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Showing posts from June, 2021

Let's Play the Glad Game

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Have you ever heard someone referred to as a "Pollyanna?"  It's intended to be an insult, by the way.  Pollyanna, the heroine of a 1913 children's book , is determined to see the bright side.  She always looks for the good in people and situations.  So calling someone a Pollyanna is to say that person is idealistic and na├»ve, unable to deal with the "real world."  The American Heritage dictionary defines "Pollyanna" as "a person regarded as being foolishly or blindly optimistic." Pollyanna's cheerful outlook comes from a lifetime of playing the Glad Game with her father, who died before the book opens.  The purpose of the Glad Game is to be able to acknowledge something negative and then think of a reason to be thankful in the midst of it. Some have described the Pollyanna outlook as "toxic positivity."  They contend that positivity causes you to stifle and deny negative emotions, and keeps you from finding ways to deal with

50 Ways to Leave Your Clutter

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"There must be 50 ways to leave your clutter."  Isn't that how the song goes?   Well, maybe not.  But it's true anyway.  There are at least 50 ways to declutter ( here are 10 , and here are 10 more ). Maybe the real question isn't how to declutter, but why .  Unlike 25 or so years ago, when I first started getting interested in minimalism, people know what you mean when you talk about "decluttering."  Everyone's doing it.  It's trendy, and there's a perfect storm of reasons for that . Many people agree that decluttering brings peace and clarity, that living with less saves money and maybe the planet, and that streamlined spaces and electronics are just so cool-looking. But minimalism is not about decluttering. Decluttering is only the first step toward a minimalist life. I know a lot of you come here for inspiration and ideas about decluttering, which is why I regularly write about it.  And that's great.  But decluttering just to get ri

Summertime Hygge

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NOTE:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you happen to click through and purchase an item, I will receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. * * * The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced "hue-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 June, and I live in a climate where summer weather lasts from May through October.  And I don't mean pleasantly warm weather that encourages lush green growth.  I'm talking about north-central California summer weather, with no rain and high temperatures.  When it's 96° we say, "Well, at least it's better than yesterday when it was 106°!"  And did I mention NO

3 Easy Decorating Rules

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Feeling settled at home is extremely important, especially during busy and stressful times.  Our environment plays a huge role in our mental and emotional health.  Clutter, unfinished projects, and impersonal spaces can lead to uneasiness and frustration, while simple, bright, meaningful spaces leave us feeling grounded and energized. Famous designers have shown us again and again that decorating "rules" are made to be broken.  After all, each of us is unique, and we all have our own tastes and styles.  If your design choices make you happy and comfortable in your home, then you're doing it "right."  You don't need to follow the trends to create a peaceful and inspiring space. However there are three guidelines that seem to work in any home. 1.  Keep it simple. Homes that are overcrowded, with blocked traffic zones, too much clutter, and no open spaces where the eye can rest never feel right.  They're chaotic and heavy, and seem as if there's really

Keep or Toss?

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We all have excuses about things we keep long after they have served their purpose.  Maybe we feel shame about how much money we spent on them, or guilt because someone gave them to us.  Maybe when we dig them out of a box they remind us of a happy time or a person we loved.  Or maybe we worry that if we discard them, we'll wind up needing them in the future. These feelings are pretty common among people who start to declutter, making the process harder and more frustrating.  Unless we can approach the task with some practical strategies and a no-nonsense attitude, we may not be successful. So if you've been wanting to declutter and experience all the benefits of a simpler life , ask yourself these questions to help you decide what to keep and what to donate or toss. 10 Questions to Give You Clarity 1.  Is this item something I actually use? If the item is something you haven't used in a year or more, it can probably go.  Unless it's something like a baby stroller, stil

Minimalist Travel

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You can travel first class and spare no expense.  Pack a whole new wardrobe in a pile of suitcases, visit every high-traffic venue, and commemorate your once-in-a-lifetime experience with plenty of souvenirs.  This requires careful planning, a ton of money, and someone to schlep all that luggage. Or you can travel light, with a backpack or a carryon, prepared to interact with your destination as authentically as possible.  As you walk the streets, or ride on public transit, you can be curious, observant, and free to follow a whim. You can be weighed down, or you can enjoy the agility of minimalism. I love the minimal completeness of packing for travel.  You consider carefully which clothes you'll need, which toiletries and accessories.  You might bring a book or a journal; you'll probably bring your phone.  But you carry only what you've chosen to take with you.  It's the ultimate in decluttering. It's rather liberating to exist with only a fraction of your possessi

Make More Memories with Fewer Photos

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I remember my husband on the living room floor, imitating our 5-month-old daughter's attempts to roll over for the first time.  She kept fruitlessly swinging her leg over her body, and he, so much larger, copied her every move as well as the little grunts of effort she was making.  The pair of them were so funny I laughed until I couldn't breathe. I have no video, but the memory is absolutely clear in my mind. I can picture the huge pile of autumn leaves my two children made at the end of their backyard slide, and their shrieks of glee as they climbed and slid down into the colorful heap, then ran around to do it all over again.  The sky is blue, the sun is gentle, the breeze is cool, and their joy is infectious. It's not on video, but my brain can replay the scene with ease. I remember details of my son's star turn as Willie Wonka in a high school stage production, and the time my grandson (then 4) regaled us with a long list of careers he might have when he's grow

10 Tiny Decluttering Tasks

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Perhaps you've come to this realization:  Clutter takes up space in your home, and it burdens your mind too.  Living in a cluttered space adds frustration and annoyance to everyday tasks, makes homecare more difficult and time-consuming, and can make you feel more anxiety and stress. But you're busy.  Maybe you've put off decluttering.  If you've been procrastinating about getting your space in order, maybe it's because the idea of getting rid of things brings up fears of lack and deprivation.  Or perhaps it's because you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. But I know from experience that these feelings are the exact opposite of what you'll feel once you get into the decluttering process.  The sense of lightness and freedom you'll gain, and the simpler, easier ways you'll be able to live every day are worth the effort. So I want to help you remove the roadblocks to decluttering, and change that pattern of avoidance by taking on tiny,