Thursday 17 April 2008


Back in the 90s 'downshifting' was an often-heard word. As I recall back then, it was mostly used to refer to people who left their city lives, big houses and demanding jobs, for a simpler life in the country. They would often make a lot of money selling their houses and would be able to move to a cheaper house in the sticks and be mortgage free and not necessarily have to work full time to pay the bills. Perhaps that is a slightly harsh view, but I do think the whole concept has moved on now. I bring it up because InterNational Downshifting Week is here - from Saturday 19 April to Friday 25 April, and it's an opportunity for all of us to get involved. You don't have to move to the country to downshift - start where you are.

Downshifting is about slowing down to a gentler rhythm that embraces both your home and working life. It means welcoming simplicity, letting go of materialistic ideals and consumerism and as a consequence living with less, and leading a more fulfilling life. This in turn not only benefits us, but also our impact on the environment.

There are lots of tips and suggestions here on how you can take part - whether as an individual, a company or a school, so have a look and do your bit! At the beginning of January I made a decision to make all my cards this year, and not make a single purchase. I've made cards and envelopes of varying styles and descriptions for as long as I can remember, but often I leave it too late when a birthday pops up and I resort to buying one. So I'm going to be a little more efficient and plan (and make) ahead. I have plenty of vintage magazines and art catalogues which are perfect for both inspiration and chopping up!


Anonymous said...

It is a common misconception to think that downshifting is only possible if you sell up and move to the country and become self sufficient. That would be the ideal for most people but for those of us living in an urban environment it is good to know that we can downshift in our own small way - it doesn't have to be all or nothing - a small change in our way of living can be of benefit. I get a good feeling everytime I go out to my composter or to the recycling bins - I am amazed how little rubbish I produce now. I also stopped buying bottled water ages ago - I have a water filter and fill my own bottles. A small thing but it makes me feel like I am doing something useful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne, you are absolutely right! The best way to downshift is to dip your toes in, in your own four walls! If you can ditch the stress and positively embrace living with less, your whole world can change colour.

Thank you for raising the topic of IDW here - it's very much appreciated and I'm glad you liked the ideas!

All the best,
Tracey Smith
Founder of InterNational Downshifting Week