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Maybe you've heard this old parable:

Imagine the most important things in life are five or six smooth stones.  A glass jar represents YOU, the potential impact and value of your life.  Fit the stones into the jar, and pour some gravel into the gaps.  The capacity of the jar is finite, but with the large stones placed first, there's room for many small additional items.

If you reverse the process, and fill the jar with gravel, it's impossible to fit the larger, valuable stones.  You can't force them in, no matter how hard you push.


Many of us are in that situation.  Our lives are full of trivia – shopping and chores, junk food and junk mail, debt and dissatisfaction.  Or our career stone is so large that nothing else fits except stress and loneliness.

We really do value family, friends, health, spirituality, kindness, and world peace.  But our jars are crammed with junk, and we sacrifice time, talent, and energy to insignificant things.  We keep pushing, but that just causes burnout.

The good news is that we can dump out our jars and get priorities right this time.  We can let minimalism be our guide.

Minimalism helps us choose our essentials and spend our time and energy where it matters.  We add just enough gravel to help support those precious stones, not crowd them out.  We leave a bit of empty space for future ideas and experiences, margin that allows us to flex and improve.

Minimalism frees us to live our best life.

I'm Karen Trefzger, and I started this website to write about the contentment and purpose I've found through minimalism.  I'm a writer, singer, and teacher; a wife, mother, and grandmother.  I love reading, learning, and solving hard crosswords in pen.  My favorite place is Sonoma County, California, with its ocean, redwoods, vineyards, and historic towns.

I also struggle with food addictions and obesity, and my family and I continue to experience the challenges of having a transgender child.  While these issues don't define this blog, they have a huge impact on my life.  Sometimes I'll share thoughts about diet and health, or relationships and faith.

Maximum Gratitude Minimal Stuff means:  Take joy in what's important to you, and realize how blessed you are.  Live with less clutter, busyness, and stress so you have room for all the best things in life.


Please subscribe to receive Maximum Gratitude Minimal Stuff via email.  If you open the sidebar on the left (click the three horizontal lines), you'll see a subscription form at the top.  Or use the pop-up subscription form when it appears as you're reading.  

I usually post once or twice a week.  Your privacy is very important to me, and I will never share your contact information.

Look around

If this is your first visit, welcome!  You can find inspiration and ideas for decluttering, choosing simplicity, and improving your home, health, relationships, finances, and outlook on life.  Start with my Minimalist Quiz to learn whether minimalism is right for you.  Then peruse these pages dedicated to specific topics:

You might also enjoy reading my end-of-year recaps, with favorite posts chosen by readers and by me.

Visit or contact me

If you enjoy my blog, please visit my Amazon Author page and find details about my books.

You can also contact me via email.  My address is


  1. I need serious help finding and receiving your blog! I’ve never followed a blog or blogger!!
    Thank you

    1. Hello Tulsa Gardener! Thank you so much for reading. To subscribe, scroll up to the top of the sidebar (on the right side of this page, where you see "Trending Posts," "Labels," pictures of my book covers, etc. See the box where it says "Follow by Email"? Simply enter your email address and click "Submit." A pop-up box will ask you to verify that you are a real person (you click a button). Then you will get a confirmation email in your inbox. Simply reply to that and you're all set! You will then get my blog delivered to your email inbox. I usually post on Mondays and Fridays. Best wishes!


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