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Showing posts from January, 2022

Minimalist Time Management

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Let's get real, shall we?  We are finite beings living in a finite world.  It's a wonderful world, but it's the only one in the vicinity that can support life, and it's not unlimited.  And we are intelligent, adaptable, capable beings, but we also have limits to what we can do and endure. So no matter what advertisers and wish-sellers tell you, you can't do it all.  You can't have it all.  It just isn't possible. We are very good at comparing ourselves to others.  We've invented some clever ways to do that, and it has become a more ubiquitous part of our lives than ever.  We look at someone's Instagram or Facebook feed and wonder how on earth that person can work full time, have a profitable side gig, maintain a beautiful home and garden, exercise regularly, produce amazing home-cooked meals, raise such talented children, take such exotic vacations, and maintain such a large and vibrant circle of friends.  We wonder why we can't seem to manage al

How to Live Simply in the Modern World

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If I am told once more that paying a bill online is easier and faster, I'm going to lose it.  I'm not talking about monthly bills you can set up to be paid automatically – I mean those random medical bills, charitable donations, and the like.  Since when did writing a check and putting a stamp on an envelope become hard?  (Especially if you know exactly where your checkbook and stamps are, because they have a place to belong .)  Going online, creating and/or signing into an account, and entering payment information takes just as long, and you still have to write the transaction in your bank book.  There's nothing wrong with paying online, but it is not easier and faster.  (Although it does benefit the company you're paying – they get their money faster and can hire fewer people to process accounts receivable.) There are other modern amenities that make simple things more complicated or more expensive, such as a smart refrigerator to tell you you're out of milk or e

Decluttering Don'ts

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There is no "one right way" to declutter, which is a good thing.  We're all different, and will approach this task differently.  But there are definitely some things we should avoid if we want to succeed at creating a more spacious, peaceful, inspiring home. These are behaviors and choices that will make decluttering more difficult, more time-consuming, or that might cause you to give up altogether.  Knowing about these pitfalls ahead of time should help you on your way. 11 Things to Avoid When Decluttering 1.  Not knowing why Decluttering can be a huge job.  It probably took years for you to accumulate everything that crowds your home, and you aren't going to free yourself from that in one long weekend.  So having a goal in mind is very important for maintaining motivation. Take some time to consider this question.  There's a reason you decided you want to live with less.  Are you hoping for more space?  Easier cleaning routines?  Less frustration?  More contentm

The Best Way to Reduce Clutter

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A friend asked me to help her clear her clutter, and walking into her house I could easily believe the statistic that the average American home contains 300,000 items. That number sounds impossible (to me, anyway), but this house looked like it. So where to start?  What's the most important thing to do? The best way to clear clutter is to reduce what you bring in. In fact, it's essential.  You cannot begin a decluttering journey unless you give some hard thought to your consumption habits and stop buying anything that isn't absolutely necessary.  That's because decluttering is as much about what comes in as what goes out. Decluttering takes commitment and discipline, and a good way to begin developing both of those qualities is with a spending fast.  You really need to stop shopping for everything except food, personal care items, and items you need for cleaning or repair. Stop bringing in new clothes, makeup, toys, hobby supplies, d├ęcor items, kitchen gadgets, addition

The Lightbulb Moment

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For many of us, moving house offers a chance to pare down and clear out all of the extras – things we don't use or need.  Not only does this make packing up and loading, transporting, unloading, and unpacking easier, but it adds to the feeling of a fresh start which a move always brings.  It just feels lighter and freer to move with less. But that's not the way it happens for everyone.  Maybe it depends on the reason for the move, or other factors which affect your mindset at the time.  Some of us feel the need to bring everything to a new home.  Maybe it's a way to relieve the sense of loss that comes with parting from someplace where we've been rooted, where we have history.  Carting along everything we own is a way to bring that sense of belonging into a new place.  At least, I think that might be how it happened for Denise, a reader of this blog who moved from Illinois to Florida back in the 1990's.  She and her husband packed a huge moving van, a large pickup

What Minimalism is Not

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Joshua Becker describes minimalism as "... the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it." This is a great definition because it's so personal and open-ended.  Minimalism becomes what you want it to be.  You choose what is important, what you will place front and center.  You choose what will be removed from your life in order to leave you with more space, time, money, and energy for what matters.  By doing this, minimalism helps you define your goals and purpose in life, and makes it more likely that you will be able to pursue and achieve them. By this definition, my minimalism will not look exactly like yours, and your minimalism will be distinct from anyone else's.  Yet we are all minimalists. I believe that everyone would benefit from a minimalist lifestyle, but obviously not everyone makes that choice.  Why is that?  Maybe it's because there are a lot of mistaken ideas about it.  These wrong id

Maximum Gratitude

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It's here, and available to purchase on Amazon!  My newest book/journal, Maximum Gratitude: Find Happiness and Contentment through the Habit of Giving Thanks is finally ready for you. I've been writing in my proof copy, and I think you'll be happy with the quality of the binding, paper, and color.  This is a book you can carry with you – I like the feel and the weight of it. Maximum Gratitude is a book you will personalize.  Each of you will become my co-author!  Of course you can use any journal as a gratitude journal, but this one contains my carefully crafted ideas, insights, anecdotes, and how-tos, plus great quotes and pictures. Actually part journal and part inspirational handbook, Maximum Gratitude begins with a 30-day Gratitude Challenge to jump start a new lifestyle.  Next are twelve thoughtful essays interspersed with pages which you will fill with your own expressions of gratitude – enough for an entire year.  You will develop and hone a thankful mindset while

Why I'm a Minimalist

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Research published in the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology in 2020 found that minimalists report various benefits to their well-being.  These include a greater sense of autonomy and competence, feeling more in control over their environment and themselves, having more mental peace and awareness, and positive emotions such as joy and gratitude. In contrast, the study reports that a lot of research shows that materialism and consumerism are associated with negative outcomes such as higher levels of stress and dissatisfaction with life, along with more debt and all of the problems associated with that.  Research has also shown a connection between materialism and a lack of concern about the environment.  If you're interested in minimalism, these conclusions probably don't surprise you.  You may have discovered the benefits of choosing to live with less for yourself. But it's always nice to get "official confirmation" that you're on the righ

Cozy Your Home

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The holidays may be behind us, but winter is still here, and we all want to feel comfortable and warm at home while the trees are bare and weather is cold.  Even without the Christmas lights and festivity, you can cozy your space for the new year.  6 Elements to Increase the Comfort of Your Living Space 1.  Add firelight. Lucky you if you have a fireplace or woodburning stove.  Enjoy them!  But you can have the warmth of a fire in any home – just add candles.  I like a row of plain ivory pillar candles down the center of the dining table.  On the sideboard, I place tapers in brass candlesticks hand-forged by my grandfather.  Tealight candles twinkle and glow in glass holders. 2.  Add vintage. The nostalgia and warmth of an older piece can't be denied.  Whether it's heirloom furniture, a photo album on the coffee table, or maybe an old painting or Grandma's quilt, something preserved and used through the years will add instant coziness. 3.  Add texture. Soft, nubby feels are

Enough

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We live in a culture that constantly tells us we don't have enough. We're bombarded with messages about the latest phone with a better camera, the latest home with a professional kitchen and tons of smart features, and the latest car that can tell us when we're drifting out of our lane.  (And are we really unaware of that?  Perhaps we shouldn't even get behind the wheel.) There are ads and sales and notifications to help us locate more stuff to want and buy.  And don't worry if you can't pay... this new credit card gives you rewards!  Use it to buy more, and you get a few cents per dollar back, or a few more free miles! Which reminds me, our world also pushes us to increase our bucket lists of places to travel and experiences to have.  Exotic travel, once the province of the very rich, is now something everyone wants.  Rack up those miles, taste all of the pleasures.  Never mind that tourism is one of the things most likely to destroy a local culture and a local