Have you been approaching minimalism the wrong way? Think of this: You’re never going to truly become a minimalist until you find out why you are so drawn to owning so much stuff in the first place. Christine Platt approaches the concept of minimalism from a different lens by focusing on why we are attached to things, why we consume them in the first place, and how that understanding helps to find the path to minimalism. This lovely conversation contains both practical tips for people who are downsizing and also a more philosophical discussion about the “why” behind minimalism.
In This Episode:
- Beyond the aesthetics of minimalism
- Tips to mitigate impulse purchases
- What diversity in the tiny house and minimalist movements means
- Couples counseling: the psychology behind the clutter
- How to decline gifts
- Understanding the root causes behind your attachments to things
Links and Resources:
- Diversify Vanlife
- Buy Nothing Project
- Courtney Carver
- Joshua Becker
- Atomic Habits: The Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi
Christine Platt is a modern-day Renaissance woman. From serving as an advocate for policy reform to using the power of storytelling as a tool for social change, Christine’s work reflects her practice of living with intention. She holds a BA in Africana Studies, an MA in African-American Studies, and a JD in General Law. Christine has written over two dozen literary works for people of all ages. When she’s not writing, Christine spends her time curating The Afrominimalist—a creative platform chronicling her journey to minimalism.
This Week's Sponsor:
Tiny House Decisions
Tiny House Decisions is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. And it comes in three different packages to help you on your unique tiny house journey. If you're struggling to figure out the systems for your tiny house, how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what you're going to build it out, then tiny house decisions will take you through the process systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for podcast listeners. Head over to https://www.thetinyhouse.net/thd and use the coupon code tiny at checkout!
Minimalism looks different for everyone
Christine doesn't find importance in the number of her possessions
Minimalism can be colorful
Christine explains the psychology behind our clutter in her book, The Afrominimalist's Guide to Living with Less
Things that can be used up, like candles and soap, make great gifts for minimalists
We often find ourselves using the same things, like a favorite mug
Minimalism is about more than just the aesthetics
Christine Platt 0:00
I also don't feel like this should be like a high-pressure lifestyle. You know, like some people are like, "I bet I have less things than you." And I'm like, "You probably do. I don't know, I've never counted." Some things are part of those unofficial rules of minimalism and have made it into mainstream.
Ethan Waldman 0:15
Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and my guest this week is Christine Platt. I'm really excited to share this conversation because Christine Platt approaches the concept of minimalism from a different lens. She is really focused on the why, you know, why we are attached to the things that we have, why we we consume and get them in the first place. And that really helps to find the path to to living more as a minimalist. It's a really lovely conversation. And I think that there is a lot of both practical tips in here for for someone who is maybe struggling to downsize before living in a tiny house, but also more philosophical thinking about the why behind minimalism. I hope you stick around.
I want to tell you about something that I think will be super helpful as you plan, design and build your tiny house. Tiny House Decisions is a guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It comes in three different packages to help you on your unique Tiny House journey. And if you're struggling to just figure out the systems for your tiny house, you know, like how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what construction technique are you going to use like SIPs or stick framing or steel framing, Tiny House Decisions will take you through all these processes systematically, and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for listeners of the show, you can head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD to learn more, and use the coupon code tiny at checkout for 20% off any package. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/THD and use the coupon code tiny for 20% off
All right. I am here with Christine Platt. Christine Platt is a modern day Renaissance woman. From serving as an advocate for policy reform, using the power of storytelling as a tool for change, Christine's work reflects her practice of living with intention. She holds a BA in Africana Studies and MA in African-American Studies and a JD in general law. Christine has written over two dozen literary works for people of all ages. When she's not writing Christine spends her time curating The Afrominimalist, a creative platform chronicling her journey to minimalism. Christine Platt, welcome to the show.
Christine Platt 3:01
Happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Ethan Waldman 3:03
You're welcome. Thanks for being here. I was hoping we can just start with, Can you kind of tell your story of of becoming a minimalist or your, your path to to kind of finding yourself calling yourself a minimalist?
Christine Platt 3:19
Yeah, and then not calling myself a minimalist? Yeah, it's interesting. I think my journey started the way most people's journeys start, right? Like I just had an abundance of stuff. There was I felt like I was always cleaning, I felt like I was always organizing. And I was just like, "I have got to do something about this." And I think what ended up challenging me about the journey, it was like, you know, I thought it was all about decluttering. And as we come to find out, it's so much more than our things and so I had to really start addressing just some, you know, habits that I had - spending habits, behaviors, right, the way that I thought about different things and approached consumerism, and that's what sort of like, started my journey. So I started, you know, thinking I was just going to get my stuff organized, and then it It turned into a true lifestyle transformation for me. And so yeah, that's how I got started.
Ethan Waldman 4:20
Awesome. So you what I what I've really found different about and refreshingly different about your work and your writings on minimalism is that you kind of call out the fact that that mainstream minimalism has a real focus on aesthetic.
Christine Platt 4:41
Ethan Waldman 4:42
And you you know, certainly aesthetics are important, but that's not your main focus. Can you talk a bit about that?
Christine Platt 4:54
Yeah, I mean, I, you know, again, it goes back to I think, the same reason so many people are initially drawn to the light So, you know, we see all these images on Pinterest and, you know, Instagram and and all these different places have these beautiful, serene, barren spaces. And we sort of want that for ourselves. And then we, you know, a lot of people like myself come to find out that like, Oh, you know, turns out I actually do need more than one fork, one knife and one spoon. Actually, I shouldn't have a lot of white furnishings, because I'm super messy, right? Like, you start to realize that, you know, the aesthetic of minimalism, for so long, I feel have been at the forefront of this movement, when it's really about authenticity. I mean, every minimalist, I know, even if they call themselves that, or not every tiny home dweller that I know, right? Like, they're all of our spaces look so different. All of us, you know, have different things that spark joy, you know, if you want to say that, right? But it's like, yeah, and so I feel that, unfortunately, because the aesthetics of minimalism, have made up more of the conversation than actually the, the practice of it. Yeah, I just felt like a need to, to sort of address that. Because, you know, while it tends to have a lot of us become curious, in this lifestyle, I feel like it also detracts from a lot of people thinking about embracing, you know, a tinier lifestyle, right? And so like, some people look at the images, and they're like, "Oh, my goodness, I would love to, you know, have my space look like that." And there are other people that are like, "There's no way that I could live like that." And I think what we all know, is that all of our lives, tiny or not, are going to look very, very different. Right. And so I just wish that folks had, you know, and I feel like the conversation is starting to change, right. But I wish that there was more conversation and information around the practice of living with less than aesthetically, what would it look like?
Ethan Waldman 7:12
Yeah. And it almost seems like there's a lot of focus on the path to get to less like the Marie Kondo 's of the world, the organizers, the clutter busting, it's like all about getting rid of this excess stuff, which yes, most of us probably need to do.
Christine Platt 7:30
Ethan Waldman 7:31
But you're making a great point that once you get there, there's an actual there's actually a mind shift, a mindset shift that happens or that if you don't, if it doesn't happen, you you end up just backsliding.
Christine Platt 7:43
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I think, you know, that's why I started my book the way I did, which is like, let's first talk about the psychology of ownership.
Ethan Waldman 7:50
Christine Platt 7:51
Right. Because you can jump in and let go stuff and find what sparks joy and let go of what doesn't, right. But if you don't really get into the psychology of why you spend the way you do, why you you know, have attachments to certain things. Yeah, you're right. I mean, you just end up backsliding, or you hear people say, like, "Oh, I tried to be a minimalist, and I just do it, right." And I'm always like, oh, it's usually either rooted in that, not doing the inner work to understand the psychology behind their ownership. Or they were more focused on the aesthetic part of it. And, you know, discovered, they didn't really like the way it look, right. And so I like to challenge people who say, like, "Oh, I tried, I don't think I could do it." And I'm like, "Why don't you just try not to be a minimalist, just try to be like a more mindful consumer, try and be a little more intentional about what you buy and allow and accept into your space?" And, you know, because that's really what we're asking, right? We're not really asking everyone to be a minimalist, at least I'm not.
Ethan Waldman 8:55
Yeah, yeah. And I think that just even the term minimalism has a bit of a some preconceptions out there, you know, this almost race to the bottom of like, "Okay, I only have, you know, I have five black turtlenecks, and so that my outfit is super simple. And I can just wear the same thing every day." And I don't have to make decisions and you know, one coffee mug, one fork, kind of what you alluded to before.
Christine Platt 9:23
Yeah, yeah. And it's just, you know, it's not a very realistic lifestyle. I think for a lot of people. I mean, I do have friends, who are what I like to call extreme, minimalist, right. And like, that is the lifestyle that works for them. And you know, most of them don't have kids, they don't have some of the same responsibilities that other folks have. Right. And so like, trying to marry your life after someone else's who has like a complete is completely different from you in every sense of the word. You know, it's almost like setting yourself up to be super disappointed, you know?
Ethan Waldman 9:59
Absolutely, it sounds like you're you're saying that you have to find your own path through this. You can't really just follow someone else's.
Christine Platt 10:09
That's my big thing, man. I'm always like, you know, this is minimalism, but your way, right? It's like, Why say, you have to choose authenticity over aesthetic. Right? If you are authentic, and genuine about what you like, what you want, how you, you know, how you feel about certain things, right, aesthetically, that may look very, very different than what you're seeing in mainstream minimalism. Right. And so, you know, you have to just, you know, be authentic and do it. Do it your way. That's the only way it's really going to work, in my opinion. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 10:42
And you definitely get at this in your writing, which is, you know, what the benefits of minimalism are just beyond, okay, I have this really neat tidy space that only has like two pieces of art that I really love in it. You know, can you talk about some of the benefits that you see kind of beyond just the the aesthetic and beyond?
Christine Platt 11:04
Yeah, I mean, the aesthetic part, the and not, let's be clear, not having a lot to clean is a huge benefit. Right. So aesthetically, you're definitely going to see something. But I think the biggest thing for me is like, I learned that I you can't just be intentional with, with what you own in what you have in your living space. Like the lifestyle for me taught me to be intentional about everything, right, because once I felt once I saw how good it felt to, you know, only have the clothing that I really, really, you know, were in love to only have things in my space that, you know, make me feel this certain way or evoke this part. These memories are part of my life. You know, I wanted to be intentional with every area of my life. And so, you know, one of the biggest benefits for me was it taught me what it meant to live with intention, right, of course, I saw benefits financially, right, because I was more mindful about what I was consuming and bringing into my home. You know, I think it also teaches your loved ones a lot about who you are, and what brings you joy, and it causes them to be more intentional as well about what they offer to welcome into your life. Yeah, it's just I have so much more like, time that I used to spend cleaning, I can create, you know, yeah, the benefits for me are endless, because I really do believe, you know, it's ultimately, like a lesson in self mastery in a way, right?
Ethan Waldman 12:39
Christine Platt 12:40
And so yeah, I and I think that's also what bothers me about the aesthetics piece, right? Because I'm like, man, so many more people could be experiencing these benefits. But unfortunately, you know, maybe the images that they've seen or, you know, some of the documentaries or books that they've read or whatever, that image that that word minimalism evokes. So the images that are shown, you know, has caused them not to want to pursue this lifestyle. For me, this is very, you know, upsetting because I do think it's the lifestyle that can benefit so many people that it's accessible to more people than we've been led to believe, right? Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 13:22
Yeah. Are there particular people or just, is there some low hanging fruit here that that we can all kind of become minimalists without really even realizing it in just one small area of our lives?
Christine Platt 13:38
You know, ironically, a lot of people are and they don't even know it, right? It's when I ask people to like go through their closets. Right? And so, you know, like, you probably already have a capsule wardrobe, you just don't even know it. Because it's stuffed in between all those other things. But it's like, we naturally gravitate towards wearing some of the same things, we, we naturally gravitate towards using some of the same coffee mugs, and plates, right. It's, you know, oftentimes, we can't really see those things that we that really, we need us and love, because they are, unfortunately around some of the other things that we don't. Yeah. You know, for the person who was just like, "I don't know where to start, but I have to start somewhere." I mean, I always say, like, "Start with your spice cabinet." Right, and go in there and find like, all the old lumped together spices and work through there, right. I mean, there are a lot of different approaches that people can take.
Ethan Waldman 14:36
Christine Platt 14:36
And so you know, I think if you're feeling super overwhelmed and intimidated, starting with something small, like your spice closet, because those are things that you really don't have deep attachments to. Yeah, and some folks you know, I encourage them to like, start big and tackle that area that has been just challenging you for so long. Either way, the end result is the same. Once you're on the other side, and you have seen the benefits of how it feels having an organized spice cabinet or having you know that room finally tackled, it just encourages you and motivate you to want to move, move forward and do more.
Ethan Waldman 15:16
And do do more kind of snowballs.
Christine Platt 15:19
Ethan Waldman 15:21
How is... Something that you said a little earlier made me think about, and I'm not a Buddhist, but I, I have some friends who are and I've heard them talk about how, like in Buddhism, you know, you're trying to not have any cravings or any aversions. And something that you mentioned about about clothes, for example, is just like, you don't want to I guess my not really sure what my question is totally, but it's like, I'm sure you still see clothes and and see something that you like, really want? Yeah. How do you Yeah, I mean, I do I love clothes. I, you know, I enjoy buying clothes. So like, how do you? Can you kind of walk through what your process is, like? Almost like, you talk yourself through like deciding. Get rid of something like, how do you approach that?
Christine Platt 16:15
You know, I also don't feel like this should be like a high-pressure lifestyle. So I'm not one of those people that like count, you know, like, yeah, like, "I bet I have less things than you." And I'm like, "You probably do, I don't know, I've never counted." You know, again, I feel like, some things are part of those unofficial rules of minimalism that have made it into mainstream, you know, media. For me, you know, like, obviously, you're gonna be tempted all the time, there are ads in our phones, they're, you know, when you're out on advertising, so many ads, right. And so to help with the ads, one of the things that I do is I don't have my credit card information stored. Yes. So this is it's funny. The, what I like to do is have sort of something in place that makes me pause. So I'll tell you the pause for the online and then I'll play the pause for the in person. So online, knowing that we're going to be tempted by ads and certain things, right, I try to not have my credit card information stored in the phone, because the pause for me there is having to get up and get my wallet. And I'm like, do I really want this right? It's just something that we need almost like a little buffer.
Ethan Waldman 17:30
Christine Platt 17:30
Right? To just pause because everything is so quick, so quick and easy. And then when I go to the stores, when I'm in person, you know, I like to have different mantras that I use, right? So if I'm at the sale rack, I'll tell myself, "It's not a deal if you don't need it, right?"
Ethan Waldman 17:49
Christine Platt 17:49
Or if I see myself, like getting ready, I'm like, "Oh, I really, really want this." And I like, and that's the thing, you can talk yourself into anything. So you have to have to have modules that work for you. And so another one that works for me is what's the why behind the buy? So I'll say, "Alright, Christine, what's the why, but why are you really buying this?" Right? Just something that makes me pause, to think about what I'm about to do. And that pause those two seconds, I have found to have been so powerful and keeping me you know, from getting things I also try and just, you know, be super intentional about the stores that I do go to, right. And so, you know, some stores are more attempting others. And so like if I just need, you know, say for example, I don't know, toilet tissue, I'm not going to go to Target just to get toilet tissue, because the temptation to just get to the toilet paper aisle, right. And so yeah, I think you know, just again, it just all goes back to just being more mindful. So I'm very mindful about what I have on my phone, what you know what information I have saved, I'm very mindful about what stores I go to, you know, an arming myself with those with those monitors that kind of keep me in check. I've found it to be super helpful. That's it.
Ethan Waldman 19:15
Those are all awesome, awesome ideas. And I appreciate that. Especially the as you were talking about, like tempting stores. I was just thinking like how I am incapable of going to Costco just for what I went for just like in case.
Christine Platt 19:32
Costco is another danger zone.
Ethan Waldman 19:34
Christine Platt 19:36
I'm like, I need three pounds of pickles. I can't make yeah, like I there's
Ethan Waldman 19:41
Those pickles are so good.
Christine Platt 19:47
So yeah, you know, because we can justify so many things if we really want it like I've found, you know, trying not to put myself in temptations way and then when knowing that I'm going to be tempted to just have something in mind. So a lot of self talk, I think that comes into this. Yeah, yeah.
Ethan Waldman 20:07
So, you know, looking at the minimalism space as a whole, and like what you see on social media, it from a glance looks very wealthy and white. Both and you've made this point of both like in the actual physical items, right walls and furniture and all these things, but also just the the people who are, yeah, kind of doing it. And so your book is called the Afrominimalist. Can you? Yeah, what is an afro minimalist,
Christine Platt 20:41
Afrominimalist's Guide to Living with Less, you know, honestly, it's just a moniker that I gave myself. When I decided that my minimalist space, I was gonna have to do it my way. And because I have a background in African and African American Studies, and that's a big part of my life's work. I decided to call myself the Afrominimalist, right? You know, so really Afrominimalism. For me, it's just a minimalist life, influenced by the African diaspora. But you know, it's, it's a lifestyle that anyone can, can adapt, if they want to, right. But I, again, I think it goes back to doing minimalism your own way. So there have been other folks who, you know, other black folks who are like, "I love this aesthetic, and this is what I want." And I'm like, "Go for it." Right. And, you know, ironically, the, in general, the wellness, space lifestyle and wellness spaces are just super white in general, right, no matter whether you're talking about minimalism, or clean beauty, right, I mean, there have just been, I think, historically, some barriers to entry for black and brown folks. But, you know, I have, you know, a lot of the minimalists, a lot of the white minimalist practitioners, you are referencing are dear friends, and they have welcomed me into this community and, you know, really gave me a platform to share my piece, you know, this is before the book, and before it became, you know, a thing like it is right now. And there are a lot of bipoc people in this space, right? Diversify Vanlife is, you know, a really great Instagram page to follow to see black and brown folks who live on the road. You know, there are more black folks in the tiny home communities these days. And so, you know, I think our visibility is growing, but I think in, you know, as a whole, like, we were like, 1%, of what would be considered like, minimalist, Tiny House lifestyle, folks. And, you know, again, you know, what we discussed earlier, I think it's, you know, very unfortunate, because those images, again, like they just give this appearance, like you said that is this, like white folks who are wealthy, who can afford to throw away a table. Yeah, you know, who can afford to say things like, I just got rid of everything and started, right. And most people are like, wait, what?
Ethan Waldman 23:17
Or like, if I ever need this again, I'll just buy it.
Christine Platt 23:20
Yeah, I'll just buy another one. Right. And so I think, you know, the more diverse stories that we can share, the more we can show just the different ways that people live with less than that diversity going beyond race, right, going. Also with like, a disability, right? With our cultures and ethnicities, family sizes, right? Like, I'm always fascinated to see families in tiny homes, right, and the ways that they have made the tiny house lifestyle work for them. And so I think that diversity also just goes to showing the many different ways that people live with less in their spaces, I think is is is probably the one thing that's going to combat that mainstream narrative that we've been shown so many times.
Ethan Waldman 24:10
Yeah. And it is, it is something of a paradox, because this is also an issue in the tiny house movement that that representation of black and brown people is, is not, it's not representative of how many people are actually living tiny. Yeah. But, you know, when you look at the space as a black or brown person, and you don't see yourself represented, you kind of say, Is this for me? You know, yeah, I belong. I do this.
Christine Platt 24:38
Yeah, exactly. So that visibility is so important, and I love that, you know, my platform has, you know, led so many more bipoc folks to really consider this as a lifestyle. I've met just so many wonderful people across all races and socio economic background to our stories. can be more similar than we'd all like to think they are like, we think our stories are so unique. And then you talk to more people, they're like, "Yes, this is why I decided to live tiny." This is why and you're like, me too. Right? And there's just I feel like there's so much that we can all learn from each other. And I think that anyone who has the ability to pursue this lifestyle, like to be intentional, to be a minimalist or tiny house dollar by choice, and that by circumstance, right, I think we all, you know, have a privilege, the privilege for me to be able to say, "This is how I want to live, right." And so even as someone from you know, a marginalized community, I still am privileged to be able to, to be in this space, and you know, to share how this lifestyle has has benefited me.
Ethan Waldman 25:53
Nice. One great question that we've gotten from our community, our Tiny House Engage community is, this is from someone named Emily, "I'm more of a minimalist, and my husband definitely is not any tips for keeping me sane when the clutter gets overwhelming?"
Christine Platt 26:09
Oh, man, I get so many questions from couples. It's so hard, right? You know, when
Ethan Waldman 26:17
Your're a couples counselor also, right?
Christine Platt 26:20
Yeah. You know, one of my dear friends who is a professional declutterer, you know, she says, the way that it works, when she's working with a, with a couple is if one couple, if one partner wants something to say, and the other one doesn't, actually stays, because one person wants it to stay. Right. Yeah. And so I like to encourage people, you know, really, Emily has to focus on her own journey. I know that so hard when you're faced with someone else. But I do, you know, think, living your life as minimally as possible, you know, and again, what's the psychology behind your partner? You know, having these things I think that also helps, right is to understand, why is it so hard for you to let go of X, Y, and Z, even though it's broken? Why do you want to have, you know, your old ratty t shirt from high school, right, and getting people to understand their motivations, around having certain things. And their attachment to certain things also kind of helps with the process of letting go. But I think, you know, a lot of partners are inspired by seeing the transformation in in their partner's lives, right? And so, unfortunately, Emily will promise you won't go crazy. But you have to focus on your own journey. You know, and if there are things that you notice about your partner's journey that you feel may be contributing to his overconsumption. I think it's worthy of a question, right?
Ethan, I've shared the story before about my dear friend who her husband, when he washes dishes, the bubbles are like overflowing out of the sink, and it drives her mad. And she's just like, he's wasting dish soap. But it's the whole thing. And so one day, I just asked her, I was like, "Have you ever asked him why he uses so much?" Just sort of when he's washing dishes, and she asked him and he said, "You know, I grew up really poor. And I, you know, I live with my grandma, and we got dish soap from the dollar store. And even then, I was only allowed to use like one or two drops." And he's like, "Now that I'm older, I just buy the most expensive dish soap that I want and make all the bubbles that I want." Right? So a lot of times we're holding on to, like unfulfilled childhood wants are some things that we've told ourselves, so a lot of it is getting, you know, to the root cause of, you know, why your partner, you know, has an affinity toward certain things.
Ethan Waldman 28:54
Yeah, understand the psychology behind the clutter.
Christine Platt 28:58
Yeah. Mm hmm.
Ethan Waldman 29:01
I like that. That's, that's very helpful advice. Thanks. There was something I think you shared it on your blog. Because, you know, I don't live in my tiny house anymore, but I do still live tiny. And so I don't have a lot of space. And so gifts are always hard. You know, people want to buy you things. And you you kind of talked about almost like a gifting agreement. This maybe this is the JD degree coming out.
Christine Platt 29:34
Which is just, you know, right here.
Ethan Waldman 29:37
Yeah, exactly. checking with your loved ones. You know, if you purchase something for me that I don't need us and love, you know, do you want me to return it to you or do I have your permission to be gifted or to donate it?
Christine Platt 29:49
Yeah, yeah. It's not a it's not a written agreement. But it is an understanding that I have you know, and I think like, was it Now we talk about how you, you teach people how to treat you, right. And I think, as a big thing, when I went through a lot of my stuff, a lot of my stuff is gifts, a lot of my stuff came from, you know, my mom a lot, you know, and I had to just say, like, whoa, so even if I stopped buying things, if I don't manage what's coming into my home, I can accumulate back up just this fast, you know, an understanding that psychology of ownership peace, the power of touch, and how once we touch things, or accept things into our lives, we feel responsible for it. So it makes it harder for us to let it go. And so I had to say, there are just certain things I like, if I know I don't want it, like it's not coming into my home. And so you try and tell people, you know, like, "Hey, only give me gifts that disappear, like incense or soap, or only do this or only do that they want, right?" And so, you know, I have to say like, "Hey, you know, I'm trying to live with less, you know, I'm still over here letting go of certain things. You know, and as beautiful as this is, and as thoughtful as the sentiment is behind it. I know, I'm not going to use it, right, I'm happy to either, you know, re gift it for you, if you if it's something that you were looking for a home for, or if you want to, you know, take it back and get reimbursed, you know, I'm fine with that, too. But I just had to be honest." You know, like, it's just, it's just a conversation that has to be had, right. And I think that's also rooted in that authenticity piece that we talked about, right? I have to be authentic and honest. And say like, "I really am not going to use this. Like, I'm just not right. And so I'd hate I'd hate for you to waste your money, or I'd hate for it to sit here unused." And I have found that I mean, no one in my circle. Challenges that the few people who did early on like, you know, it only takes like one or two times for you to reject something to be like, Okay, you're serious, right?
Ethan Waldman 32:04
We're serious about this.
Christine Platt 32:05
You're serious? Yeah. And so what I do is I'll sometimes get text messages with pictures of something, someone will say, like, "Oh, I'm at, you know, XY and Z. And look at this amazing effort, minimalist mug, you know, like, Would you do you want this right?"
Ethan Waldman 32:22
Christine Platt 32:23
So like, even that is giving me the freedom to at least choose, right, this idea that I have to accept something because someone got it for me. You know, I think that's something that we kind of, we have to work through dismantling that it's that it's bad or wrong, to refuse it, right. It's, it's bad or wrong, to not be honest. And to take something in that, you know, for a fact you're never gonna use and that it's just gonna take up space?
Ethan Waldman 32:49
Yeah, yeah. I've definitely gotten better with that. Just saying, "You know, I really love it, or it's really great. But like, I don't have a space for it," or I, you know, "I don't think I'm going to be able to use it." Yeah.
I'd like to tell you a little bit more about Tiny House Decisions, my signature guide and the resource that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It starts with the big decisions, which is, you know, should you build a tiny house yourself or with help is a is a prebuilt shell a good idea? Is a house on wheels better than on the ground and what works better for you? Deciding on the overall size, deciding on whether you should use custom plans or pre made plans, different types of trailers and more. Then in Part 2, we get into the systems. So heat, water, showers, hot water, toilets, electrical, refrigeration, ventilation, and we're only two thirds of the way through the book at this point. From systems we go into construction decisions talking about nails versus screws, SIPs versus stick framed versus advanced framing versus metal framing. We talk about how to construct a sub floor, sheathing, roofing materials, insulation, windows, flooring, kitchen, I know I'm just reading off the table of contents. But I just want to give you a sense of how comprehensive Tiny House Decisions is. It's a total of 170 pages. It contains tons of full color drawings, diagrams and resources. And it really is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions using the coupon code tiny when you head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD. that's THD for Tiny House Decisions. Again, that's coupon code tiny when you check out at thetinyhouse.net/THD.
Speaking of kind of gifting things, one thing that's that's helped my wife and I a lot in getting rid of things that we've like, you know, have some attachment to but are ready to let go of or things that we feel like have value is to use the Buy Nothing groups on Facebook.
Christine Platt 35:05
Yeah, love Buy Nothing groups!
Ethan Waldman 35:07
Yeah, and for people who don't know, they're like kind of local and sometimes hyper local Facebook groups, or giving away stuff in your neighborhood. Um, you're not allowed to charge money for it. And it's just it feels so much better to get rid of something when like, you're giving it to someone that you know wants it.
Christine Platt 35:29
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Yeah. I love by nothing groups. I think they're great. You know, we our one here locally. Luckily, I have obviously I don't have time to be on their sourcing, which is probably a good thing. But I also, you know, it's hard for me to get around to like, dropping stuff off or you know, like meeting up. And so I have a dear friend who is also a member of our local Buy Nothing group who kind of manages all that for me. Yeah, but yeah, it's been great, great place for books right place for, like kids stuff, anything you can possibly think of. There's usually someone in your community who can use it, isn't it wild?
Ethan Waldman 36:11
I'm giving away bubble wrap. People have uses for bubble wrap, which I'm happy to have it not go to landfill.
Christine Platt 36:19
There's someone who needs everything. And so yeah, I look at Buy Nothing groups. And like, I imagine that this is like what our ancestors did, right? What our foremothers and forefathers did just kind of asked around when around a you know, so and so is moving to a big girl bed. I know you just had a baby. Do you want this crib like I figure I? I can't imagine that that's not how our communities work before.
Ethan Waldman 36:44
Christine Platt 36:44
And I think what's so nice, is that it you know, and I've heard this from so many people. So I know it's not just me. Like you actually get to know your neighbors, you actually get to know your neighbors, you actually get to know your community. Right. And so yeah, big, big fan of buy nothing groups, and I think they're coming out with an app. So that
Ethan Waldman 37:02
I think they already have.
Christine Platt 37:04
Oh, nice. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 37:06
But it's it's not connected to the Facebook group. So at least when I checked out the app for Burlington, it was it was fairly empty. But I hope it does. Because Facebook isn't my favorite place, either.
Christine Platt 37:17
Yeah, I think they've heard a lot of Yeah, folks are like, "Can we do this not on Facebook?" And so I'm sure that Apple will be the new the new thing?
Ethan Waldman 37:26
Yeah, I want to circle back to something, you, you spoke really well, and just kind of illuminated this the topic of like the fact that you have so much pressure to consume, you know, whether it's advertising or just clever merchandising or sales, just all these things. And that's kind of on the I see that that's like on the intake end of things like that's us taking stuff in. And then it's like really hard to get rid of. Can you talk a little bit about, like, a little bit more about the psychology of why it's so difficult to let go of things that that we don't need or use anymore? Like, and we know that logically, but yet it's hard to get rid of it?
Christine Platt 38:11
Yeah, I mean, so much of it is, you know, rooted in our attachments, they get talked about that a little bit in the book, like why we are motivated to have certain things, and then how we become attached to them. Right. And so, I think, you know, we all have to those things that are so hard to let go of that we don't really need us or love. I think that's when we have to ask ourselves, like, what is my attachment to this, like getting to the root cause of why is this so hard for you to let go, right? You know, who gave it to you? Is that representative of, you know, some moment in your past or something that's aspirational for you, right? And all the answers always lie in, like, why am I so attached to this thing, really, but we never really go there. We're just like, oh, I can't really give that up. Right. And again, it's that, why? Why? Right.
You know, and so much of this process, and this work has been me, understanding that it's so much more than my things like it's so much deeper than my things. It's not really about that thing that I can't let go of it's like, the why behind why I can't let go of it. Right. You know, people who I spoke to someone the other day who really has a difficult time with their paper clutter. And one of the things we like, dug for that and the why the why the why, you know, getting to the root cause of like, it really boils down to her wanting to make sure that she's never taken advantage of that. She always has proved that if anyone ever comes to her and says like you didn't pay, you know, she can dig it up and Exactly, but it's like I said, so you got to go a little deeper, right? Like, where where was that first moment that you were taking advantage of that made this a lifelong practice for you, right? Like the idea that you will need a receipt from five years ago, and won't be able to either go to the retailer or pull it up online or pull up your banking. You know what I mean? It's like, yeah, you gotta make those connections.
And so those things that we really struggle with those things that are really hard for us. It there's, there's a deeper attachment, or sentiment or reason behind that. For me, it was my like, I was a bargain shopper. I talked about this all the time. I love sales. I just loved finding a deal, right? Which is why my mantra now is like if "it's not a deal if you don't need it." But you know, that realization came when I was going through my closet, and I kept coming across things that had sales tags on them, like I had never worn them clothing, shoes accessories, and I was just like, What is this? Yeah, right. Like, what? What are you doing this? We're at it, why are you so beholden to getting a deal, right? And you start down this path of like, well, I love, you know, saving money. And I love knowing that, you know, it's like, but why did why do you choose to do this? Instead of go for a walk? Why do you choose to do this instead of why you choose to shop instead of going to your yoga mat?
Ethan Waldman 41:36
Christine Platt 41:36
Right. And it boiled down to the end of the day, Ethan, just like drill down that why, you know, it went back to the the joy that I felt in the memories that I had going shopping with my mother on the weekend as a child, right and doing that all the time as a child and so that, and she was a bargain shopper. Right? And so, you know, just, there was something for me in reliving. Like, there was something that it gave me it brought me joy, right? It brought me, you know, just evoke certain memories, to the point where even now, if I go shopping, whether I buy a whole bunch of stuff, or I don't I still like to end the day with an ice cream cone, because that's what my mom used to do. Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, when you do this work, like looking through the lenses of, you know, whatever that moment in time was, so for me looking back on that time, and remembering it through my eyes was the child versus as an adult, you know, like, as an adult, I can look back and I'm like, she wasn't buying anything. Like we were just walking around the mall, and it was fun. And she might have got something here or there. Or like, hey, we were in South Florida, but AC was free who wouldn't be at the mall every weekend right? But in my child like as we were at the mall, and so we were shopping right so it's really this you know, this self discovery work this inner work of really getting to the root causes of your attachment for certain things and your motivations to buy certain things are act a certain way. You know, like and getting to those attachments like you have, you have to drill down deep.
Ethan Waldman 43:26
Yeah, it's important work to do if you're gonna stick with this or even achieve it in the first place. Sure. Is one thing that I like to ask all my guests is for for book or resource recommendations. Are there any any writings or you know, people reading minimalism content that that inspired you that you'd like to share?
Christine Platt 43:50
You know, I'm a big fan of Courtney Carver. She's a dear friend. I love her book. Project 333 really helped me get my wardrobe in order. And then always been a big fan of Joshua Becker. He has a book coming out this year called Things That Matter. And it's really helping us work through some of the distractions that we have is there's so many distractions these days. Atomic Habits is great. You know, I'm currently listening to the audio book The Courage to be Disliked. It's so good. So yeah, those are some great I think, some great books but yeah.
Ethan Waldman 44:38
Well, that's, that's wonderful. And I plus one to to Joshua, who's who's been a guest on the show, and Courtney published a guest post for me, like 10 years ago when I had a different website, and she's just always been so sweet, and I've had a chance to meet them both. They're both awesome. And I was gonna ask you about capsule wardrobes but I'm still hoping to have Courtney on the show to talk about
Christine Platt 45:04
oh, yes, that is her, ask her. She has helped me. Yes. I mean, I, you know, I definitely was able to create a capsule wardrobe thanks to following her advice, but I think like, yeah, Courtney, Courtney Courtney, the one for that. Yeah, for sure.
Ethan Waldman 45:25
For sure. Well, Christine Platt, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. I really loved our conversation and I can't wait to share this.
Christine Platt 45:34
Same thanks so much for having me, Ethan.
Ethan Waldman 45:39
Thank you so much to Christine Platt for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes, including a full transcript and links to Christine's book and website at thetinyhouse.net/201. Again, that's that thetinyhouse.net/201. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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