If you have been dabbling into the world(s) of sustainability, zero waste living, homesteading, minimalism or even just a present person on the internet you may have stumbled across the term slow living and wondered what on earth it means and once you find out, wonder how can I incorporate this into my hectic, busy world?
Well have no fear, I hope to provide you with a quick and easy guide with some simple ways you can start to incorporate the means of living slowly and living with intention into your day to day life. These steps are super simple, flexible and are simply a guide for you to take and use for yourself.
So let’s start with the definition of slow living? My personal definition is that slow living is a mindset or a way of living that incorporates various aspects of the more sustainable lifestyle trends or habits you might see on social media. For example, you live in a way that is low waste, grow your own food, shop small, buy with intention, reduce plastic, make do and mend you see the commonalities here? It’s almost living in a way that my grandparents and great grandparents would recognise such as having a small, capsule wardrobe that you repair, your family is forever cycling through hand me downs, making your own holiday decorations, hang drying laundry, shopping at the markets or local greengrocers, bulk refillery stores and so much more. I do like to add the disclaimer though that I actually don’t think we need to replicate the early 1900’s (I’m thanking modern medicine here for my migraine relief and modern inventions that allow me to write this to a wide audience are pretty fantastic). Nonetheless, I do think slowing down and listening to our elders in some respects can be refreshing and eye opening. Your grandfather over there, has worn the same hand knitted scarf from your grandmother for the last 10-20 years and everytime you mention said scarf, your grandparents eyes light up and she can recall those evenings knitting by the fire, creating. That scarf has a story, it contains memory and it was made with intention. That to me is simplicity and sustainability. Take it from me as I used to sit and be completely overwhelmed by my fast fashion bin of 20+ scarves all off the high street, well I thought this could be simpler.
So if you are interested in simple habits and where to begin in living a more “slower” life and the extra benefits that come with it. Less consumption is better for the environment and also better for you wallet to boot! I am not an expert on anyone’s lifestyle so choose to adopt/change/ignore the following ideas as you will. I have adopted these practices into my life (among others) but the following habits are good stepping stones to get you started.
Habit 1: Shop Secondhand or Shop Slow (but first always ask, do I actually need that)?
I always try to shop secondhand first and foremost for myself and family. As well as your local thrift store, local online groups are great resources. Shopping slow usually means shopping from local, small companies that make handmade clothing or from more ethical companies (I will have a post with my favourite slow fashion companies linked when it is up)! They can be pricier but remember they have been typically made with sustainable textiles and their workers are paid fair wages.
Habit 2: Can you make do and mend?
Seriously, learning to do simple repairs on clothing or household items is a really useful skill! I will admit I am not a natural seamstress so I didn’t mind making friends with my local small business and regularly find myself taking a batch of clothes needing repair every few months or so!
Habit 3: Embrace hand me downs.
When I grew up hand me downs were seen as “cheap”. It wasn’t cool to wear hand me down clothing or put hand me down furniture in your home but now I’ve learned to embrace it. In fact, over the last few years most of my home has been decorated with secondhand or hand me down furniture-sure it doesn’t look like an Ikea display but it is homely and as I sit down with my family to dinner or work at my crafting table it’s pretty incredible to think of all the dinners and conversations that these pieces of furniture have seen.
Habit 4: Use Reuseables
Remember to reduce consumption where you can and using reuseable items is a huge part of this. Slow living can naturally lend itself to low waste too, we horde and reuse glass and mason jars as much as possible (seriously, so many uses)! Opt for bars for shampoo, soap, dish soap etc instead of bottles. Go for reuseable bags for shopping and groceries and if you have the option make use of your bulk refillery store! So many towns and cities are starting to see these pop up and they deliver to many areas too. My grandmother likens shopping this way to going back to the “old ways” but in thsi regard I think it’s a good thing!
Habit 5: Can you make at home first?
This habit applies to so much! Morning coffee? Lunch for work? Holiday decorations? Rather than going out and buying, ask yourself can I make it first? I get it, I used to be so tired in the mornings and it was easy to grab a drive thru breakfast and coffee! Honestly, once I gave myself an extra 5 minutes in the evening to make ahead and set the coffee machine to go my breakfast choices became so much more nutritious, wholesome and my wallet thanked me too! There’s also something really wonderful about seeing homemade decor in the home, such as a homemade holiday garland hanging on the wall and it makes for a fun afternoon activity for family or friends to do together too!
There you have it, five simple ideas to start to delve into the world of a more slow, sustainable lifestyle. Whether you are new to the idea of slow living or a seasoned practitioner, I think it is always beneficial for us to move towards a life that is full of creating and intention and there are so many simple, small ways to craft that into our everydays. Making, mending and thinking slow has not only helped my wallet, it helps my mind and it is also the practice of moving towards a sustainable way of living. So let’s slow down and journey our way towards a simple, slow, handmade home.
Homemaking and homesteading with a dash of folklore