Tag Archives: Simplicity

Bucket Washing Machine

Washing your clothes by hand can be a Meditation.

I know it’s not the type of meditation that most people find appealing, but if you slow down and do it with Mindfulness, it can be quite satisfying.

You can closely observe your clothes while you handle them and if you’re like me, you can sometimes see what you ate the last time you wore that particular shirt!

Now, if you’re a Hardcore Minimalist, this Bucket Washer may even be too complicated, since you’ll probably prefer to wash them completely by hand. Still, maybe you’ll like to use the two bucket system without the plunger?

Environmentalists will probably love this Super Simple Human Powered Bucket Washing Machine since it saves water, power, and can give you a workout all at once.

There is a post on fivegallonideas.com on this, and if you do a YouTube search you’ll find tons of videos on this as well.

Here’s how I got into this: We don’t own a washer or drier, so for us, washing our clothes meant a trip to the apartment’s Coin Laundry Room.

There were a few things that bothered us about doing the laundry:

  • Hauling clothes back and forth.
  • Going back and forth to move clothes from washer to the dryer, and to pick them up when done.
  • Sometimes the coin machine would be out of coins!
  • Sometimes a dryer would go bad and would leave the clothes wet, so we’d have to re-dry it in another machine.
  • People would leave their clothes in the machines and not come pick them up.
  • Some people would hog many machines and leave none for others to use.
  • It was easier to keep putting off doing the laundry because the mere idea of it would be painful…
  • Couldn’t do laundry on the weekends because there would be no machines available.

I believe this is an awesome alternative for single people or small families of three – four may be stretching it a bit. We didn’t do it to save money, we did it to save ourselves some time and hassle. For us, it turned out to be much easier than we thought and much more fun, and if we do it on a regular basis, it isn’t a hassle at all.

Here are some Bucket Washing Tips:

  • Use two buckets one to wash and one to rinse.
  • Let the clothes soak in the bucket for about an hour or more – plunging a few times in between – rather than using up a lot of energy plunging them repeatedly for a long time.
  • Replace the small stick with a Broom Stick on the Plunger and stand straight to save your back.
  • No need to buy a special Plunger just use a hard plunger and drill holes in it – see more on this below.
  • If you live in an apartment, you can put the bucket in the bathtub to control splashing.
  • We found it easier to not use the lid with the hole. It won’t really splash much if you don’t plunge it too hard, and as noted above, you can put the bucket in the bathtub.
  • Stack the Buckets and drop the plunger inside to store.

I don’t think it’s worth it to buy a specialized plunger:

Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) – $21.00 (shipping included) at Amazon.com:

20130630-131850.jpg

20130630-125546.jpg

But if you’re handy and own a drill, you can make one yourself for $5.98 + tax. This is a good, hard rubber plunger:

20130630-141548.jpg

I cut off the bottom flappy part with a razor and drilled holes in it:

20130630-143608.jpg

20130630-143059.jpg

These cheaper ones are too soft and flop up on you, turning inside out – not good…

20130630-125610.jpg

Now, you can also wash your clothes in a bag. thescrubba.com sells a pretty pricey one for $64.95 a bag:

20130630-103844.jpg

But you can just use a Waterproof Camping Bag from eBay for $7.99:
20130630-103414.jpg

I haven’t tried bag-washing yet, but there are many videos on YouTube that make it seem like a good method if you’re camping or traveling light.

You can haul your stuff in a waterproof bag, and then use that same bag to wash them in. Awesome.

Conclusion:

Bucket Washing isn’t for everyone.

If you already own a washer and dryer, I don’t see why you’d go nuts and sell them off to do this, but if you’re a real Hard Core Minimalist, this may be a step up from washing by hand alone.

Because you can only do small loads, I believe this is an awesome alternative for single people or small families of three at the most – four may be stretching it a bit.

We didn’t do it to save money, we did it to save ourselves some time and hassle, and for us, it turned out to be much easier than we thought and much more fun, and when we do it on a regular basis, it isn’t a hassle at all.

Some people prefer the walking on your clothes in the bathtub method, since there’s nothing to buy at all, but we found it much harder when it came time to rinse since you have to wait for the whole bathtub to empty out. Now, if you let your laundry pile up, you can use the bathtub method, or combine it with the Bucket + Plunger method.

This is a good thing to know though. You never know when you may actually need something like this, like say you’re hit by a hurricane and you have no power for a week, or you’re traveling to a less advanced country.

I’ve been without power for over a week because of a hurricane and didn’t know about this back then.

This is also a great thing to teach your kids so they feel less dependent on gadgets and in case they ever need it some day.

Einstein’s Simple Wardrobe

It has been said that Albert Einstein had a closet full of the exact same clothes so he could wear the same thing every day and not have to waste time and energy in deciding what to wear.

Although there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to the fact, I once decided to follow what I thought to be Einstein’s brilliant example.

I’ve never been a morning person and always slept till the last minute and then rushed to get to work on time.

I actually timed my morning ritual to the point where if anything didn’t go as planned I’d be late for work, and although I usually made it on time, my work environment was pretty forgiving about this type of thing, so it was no biggie if I was late.

Since time was of the essence, I had turned my morning ritual into such a refined work of precision that even Einstein would have been proud of, but… I still had one annoying variable that would often trow a monkey wrench into the whole operation and inevitably mess with my morning Zen thing: trying to decide what to wear.

Maybe not really deciding what to wear, it was more about combining my clothes correctly, cause I didn’t really care too much about looking good, I was aiming for just looking decent. I had given up on learning how to dress myself since third grade.

My first technique to deal with my problem was to do all this matching the night before and leave my clothes laid out and ready for the morning rush, but this wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be rid of this clothes matching nonsense once and for all!

I gave this problem some thought and remembering Einstein’s wardrobe story I thought – I’m not trying to impress anyone at work. Most of my peers already think I’m kinda odd, so what’s one more little eccentricity going to do to my image? They can’t fire me for that, can they?

So I went out and bought five, white, long sleeved shirts and five khaki, pleated Dockers slacks. Then I decided to use a brown belt and shoes. The best part for me was buying a big bag of plain white cotton socks because matching socks with the rest of my clothes was what made me give up on this stuff in the third grade to begin with!

Although I was freaking out quite a bit over the whole experiment, the socks were what made me the most nervous. I was sure everyone would notice my plain white socks and I would get my butt fired on the spot.

I know you’re dying to hear about how I became the butt of everyone’s joke at the water cooler, and how all the ladies ran away from the freak, but in reality, the experiment was a success.

I must have shaved off at least ten minutes from my morning routine since I had what I thought to be an Einstein-Type office wardrobe, and at work, no one ever asked, commented, nor avoided me as if I had forgotten to put on deodorant – at least not any more than usual…

A friend at work once commented on not liking to spend money on work clothes and I told him that’s just one of the reasons I had come up with my “office uniform” and proceeded to tell him how I was following Einstein’s lead, because I’m smart like that…

So it all worked out for me because:

  • I picked a decent enough uniform for my office environment (slacks and long sleeved shirt).
  • White and beige doesn’t call much attention to yourself, I could have also used a blue shirt and Khakis but I didn’t want to be mistaken for a Blockbuster employee…
  • I had a good back story if some one questioned be about wearing the same thing every day – Einstein’s Simple Wardrobe.
  • I’ve never really cared what anyone else thought about me – I am shamelessly immune to peer pressure.
  • The peace of mind of not having to deal with matching shirt, pants and especially socks outweighed any worry about being thought of as odd…

Since I really got into this no-brainer-wardrobe-routine, I expanded it to my weekend casual-ware this way:

I usually wear jeans, any colored t-shirt and Teva sandals – no socks at all – Woohoo! So there is nothing at all to match because Tevas and jeans go with any colored t-shirt.

I know that this type of radical, gorilla warfare wardrobe editing is not for everyone, especially for most women, since they have much worse clothes matching complications that men do – with so many purses and shoes thrown into the mix, but with a bit of effort, I believe they can also come up with a viable office uniform of their own.

Females should do a search on capsule wardrobe to open their minds to a much simpler wardrobe experience. There are even capsule wardrobe professionals! I am definitely working too hard to make a living…

So, if you are immune to peer pressure like me, and want to simplify your life a bit, try Einstein’s Simple Wardrobe Technique and save yourself some time, money and clothes matching agony and watch how one simple life editing exercise spills over to other areas of your life.

Simple + Life = Peace

less is MORE

Less is more – the minimalist mantra made famous by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the ruling principle for his minimalist design could very well be confused for a Zen Koan.

It’s simple, catchy and true.

But you, my young grasshopper, may ask, “How can the simplicity of having less give me more? This makes no sense!”

I shall demonstrate…

Most of us will agree to the fact that we own way too much stuff, and most of these things go above and beyond our basic life’s necessities.

Each thing you own begs to be stored, cleaned, maintained and more, and most people don’t take this into consideration when they decide to get their greedy hands on new things.

That shiny new car becomes a burden when it’s time to clean it, have its oil changed, take it to the mechanic, and more. Then, with each car payment, you start to feel resentment, regret and bitterness toward it, almost as if it was an estranged lover.

The more exotic the car, the more expensive it is to maintain – not to mention the fear and anxiety of having it crashed into, stolen or worse.

You may have bought that printer at sale price, but you’ll be paying out of the wazoo for the ink or toner – maintenance costs.

Let’s say you go nuts and give away all the stuff in your house, you still have to pay to heat, cool, paint, clean all that empty space.

But people are waking up!

People have come to realize that they’ve been duped by the consumerist mind control of the powers that be. They have come to understand that the more crap you have, the more you are a slave to them.

While you may think that you own all this stuff, stuff ends up owning you.

Now, don’t go crazy on me and sell everything and run naked into the wild…

Balance is key.

Things are neither good nor bad – they just are. It is we who must find the balance between what we want and what we really need.

Next time you hold that shinny new something in your hands that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, remember that you’ll have to store it, clean it, maintain it, and so on.

Also ask yourself, “Do I really need this, or am I letting my emotions sweep me away here?”

Even if it’s a cheap thing, do you really need it? Will it end up just taking up space, both physical and mental? Because that’s another thing… Objects take up more than physical space and energy, they take up mental “space” and mental, emotional and spiritual energy. There is spiritual energy attached and “stuck” to each and every one of your your things. These things occupy your thoughts, even if at a subconscious level, and stress you out, weighing heavily on your peace of mind.

Compare a river battling many rocks in its path, clashing and trashing to move ahead with the clean, gentle flow of another one with no obstacles in its path. Keeping our environment clean and clear of extraneous junk, gives a calm and peaceful flow to our lives.

So here’s the simple equation:

less Stuff = MORE Peace! [ less IS more ]

More free time.

More peace of mind.

More spiritual equanimity.

More/smoother flow…

Simple + Life = Peace

Simple is Not Easy

Allan Watts once said:

“When the old master Hiakajo was asked ‘What is Zen?’ he said ‘When hungry, eat, when tired, sleep…'”

Did he mean that Zen (being in the eternal moment of Now, having no thoughts, no judgement of right or wrong, of good or bad, and experiencing everything as it truly is) is as easy as eating and sleeping?

Is it that simple? Is that it?

Well, yes and noYes, it’s that simple , but No, it’s not that easy!

You see, simple does not mean easy. They are two very different things.

Quit your job, sell all your stuff, and with the money you get, buy camping equipment and go hiking. Live in state parks, enjoying nature every day for the rest of your life. Live the dream! – Simple, no?

Well… Simple maybe… But not easy! – and not practical for most of us either.

There is a secret to all this simplicity…

A secret key that needs to be found and then turned so you can live in peace for any significant period of time, and this little simple key is balance.

Many eastern philosophies talk about this in detail. Masters like the Buddha, Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism, and my favorite, Sosan (Sengstau, The 3rd Zen Patriarch) in his work The Book of Nothing.

Balance is about finding the middle ground. Not trying to bite more than you can chew. Not going to extremes, but finding the middle way – going with the flow, instead of swimming against the current?

So our approach is to simplify our life gradually, but effectively. Picking our battles by dividing and conquering small areas, one after the other, instead of trying to tackle the whole thing at once. Slowly but surely. Fake it till you make it.

Stay tuned for future posts on specific, real life examples and techniques to simplify your way to lasting peace.

The Book of Nothing

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.

When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.

Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against.

The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.

When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The way is perfect like vast space where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.

Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in inner feelings of emptiness.

Be serene without striving activity in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity.

As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the Single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.

To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.

Stop talking and thinking and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the Root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the Source.

At the moment of Inner Enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.

The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.

Do not search for the Truth; only cease to hold opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state – avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-Essence will be lost in confusion.

Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.

“When mind exists undisturbed in The Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.

When thought objects vanish, the thinking subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because of the subject – the mind is such because of things.

Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.

In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world.

If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine, you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute.

The faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging cannot be limited.

Even to be attached to the idea of Enlightenment is to go astray.

Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.

When thought is in bondage the Truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.

What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way, do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.

Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with True Enlightenment.

The wise man strives for no goals but the foolish man fetters himself.

There is one Dharma, Truth, Law, not many – distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.

To seek Mind with the discriminating mind is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion.

With enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.

All dualities come from ignorant inference.

They are like dreams or flowers in the air – the foolish try to grasp them.

Gain and loss, right and wrong – such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.

If the mind makes no discrimination, the Ten Thousand Things are as they are, of Single Essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-Essence is to be released from all entanglements.

When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-Essence is reached.

No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.

Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, and both the state of movement and the state of rest disappear.

When such dualities cease to exist, Oneness itself cannot exist.

To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases.

Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible.

With a single stroke we are freed from bondage – nothing clings to us and we hold nothing.

All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind’s power.

Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.

In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.

To come directly into harmony with this reality, just simply say when doubts arise, “Not Two.”

In this “Not Two” nothing is separate, nothing is excluded.

No matter when or where, Enlightenment means entering this truth.

And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the Infinite Universe stands always before our eyes.

Infinitely large and infinitely small – no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.

So too with Being and Non-Being.

Don’t waste time in doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things, move among and intermingle without distinction.

To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.

To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

Words!

The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday…

no tomorrow…

no today…

“Hsin Hsin Ming – The Book of Nothing ~ Sosan.”

Ο + ☥ = ☮

Welcome

This is a simple blog about the quest for the Simple Life as a way to peace…

This Blog will have two types of posts:

  1. Spiritual/Philosophical
  2. Practical

You will be able to read some posts that are more Spiritual in nature and others that give you practical tools to simplify your life.

But simple does not equal easy, as anyone who has every gone down this path will tell you.

What we’ve found is that it takes a holistic approach to be successful at editing and simplifying one’s life.

It’s not only about getting rid of stuff. That would be too easy! If we don’t work on the mental and spiritual side of this conundrum, no matter how much stuff we get rid of, in a very short time, we end up buried under a pile of crap bigger than the one we chucked out earlier.

It is a Mind, Body, Spirit issue – as are all our problems, really!

This blog is intended to share philosophies, tools and ideas to help you explore the Simple Life as a Way to Spiritual Peace.

So get on board on and stay tuned. We have a very interesting road ahead of us. Keep checking in because the fun has just begun.

Simple + Life = Peace
Ο + ☥ = ☮