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Six more tiny steps to Live Simple

A while back I wrote about six tiny things you could do to live a simpler life. That could mean something to do with health, fitness, the environment or your time. Here’s six more steps you can take this week to feel better!

Get yourself a good flask
A weird one to have first, you might think, but we got a little bit excited when we found these Sigg Flasks on Amazon.

We’ve been through several flasks, none of which have hit the mark. We wanted them to be eco-friendly as well as capable, and it wasn’t easy to find a flask that fit the bill. Until this one!

It’s stainless steel, which means no toxins leaching into your drink. It keeps things hot for about five hours, and it also doesn’t leak. Trust me, that’s a big deal – all of our others did, even though that feels like one of the most obvious things a flask shouldn’t do.

Anyway, a flask can save you money in the long run. Take a flask of coffee to work and avoid the coffee shop prices. Use it when you’re camping on a chilly night. Use it to reduce the amount of paper cups you waste. Use it for a tea break when you go on a long walk. Use it to take your bulletproof coffee on the road.

Use it because it’s cool.*

We actually bought the 0.38L versions, so have a little look around on Amazon for more colours and sizes.

Ditch your washing powder and grab some Ecoballs
These awesome little balls have made us feel much better about washing our clothes. A second advantage is that I’ve been able to increase the number of times I can say ‘balls’.

I wrote about washing powder in my first post on steps you could take to Live Simple, but now we’ve really made progress. Here’s how we did it: We were really bothered by the chemicals in commercial washing powders, so tried hard to work our way towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable solution. First, we tried Ecover, but it terrorised my skin. If I slept on a pillow washed in Ecover, I would wake up during the night scratching my head like it was on fire! I like what they’re trying to do, but that didn’t work for me. (I tried hard to think of a Katniss Everdeen style ‘head/girl on fire’ gag for that paragraph, but failed. If you have any ideas, shove them in the comments below!)

Then we discovered Bio D, which we got on really well with. I loved that the packaging was minimal and recyclable, and the product itself washed things well and didn’t agitate my skin in any way at all. The company also seems to have a great philosophy. Big success, and highly recommended.

But then, Angie found Ecoballs, which sounded too good to be true. No soap powder, and just two plastic balls that last for ages, and apparently clean your clothes.

Bonkers. But guess what? They work. We’ve been using them for a few months now and love them. Your clothes don’t come out smelling like a summer meadow (because that synthetic scent is all down to chemicals), but they are clean, soft and fresh. Even better, they will save you a ridiculous amount of money in the long term. I also like the company behind them.

Tip: Run a wash with some distilled white vinegar in the soap tray before you start using the balls. This will get rid of most of the leftover soap residue from the machine.

Ditch the Vaseline and make your own lip balm
A lot of people I know use lip balm, and most of them use some variation of vaseline.

Lets think about this for a second. Vaseline is made from petroleum. Petrol, that is. PETROL. At what absolutely crazy moment in time did we say ‘I know, I’ve got dry lips. Petrol will sort that.’?

I used to use vaseline all the time, but then I followed Julie’s lip balm recipe and no longer have diesel lips!

Cancel something or say no in the first place
Part of living simply is reducing the clutter in your life. That might mean physical clutter, like the drawer in your kitchen that is full of random stuff. It might mean emotional clutter, like the stress and problems you might have that need working through. Or it might mean diary clutter, where you’ve got commitments coming up that don’t light your fire.

So try this. Take a look at your diary for the coming weeks. What is in there that is filling you with dread? What social commitment do you feel you have to go to, rather than want to go to? What would you rather be spending your time doing, but things are so busy you haven’t got a moment?

Find something that you can control, and cancel it. Phone the person and apologise, or say no in the first place. Priorities things that make you shout ‘Yes!’ Use the time to do something you really want to do, go for a walk, or just ‘be’.

Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, has a really interesting view on this.

Go for a walk and find some conkers!
When Angie was little, her absolute favourite thing to do was to visit Hylands Park and find conkers. Together with her sister, Jenny, they would find hundreds, and take them home ready for conker fights. Or put them in the corners of their bedrooms to keep spiders away (yes, really).

As the leaves change and autumn begins, this is one of the best times of year to go and visit a country park, or have a walk in the countryside. If you take some tupperware, you might even score some blackberries.

And if you’re inspired to do more things that you found fun when you were a kid, our pal Amberley has started a blog with some ideas. Check it out!

Try an Outdoor Fitness Class
Just because summer is more or less over, doesn’t mean your outdoor workouts have to stop. All you need is a few extra layers and you’ll quickly be as warm as you need to be. I don’t know of any exercises that can’t be done in the cold. Rain, yes, as things might get slippy, but even if it’s raining, you can still do a ton of stuff.

And if you’re in Chelmsford, Essex, UK, then you’re already a step ahead, as our new term of Outdoor Fitness Sessions starts now! We’d love to see you there.

There you have it. Six more steps to simple. What are your ideas? What little tweaks have you made to make life a bit more straightforward? I’d love to hear from you…

*declaring a flask ‘cool’ may not be classed as ‘cool’ by most folks

Photo Credit: johngarghan via Compfight cc



  1. Marianne September 18, 2013 Reply

    I’m glad that playing with your new balls has stopped your head being on fire!
    Nasty stuff that! 😉 x

    • Author
      Keith Porter September 18, 2013 Reply

      Very good job those things didn’t get mixed up!

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