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Showing posts from July, 2019

Simple Food

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Photo by Johnny Martinez on Unsplash The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.                                                                                            Ann Wigmore A friend sent me a chicken soup recipe that calls for 16 ingredients.  Sixteen.  Including ditalini pasta, whatever that is.  (Okay, I Googled it.  It's the pasta I've seen in macaroni salads.) I have a small kitchen, which means I don't store ten shapes of pasta.  I don't store six kinds of flour.  I don't keep 25 herbs and spices, since I'd probably use the same eight or nine all the time while the others just got stale.   I don't want to shop for a bunch of ingredients, and I don't want to fool with washing, prepping, and measuring all of them. Simple food is healthier, cheaper, and easier. Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules: An Eater's Manual , suggests that we shouldn't eat

A Simplified Kitchen

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Does the kitchen you've created support the healthy body you want to have? Photo by Dinh Ng on Unsplash Small daily choices lead to a cluttered or an uncluttered home, just as they lead to a thriving, active body or its opposite.  It's hard to change, but we really can choose freedom and vitality! Since better eating habits are hampered by a cluttered kitchen, let's start there. 1.  Work with the space you have. Many of us think our kitchens are too small.  But more space won't solve a clutter problem.  In fact, when we have more space, we tend to fill it with more stuff.  Rather than searching for the perfect storage hack that will let you cram more in, try to accept the boundaries as a reality check.  The kitchen you have is what you have!  Not accepting limitations leads to dissatisfaction and stress as we try to have it all. 2.  Clear the counters. Put hobby supplies, schoolwork, and the laundry basket where they belong.  Wash and put away dirty

Does This Clutter Make Me Fat?

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Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash If your house is out of control, it's possible your eating habits are too. Clutter guru Peter Walsh wrote Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight because so many of his clients struggled with obesity.  "What you weigh isn't just about calorie counting or doing stomach crunches," he writes.  "What you weigh is about how you live." Research shows that women eat more sweets and fatty foods when under stress from work or other responsibilities.  And guess what?  A cluttered, messy kitchen caused women to eat almost three times as many sweets than a less chaotic kitchen. Clutter is exhausting and it drains your energy, which can make you feel hopeless and apathetic about everything, including exercise or a healthy diet.  Researchers at UCLA found that women who live in cluttered homes have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Excess cortisol causes increased insulin, which causes weight gain. In other word

We All Want the Same Thing

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"Kathryn Blowing Bubbles" by April Moore-Harris on Flickr I spend a fair amount of time on this blog pointing out differences between minimalists and the majority of people in our consumerist society.  Sometimes the easiest way to understand something new is to contrast it with something familiar. But minimalists and materialists have a lot in common.  We're generally seeking the same things: Happiness.  Fulfillment.  Freedom.  A good life. It's just that our philosophies and methods for getting there are different. Where a minimalist finds comfort and contentment in the simplicity, clarity, and order of her home, finances, schedule, relationships, mind, and spirit, a materialist finds comfort in the quantity and perceived desirability of her possessions, job, contacts, and life events. And that's not inherently bad, though I think it's limiting.  Fulfillment in that way requires a certain amount of wealth, a constant search for more an

Una Bella Vita *

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Does the home you've created support the life you want to live? "Tuscany" photo by Ky0n Cheng on Flickr Tell me where you would rather be.  At the beach?  In a ski cabin near Lake Tahoe?  In Paris? Perhaps a trip to Tuscany is part of your dream.  So while you are in your current home, you're longing for Tuscany.  If you travel there and then come home to what you think of as your boring life in your boring house, you'll be disappointed.  Your wonderful dream trip will have made you discontented with your daily life. That's a sad state of affairs, because vacation trips, as terrific as they are, last for a week or two.  You live in your current home all the rest of the time.  Do you want to be discontented all the time?  Continually longing for something you don't have?  Fantasizing your real life away? No, no, no.  That's no way to live. Live in your dream home now. You can pay off all your debts, research jobs and housing, and make

House Beautiful

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Does the home you've created support the life you want to live? Photo by Jorge Garcia on Unsplash You don't need to add on a master suite or put in a swimming pool to make your home more supportive of the lifestyle you want.  Instead, figure out what bothers you, and use your creativity to improve it. Does your entrance hall depress you with its constant disorder? The front hall plays a key role in the feelings you have about your home, so make it attractive and functional. Paint the door a color you love.  If your doormat has seen better days, replace it. Lighten the space with a mirror.  A narrow table or waist-level shelf can hold a tray for keys or outgoing mail, as well as a favorite plant.  Place a small bench or stool underneath which can be pulled out when you need to deal with your shoes.  Remove all other furniture. Declutter extraneous outerwear, and make sure the front closet is clutter-free so there's plenty of room to hang the coats and sc

Home Improvement

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Photo by Pablo Merchan Montes on Unsplash Does the home you've created support the life you want to live? You don't need to remodel the bathroom, install granite countertops, or buy new furniture.  Instead, figure out which details have the most impact on your daily life, and approach them like a minimalist. What do you use as soon as you awake every morning? These items need to be accessible, whether this means having a place for your eyeglasses or your medications, your favorite spiritual book, or your journal and a pen.  If you don't have a drawer to store these in your bedside table, place them in a shallow basket that can slide under the bed (now that you don't have a bunch of clutter under it). What do you use to get ready for the day? The bathroom needs to be clean and ready to go.  You need enough hooks on the wall so towels can be hung to dry rather than dropped on the floor. Keep counter tops and tub ledges clear so the space is usable and e

Re-Decluttering

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Our rooms shape our thoughts... our moods.  By improving the state of our surroundings, we can improve our state of mind....  It's clear that for most people, outer order does indeed contribute to inner calm. Gretchen Rubin  Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash As you declutter one corner, one closet, or one room at a time, and keep it that way, you'll notice that the clutter-free areas of your home make you happy.  Here are some of the factors contributing to that good feeling. You save time, energy, and patience because things are easy to find, use, and clean. Your family nags and argues less because your spaces are usable and accessible. You can truly relax at home because you're not constantly surrounded by a guilt-inducing mess.  You find yourself less anxious in general. You feel more capable and self-assured, in control of your environment. You're not weighed down by stuff from your past, so you feel free to explore new options and experien

A Real Home Makeover

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photo courtesy of Magnolia Home Imagine your dream home. Walk up to the front door.  Open it, step inside, and look around.  What do you see? Maybe you picture one of those HGTV makeovers.  The "after" reveals are beautiful, but notice what's missing:  no piles of magazines on the coffee table, no unfinished quilting projects taking over the guest room since last November, no unmade beds, no toys scattered dangerously over the floor.  The refrigerator door is clear of magnets and the dining table is set for a beautiful meal, not covered with a backpack, keys, sunglasses, a jar of peanut butter, cat toys, and the TV remote. What makes those rooms beautiful is the lack of clutter, the soothing colors and comfortable design, and the sense that they're ready and open for life to take place.  They don't have piles of mail, laundry, dirty dishes, unfinished repairs, or stuff that needs to be cleared away before you can use a counter or sit on the couch.  T