Monday, October 18, 2010

Nine Quick Tips to Identify Clutter

‘How many things are there which I do not want.’ ~Socrates

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.

Lately, I’ve been on a clutter-clearing frenzy. For me, as for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm, and sweeping away a bunch of unloved, unused stuff has given me a huge happiness boost.

As I sifted through our possessions, I identified nine questions to ask myself when I was confronted with a questionable object. This list helped me decide what to keep and what to toss, recycle, or give away.

1.       Does this thing work? I was surprised by how hard it was to admit that something was broken and couldn’t be fixed—say, our dud toaster or my daughter’s frog clock. Why was I hanging on to these things?

2.       Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? If not, I must not really need it.

3.       Does it seem potentially useful—but never actually gets used? Something like an oversized water-bottle, a corkscrew with an exotic mechanism, or a tiny vase. Or duplicates. How many spare glass jars did I need to keep on hand?

4.       Was I “saving” it? Leaving bath gel in the tube, or hoarding my favorite stationery in a desk drawer, was as wasteful as never using these things. Spend out!

5.       Does it serve its purpose well? For example, we have a lot of “cute” kitchen objects that don’t really work.

6.       Has it been replaced by a better model? Inexplicably, I’m in the habit of keeping a broken or outmoded version of tech gadgets, even after they’ve been replaced. Pointless.

7.       Is it nicely put away in an out-of-the-way place? One of my Secrets of Adulthood is: Just because things are nicely organized doesn’t mean they’re not clutter. No matter how tidily a thing is stored, if I never use it, why keep it?

8.      Does this memento actually prompt any memories? Sometimes I automatically keep things that fall into the category of “mementos,” assuming that they’d set off some sort of response, but they don’t. The attendance trophy from my daughter’s pre-school sports class—out.

9.       Have I ever used this thing? I was absolutely shocked to find, when I started looking, how many things we owned that we had never once used. Many were gifts, true, but I promised myself we’d either put these things into use within a few weeks or give them away.

How about you? Have you identified any questions that help you decide whether or not to keep a particular possession?

Read more from Gretchen at her blog, The Happiness Project, or read more about her #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Happiness Project. 

Great and wonderful ideas from Gretchen and her book, The Happiness Project, is awesome and I highly recommend reading it!!  Learn how to start your own 'Happiness Project' here with help from Gretchen Rubin.  Have fun and be happy!!  Simply, Lisa

Happiness Project

Monday, October 4, 2010

17 Minimalist Guides

I just bought this and wanted to pass this awesome deal on to you!!  I am looking forward to reading all these books and learning more about becoming minimalistic and living simply and being happier because of it!!  I have already read Smalltopia and Simply Car Free when Smalltopia first came out and they were great, now onto reading the others!  

Happy Reading!


17 Minimalist Guides, Normally $224.54, Just $27 For 3 Days Only!

Click now
I’m going to get right into this. The 3 Day Minimalist Book Sale is on now. I wanted to launch my Luxury of Less eBook in a unique way, and because the minimalist community rocks, I was able to put together a package of ridiculously extraordinary value.
17 minimalist guides from 13 minimalist writers, normally $224.54, just $27 for 3 days only!
The sale ends at 10am Eastern this Thursday, October 7 so you have exactly 72 hours to get in on this package. But here’s why I’d like you to get in on it within 24 hours: I’m sending my first 24 hours of profits to Third World entrepreneurs through! [We've already raised over $5,000! You are amazing!]
Buy Now

You Get Everything Listed Below:

1) Leo Babauta’s The Simple Guide To A Minimalist Life

Regular price: $9.95

2) Everett Bogue’s The Art of Being Minimalist

Regular Price $17.00

3) Tammy Strobel’s Smalltopia: A Practical Guide To Working For Yourself

Regular Price: $27.00

4) Tammy Strobel’s Simply Car-free: How To Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life

Regular Price: $9.95

5) Adam Baker’s Unautomate Your Finances: A Simple, Passionate Approach To Money

Regular Price: $17.00

6) Joshua Becker’s Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life

Regular Price: $9.95

7) Charley Forness’s You, Simplified Handbook

Regular Price: $5.00

8) David Damron’s Project M-31: Simplify Your Life In 31 Days

Regular Price: $15.00

9) David Damron’s Minimalism: 7 Steps To A Simpler Life

Regular Price: $4.95

10) David Damron’s Simple Health & Fitness

Regular Price: $9.95

11) David Damron’s Simple. Minimalist. Life. Version 2.0 Deluxe Edition

Regular Price: $27.00

12) Annie Brewer’s The Minimalist Cleaning Method

Regular Price: $9.95

13) Meg Wolfe’s Minimalist Cooking – Take Back Your Kitchen

Regular Price: $4.95

14) Sam Spurlin’s Living The Simpler Life

Regular Price: $9.95

15) Brett Oblack’s Consume Less, Create More

Regular Price: $9.95

16) Henri Junttila’s Passionate Living Guide

Regular Price: $27.00

17) Karol Gajda’s (that’s me!) The Luxury of Less Special Edition

Regular Price: $9.99
Buy Now

Need convincing? That’s not my bag …

This incredible value is available for a total of 72 hours only. Get the Minimalist Book Sale package for just $27 by clicking right here.
Big Bonus! If we reach 1,000 sales during these 3 days everybody will get my How To Live Anywhere Short Haul course valued at $77! I will manually update this area with the order tally as time goes on. [Tally: 433 sales as of 4:35pm Eastern.]
Buy Now
Thank you so much!

Karol Gajda

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Joy of Less

I wanted to share with you an interview given by Tammy Strobel interviewing Francine Jay, author of 'The Joy of Less'.  It is a wonderful read and this helps us see why it is important to have less.  Less = More!!  I also, want to congratulate Francine Jay on celebrating the 1 year birthday of her wonderful blog Miss Minimalist.  Please go to her blog and read all her excellent advice about becoming Minimalistic and the joy she finds in Simple Living.  I have learned so much from her and Tammy both.  Ladies, Thank you very much!

With having the Celebration of Life this past week for my friend I have not been able to post any personal happenings but hopefully I will be able to this next week as I get back into the swing of things.  Until then please enjoy the interview below...


The Joy of Less
by Tammy on September 8, 2010
Over the last few months, I’ve been interviewing amazing bloggers about simple living, location independence, financial freedom, and more. Today the feature interview is with Francine Jay, from Miss Minimalist. We talked about minimalism, living lightly in small spaces, and her new book, The Joy of Less.



Tammy: Can you tell us about your new book The Joy of Less and why you decided to write it?

Francine: The Joy of Less is a celebration of minimalist living – it’s part philosophy, part pep talk, and an arsenal of practical techniques for purging the clutter from our lives. In it, I outline the STREAMLINE method (ten sure-fire steps to a decluttered home), and guide readers on a room-by-room minimalist makeover. I also talk about how we can trim our to-do lists and reclaim our time. And finally, I discuss the far-reaching benefits of living lightly on the Earth – because I think it’s very cool that saving space in our closets goes hand in hand with saving the planet!

Why did I write it? Well, when I started blogging about minimalist living last year, I expected to have just a handful of followers. The response, however, blew me away – I couldn’t believe how many people were interested in paring down their lives, and were hungry for information on how to do so. I quickly became the “Dear Abby” of decluttering, and realized people wanted (and needed!) a how-to guide on the topic.
I’ve been giving this advice to friends and family for years, and it feels wonderful to share it with a wider audience. The book is very upbeat and supportive; I wanted my readers to have fun with their decluttering, and feel like I’m right beside them, helping and encouraging them, each step of the way.

Tammy: In The Joy of Less, you liken minimalist living to being a butterfly. What’s that about?

Francine: When we overconsume, we’re like bulls running through a china shop – trampling the Earth’s resources, and leaving waste and destruction in our wake. When we live minimally, on the other hand, we’re like butterflies: we flit through life with little baggage, and live lightly and gracefully on the Earth. We preserve our planet’s resources, as if we alighted momentarily and barely touched them. I think it’s a beautiful way to live.

Tammy: How do you define minimalism and/or simple living?

Francine: To me, minimalism means finding the point of “just enough” – where you own the right amount of stuff to meet your needs and make you happy, but nothing extraneous.
It’s also about choosing experiences over stuff. I think that happiness comes from what we do, not what we have – and the less stuff we have cluttering our lives, the more time, space, and energy we have to do things. Therefore, I truly believe that having less stuff can make us happier people.

Tammy: What prompted you to start your downsizing journey?

Francine: I became interested in minimalist living by traveling lightly. I realized how wonderful it was to travel with a small carry-on bag, with only the essentials, instead of lugging around a heavy suitcase. When I was on vacation, I found it absolutely exhilarating that I could get by with so little – I felt like I could go anywhere, and do anything, because I wasn’t loaded down with stuff. And I thought, wow, if it feels this great to travel lightly, how amazing would it be to live this way?

I slowly decluttered for many years, until I was presented with a fabulous opportunity for a clean slate: last year, my husband and I sold our house, and almost all our possessions, and moved to the UK with one duffel bag each. Instead of “setting up home” over here, we’ve acquired things only as we needed them; it’s been a great experiment in discovering what’s necessary, and what we can live without.

Tammy: Can you give our readers three tips to live creatively and lightly in a small space?

Francine: Sure! First, acquire only the furniture that you truly need. Don’t buy a nightstand, a dining table, or a couch just because everyone else has one. Think about which pieces are necessary for your lifestyle, and which ones you could just as well do without.

Second, think versatility. In a small space, items that can do double (or triple) duty are worth their weight in gold. Whether it’s a table, a kitchen gadget, or a handbag, choose multi-functional items over single-task ones – the more needs an object fulfills, the better!

Third, embrace technology. The fact that we can reduce so many things (CDs, DVDs, books, paperwork) to intangible bits and bytes makes it a wonderful time to be a minimalist. Scanning your documents, and purchasing music, movies, and books in digital form, can free up a significant amount of space.

Tammy: Living in a small space can be challenging, especially if you’re into crafts and do-it-yourself projects. How do you address storage needs in your small space?

Francine: I advocate storing like items in “modules” (which I explain in great detail in my book). The idea is to devote a single container to a particular hobby, task, or category – like scrapbooking or office supplies, for example – and limit the contents to what fits. In other words, when a particular module is full, you’ll have to use up (or get rid of) some of your old stuff before purchasing more. It’s a great way to keep craft supplies (and other items) from multiplying and taking over the house.

If you’re short on storage space, look high (like above wardrobes) and low (like under beds) for storage opportunities. One trick I used was to make my storage containers blend in with their surroundings: I have white walls, and a white wardrobe, so the white nylon storage cube on top of my wardrobe seems to “disappear.”

Of course, as a minimalist, I think the best way to address storage needs is to reduce the amount of stuff you need to store. Purge, purge, and purge some more before you put anything in pretty containers; otherwise, you’re just organizing your clutter!

Tammy: Your blog is very thoughtful and I think everyone should head over and take a look at your content. Which of your posts should folks read first?

Francine: Thanks so much! I’d recommend starting with the following three:

My Minimalist Story, Part 2: The Great Unraveling
explains how my husband and I narrowed down our possessions to one bag each before moving overseas.

400 Square Feet is the New Black is a peek at our new tiny apartment, and a good introduction to how we’re living now.

The Minsumer Movement: A Quiet Revolution is one of my all-time favorite posts. It’s a manifesto on how buying less, and living lightly, can make us pioneers of social and economic change.

Tammy: Everyone has unique skills; skills that I call superpowers. What is your superpower?

Francine: Fun question! I think my superpower is adaptability. I love change, and adjusting to new circumstances on the fly. I think that’s why I enjoy travel (and moving) so much! I’ve always wanted to be like a Bond girl – not the ditzy ones, but the nuclear-physicist-by-day, karate-black-belt-by-night ones. They always adapt to any circumstance – outrunning assassins on skis, trekking across a desert, or scuba diving in shark-infested waters – without so much as a hair out of place. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. ;-)

If this post helped you, share it with your tribe and leave me some comments so we can help each other through this journey. As always, thanks for your support!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Death comes so quickly... a thief in the night.  I know that is not how the verse from the Bible says it, but it is so true, it seems like Fred was taken so quickly and without anyone a thief stole his life but in all honesty God just took him home because He had better things for Fred to do. 

We found out this afternoon (Sunday) one of our real good friends and our son's business partner, Fred Greene, had passed away this weekend.  He was found in his apartment today by a good friend who had plans with him and couldn't reach him by phone so he went to Fred's apartment.  That is when he was found.

Fred S Greene, 51: Born 10-2-58 went to Heaven on 9-11-10.

Fred loved playing Mafia Wars on Facebook and this is and always has been his profile picture.  I love it!

Fred had a bigger heart than almost anyone I knew, he would give you the shirt off his back if he knew you needed it.  He was a very loyal man, so if you had the chance to know him, you knew he would do anything to help you or give advice to you.  He and I had many, many talks about my marriage and my family when we were all going through some rough spots.  He had very good advice for me and I told him so!  He lived in a very small and modest apartment...and he always told me he didn't need much to make him happy.  So if he knew it or not he was a minimalist at heart, he lived with only what he needed to live with and nothing more.

He was a very good computer man, he knew computers inside and out and he would help, fix, repair and do whatever needed to be done to your computer without hesitation.  Even if it was his day off he would work on computers if he needed to, he lived and breathed computers.  Fred, never wanted anything for himself with the exception of a good meal and to watch the Huskers play when it was football season!  Probably his only treat in life was having great meals with friends and family!  When it was football season that was a day to celebrate!  He was always giving to others!

He and my son owned a business together named C3 Solutions, Inc here in Lincoln and Fred was the main person to be at the "shop" that is what they called it.  He practically lived there.  Fred and my son, Matt, also were Marine Veterans, they both were very, very close, even with their age difference, they could always find something to talk about.  Fred was a wonderful friend, not only to me and my family but to many, many people and he will be greatly missed but never forgotten!  Semper Fi, Fred!

So, sometimes it seems that it takes something like this to wake people up and ask "Why?" or "What could we have done?" or "Why did this have to happen?" and I have said this to myself, my husband and to my son...We have to learn from what happened to Fred and move on, Fred would not want us stopping and asking the 'why' questions but to learn from this, learn to "Love Life and Not Stuff", which is exactly what Fred did, he loved LIFE and not the stuff so many people get caught up with today!

So, this blog post is dedicated to a wonderful man and a great friend, who never called himself a minimalist, but he only wanted and needed the very least he could have and he was happy!  Happy to be in a small apartment with only the bare essentials but was wealthy in love for his family and friends and the simple but rich life he led.  To this I have learned a very valuable lesson.  Family and friends are more important than any STUFF in my life, as long as I have them I am a very wealthy woman.

To, Fred Greene, I owe you, my friend, for the valuable lesson you have taught me today.  I will see you in Heaven someday.  Rest in Peace, my friend, Rest in Peace.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tammy Strobel's NEWEST eBook is out - Smalltopia!

Read this page then purchase Smalltopia, you'll be so glad you did!  We did, and it is wonderful, so much to learn, think about and work on!  Rich and I are very ready for this kind of lifestyle.  We are very excited about it and can't wait to share it all with you as we journey onwards in our rich but simple life!  Thank you, Tammy, for the new eBook and for inspiring us to follow our dreams by becoming minimalistic!  Enjoy reading!


Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself

by Tammy on August 31, 2010
Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself is full of tips, tools, and strategies to help you create personal freedom through a very small business. Smalltopia is broken up into three sections: Philosophy, Business Essentials, and Case Studies. The ebook tells my personal story of escaping the rat race and the lessons I learned along the way.

Who Should Buy This:

Anyone interested in leaving a traditional 9-5 job, building a very small business, and diversifying their income stream.

Who Should Buy This:

Anyone interested in leaving a traditional 9-5 job, building a very small business, and diversifying their income stream.

What’s Included:

How to Purchase Smalltopia

Smalltopia is $27.00 and is an independently produced, digital book. If you’re still not sure about purchasing the book, you can preview the first 23 pages for free.
Add to Cart

$37 $33 – Get Everything: Simply Car-free + Smalltopia

This package features everything I’ve published!
I’ve included Simply Car-free, Smalltopia, and my free ebook Minimalist Health. You get all of this for the discounted price of $33.
Add to Cart

Cash Back Guarantee

I want to rock your world with this guide. If you’re unsatisfied with my e-book, please contact me and I will refund your cash.

Simply Car-Free - By, Tammy Strobel

Hello, We have not gotten this far yet in our learning a minimalist lifestyle but maybe and hopefully some day we will but until then we wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy reading my friends!


About Simply Car-free

Five years ago, we lived the “normal middle class” suburban lifestyle. We were newlyweds with flashy rings, living in a two-bedroom apartment, driving two cars, commuting long distances to work and living well beyond our means. The idea of living without a car didn’t seem possible.
By changing our perspective and planning small steps, we learned lessons that simplified our lives and got us out of debt. Going car-free was part of our downsizing process and was one of our first big goals toward living intentionally.
I wrote Simply Car-free to help people achieve their goals of saving money, improving their health, and living a simpler lifestyle. Reducing our dependence on cars clarified our priorities and showed us that anything is possible.

How to Purchase Simply Car-free

Simply Car-free is $9.95 and is an independently produced, digital book. The tips and tools in this book will save you much more than the purchase price.
Add to Cart
If you’re still not sure about purchasing the book, you can preview the 3 chapters for free!
“I’ve ridden over 10,000 miles with as much as 200 miles covered in two days. Simply Car-free is the ultimate guide to a better life through cycling.” ~ Gregory Johnson,
“Going car-free isn’t just for the brave anymore. Tammy Strobel explains the essentials behind how you can save thousands of dollars a year, improve your health, and the environment. This isn’t just an e-book, it’s a revolution.” ~Everett Bogue

You Will Learn

  • How to save $8,000 a year.
  • How to rethink necessities and overcome fear.
  • About key bike buying tips.
  • How to get confident on the road.
  • How to go grocery shopping by bike.
  • How to plan your route.
  • And much more.
This e-book contains 80 pages of written content, photographs, and practical tips.

Earn Money by Selling Simply Car-free

Please consider supporting my writing by joining the affiliate sales program.

Cash Back Guarantee

I want to rock your world with this book. If you’re unsatisfied with my e-book, please contact me and I will refund your money.

About The Author

I’ve worked for a variety of non-profits during the last 10 years and recently started my own small business. Currently, I’m a writer based out of Portland, Oregon. I blog about simplicity and car-free living at
Thanks for reading!
Blog | Email | Twitter

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Minimalist Heath - By, Tammy Strobel

This is a great book and it is FREE!  If you want to read it first before you purchase any other of Tammy's books you will see how living a simple life and becoming a minimalist is the way to go in life.  We did and now we are working towards a richer and simpler lifestyle!

Happy Reading,


Free eBook: Minimalist Health

by Tammy on March 12, 2010
Since the release of Simply Car-free, I’ve received an incredible number of emails from folks asking questions like:
How can I improve my health?
What are the best ways to lose weight?
Where can I find real food?
In response to the questions I’ve received, I decided to write my first free e-book. The book is 20 pages and I hope it will help you get active.
You only get one body and mind. If you don’t take care of both, it’s hard to create amazing art or get involved in your community. I hope this manifesto will help you improve your health and inspire you to change the world.

Download the free e-book, Minimalist Health: How to Focus on the Essentials.

Or read it on Issuu

If this e-book helps you, please help spread the word by…
  • Sharing it with your tribe on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Writing about it on your blog.
  • Printing out copies and leaving them in your local library or coffee shop.
Please let me know what you think. Feel free to connect with me on twitter or send me a note.