Monthly Archives: April 2014

Last week, I suggested the first question you ask as you embark on or review your new NoXS Minimal lifestyle was the question of “NoXS”. That one asked you to think about how much would be okay: at what point would you consider an area to be in excess?

The second question then is the “Minimal” question: how minimal are you prepared to go? While at first glance it might seem like this question is the same as the first, they are in fact quite different. Furthermore, there is a tension that will arise between your two answers which is important (and which we shall discuss on the next post) in working out what your NoXS Minimal life will be like for you.

This question is in fact the harder of the two. While every ideal in your head will have you scaling back to as meagre an existence as you can imagine, you cannot fully answer this question without taking into careful consideration the practical nature of what it is you are conjuring up in your head.

So to start with, whittling your pots and pans cupboard back to only one mid-sized saucepan might seem like the minimalist ideal. But before you go and have your kitchenware melted down, consider first what you do when your recipe has you boiling rice, simmering a curry and boiling a Dahl. Three pots required! Now, if such cooking is a once off, no problem – just have a plan (cook the curry, Dahl and rice separate and take a bit more time to do so). But if you cook like this regularly, your minimalism will just be a form or martyrdom that will frustrate you and those around you before too long.

This is why here at NoXS Minimal I consistently go on about the NoXS Minimal journey NOT being a one-size-fits-all exercise. While my kitchen may be well equipped, yours might be bare. That doesn’t make mine any less minimal than yours assuming I actually use what I have (and that is another blog post right there). Similarly, your lack of a library may be found to be quite disturbing to someone else whose work (or pleasure) is book-based. And you might find their lack of things hanging in their wardrobe equally so.

Three important things in answering this question:

1. Be Honest With Yourself: Goes without saying, but temper that honesty with the other two things.

2. Don’t Be A Martyr: Yes, you could just dump everything today. I am sure many have done so with varying degrees of success. But I would suggest that if you are in doubt, do the old test of holding onto it, see if you use it during a period of time (from a few months to a year). This can validly include admiring it if it is some kind of display item. Or out it away somewhere. If it hasn’t been used or missed in that period of time, THEN do the removal honours. Better this than suddenly realising the expensive item you gave up you actually do need and have to go get another of! This way also will assist in a gradual paring down which I think most will find easier for transitioning and therefore more likely to stick.

3. Consider Others: If you are in a family, make sure you consider the others in your household. Goes without saying, but you would be surprised the arguments I have heard of! But, even if you live alone, consider what you do at your place with others. Do you entertain? Do you like to be hospitable? Do you like to have guests stay? You should think carefully about how your paring back will affect your capacity to do these things and, if they are important to you either a) reconsider getting rid of that item; or b) change your approach (perhaps picnics in the park are now the order of the day instead of BBQ’s in your backyard?).

It might be useful to work on one room/area at a time and ask the NoXS and the Minimal question about that space. Take your time in answering them and as you do, start to see the the tensions that arise. For example, you might decided that you only want to own “x” number of shirts. But what if your travel or occupation needs you to own “y”? Suddenly your NoXS and your Minimal are in tension.

And it is what you do with that tension that will make your NoXS Minimal life sing. More on that next post.

Live Simply & Simply Live,

Mark G

NoXS Minimal derives it’s name from two key questions. The answer to these two questions form the creation of the “lines” within which we create our NoXS Minimal lifestyle. Once this philosophy is in place, we can apply it to the Three Spheres of NoXS Minimal living.

Before I outline the first question, it needs to be understood that the answers to the two questions will vary for each person. The answers work in tension with each other – as we will see – to create the boundaries of your NoXS Minimal life. But as we have said so often, what each of our NoXS Minimal lives look like will be very different from each other. And this is okay. Furthermore, what we determine as our boundaries today may very well change as we grow ourselves. This is why it is a good thing to regularly ask ourselves these two questions and adjust our lives accordingly.

The first question relates to what it means to be “NoXS”.
This is a question of how far we are prepared to expand. It might be posed as: if I were to start with nothing, at what point would I be stepping over the line at which I would be entering excess?

In other words, how much is too much?

This is a good question to ask for those of us who have the potential to flagellate ourselves with minimalism. It allows us to consider what is a healthy level of “having”.

What excess looks like could be determined by many factors – space, cost, what one considers reasonable and location to name a few. Yes, these aren’t all that objective. I’m not sure if an objective factor exists (please let me know if you can think of one). And that is why the question asks for some honesty.

Answer the NoXS question and you will be half way to determining your NoXS Minimal limits.

Next week we will consider the other half – the “Minimal” half – of the question.

Until then, how might you describe your NoXS?

Live Simply & Simply Live,

Mark G


Maybe Avril Lavigne was right.
“Why’d [we] have to go and make things so complicated…”

Today was filled with lots of mundane things:
– I went for a run;
– I went for a swim;
– I had brunch with family;
– I had a nap with my wife;
– I watched a cartoon DVD with my son;
– I read a book;
– I made dinner;
– I talked to a friend on the phone.

But it was one of the best full days (ie not part of a day but full day) that I have had in a long time. Yet not one thing on that list required much of anything except being.

So why do I seem to spend so much time and money and effort on making the most of life when all that seems to happen is everything becomes complicated?!?!

I learned a great lesson today about being content and happy. They don’t cost much, the require little and really the only thing you need to think about is the people you share it with.

On that note, I’m off to uncomplicated the rest of the week. You..?

Live Simply & Simply Live

Mark G
(Picture credit –