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Showing posts from 2023

Minimalist Challenge: 7 Steps to the Perfect Tiny Wardrobe

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Before I was a minimalist, my two biggest areas of acquisition were my house and my wardrobe.  I was constantly buying new home décor and planning updates and upgrades to our space, and I bought new clothes nearly every week. I always thought that a new outfit would make me look more attractive, more stylish, more professional, more successful – just more than what I felt I actually was.  I thought that scoring supposedly great deals would make me look financially secure and savvy.  (As if spending money I didn't have on stuff I didn't need was a smart money move!) It's amazing the power I attributed to my wardrobe.  Based on my behavior, I obviously thought my wardrobe could reflect who I was – my strengths and abilities – better than my choices, behaviors, and what I actually did and accomplished . I thought that having all of this would make me happy, but then I'd have to go back out and buy something else, something more... so my wardrobe was never complete and I w

How a Peaceful Life Is Still Possible in a Stressed-Out World

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There's no question that life in the 21st century is stressful. But hasn't "life is stressful" always been true?  Our ancestors worried about surviving a freezing winter, about hail or locusts or something else that might destroy crops, about predatory animals, about disease and injury....  At least most of us have no worries about heat, food, wild animals, or whether we can get decent medical care when we need it. Humans have always lived with stressors, but today we do things that add even more .  We could choose to avoid some of the factors that make life more difficult than it has to be, but to succeed, we need to shift our mindset. 9 ways to simplify life for more peace 1.  Unplug. We haven't always had mobile phones, but now we "must" have them at all times.  Some of us sleep with them. Try leaving your phone in your car when you go out, or in another room when you're at home.  Go about your tasks and think your own thoughts without responding

One Revealing Question: Is It Worth the Candle?

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My grandsons sleep with night lights.  In fact, they really don't like to be left without their little lights, which shine all night in case they wake up for some reason.  The lights are a comfort to them. There's an old French proverb (my research indicates that it first appeared in print in a 1580 essay by Michel de Montaigne):  "Le jeu n'en vaut pas la chandelle."  In other words, "The game is not worth the candle." It refers to candlelit rooms where people would go to gamble at cards.  Since candles were expensive, it was typical at the end of the night to leave some money to contribute to the cost of the lighting.  But if someone lost money during the games or didn't make much profit, they wouldn't be able to cover the price of the candle. And so the question:  Was the game worth the candle?  Was it worth the effort or expense it required?  When candles and lamp fuel were expensive, you had to carefully consider how you used them.  Was readi

You Can Be Happier If You Don't Miss This One Thing

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All of us want to be happy.  We want our children to be happy.  Happiness and its pursuit are not only considered undeniable rights by most Americans, but have become the subject of many academic studies and organizations . Many of us think that having more money, more possessions, more experiences, more popularity – more of everything – will make us happy.  So we pamper and treat ourselves.  We compete with others.  And we give our kids "everything we never had." Of course a lack of money for basic necessities is awful and insecure.  Poverty adds stress and fear to every day.  But studies show that people who win the lottery or inherit money are no happier than everyone else. That's because happiness is an emotion.  It's based on people, experiences, and things, and it's triggered externally.  So if people, experiences, and things let us down or prove unsatisfactory, our happiness can be compromised or destroyed.  At some point we've all been in that situati

How to Declutter More Effectively By Understanding 4 Personality Types

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Our styles are personal.  Our homes are personal.  And so is our clutter. After all, those piles that crowd your space and linger in your life are piles that you (or someone you live with) created while you dressed, worked, cooked, and played in your home. Clutter is personal, but it's not unique.  Humans in general have a tendency to acquire things, but your habits likely reveal you as "one of four distinct organizing personalities" (or a combination), according to Deborah Cabral, professional organizer and founder of The DeClutter Coach .  She calls them Visual , Social , Tidy , and Multitasking . (Full disclosure:  I'm Tidy – which you might guess – but also Visual.) There are many decluttering strategies, but some may work better for you than others because of your organizing personality.  Get ready to learn which methods suit your viewpoints and tendencies, and gain more understanding about the different organizing personalities of your family members too. Visual

Mama Was Right: Why and How to Eat Your Vegetables

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Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules ,* said it clearly:  "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants." * This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission. Yeah, yeah, you've heard it before.  But do you actually make most of your food choices from the plant kingdom? The reasons to eat lower on the food chain are pretty compelling. One easy way to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, moderate blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, save money at the grocery store, and simplify your menu is to eat more plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Plant foods are the richest, most abundant sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  They contain antioxidants and hundreds of phytochemicals, and many of these contain disease-fighting properties that a laboratory can't duplicate. There's even evidence that eating more fruits and vegetables protects cognitive health and reduces sym

One Simple Secret to Help You Live a Better Life

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Did you make a New Year's resolution?  Many of us do, with plans to improve life in some way:  better sleep, better diet, more exercise, more reading, more prayer, less alcohol, less complaining... or something else!  It seems to be human nature to continually try to improve.  Maybe that's why it's so easy for us to get caught up in the shiny promises of "progress," even before we think things through and imagine all of the potential consequences. But that's another subject.  In the meantime, you and I and most people I know are feeling energized about a new year and those all-important resolutions to do better and be better. Here's the bad news. Studies show that we fail at those resolutions.  Discouragingly, most of us don't make it past the end of January before breaking all of our glittering promises.  In fact, the fitness app Strava, which has analyzed millions of uploaded exercise activities, has dubbed the second Friday in January as "Quit

6 Strategies to Simplify Your Life Every Day

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Finding ways to simplify life when my children were little brought me great joy and contentment.  We gained the ability to live on one salary while I homeschooled, and I had plenty of time for special projects with my kids, lots of volunteering at my church, and a return to professional singing in my late 30's. We don't live in a simple world, however, so life gets more complicated over time.  We add responsibilities, make plans, and buy stuff which requires cleaning and maintenance. So I've made returns to simplicity on several occasions.  Minimalism brings clarity, space, and energy to my life.  It's like a deep breath of fresh air that makes you feel ready for anything. These aren't the only ways to make life simpler, but they're the steps I've found work best for me, and I return to them over and over. Here's the list – look for details below. Remove extras. Simplify clothes. Simplify food. Shortlist tasks. Go fullscreen. Make quiet time. Are you cu