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One Little Word That Can Help You Succeed

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It's always a little scary to try something new, including minimalism. You decide to curate a capsule wardrobe, navigate a city you've never visited, or learn how to play Minecraft from your 6-year-old grandson.  You're about to gain information and learn skills that are different from what you've done before, and you're going to access abilities that may be rusty or undeveloped. At the beginning, or at some point along the way, you're going to feel unsure of yourself .  You may even feel like the whole process is too detailed or too hard. News flash – this is what growth feels like.  Growth is exciting, but it's also uncomfortable.  You won't know if you can do the new task until you do it.  But once you get to the other side, you're going to wonder why you waited so long to try. Related article: 12 Practical Tips for a Wardrobe that Lets You Dress with Ease and Confidence Choose your mindset. When you embark on a new project, before you get to tho

How a Naked Table Makes My Home Life Better

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What's so great about minimalism?   My naked table is a perfect example of the benefits. Bare is beautiful. You might think a naked table is boring, impersonal, or lifeless.  "Those minimalists live in a sterile white box.  Ugh!" But that nakedness is temporary.  The table gets covered with stuff every day. But it always starts out naked. Related article: Why Minimalism Might Make You Happy, Even If You're Skeptical Room for life. The naked table leaves room for the life that happens in my home every day.  It's always up for anything. When we're ready to use it, we don't have to move flowers, candles, or a centerpiece, or find somewhere to put them out of the way.  The table is bare of keys, sunglasses, and neglected piles of mail.  It's empty and ready to be filled with the things and activities we care about. And when we finish with a project, we put the pieces away, wipe the table, and leave it naked and ready for whatever happens next. We fill th

Summertime Hygge: How to Increase Happiness During the Dog Days

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It's better to create happiness than long for escape or wish away the time. "Don't sit so close – it's too hot." I said those words of rejection yesterday, not to my husband (though I've said them to him on occasion), but to my darling 3-year-old grandson Damien, who wanted to snuggle next to me as I read to him. Yes, of course I felt awful, and immediately apologized and hugged him. What's a hygge? The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah") is often thought to be about cuddling and coziness, cocooning and comfort.  Much of the marketing of hygge-related objects is about blankets, slippers, candles, and cushions. That's fine for a country that experiences plenty of overcast and rainy days all year round, and snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures during very long, dark winters. But I don't live in Denmark.  It's August, and I live in a climate where summer weather lasts from May through October.  And I don't mean pleasan

Why Your Dream Home is Surprisingly Closer Than You Think

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How to make any home your dream home.   Many of us work for years to save and buy our "forever home" – the one we think will make our daily life happier, more presentable, and just a little better than everyone else's. But even after we buy the "perfect" house, we plan improvements.  From the entry hall to the mud room, we find details to tweak . In the past, I've purchased paint and flooring, a French door and a wood stove, plus a gift shop's-worth of d├ęcor – and I still wasn't quite as satisfied as I wanted to be. My method was flawed. Don't get me wrong.  I believe beauty is important, but so are ease and comfort.  I kept buying things for my house, but never thought about the cumulative effect of all those possessions. Besides, it's the quality of life inside the house that makes all the difference. The most exquisite palace in the world can be a scene of misery, and a small and simple dwelling can hold great happiness.  (You know this i

4 Empowering Steps to Free Your Life from Debt

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Get on the road to financial independence. Eleven years ago, my husband Jon and I were far from financial independence .   We gave our daughter a bigger wedding than we could afford, and then we helped our son buy a car.  We were happy to help, but we hated the debt. We turned our lives around by setting out to conquer it. Debt holds your future hostage. Have you racked up student loans, or a lot of credit card debt?  Maybe you're burdened with medical bills, or you were out of work for a while and used credit to buy gas and groceries. No one loves debt.  It's painful to use current earnings to pay for things acquired in the past, and those payments reduce the money available for use today. When you focus on the total amount you owe, the debt can look like a mountain.  When you pay the minimum every month, and a large part of that payment goes toward interest rather than debt reduction, it's depressing .  You might be tempted to give up, or to charge even more.  "After