Mindfulness, Minimalism

Perhaps the biggest lifestyle change to date; the TV removal trial

This year our minimalist and simple living quest has been turning up a notch with starting to declutter sentimental items, really think about how we live and our latest decision is one that has caused most controversy amongst friends and family; planning to live without a Television.

These days a standard television could be viewed obsolete as more and more people ditch the little (or not so little) black box for projectors, surround sound cinema experiences and bigger and better HD experiences.

But we aren’t looking at any of those options. We are looking at a life without any television screen.

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Why would we want to make this life changing decision which has shocked many? The aim of our TV less world is to live more simply. To utilise the time we often spend numbing ourselves with programmes we’re half interested in to actually experience life, the great outdoors, see more theatre and film, go to more restaurants, have more after work drinks, read more, just go for coffee, hang out in the library, blog, vlog, write and generally develop a richer, simpler way of living.

This isn’t to say we will never again watch the best that Auntie has to offer, or watch a film but we will be doing this on our laptops and will be making very conscious decisions to only watch the best and our favourites. This allows us to also watch different things from each other, to schedule programme watching around our life and to limit the ‘fire gazing’ done where hours of life is lost to something you only half watch as you fiddle with your phone.

We are starting a month’s trial of this brave new world this Sunday, and will turn our TV round. I am actually really excited. My plans are to read more in the evening, the chances are we will interact more and we’re looking forward to getting out our York version of Monopoly that we’ve hardly touched. We have also signed up to a theatre membership so will be getting out and experiencing some live drama. To me it feels exciting, but also really daunting. TV is the bedrock of so many of our lives. Who can’t remember the first episode of Eastenders when Reg Cox, or the ‘Free Deidre’ campaign? The first episode of Big Brother when it was still a brilliant concept, or getting round the telly at Christmas for The Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials?

What happens if we don’t have anything to do (unlikely, I will be able to blog more, read more, listen to radio plays, music, and spend more time with the 4 cats and 2 dogs that own us)

The biggest reaction has been from those we’ve told of our plans ‘What are you going to do?’ ask work colleagues with wide open eyes, as if we’ve told them we’re going to seal ourselves in the house for the rest of our natural lives.

Parents reactions were more perplexed? ‘Why don’t you want a TV?’, my parents worship the BBC as if it is the font of all knowledge, and spend every evening watching it. So to say we are no longer planning to have one was just as if we had said ‘We’re off to live on Mars’.

What do you think? Could you live without a TV? I will update throughout the month with how we get on.

Having raided Pinterest, one of my favourite inspirations I found a great pin with 47 things to do other than watch TV. It’s American, perhaps us Brits are so surgically attached to the TV there are no pins out there from us?

I’ve highlighted below in bold the ones I plan to have a go at, and there’s lots of suggestions for you if you fancy it and I will update you on how painful or life changing it’s been in a couple of weeks.

47 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV (thanks to growingslower.com)

  • Paint or Draw
  • Play a game
  • Go for a run/walk
  • Start a business
  • Declutter
  • Make a backyard fire pit and roast marshmallows
  • Take a Hike
  • Plan a Trip
  • Actually do a pinterest project
  • Learn a language
  • Play with your kids (in our case our neice and nephew)
  • Read the Bible (not my cup of tea, but I will be reading a ton of books)
  • Throw a Party – Maybe we will start some dinner parties?
  • Learn to knit
  • Make eye contact
  • Start a blog (Well I’m ahead of the game on that one but I plan to develop this blog lots more)
  • Throw a bbq (Yes definitely in the summer months)
  • Read to your kids
  • Write in a journal
  • Play or learn an instrument
  • Exercise
  • Visit a friend (I definitely plan to do more socialising)
  • Make a budget
  • Ask your spouse about their day
  • Have a picnic
  • Plant a garden ( Thinking about a veg garden)
  • Cook from scratch
  • Phone or Skype with a friend ( Definitely a plan)
  • Invite someone over
  • Take pictures of your family/friends
  • Go for a drive (summer evening drives to the countryside is a definite)
  • Read a magazine
  • Go camping (the backyard counts) (We are definitely planning on this over the summer)
  • Have a scavenger hunt
  • Try out Geocaching
  • Go to a Museum
  • Craft
  • Go to the park
  • Visit local farm or farmers market
  • Ride a bike
  • Build a fort
  • Go fishing
  • Join a church or community group
  • Take a class
  • Volunteer (I already do)
  • Teach your friends/family/kids something you Know
  • Attend a Community Concert or Play (Have plans for more theatre)

So here’s to a TV free month. Let the fun begin!



2 thoughts on “Perhaps the biggest lifestyle change to date; the TV removal trial”

  1. This is a really interesting idea Jo. I dont think it’s going to be difficult at all. It’s the life draining background you’re getting rid of. We’ve all used the telly for background noise, a bit of company, or habit. All you’re doing is getting rid of ‘tv clutter’. Programmes themselves are not the enemy, but not being selective is draining. I’ve found watching a good programme, when I have the time and interest so much more enjoyable. I can’t wait to hear how you get on


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