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Showing posts from September, 2022

Getting Ready for the Great Transfer and How to Make It Easier

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A labor-intensive challenge. We're getting ready for the Great Transfer. Our family isn't alone .  Sorting, storing, and disposing of old family belongings is a labor-intensive challenge that will affect more and more people over the next decade as Baby Boomers age.  And my parents-in-law belong to the generation before Baby Boomers – my husband Jon and I, born in 1960, are young Baby Boomers ourselves. Jon has been spending two days every month keeping the house, barn, and nine acres that belonged to his parents from falling too far into disrepair.  This basic maintenance and regular upkeep have fallen to Jon since we live the closest.  He and his three brothers have just put their parents' long-time home on the market. My mother-in-law moved to Arizona to live across the street from Jon's oldest brother 19 months ago.  She took plenty of furniture, kitchen items, linens, paintings, and more with her, but left a ton of stuff that had been squirreled away for 58 years.

For a More Meaningful Holiday, Start Thinking Differently

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Enjoy this excerpt from my soon-to-be-released book A Minimalist Holiday .*  Only a couple of days left to pre-order the e-book at a reduced price! * This blog is reader-supported.  If you purchase through my links, I may earn a small commission. Ask a Different Question The heart of minimalism. The holiday season begins for many of us – and certainly for our children – with the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" And we encourage our kids to wish for things.  Probably most of them want tangible items – things to play with, wear, read, or craft.  Others hope for something extraordinary, such as snow at their home in San Francisco, or the unexpected return of a parent who's deployed overseas. To take steps toward a simpler holiday [detailed in another chapter of the book] place the focus on fun activities your family can enjoy together, set healthier expectations for gifts, choose quality over quantity, and stop looking for things to want. But maybe you've done

Things I Stopped Buying When I Embraced Minimalism

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2022 has been a Buy Nothing Year for me. Now, that doesn't mean I literally buy nothing at all .  I'm alive, so I have to consume.  I buy food gasoline personal care items items for maintenance and repair (such as thread, buttons, glue, duct tape, etc.) haircuts chiropractic adjustments and therapeutic massage other medical care as needed hobby supplies (only when I've used up what I already have for the three hobbies I practice) clothes, but only for replacement as things wear out wedding or baby gifts as needed birthday and Christmas gifts for my grandsons If you're interested in more details, read this and this . By placing limits and questioning whether I'm "allowed" to buy something, I've gone even further down the road of living with less. Of course, this process didn't start in January.  It's been a long process of many years.  But I've gradually stopped shopping for a lot of things that used to waste my money, time, and energy .  I

Your Unique Minimalism: What Kind is Just Right for You?

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Contrary to popular belief, minimalism isn't a numbers game.  It's not about owning fewer than 100 things, or a 33-piece wardrobe, or one set of dishes and silverware per person in your household. It's not a game you win or lose. Those types of numbers turn minimalism into a competition, which is all wrong.  That comparison trap is what we fall into when we try to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.  It's what pushes us to buy the latest and greatest, even if we don't need it, even if we can't afford it, simply so we'll fit in and gain respect. The comparison trap is the last place we want to end up. Minimalism is about figuring out what matters to you and then getting rid of things that steal your money, time, and talents away from that.  Each of us will have different answers to what's most important, so our versions of minimalism will look different.  In fact, my minimalism today, as half of a long-married couple nearing retirement, looks different f

Celebrate Fall with These Decorating Ideas That Don't Require Shopping

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Today it's 113° F (that's 45° C) – the hottest day we've had this summer. It's also September, and FALL IS COMING!  Changing leaves and that invigorating nip in the air are still a long way off, but fall is coming. As a self-confessed hot weather-hater , I really need some inspiration and reminders that summer doesn't last forever, so I wanted to add some fall touches to my house.  Special requirements: No clutter.  No shopping for things that aren't allowed during my Buy Nothing Year .   Sounds like a fun challenge, doesn't it?   8 No-Buy and Low-Cost Ideas for Fall Décor 1.  Pumpkins The first pumpkins are arriving in the grocery store, and I can shop for groceries!  I bought several large pumpkins for my entry area, and a bunch of mini pumpkins to put in a large woven basket I already own.  Instant coffee table décor. 2.  Twigs I found some long twigs (18"-24") on the ground, trimmed them a bit, and put them in one of my blue and white pitchers.

The End of a Remarkable Era

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I'm not surprised by my strong reaction to the death, reported yesterday, of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.  Her long life covered nearly a century of tumultuous change, and she was one unchanging figure on the world stage.  Her death affects all of us, whether or not we were her subjects.  I saw her once, from a distance, long ago, as part of a parade held in honor of her mother's 80th birthday.  That event has stayed in my memory, and fueled what was already a bent toward Anglophilia.  My love of England's literature, history, customs, and quirks didn't extend to viewing royal weddings or reading gossip in the Daily Mirror .  But it's impossible to have lived for over 60 years and not be aware of the Queen. What Queen Elizabeth seems to have admired most – and what she gave her great energy and intelligence to accomplish – is service.  She pledged herself in service to her country when she was very young, and she kept that promise.  If she had had her choice, s

Why Your Wardrobe is Out of Control and How to Make It Better

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Our closets are jam-packed, and getting dressed every morning can be an exercise in frustration.  Pieces get wrinkled, fall off their hangers, and get "lost" in the jumble of excess. Let's stop creating stress and decision fatigue before the day has even started. Why do we buy more? In the 1940's, the average person owned 36 items of clothing.  Today the average consumer has 120 items, an increase of 233%.  We don't work harder; we don't go dancing more often.  We just buy more clothes. You probably don't need a bigger closet, but it's likely you own too much stuff.  It's estimated that most people wear about 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, meaning that no matter how much we buy, we tend to reach for the same things again and again. It's worth thinking about why we buy so much if we want to cut back on clothes shopping. Are we influenced by brands, trends, coupons, and sales?    Unsubscribe from store emails, because those coupons are des

Unwanted Holiday Gifts and How to Start Dealing With Them

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Enjoy this excerpt of my soon-to-be-released book,  A MINIMALIST HOLIDAY . *  This blog is reader-supported.  If you purchase through my links, I may earn a small commission. How to Receive Unwanted Gifts Let gratitude be your trademark. Maybe you think minimalism requires an offensive strategy that shouts "Don't you  dare  give me anything that's going to clutter up my life!"  That's not a great attitude if you want to preserve a relationship you cherish.  But never fear – nastiness isn't necessary. Gift-giving is historically significant. In fact, giving a gift to show honor or appreciation, or to cement social or economic bonds, is an ancient practice.  So is giving gifts to a newly-married couple or a newborn baby. But in spite of these age-old traditions, we don't seem to do it very well. Maybe that's because our culture expects us to do it so often .  Gone are the days when a child might get one present on his birthday and a handful at Christmas.