Posts

How to Become a Minimalist Without Decluttering ... Yet

Image
One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a minimalist is summoning the energy and making the time to undo what we've done for so many years. Now, I loved the process of decluttering once I did it, the lightness I gained as I finally let things go, and the feeling that the items I was keeping were only my most useful and favorite belongings.  The whole process was illuminating, and made me appreciate what I kept even more. But it did take time and effort, evenings and weekends, deciding what to keep and how to responsibly donate or discard the rest.  And the longer you've been accumulating, the more there is to remove.  Sifting through all of that clutter is a big job. But just imagine if we could snap our fingers, make the mess go away, and start over today! Unfortunately, that's not how it works.  If we want to live with less, eventually we have to do the hard work of letting go.  There's no other way. But if you are someone who is struggling to let go, we can try a di

11 Reasons to Declutter Today

Image
Has decluttering been on your radar for a while, but you just haven't started?  You know you need and want to do it, but you're busy.  Always busy, and decluttering takes some time.  It's pretty easy to do the "get rid of one item each day" method, but you feel like that will just take forever, and you want to see meaningful results soon.  But busyness, lack of energy, that TV show, those social media posts, and a touch of good old procrastination are getting in your way. Maybe these eleven reasons to declutter will help give you the motivation to start today. 1.  Save time. A clutter-free home makes it easier to find what you need when you need it, without fruitless searching.  Because everything has a place to belong, it's easier to see when you need to restock or replace something.  Plus, having less stuff makes your home quicker and easier to keep clean.  You can spend time on other things you like to do better. 2.  Save money. You shop less when you becom

How to Say No

Image
This is a chapter from my latest book, The Minimalist Tool Kit: Habits and Strategies to Help You Find Freedom and Happiness with Less (paid link). Many of us are "super busy."  We're like hamsters in a wheel, struggling to keep up.  We go for quantity, and miss quality.  We spend time recklessly, even though it is our most precious and non-renewable resource. Learning to say no is essential for our happiness. But it's not so easy to do when you were raised to be polite.  Many of us are people-pleasers, and even when something isn't right for us or we're already overloaded with tasks, we struggle to say no.  If we do manage to get the word out, we feel guilty. In part, we can blame our culture, which makes it easy to compare ourselves to others who seem to be accomplishing more than we are.  It's very easy to believe that we just aren't good enough.  So when people ask us for our time, we feel like we have to step up. We can also blame evolution.  Our

The Habits that Changed My Life

Image
A blessed Easter to all of you this weekend! Of course I struggle with bad habits, as we all do.  But like brushing and flossing, washing my hands, and saying "please," I have plenty of positive habits that make my daily life better.   Sometimes it's good to focus on what we're doing right, rather than continually trying to self-improve.  These are the habits I'm proud of. 1.  I read every day. This habit started in first grade and I've maintained it forever after.  I read fiction and non-fiction books, some news, and favorite blogs.  I always encounter food for thought and inspiration.  2.  I write every day. My goal is one sentence, which I can do no matter what else is going on that day, but I usually write much more.  This habit has led to letters, gratitude journals, blogging, and writing books (I've published eight so far). 3.  I pray every day. I concentrate on offering prayers of thanks, although of course I ask God for help, guidance, and forgive

Are You an Emotional Shopper?

Image
There's been a major shift in shopping since this time last year.  Amazon is booming.  So is e-commerce at retailers like Walmart and Target.  In fact, online spending in the U.S. increased 44% in 2020, according to digitalcommerce360.com. With Covid-19 around, many of us have stayed away from brick-and-mortar stores as much as possible.  But we're shopping more than ever, and what seems to be fueling all of the spending is frivolous purchases. Some people joke about it.  "I can't even remember what I ordered," quips one neighbor when we meet near our adjacent front doors.  I've noticed he has packages delivered almost every day. As I gather all of the trash from our most recent take-out dinner, I realize that my husband and I aren't much better.  Not a fan of cooking at the best of times, during the pandemic I've gotten into the habit of ordering take-out four or more times a week.  I joke about it too:  "Look how lazy I've gotten.  Oh well,

Keep Kitchen Surfaces Clear

Image
Don't you love those decorator photos or model homes where the kitchen worktops are completely clear except for a beautiful plant or bowl of fruit?  Everyone does.  It's peaceful.  The kitchen looks ready for cooking or for having a friend in for coffee.  It looks clean, and easy to keep clean.  (And isn't that something you want in a kitchen?) So how do we achieve this state of bliss?  How do we clear kitchen counters and keep them that way? 3 Steps to Kitchen Clarity 1.  Clear out the cupboards so you can store things in them. The things we keep on the counter are the things we use most often, but we may be forfeiting valuable cupboard space to things we use rarely, if at all.  Do you have a pasta maker or ice cream maker shoved way in the back?  Or a stack of large serving trays?  Or maybe you have a waffle maker, even though you always serve French toast because it's easier to prepare and to clean up.  Maybe you have a cupboard overflowing with mismatched mugs, or v

The Time Machine

Image
This post is adapted from my new book, The Minimalist Tool Kit: Habits and Strategies to Help You Find Freedom and Happiness with Less (paid link). I just spent nine hours in front of my computer.  Again.   I took only three short breaks, and spent maybe ten minutes outside.  I even ate lunch at my desk. I know this isn't healthy, but still it happens much too often.  Maybe it does for you too.  And many of our kids are still distance learning, which also requires them to spend hours a day in front of a computer. This is not how I spent my days when I was in my 20's or 30's.  Even when I was working as a secretary/bookkeeper, I didn't spend nine hours nonstop bent over my ledgers or in front of a typewriter.  I was up and down from my desk all day long, doing other tasks.  I physically went to a file room, or to the copier, or to deliver a message or the mail.  I usually took a walk and ate my lunch outside. In my lifetime and before, technology has been celebrated as