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Showing posts from April, 2019

Don't Drown in Paper

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Decades ago, everyone talked about a "paperless future."  Now we have many digital options, yet paper still flows ceaselessly into our lives.  It enters our homes daily in the mail, inside packages, from school, as business cards and takeout menus, concert fliers and free community newspapers. If you don't deal with it, you'll drown in it. "Drowning Under a Mountain of Paper" by allispossible.org.uk on Flickr When you began decluttering, you probably noticed the paper problem very quickly.  Were there piles of paper in the kitchen, on the dining table, on your desk, and in your kids' backpacks?  When you create a system that lets you keep up with the flow of paper, your visible clutter decreases.  Dealing with paper efficiently is a useful tool in maintaining your clutter-free home. Here's what I suggest: 1.  Clear the kitchen counters. Declutter those extra mugs, bowls, utensils, and the appliances you never use.  Then put the thin

25 Ways to Waste Less

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Don't you hate to walk through a park, or even a parking lot, or drive along the highway and see the garbage that people have tossed from their cars?  Is there anything uglier? Well, actually, yes there is: "Plastic Ocean" by Kevin Krejci on Flickr Plastic waste and other trash is surely as great a threat to the health of our planet as global warming.  Both the making and discarding of disposable consumer goods takes a toll on our environment.  Even recycling uses resources and causes pollution, but alarmingly, the vast majority of plastic is never recycled .  Much of it enters our waterways, choking marine life and creating a sort of plastic soup in gigantic areas of the ocean.  It may be used for only a few hours (or even a few minutes!), but it takes thousands of years to decompose. Please, reduce waste as much as you can, especially of single-use plastics.  Work toward eliminating disposable products from your household. Instead of plastic shopping b

Go Green With Minimalism

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Happy Earth Day. Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash Reduce, reuse, recycle.  It's the mantra of eco-conscious people everywhere. Great idea, except that most of us approach the concept backwards. The first "R" to get our attention is "recycle."  Lots of people recycle; it's practically a social requirement.  And that's not bad, but we have so much to recycle!  So many plastic water bottles, soda cans, and take-out food containers.  So much cardboard from food boxes and shoe boxes and Amazon shipping cartons.  And tons and tons of paper:  junk mail, newspapers, magazines, concert programs, ticket stubs, extra photocopies and printing mistakes....  And don't forget the e-waste:  our "old" TVs, computers, phones, batteries, and all of that stuff which is collected but not always recycled, or not recycled here in the U.S., or not recycled without toxic results for foreign workers and their environment. The next "R" in

7 Steps to a Simple Easter

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Courtesy of Bobby Haven, Brunswick (GA) News People don't spend as much for Easter as they do for Christmas/Hanukkah, Valentine's Day, or even Halloween, but it is still definitely seen by retailers as a time to push candy, flowers, stuffed animals, spring fashions, and spring d├ęcor (especially tableware).  Wallethub.com estimated that $18.2 billion would be spent on Easter in the United States in 2018. Like Christmas, Easter is supposed to be a religious observance, but in America our faith often seems to be placed in money and possessions, rather than in God.  We are devout consumers.   Many of the 71% of Americans who identify themselves as Christians will give more thought to new church clothes, Easter table centerpieces, and full Easter baskets (even if they include a chocolate cross) than they do to the reason for the celebration. Whether or not you believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ after His sacrificial death on a cross, you may still enjoy

3 Signs You Should Stop Decluttering

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We're human beings.  That means we're capable of doing anything to an extreme. Photo courtesy of Tatiana Lapina on Unsplash Want to be healthier?  Never eat bread or pasta or rice or potatoes again, let alone pancakes or cookies.  Alternatively, eat 100% sprouted whole grain pasta and bread, along with brown rice, yams, quinoa, and lots of beans, but don't touch beef, pork, lamb, poultry, venison, or seafood ever again .  Even eggs and cottage cheese should be considered suspect! This isn't a comment on what anyone chooses to eat, whether for health, religious, or ethical reasons.  There can be good reasons for removing or consuming any number of foods.  I'm just trying to make the point that we're pretty good at taking extreme positions on just about anything. And that includes decluttering.  There are hoarders, and there are people who can fit everything they own into a backpack.  I imagine most of us belong somewhere between those two extremes.

Clean As You Go

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"Spring Cleaning" by Nosha  (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nosha/3360044232/in/photostream/) Want to keep your house neat and clean in a simple, stress-free way? Just clean as you go. Instead of letting the house get really dirty and messy, and then having to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning it, you just clean a little bit at a time on a daily basis. For example: When I use the bathroom in the morning, I give the toilet a quick clean.  I spray the inside of the bowl with a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution, let it sit while I shower and do my hair, then brush and flush. Before I leave the bathroom to get dressed, I wipe the mirror, counter, and sink with the hand towel, which I then replace with a clean one. When I take off clothes, I either hang them up immediately or put them in the laundry hamper.  Clothes don't end up on the floor. If I spill something on the stove or floor while cooking, I wipe it up right away and sweep if necessa

4 Simple Maintenance Tips

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Decluttering is an event, or a process.  Minimalism is a lifestyle. Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash We're real people.  We work, we socialize, we have hobbies and husbands and kids.  Stuff enters our homes every day, and if we have no system for dealing with it, clutter can reappear.  So part of the minimalist lifestyle is learning to be a gatekeeper, to keep stuff from once again overwhelming our lives. How can we do this? 1.  Don't just put it down - put it away. Use the old adage, "A place for everything and everything in its place."  As you declutter, you need to make a home for each item you need, use, and love. Items often end up "homeless" because we simply have too much stuff.  If your bathroom counter is covered with bottles and potions, for example, you probably have too many.  Get rid of the duplicates, and the things you used once and didn't like, and the outdated creams and remedies.  Use the medicine cabinet and va

Welcome to Minimalism

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You've done it!  You've decluttered, or you've made a lot of headway on that task.  But decluttering is an event, while minimalism is a lifestyle. Courtesy of summitornothing.co.uk Decluttering is the tool, not the purpose. So what?  Is anything different, besides the (great) fact that your house is cleaner and more spacious, your head feels clearer, and you're extremely happy with your accomplishment?  What have you learned? Your self worth is not based on purchasing or owning "the most toys."   You are worthy as you are.  The people who judge you based on the dress you wear or the house you own are still trapped by their own fears that they aren't enough. You're overcoming those "just in case" concerns about security.   You know it's rare for worries to become reality.  You can think about the worst-case scenario, and understand what you can live without if you must.  You've learned that relationships are irreplac