During my recent Simplify workshop, we talked about creating a more hands-on lifestyle. Of course, we’re all busy and strained for time, but if we want a life that is about simplicity, creativity, making positive choices and having skills to live more sustainably – from my experience, it takes a bit of planning.
If you like the idea of making some of what you normally buy – the trick is to set yourself up for success. Here are three tips for creating an environment that will make that easy for you. At the end of the day – it needs to be easy – or it won’t stick. This is what I’ve done:
Step 1: Start small – When I first started making a few years back, I spent half my time pinning recipes and the other half just making a big mess! Never spending enough time to really understand or learn the process of what it was I was trying to do. Mostly, I ended up disappointed with my results. I didn’t label things, so I’d forget what what I’d made. I had ingredients and half-attempted recipes all over the house… it was the total opposite of simplicity!
I’m now enjoying the idea of mastery. It’s a slower process, more involved, but much more gratifying. The book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation captured this concept for me, where Michael Pollan immersed himself for a year – learning four basic recipes. Think of one recipe or skill you’d like to master, and dedicate time to it. Maybe it’s your household cleaner, maybe it’s making compost at home – or simply making your weekly hair rinse. Start small, learn the process, practice often and build your repertoire from there.
Step 2: Buy or gather all of the ingredients. Just like cooking, strive for a mise en place approach. Make sure you have everything you need to create what you want. Take time to think about the details before you start making. Like bottles you’ll need, how you’ll label them… I think it’s a good idea to go to workshops or speak to friends who are already doing the things you want to learn – to pick up these early tips!
Step 3: Set up your work space . Choose a container or space in your home to organize your tools, ingredients and materials. Your space should be beautiful, useful and inspiring to you.
These tips have really helped me, and hopefully they help you too :) I’d love to know what your process of making looks like… what works for you, what doesn’t?