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The Simple Rabbit Perspective on Minimalism

Over the last few months, I’ve been interviewing amazing individuals about simple living, location independence, financial freedom and more. Every Thursday, a feature interview is posted on RowdyKittens. Last week, I chatted with Victoria Vargas of Smaller Living.

This week I spoke with by Chloe Adeline, of Simple Rabbit Society. We talked about her minimalist journey, finding happiness, and starting her own small business.

Enjoy the interview!

***

Tammy: Can you tell us about your blog, Simple Rabbit Society?

Chloe: Hi Tammy! Thank you so much for having me here : )

Well, the Simple Rabbit Society is focused on how we can live more exciting and more joyful lives through minimalism and simple living…but it’s also really damn cute! Free bunny drawings in every article!

I currently write with my rabbit blogging partner Loy. Sometimes she helps me brainstorm, sometimes she writes her own posts. Loy tends to always be just a few steps ahead of me at living a minimalist lifestyle, her glasses are cuter than mine, and she’s a master vegetable thief…

I just try to keep up.

Tammy: What prompted you to start your downsizing journey?

Chloe: A year ago I lived in a 12×12 foot apartment so tiny that my stuff sat in boxes, stacked against the walls to the ceiling like a game of 3d Tetris. It was like I lived in a play fort made out of moving boxes and foot lockers…for an entire year.

Last winter I moved and when I looked at all my moving boxes, it was like waking up from a stupor. I realized that most of the stuff I had just moved hadn’t been opened in over a year…some in three or four. I was just hauling around a bunch of stuff, apartment to apartment. I had even forgotten what was in most of the boxes!

So one day, I promised myself I would get rid of half my stuff, which I did within two weeks. Then, I promised myself I’d do it again, which took a few more weeks. It was an exciting and liberating month for me—the beginning of my minimalist journey!

Tammy: How do you define minimalism?

Chloe: Less.

Okay. In all seriousness, I think that a pretty good way to go about living is to focus on whatever is important to you so ruthlessly, that everything else is neglected, forgotten, and crumbles to pieces in the wake of your awesomeness!

This is easy to say and tough to actually do…so minimalism is a tool we can use to help make this focus happen!

Minimalism is when you intentionally take everything that’s not important to you or essential and remove it from your life.

Minimalism is also when you decide that fewer of your priorities will be priorities to you.

It’s about fewer distractions so you can focus on priorities. It’s about fewer priorities, so the ones you keep truly stand out as priorities and receive their due attention and energy.

Minimalism is also not just about stuff. “Stuff” is the obvious culprit. But minimalist principles apply to every aspect of life…from our calendars, to our emotional universes, to our social social and professional lives, etc.

There are many benefits and opportunities that minimalism can create for us. For some it’s location independence because we can pack our world into a backpack or car trunk. It increases our ability to become self-employed since we need less income to survive. And for some, it just makes life less stressful, more interesting, and more fulfilling.

Tammy: A number of my readers want to start decluttering their homes, but don’t know where to start. How can folks start the decluttering process and avoid feeling so overwhelmed by the challenge?

Chloe: I think that quitting clutter is a little like quitting any addiction. You should deal with the root issue as you start, and you need to replace your clutter with something healthy, or else junk will slowly collect back up in your life.

I think a great first step to start decluttering is to read websites and books on minimalism. Not for the “how-to” aspect so much as the inspiration and absorbing the mindset. If you develop a distaste for clutter, are inspired by other people, and have the benefits of owning and doing fewer things fresh in the front of your mind, you’ll have a much easier time of it. You’ll be itching to toss stuff that’s been holding you back!

Of course, this doesn’t actually ACCOMPLISH any decluttering. It just sets the stage, so make sure you actually do get to it!

Tammy: I loved your recent post “How I Accidentally Doubled My Income And Became Self Employed In Three Days,” which talks about growth, risk taking, and your journey toward self-employment. What inspired you to leave your day job?

Chloe: Aw thank you so much! Well, besides what I wrote in that article, I would say the main inspiration for leaving my j-o-b were others who I saw succeeding without one. People like Everett Bogue, Karol Gajda, Colin Wright, and maybe you’ve heard of Tammy Strobel, etc. But more than any of these…and I’m completely serious…was Loy.

I haven’t told many people this, but she was on my mind as I left my job, and continues to be, so here goes…I don’t know where Loy sleeps. I don’t know where Loy eats. Maybe she squats, maybe she couchsurfs, maybe she sleeps under a porch! But I know she doesn’t own a house, and she doesn’t work a job, yet she’s always taken care of. A couple weeks ago someone asked Loy whether she gardened. Loy asked me why she would when the earth gardens for her.

This is a mindset that I’ve been striving to teach myself and trust in—that I’ll be taken care of and provided for. Minimalism can teach us not to rely on stuff for emotional support. It can also open the door for and teach us not to cling desperately to a 9-to-5 or a part-time retail job for dear, dear survival.

Survival comes naturally to us, it doesn’t need to be something we scramble and fight for.

[I realize that I’m speaking from a privileged place here, but it’s a place most people with an internet connection and computer are at.]

Tammy: Books have changed my life for the better and I’m a big book geek. I’m always curious about what other folks are currently reading. What books have you read recently and do you have any recommendations?

Chloe: Oh my. I’m first going to recommend Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk! Heh. Most people think of it as that rebellious, teenage-boy, 90s film, which is true. But besides being fun and hilarious, it’s got a bunch of minimalist, anti-consumerist ideals behind it. And that really excites me!

Something I’m reading now that I highly recommend is the Power of Less by Leo Babauta. I’m beginning to think of it as the minimalist Bible. Everett Bogue’s The Art of Being Minimalist is also fantastic.

Unrelated to minimalism, the most exciting books I’ve read recently are One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss, Gödel’s Proof [for the math nerds out there], and something I’m perpetually reading through, The Lost Lunar Baedeker by my heavenly goddess of poetry, Mina Loy!

But I have had a bad-book streak recently, and I’m always eager for suggestions from others…

Tammy: Everyone has unique skills; skills that I call superpowers. What is your superpower?

Chloe: It’s certainly not accents or imitating people. I’m terrible at that.

But I have a keen knack for cloud watching. I write in Gregg shorthand. And I recently discovered that I can smile for the sake of smiling, and laugh for the sake of laughing at any time, any place, any where!

Smiling for smiling’s sake and laughing for laughing’s isn’t something I see many people doing, so I assume it must be a superpower…but I suspect it’s teachable and it’s something I write about every couple weeks.

Tammy: What brings you the most happiness in life?

Chloe: I don’t know the answer yet.

I suspect at this point that it has something to do with other peoples’ happiness, chocolate, and holding on to fewer things and emotions so that I can move around on Earth less hindered.

I’ll be exploring each of these three ruthlessly this summer.

Thank you so kindly for having me Tammy! And thanks to all my fellow RowdyReaders for reading to the end : ) you’re adorable!

Tammy: Thank you Chloe!

***

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Note: Images by The Simple Rabbit

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Courtney Carver July 29, 2010, 9:09 am

    Tammy, This is your best interview to date. (in my opinion, of course)

    I really got to “know” Chloe and will be paying better attention to her journey with minimalism. I am especially looking forward to watching Fight Club again. It has been so long and I don’t remember liking it. I know for sure that I didn’t pick up on the minimalism.

    Great read!
    Courtney

    • Chloe Adeline July 29, 2010, 11:01 am

      Thank you Courtney! That’s super sweet of you ^_^ I’m glad you liked it!

      I hope you enjoy Fight Club. It’s rude, dirty, dark, and I love it! But it isn’t for everyone.
      ] chloe [

  • Cara July 29, 2010, 9:28 am

    Wonderful interview. I love The Simple Rabbit Society and think that Loy is a great way to externalize what we really know to be true.

    One thing that I have been thinking a lot about lately was put very well by Cloe – “This is a mindset that I’ve been striving to teach myself and trust in—that I’ll be taken care of and provided for. Minimalism can teach us not to rely on stuff for emotional support. It can also open the door for and teach us not to cling desperately to a 9-to-5 or a part-time retail job for dear, dear survival. Survival comes naturally to us, it doesn’t need to be something we scramble and fight for.” It reminds me a great deal of the passage in the Bible, Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.”

    This theme is an ancient one, and one that I (and I suspect many others) am trying to embrace in my life. I think that a large part of consumerism is really based on fear. We grab hold of things and money because we are so afraid of running out of it. It’s almost like eating. Our bodies are still accustomed to thinking that there is a food shortage, so we should consume as much as we can in case the food disappeares. There is an abundance in our first-world lives, and we don’t need to be so afraid. We can let go of things, and know that we will still lead lives without deprivation.

    Thanks very much for the interview. Also, I just finished reading Fight Club this morning! It definitely rang true for me in terms of minimalism and anti-consumerism.

    • Chloe Adeline July 29, 2010, 6:17 pm

      Thank you Cara! The birds of the air and the lilies of the field analogy is totally applicable here, thanks for pointing that out.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it…and Fight Club! hah. I should reread it. It’s been awhile.
      ] chloe [

  • Anki July 29, 2010, 10:17 am

    Great interview! And a new blog discovery 🙂

    • Chloe Adeline July 29, 2010, 6:18 pm

      Hurray and thanks, Anki! : )
      ] chloe [

  • finallygettingtoeven.com July 29, 2010, 11:04 am

    Thanks Tammy, another great one! Chloe & loy sound like fabulous characters and Chloe’s interview was quite entertaining at that. I will be jumping over to check out her blog. Thanks again!

    • Chloe Adeline July 29, 2010, 6:20 pm

      Hope to see you over there : ) I’m glad it was entertaining heh!
      ] chloe [

  • Erin July 29, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Another book you might like is “Living More with Less” by Doris Janzen Longacre. It was published in 1980 and includes letters from people who have lived and worked in the third world where resources are minimal and creativity is necessary.

    • Chloe Adeline July 29, 2010, 6:26 pm

      That’s awesome Erin – Living More With Less has really good amazon reviews too…I’m going to hunt my library for it. It’s strange that we think of minimalism as a newer thing, when people were writing about it in the 1980s, 1960s, 100ad, and earlier too…they just didn’t always use the same term. Thanks for the suggestion ^_^
      ] chloe [

  • Leigh July 30, 2010, 6:40 am

    Great interview…now I’m dying to know more about Loy. 😉

    • Chloe Adeline August 1, 2010, 11:54 am

      Thanks Leigh ^_^ Loy’s a very sweet rabbit…when she’s not making fun of me.
      ] chloe [

      • Leigh August 1, 2010, 12:00 pm

        Heehee! Silly rabbit…;)

  • Pamela August 2, 2010, 10:10 am

    Great interview, Tammy! Simple Rabbit Society is one of my new favorite blogs. Chloe seems to put wings to minimalism, making it somehow lighter and happier.

    Chloe – I have to second Erin’s recommendation for Living More with Less. Whenever I need to bring things back into perspective, I grab it off the shelf and read a few pages. It’s very grounding. Keep up the good work!

    • Chloe Adeline August 6, 2010, 12:18 am

      Aww Pamela, that’s so sweet!

      Okay. Two good reviews. I’m going to have to check it out! The public library didn’t have this, but I’m bookmarking the university’s copy so when I start there this autumn I can borrow it ^_^

      Thank you Pamela : )
      ] chloe [

  • Everett August 12, 2010, 9:26 am

    I’m SO glad my mother-in-law emailed me a link to this site. She said it seemed right up our alley and boy was she right!

    We run a site called Living a Simple Life and currently on the journey toward voluntary simplicity. We are no where near as minimalist as I’d like to be, but we are working on it. My #1 goal right now is to pay off the house. Once that’s out of the way, we’ll kick things into REALLY low gear. 🙂

  • CoCoYoYo August 12, 2010, 2:53 pm

    I’ve done the “boxes that haven’t been opened in a year or more”. There are a few boxes in my current digs that I haven’t opened in nearly 10 YEARS! Shameful, I know. Slowly but surely I’m digging through the clutter as I work my way towards simplicity. Glad that I heard about rowdykittens and simple rabbit: both are going to be VERY helpful 🙂

  • Wow August 12, 2010, 7:05 pm

    I guess only agreeing comments are allowed here. i guess the minimalist lifestyle doesn’t apply to censorship

    • Tammy August 12, 2010, 7:14 pm

      @ wow – there are a number of readers who don’t agree with me and I’m happy to approve their comments.

      My comment policy: I approve comments that contribute to the discussion. That being said, if someone is being hateful, racist, or sexist the comment does not get approved.

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