part 1, she walks us through a lot of the thoughts and expectations around things, where especially two of the subchapters got to me: “You are not what you own” (Part one: chapter 2) and  “The Joy of enough” (Part one: chapter 9). I think it’s easy to feel that we need more things, newer things and a bigger house to accommodate all these things in society today, as images of how we “should” live our lives often appear in social media and are orchestrated by advertisers. In addition, I have tended to keep things that I feel say something about who I am (or at least, who I want to be, or in some cases, who I used to be). After starting the process of minimizing, I still want to buy new things and keep my old things, however, I feel that I now reflect more about the things I buy and I want everything I buy to last a long time and to have a purpose.

The streamline technique which is introduced in part 2 is extremely helpful when decluttering. Before I read this book, I followed these steps to a certain degree as I think many of these steps are natural in a decluttering procerss, but I have become more aware of the various ways of organising and of where clutter “lives”. Streamline stands for Start over, Trash/treasure/transfer, Reason for each item, Everything in its place, All surfaces clear, Modules, Limits, If one comes in, one goes out, Narrow down and Everyday maintenance. I will not go into detail into these, some are probably self-explanatory, however, I have discovered that I have tended to cheat on the first point; Start over. Sometimes, when I have decluttered a shelf, or some drawers, I have not taken everything out. It does really make a difference, when you do Start over.

Another point which I found useful from this book are the Modules. I have organised some of our things, to a certain degree into modules before, but I have become more aware of this after reading the book. Furthermore, the Outbox is a brilliant concept as well. You place an outbox somewhere in the house to encourage family members to get rid of things. I have for a longer period of time kept an outbox to myself, but I think it will be interesting to see if other family members will make use of it as well.

If you want to go on a decluttering journey or simply minimise your everyday somewhat, I definitely recommend this book. It is easy to read and you can easily jump to the points relevant to you, if needed.

I feel inspired by reading books on minimalism and decluttering. Do you have any books or articles or blogs you would recommend, please share, as I love to learn more.

Lots of love,

Kari

Trying out our lavvo

This will be my first post on outdoor activities, where I will share with you mye experience setting up a lavvo.

A while back, we bought a lavvo, initially intended to use to spend nights outdoor. However, I needed an activity to do with the kids one day, so I thought, why not set up the lavvo and have lunch in it?

(If you don’t know what a lavvo is, it is a type of tent used by the Sami people in Norway. It could probably be compared with the tipi of the Native Americans.)

I did some research on how to set it up (YouTube), packed my backpack and an hour and half after, we were on our way. We had to walk 1,5 km to get to the field where I wanted to set it up, which is a bit of a distance for my 3-year-old. But he managed it with enough pauses:)

These are the steps I followed to set up the lavvo.

  1. Give kids some snacks
  2. Unpack the lavvo
  3. Lay out the lavvo on the field
  4. Fasten the tent pegs in the ground (or snow and ice in my case) – looking like this (next bullet).
  5. Than comes the tricky part, putting in the tent pole. This is a pole made up of four parts and it comes easily apart. We failed the first time, but this was due to the tent pegs not being properly fasten in the snow.
  6. And voila!

We made lunch (rice pudding) and played around the lavvo, before it elegantly collapsed due to the snow and ice melting around the pegs. However, I saw this coming and had manage to take out all our things.

A few things I learnt from this trip:

  1. There is actually something called snow tent (lavvo) pegs – may have to try this next time.
  2. Bring coffee next time (we spent 5 hours outdoors)
  3. Bring a carrier in case the 3 year old refuses to walk – he is heavy to carry without.
  4. If setting up lavvo in milder weather (0 degrees Celsius), cover up pegs with snow or other things to keep them in place.

We will definitely use the lavvo again, as it enabled us to stay outside a long time, and it was fun having shelter. We want to try to sleep outside a night as well, and when we do, I will give you an update.

I cannot wait for spring to come, with less snow and ice and a warmer weather. I really want to take my bicycle out again soon. What outdoor activities do you like to do?

Lots of love,

Kari