Showing posts from July, 2024

How to Enjoy the Charms of the Past

One of the most common decluttering questions is, "What should I do about sentimental items?"  Maybe you've learned the hard way that nostalgic possessions are the most difficult to let go. Do you remember having a charm bracelet when you were younger?  Or perhaps your sister had one, or even your mom or one of your aunts. Charm bracelets have quite a long history.  Originally, people wore charms or amulets around their necks, but ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks often wore bracelets with charms for luck or protection.  Much later, Britain's Queen Victoria wore a silver charm bracelet with nine enameled heart lockets that contained wisps of each of her children's hair.  As a result, charm bracelets displaying personal mementos became a fashion craze among the upper classes all over Europe.  They were very popular once again in the 1950s through the 1970s. A snapshot of my girlhood My parents gave me a silver bracelet when I turned 10.  It had one charm,

Why Simple Daily Pleasures Are More Important than Your Bucket List

A lot of people maintain lists of things they want to experience or become before they die.  "I want to own my own diner."  "I want to see the Taj Mahal."  "I want to complete the Wine Country Century Bike Ride."  They believe their bucket list will make them fulfilled and happy. I'm fortunate to have done a lot of traveling in the U.S. and in England when I was a child and as a young adult.  I've raised and educated my children and had a varied career.  I've enjoyed a lot of fun and rewarding experiences, many of them before I ever heard the term "bucket list." On one hand, I like the idea of setting a goal for something that's important to you, and then figuring out how to reach it.  A goal can be purposeful , such as wanting to earn a college degree or write a book.  Or it can be pleasurable , such as wanting to visit the Grand Canyon or go skydiving. On the other hand, some people seem so interested in crossing an item off a

Why You Should Embrace a Diet of Less Variety

When I came home from the hospital back in early March, I was looking for ways to make life simpler and easier .  I needed to rest and recover, and while my husband was able to take several days off work to be with me, I didn't want him to spend all his time and effort cleaning, cooking, and otherwise maintaining our home.  And once he went back to work, I still didn't have the stamina to do all my normal tasks.  So things like personal grooming, laundry, and food needed to be streamlined as much as possible.  After all, those maintenance jobs become much tougher when you're feeling tired and weak.  Yet when we don't manage the tasks, home can become cluttered and dirty very quickly, which is not just inconvenient, but depressing. One area we wanted to simplify was the kitchen.  It was easier to eat the same things for every breakfast and lunch, with the only variation coming at dinnertime.  It not only shortened the grocery list, but it also made meal preparations a sn

Beware the Rugged Individualist

When I was living in Sacramento decades ago, getting my teaching credential and later working for the HR manager of a downtown firm, I often rode the city buses.  The thing about buses is that you're thrown together with strangers.  Much like when you're standing in a line, you have a connection.  You're all trying to get where you're going, and there's a type of mutual recognition and respect. You really see this when there's some sort of "incident" during the ride – someone is rude or in some way breaks the unwritten rules of behavior – and everyone rallies around to make sure things are set right.  Everyone's going in the same direction, invested in having this situation work the way it's supposed to. Not so self-sufficient after all We love our individuality, don't we?  That's why most of us prefer to drive our own cars.  We don't want to be dependent on the bus route or schedule, and we don't want to ride around with a bunc

How My "Little House" Fantasies Helped Me Downsize

Did you read the Little House on the Prairie books when you were younger?  I read all of them several times from about age 8 to age 11.  This was still a few years before Little House became a TV show starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert (which told a story quite different from the fact-based narrative of the books).  My younger sister, however, became passionate about the show and had to watch it every week without fail. Jennifer even turned a box into an elaborate log cabin diorama for a school book report.  My mom (a crafting genius) helped her, and I pitched in to glue popsicle sticks painted with wood stain for a plank floor, weave tiny rag rugs, quilt a cover for the little bed, and create a small fireplace and chimney out of craft stones, glue, and Mod Podge. I guess we were all a little obsessed. Starting over Those 19th century American pioneers, like Little House 's Ingalls family, were literally starting over, heading for a land they knew almost nothing about.