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Showing posts from July, 2022

Interested in Minimalism? How to Start Down a Simpler Path

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Be curious and dare to explore a new mindset and lifestyle with these 12 steps. Like many people, my first downsizing project was my wardrobe. I donated or consigned items I no longer wore or that no longer fit. I tossed old tee shirts, undergarments, and nightwear. I chose a base color  for outfits. I limited shoes, handbags, and jewelry. My drawers and closet became easier to keep in order, and I enjoyed getting dressed in a curated selection that looked good on me and suited my lifestyle. A bit later, I donated a lot of nice-to-have but unused dishes, gadgets, serving pieces, and small appliances that were crowding kitchen drawers and cabinets.  Once I freed up behind-doors storage, I moved items that I used most days – like the toaster, blender, and food storage canisters – into the cupboards.  This created a lot of space on my countertops while still keeping those often-used items accessible. I loved my clean, roomy counters, so it was easier than I thought to establish the new ha

Why You'll Love to Own This Favorite Minimalist Tool

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This tool belongs in every minimalist home.   It's my most useful tool.    My "desert island" tool.  The one tool a minimalist doesn't want to be without. And no, this isn't just an infomercial extolling the virtues and myriad uses of some funky-named, gadget-like multi-tool.  It isn't one more "As Seen on TV" product that will languish in the back of a drawer because it doesn't really do any job very well. I'm referring to my well-used and beloved Swiss Army knife. It's a tool worth passing to the next generation. My father had a Swiss Army knife too.  In fact, I just gave his to my son, who plans to restore it .  I recall Dad using his to cut PVC pipe fittings and clean the innards of a chainsaw.  On backpacking trips, his handy knife sliced salami and other snacks, cut open freeze-dried food packaging, fashioned a billycan hook from a willow switch, trimmed fishing line, and even solved the great rat's-nest snarls we presented him

These Oldies Still Have the Goods: Revisit Them for New Inspiration

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Pave the way for clearing clutter, change your mind for more peace, and make the world a happier place - it's all in this roundup of posts. At least 350,000 words – that's about what it comes to.  Over 400 posts, not to mention over a dozen books. It continues to surprise me that I have written so much.  Some of you have been here for all of it.  Thank you. Back in November 2018, when I published my first post, I knew very little about blogging.  I'd always been a writer in various ways, and particularly enjoyed writing essays from a personal point of view. (I can hear my brother saying, "What a weirdo.  Essay writing?  Are you kidding me?! ) And here we are today, nearly 45 months later, on post number 406. This one's a little different. Even though I continue writing about decluttering, minimalism, gratitude, and other values of a simpler mindset and lifestyle, I work hard to create new content with fresh insights and ideas. But sometimes it's good to revisi

How to Think Like a Minimalist

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Minimalism is an attitude we can carry everywhere. It's summer, and you're a minimalist with a family, so you go camping.  Right?  Camping is minimalist, isn't it?  After all, when you go camping you have only what you brought with you, not everything you own. The Scottish-American naturalist John Muir is famous for heading into the wilderness with almost no provisions:  "I rolled up some bread and tea in a pair of blankets with some sugar and a tin cup and set off."  Ready to go in literally one minute, Muir's choices are extremely Spartan even for most minimalists! Then there's the other extreme, which you can see quite easily on a walk through any campground.  It's the same overload that exists within city limits:   excess shelter excess gear excess media excess food excess sitting   The only difference is that it mostly happens out of doors.   Minimalism starts in your mind. It reminds me once again that minimalism is not just about the number of

The Insider's Guide to the Dark Heart of Minimalism

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Minimalism is life-enhancing but counter-cultural. What is life as a minimalist really like?     I feel a responsibility to prepare you for what you may have to deal with if you continue down the minimalist path.  It won't all be roses. Minimalism is freedom.  It's clarity.  It's energy, time, and resources to spend on what you believe is important, rather than wasting your life trying to be the person with the most toys. But minimalism has a dark side. Here's what could happen: ●  You're going to get to know local charities, consignment stores, and maybe the dump too well as you clear out your clutter. ●  Some people will accuse you of being "trendy."  Others will wonder what the heck a minimalist is. ●  You'll have to figure out what to do instead of shopping .  Some of your friends may think you're weird if you suggest taking a walk together, going on a picnic, visiting the community art show, or doing volunteer work for a cause you care about.

The Minimalist Challenge: 36 Fun Experiments for a Simpler Life

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Take bite-sized steps to a life of freedom, focus, and success. How do we learn?   By what methods can we better ourselves?  When we want to make a change or an improvement, what's the best way forward? Here's an answer you might not expect:  We can rely on the scientific method. Full disclosure:  My husband teaches science.  My son-in-law is a clinical laboratory scientist.  My sister nurses transplant patients and one of my cousins is an oceanographer.  My father-in-law was a geologist. I'm surrounded by people who think in terms of observing, asking questions, hypothesizing, testing, evaluating, and then going through the process all over again. Experiments are fun. I get it.  Experiments are all about discovery and growth .  They let you try something you might not otherwise do.  And there's no real failure in an experiment because all results are data.  If something doesn't work the way you hoped, that's simply data that lets you try another behavior to see

One Crucial Step Toward Success, and How to Take It

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You can change your habits for a better future. Last year, I decided I wanted to change my habits and cut added sugars from my diet.  I don't have Type 2 diabetes, but it runs in my family, and my fasting blood sugar numbers have been inching up.  At the time, I had two young grandsons and a third on the way, so I had incentive to prevent that disease. Can I tell you something?  Making a "decision" to do something is not the same as doing it .  It might seem obvious, but without action nothing happens.  Nothing changes until we do – and I haven't. Plenty of people "want" to change a habit or accomplish a goal.  They think about doing it, they talk about doing it, they make lists and buy supplies and in other ways prepare to do it – but they don't actually do it.  They don't start.  It never happens. There may be no more important action in life than getting started. Subscribe to receive my free printable The Declutter Dare and declutter 100 items (

6 Enlightening Posts and More Free Downloads

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FREE resources to help you get organized and improve family life and leisure. My friend Karen Cadera, who works and blogs at teachyourchildpiano.com , has created a blog bundle with six authors, including me.  Karen is a musician, teacher, and aspiring minimalist who has been subscribing to Maximum Gratitude Minimal Stuff for quite a while now.  She reached out and asked me to join the blog bundle, and I was pleased to do so. This bundle includes several resources which are easily worth at least $100, but are available to all of you for FREE . Don't be fooled by the blog titles.  You don't have to be part of a homeschooling family to receive benefits from these posts and resources.  Any parent or grandparent can use ideas for improving family life or enriching their child's learning experiences, and every one of us can use reminders and ideas about being more organized or using leisure time well. I hope you enjoy the work of these creative bloggers and download the FREE

Focus on Your Favorites (Minimalist Challenges Part 12)

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This is my 400th post!  I would never have imagined I could write upwards of 350,000 edited words – but "slow and steady wins the race."  I'm not sure what the future holds, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, subscribing, buying my books , and telling your friends. By the way, I've completely revised, updated, and expanded my book Resilient: How Minimalism Helps You Cope With the Challenges of Life .  AND I'm running a price promotion on Amazon.com beginning TODAY, July 1, at noon Pacific Time, and ending Tuesday, July 5 at noon Pacific Time.  For these next few days, the Kindle edition is available for only $1.99 (it's normally $4.99).  That's a 61% discount.  And you don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books – Amazon has a free app that will work on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. * * * A lot of people think they could never be interested in minimalism because they associate it with all-white rooms, ultra-modern furnitur