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       Has it been replaced by a better model?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!

Lisa

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 Kiva.org! [We've already raised over $5,000! You are amazing!]
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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


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7) Charley Forness’s You, Simplified Handbook


Regular Price: $5.00

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


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


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10) David Damron’s Simple Health & Fitness


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


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12) Annie Brewer’s The Minimalist Cleaning Method


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


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14) Sam Spurlin’s Living The Simpler Life


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15) Brett Oblack’s Consume Less, Create More


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16) Henri Junttila’s Passionate Living Guide


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


Regular Price: $9.99
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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...

Simply,
Lisa

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.

Enjoy!

***

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...

...like 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 knowing...like 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.

Lisa

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!

Simply,
Lisa

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!

Simply,
Lisa


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, ResourcesForLife.com
“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 RowdyKittens.com.
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,

Lisa

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.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Overwhelming but it can be done!

OK, I am up and it is 4:00 in the morning, this is not a good thing but so much is on my mind!  Since we will be beginning Day 2 of getting ready for the yard sale, I do want to say that today was very productive and we made the different areas in our basement and made it through roughly 20 boxes.  Several of which was books, Rich and I love books and we really hate to get rid of them but when you are downsizing and learning how to become a minimalist this is a MUST do project.  Thanks to Joshua Becker and his wonderful blog called  Becoming Minimalist he had a Guest Post by Robyn Devine of Minimalist Knitter called... 

Breaking The Sentimental Attachment To Books  

I had to copy this and share it with all of you because I know many people are in the same boat that I am in!  We all have many bookcases and boxes of books and this has helped me so much I wanted you to be able to learn from it too.  Read on!

 It is unmistakably comforting to curl up in a thick chair with a tattered copy of a book you love, listening to the rain while you let yourself get carried away by the words on the page. I know – I used to hoard books. Don’t let the title “minimalist” scare you off – I have a love of books that dates back to my years toddling around with Dr. Seuss, a love that was handed down from my mother.

Until just a few years ago, books were stacked everywhere in my home. My two huge book cases were double-stacked with volumes ranging from children’s fiction to college text books, and piles had formed next to couches and the bed, not to mention on any available surface. I could not imagine my life without these friends surrounding me – the very thought of letting go of just one was enough to send me hurling at my shelves, attempting to wrap my arms around every book I owned in protection.

Today, I am the proud owner of approximately 20 books – six of which are craft books. To move from one extreme to the other took some serious work, and was not an overnight process. It started with the realization that I was not so much attached to the stories and words themselves, but the physical books sitting on the shelves. Once I had that realization, I began to let go of some of my books, and moved slowly towards a more minimalist reading collection.

The best way for any book-collector to tackle their bookshelves is by looking at one book at a time. When we look at the whole expanse of our book collection, it can be hard to imagine ever letting a single book go, but in reality there are volumes hiding on those shelves that we truly don’t need or want. Taking time to pull a book down off the shelf and truly look at it as an individual item will help you decide for that book alone if staying on your shelves is the best option.

Here are a few suggestions to help even the biggest bibliophile relieve your sagging shelves of stress:

1. Write It Down. Sometimes, it’s the way a book made us feel, our connection to the story or a character that keeps us from letting go of the book itself. Take some time to write down those feelings, those connections. Maybe you’ll keep these notes on your computer or in a notebook, or maybe you’ll begin a blog for them. Once you get those emotions and thoughts out, it can be easier to pass the book on to someone else who you think would love the story as much as you did.

Tiny Action: Grab a notebook and start writing down your thoughts about each book as you take it off your shelves. If you can’t think of anything to say, you probably won’t miss the book if it weren’t there anymore.

2. Divide. Get ruthless with your “yet to read” pile. My rule of thumb is simple: If it hasn’t been read in six months, it probably won’t ever be read. I went so far as to test this theory myself as I found books on my shelves I hadn’t yet read, but couldn’t yet bear to let go. I dedicated a shelf to “need to read” books, and noted the date. Any books that started out on that shelf on that date but were still there six months later I purged – I had discovered I truly had no desire to read them!

Tiny Action: Let go of any book you haven’t read yet that has been on your shelves for more than six months. Afraid you’ll want to read it someday? Make a note of it in your notebook – title, author, ISBN number even – so you can find it at the library if you truly want to read it later.

3. One of the best ways to make use of your book collection is to share it with others! As you look at books, anytime you find yourself thinking “So and so would LOVE this book!” write that name down on a sticky note, stick it on the front cover, and set the book aside. After you’ve got 20 or so books in a pile, begin handing them out – drive to friends’ houses and drop them off, or put them in the mail (book rate shipping is SUPER cheap).

Tiny Action: Pick five books off your shelves that you’d love to share with someone else, and then send them off to their new homes. Today.

4. Set aside one shelf of your book case as your “desert island” shelf. Most book lovers have books they know they will never let go of, no matter what. I call these “desert island” books – they are the books I’d want with me if I were stranded on a desert island, that I could read over and over again for the rest of my life. As you come across these books in your collection, add them to your shelf. Not only is it comforting to see those books being saved as you pare down others, you now have a physical boundary – you can have no more “desert island” books than will fit in this one space, so you are forced to think analytically about your collection.

Tiny Action: Clear off one shelf to keep as your “desert island” shelf. It can only hold one row of books – no double stacks or piles!

5. Organize your non-fiction books by topic. I found when I began to organize my non-fiction books by topic, I had overlaps in some subjects. For me, the largest overlaps came in religious studies (my major in college). As I saw where I’d doubled up on topic, it was easier to let go of a few books.

Tiny Action: Organize your books by topic and author. Begin to pare down where you see overlaps.

6. Look for multiple copies, and get rid of them. You may laugh, thinking you would NEVER buy a multiple of a book, but trust me when I say I’ve found multiple copies of books on the shelves of almost every sentimental bibliophile I’ve met. Once you have more than a shelf or two of books (not a book CASE or two, a SHELF or two!), the chances of your remembering what books you own dwindles. Even if you love the book, there is never a need to own more than one copy of it!

Tiny Action: Every time you notice a multiple of a book, immediately give one copy away.

+++

While going through this process, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Take breaks. When I first began paring down my books, I would get dizzy after 15 minutes!
  • Take five minutes to step away anytime you begin to feel overwhelmed – this is a new experience for your body, and it takes some getting used to!
  • Stay hydrated. I found I would get drained and tired as I went through my books – keeping a glass of water next to me helped keep me alert and focused.
  • Set a timer. Sort through your books for no more than 30 minutes the first go-round or you will find yourself getting frustrated and overwhelmed.
  • Honor your emotions. Your sentimental attachment to your books is not something to feel ashamed of or sad about. Acknowledging your emotions as you sort through your books can be the first step in helping you move past that attachment and towards a more minimalist reading habit.
  • And above all, remember this: you did not acquire those books overnight, so you will not release your attachment to them quickly either. By spending a few minutes a week and by letting go of a few books at a time, you will find your feelings shifting towards the stories and the moment rather than the books themselves.

    Robyn Devine blogs at Minimalist Knitter about the power of knitting with less, and is the author of the free e-book The Minimalist Knitter’s Handbook.  Check her blog and e-book out and I think you will be very glad you did!

    So don't you agree that after reading this that it should be a very easy task to downsize your book collection?  I do, and I am looking forward to having a shelf just for the "desert island" books and seeing if I can narrow my books down to just 20.  I have already started a list online of the names of the books I am donating to the public library, along with the author's name and ISBN number, then I can go and check out the books from the library when and if I am ready to read them.

    Thank you Joshua Becker for your Becoming Minimalist blog and also to Robyn Devine for such wonderful ideas.

    I am now looking forward to sleeping and getting up with a new game plan on tackling the many boxes of books we have and sharing these ideas with my husband!

    Sweet Dreams,

    Lisa

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    We've Only Just Begun!

    With my husband being out of work we are needing to sell what we can to live on and reduce debt until he can find a job or decide what he wants to be when he grows up!  What a great opportunity we have to downsize and get rid of STUFF and reduce our debt at the same time!!  So we are digging in with all we have got to sell the most we can this weekend.  YIKES!  My husband came up with the idea this afternoon, August 31st, and 2 days from now is the yard sale, that is a scary situation!  I usually prepare in advance for things like this and now I can't prepare I just have to do it.  I have listed some things on Craigslist for about 2 weeks now, so I definitely know those things will be in the sale.  I will probably just have to make last minute decisions and go with the flow!  How FUN this could be!

    I am up to this and hope we can sell it all!  I have it posted on Craigslist that we are having the sale on Friday, September 3rd and Saturday, September 4th!  Today is the beginning of Wednesday, September 1st and I have 2 days to go through everything and be ready, I CAN do this!  We are selling mostly everything except for our living and dining room furniture, some kitchen things and our grandsons toys and tables.  I have given several things to our son and daughter-in-law and to my parents that they can use and have a few things picked out for my niece who has just announced she will be getting married. 

    We have a sectioned off our basement into different areas: Toss, Donate, Yard Sale, Gifts, and Keep.  This should be easy then, go through the stuff and decide on an area it is going to go to.  Then do it, toss it, donate it, have the yard sale (after that then donate the rest), or gift it to somebody you love and keep the least amount possible! 

    I have decided that all our Christmas Gifts this year are coming from right inside this apartment, and some of it is brand new stuff that has just been sitting in boxes for years!  I will make one small exception and will purchase a couple of things for our grandsons.  It is sad to know that I spent that money way back when and could of used it in some other way but then I look at it now as I already have Christmas bought and paid for...YAY for me!  All I have to do it wrap it!  Oh OK, I don't wrap gifts, my family will tell you, I bag them and then I ask for the bags back, unless it is a special bag and they want to keep it, and then reuse them the next year!  I will not have to go out into the stores and fight the crowds and stand in line to pay for anything.  All I have to do is decide what goes to whom and wrap it...oh I mean...bag it!  Exciting time ahead my friends! 

    The  100 Thing Challenge is still in the back of my mind and I am so excited to get there, to downsize to those 100 personal items.  Then my husband and I will sit down and decide what number of household items we will keep.  Below, is how Tammy Strobel and her husband decided on what should stay and what should go!

    This is from Tammy Strobel's blog on Loving Life, Not Stuff from RowdyKittens: 

    Going through my stuff again helped me reevaluate what I need in my life. As a result, I was able to donate a number of items that were cluttering up my closet and bookshelf. I also reconsidered why I’m participating in the 100 Thing Challenge and its importance.

    The more I mull it over, the more I think the 100 Thing Challenge is less about counting up stuff, than it is about asking ourselves larger questions like:
    Being aware of how stuff affects our physical and emotional health is empowering. More importantly, making small changes in our own lives leads to a greater awareness of the connection between environmental, economic, and social justice issues. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you unplug from your stuff.

    1. Slowly sort through your stuff.

    Go through your home room by room and create piles of stuff you want to keep and stuff you want to donate. This process takes time. Undertaking a gradual transition will help alleviate emotional guilt associated with trashing possessions and promotes a routine of minimizing that is more likely to outlast quick lifestyle fixes.
    I get a lot of emails that ask for a magic solution to the problem of clutter. There is no magic solution. If you have a house full of stuff, there is no weekend solution for responsible decluttering.
    And I’m serious, be responsible. Don’t throw your stuff away! Give it away or repurpose items so you don’t need to buy something new. We don’t need more stuff in the landfills, toxins seeping into our water supply or more garbage shipped to developing countries.

    2. Avoid lifestyle creep.

    Lifestyle creep is when we try to keep up with the mythical Joneses and end up unhappy and in debt. Participating in the 100 Thing Challenge is a great way to avoid this phenomenon. For instance, I take care of what I have instead of constantly buying the latest clothes or shoes. It’s helped me become more mindful of my consumption choices.

    3. Save rather than shop.

    If you take on the 100 Thing Challenge, I guarantee you’ll save a lot of cash. One of the main reasons I’m participating in this challenge is to keep clutter out of my life and to save money. I’m now much more thoughtful about my purchases. I know what I already have and what I may or may not “need.” The end result has been an increase in savings and time. And that makes me happy.

    4. Get your counting groove on.

    Consider participating in this challenge. If you think the task is too difficult and you are not sure where to start, then begin by reading The Story of Stuff, The Art of Being Minimalist, Simplify, and The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life. These books will help you unplug from your stuff and consider its hidden costs.


    So my friends, let's each take a look at what we have and ask ourselves:  Do we need it?  Is it just taking up space?  Have I used, wore, or done anything with it in the last 3 months?  Is it going to make me happier if I keep it?  Who could use it and be happier having it?  Then give it to them!  Don't give your stuff to people who don't need more stuff...get them on the band wagon of downsizing and purging their clutter!  Give it to people who need it.

    Show your family and friends what is most important, being happy with less clutter, less stuff, and blessing someone else with it!  Plus, I just know, my mind will be calmer with less things to look at!  Enough for today, I have given you a lot to think about, digest and read!  Enjoy life my friends with less stuff!

    Time to go through boxes of stuff, if I don't come out in a few days send in the rescue team to find me!

    Loving life and not stuff,

    Lisa

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Finding time with Family!

    With my parents here from Oklahoma the last 3 days and our son and his family living here in Lincoln we had no problem finding something to do but to spend time together as a family!  What a wonderful three days I had!  It was very, very rewarding and I am very blessed! 

    I absolutely loved that the TV was only turned on once for about 30 minutes and that was to check out the weather situation.  With our son being such a wonderful cook and loving to come up with his own recipes, I bought the food for everyone and handed it to him to work his magic!  What YUMMY magic it turned out to be, the food was awesome, Matt!  His, Sous Chef, Miranda, did a great job as well!  My hats off to you both!  Since we were able to eat meals together cooked at our son's home we didn't have to spend the outrageous amount of money it takes to go out to eat!  Also, with being at their home we were able to spend quality time with our grandsons which made great-grandma and grandpa very happy and proud!

    Our son, also, entertained them with his high tech phone showing them all the different apps that came on it, especially Google Maps, he found their farm, which blew both of them away!  I love seeing the high tech phone and what it can do but until the day comes when everything is done on that phone (or iPad, or whatever is in when it happens) I will never own one.  It would take up to much of my time trying to figure it all out and then wanting to play with it all the time...something that is not for me!

    The boys, Evan and Camden, enjoyed climbing trees, showing off their favorite monkey pose and Evan, 5,  loved showing his great-grandparents his 3rd grade reading ability!  Totally blew them away again!  Camden, 3, loved giving them funny looks when they would ask him silly questions!  I took pictures galore when I had the camera, when I didn't have the camera, Evan or Camden had it and was taking pictures and videos of all our events, which are so wonderful and they loved watching the videos over and over again on my camera even without any sound!  Simple entertainment!

    My parents took us all out to eat the last night they were here to Cracker Barrel and Miranda and I and the boys loved looking at all the old toys, Camden loved the old spinning 'Top' and the 'Pop Goes the Weasel' toy (except in this case it was a elephant), I played with him and he would just laugh and laugh.  Evan loved playing with the Magic 8 ball and loved to ask it questions to see what the ball would say and he would get so excited when the ball answered a question right according to him!  It was fun to watch him read the answers but funnier were the questions he asked!  I think I know of 3 things that will be bought for an upcoming birthday and Christmas gift.  You know the most awesome thing was that neither of them asked or begged for any of us to buy them something!  Which totally blew me and my mom away!  They have been taught that you do not ask for anything and I love that their parents have instilled that in them!  For that they will be rewarded and not in gifts but in what they have been taught!  What a great gift their parents gave them and it was free, the learning the child receives and he or she knowing it and embracing it is truly wonderful!  Now, this might not be true in every store, but with the experience that I have seen it is more often than not.

    Many pictures were taken, again, outside in the rocking chairs as we rocked away our full bellies and let our food settle.  Then we headed back to their home to get the little munchkins ready for bed before they told great-grandma and grandpa goodbye, then they were fast asleep.  I think a trip to the farm in Oklahoma with those boys is in order, I just hope that we are able to do it before the snow starts falling so they can play outside and enjoy farm living!

    I want to thank my parents for coming and spending the time with us all!  We had the best time reminiscing over names of people we went to church with and old neighbors we had back in our home town of Hays, Kansas and where we lived when I was little in Great Bend, Kansas.  Also, remembering my grandparents and great-grandparents and the fun times we had when I was a kid!  It was a wonderful day!!

    Probably the most funniest parts for me was the fact that I got them to stay in their jammies until 4:00 pm that day when we were just sitting around relaxing, talking and showing them pictures on the computer.  They have NEVER done that unless they were sick, and they enjoyed it, it was a first for them and they made sure to tell my sisters about it!  So, mom and dad, when you call and I say I am still in my jammies just know that I am having a blast remembering the time you was here and did it with me!!  Much love to all my family, Rich, Mom and Dad, Matt, Miranda, Evan and Camden!!  We really missed my sisters, Becky and Penny, and their families and hope that we will all be together soon!  Simple living is getting closer and closer and I am enjoying every minute of it!

    Family is always first in my books!  Family entertainment is free and full of blessings!

    Enjoy the simple life,
    Lisa

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Reducing Debt is key!

    “I believe that examining the hidden impacts of all the Stuff in our lives is a way to unplug, which is the first step toward changing things.” ~Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff

    Well, we've only just begun!  Canceled our DVR and went down to basic cable...YAY!!  This one made me very happy because I am not a TV fan as it is.  I asked my husband if we can cancel cable all together and he said in time we are taking baby steps!  So baby steps it is and I know at the end it will be so wonderful to save the extra money for something great to do like take a trip to Hawaii!  I just saw on one of my high school classmates facebook page that she and her family went to Hawaii.  I thanked her for posting the pictures and said that, that was probably the closest I will ever get to Hawaii but now that I think about it with all the money we can save after reducing and getting rid of our debt, we could go to Hawaii or anywhere, how AWESOME is that!!  Thank you, Dana, for posting those pictures and making me want that dream even more!!

    We are also getting rid of one cell phone and taking our plan down to just a basic plan of 400 minutes.  I had thought I would try the MagicJack phone and see if that would work ( another wonderful idea from a classmate of mine) and so I got it the 1st of April and it works great!!  I love it, it runs through your computer and it only cost me for the magicjack adapter and for the two years of service only $46.90 and that includes $1.00 for insurance in case your dog was to chew it up or something to happen to the adapter and that is for unlimited calls to anywhere in the USA.  Plus, it does have a 911 service and it has our address and if we move we just change on address, wonderful!  Then, I can sign up for a 5 year plan for $59.99 that is ONLY $12.00 a year for phone service for unlimited calling...that is a deal to me!  I would say to get rid of the cell phones all together but I do like having it when we do have to make trips for the fact of Roadside Rescue that Sprint offers for $5.00 a month, I can call them when ever I have a flat or I have spun off the road in the snow to have a tow truck come to me for nothing more than what I am paying Sprint.  It has more than paid for itself already!  So Rich and I will share the cell phone and use the MagicJack land line the rest of the time.  Ca-Ching, Ca-Ching...more money in our bank account, that is what I like to hear!!

    Our grandsons and daughter-in-law, Miranda, came over this afternoon and we walked through the house and went through the STUFF that we are getting rid of to see if they wanted any of it and I was glad to see a few things go out the door with them, it made them happy and it made me ecstatic, and am looking forward to more stuff going out via my son and his family or to someone else!

    So, now to figure out what we can cut next or get along fine without!  I am thinking the portable dishwasher...I can certainly wash and dry dishes myself along with Rich.  They didn't have dishwashers back in the day, when LIFE WAS SIMPLE, and we didn't have this one when we moved in here, I bought it off of craigslist but do we really NEED it??  I am thinking not!  That will be the next picture going on craigslist, along with a corner desk, baker's rack, 2 TV's, Kirby vacuum, Curio cabinet plus many other things, that is only the tip of the ice burg...Yes, this is quite fun and I am enjoying it very much!  Getting rid of STUFF + Reducing debt = Trip to Hawaii = One very happy lady!! ;o)

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Lisa

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    100 Thing Challenge...Is it Extreme or Not?

    I don't believe it is extreme, in my opinion, I think it is a awesome idea and I look forward to the challenge!  To me it is going to be very refreshing to have this stuff gone that just sits here day after day, month after month and some things for years and never be touched or used or even looked at...IT HAS TO GO!  Some of our family and friends thinks we are nuts for thinking this way, but we will see what happens when we get to the end of the road.

    Meanwhile...Getting Rid of Stuff!  Wow, that is a big statement right there!  Some people have said to me if I de-clutter my home I will have nothing left...really!?  Who knows, maybe that is true but not in our case!  I am sure there would be plenty that you would want to end up keeping and thus would the decision be if it would go on your 100 Thing Challenge List, that is 100 (personal) Thing List for each of us and then we have yet to come up with a number of how many household items we will only keep.  Stay tuned for that number!

    This is very exciting and I absolutely embrace the whole concept wholeheartedly!  Dave Bruno came up with the idea of the 100 Thing Challenge and has a very interesting blog.  Here is the goal of the challenge...

    The goal of the 100 Thing Challenge is to break free from the confining habits of American-style consumerism. A lot of people around the world feel "stuck in stuff." They feel like their closets and garages are too full of things that don't really make their lives much better. But how to get unstuck?

    Reduce (get rid of some of your stuff)

    Refuse (to get more new stuff)

    Rejigger (your priorities)

    I totally believe that living without abundance of personal possessions for an extended period of time is the first step we ought to take in order to realize that we don't need ever-more stuff. If you do this -- if you will give up your stuff for a while -- I am sure you'll never go back. You'll spend the rest of your life creating a more valuable life, instead of wasting your money and time on stuff. You will be glad. And best of all, the people around you will be blessed by your efforts to prioritize more meaningful pursuits.

    You can read his rules but we are going to make our own rules that works for us based on the idea he has and from many others who are doing this challenge as well.  Rich and I are in the first stages of inventorying our stuff, as in large furnishings and kitchen items, and deciding on what we can keep and what can go.  My parents are coming this weekend so we aren't going to wild about it right now, but some things have been posted on Craigslist to hopefully sell.  Since neither of us have jobs right now, we need to sell as much as we can, to get us through the next couple of months and hopefully through and past Christmas.  I am planning on having a garage sale in September with my daughter-in-law, Miranda, but first her and our son, Matt, will be coming over and getting what they might need and want from our stuff.  I don't want to bog them down with STUFF since I am hoping that they learn from what we are doing and don't just have stuff to have stuff, you know what I mean.  Shedding stuff is the key! 

    Here is the link to Dave's blog and the 100 Thing Challenge.  Let me know if you decide to take this challenge with me and how it is going for you, I would be really interested in keeping in touch with you.

    http://www.guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge.html

    On your mark, get set...GO...start de-cluttering!

    Lisa

    Books I recommend for beginning your Simple Living!!

    It is hard to not think about all the wonderful and exciting things we are wanting to do and get ready for.  Getting rid of STUFF!  I want to share with you several books that I have checked out and absolutely love.

    These are ebooks and will need to be purchased and read online:

    Simply Car-Free, How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life
    By: Tammy Strobel

    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.

    http://simplycarfree.com/

    The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life   
    By: Leo Babauta

    What is a Minimalist Life?  It is one that is stripped of the unnecessary, to make room for that which gives you joy.  It's a removal of clutter in all its forms, Leaving you with freedom, peace and lightness.

    http://zenhabits.net/my-new-ebook-the-simple-guide-to-a-minimalist-life/

    Inside-Out Simplicity  
    By: Joshua Becker
      
    “…many people go through life having no clear sense of their true values. Instead, their desires are molded by the culture and the advertisements that bombard upon them each day. As a result, they find no consistency in life. No unity. Their desires change as fast as the culture and they are quickly swept off their feet by the newest fashion, the most recent technology, or the latest diet fad.”

    How can people move past consumerism and find more unity in their lives? 

    http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2010/07/26/inside-out-simplicity/

    One of Tammy Strobel's book is FREE to download:
    Minimalist Health  
    By: Tammy Strobel 

    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. 

    http://rowdykittens.com/2010/03/free-ebook-minimalist-health/

    Enjoy reading,

    Lisa

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Let the Journey begin!

    Is it possible to be happier with less stuff?  I am sure it is, as I have seen it posted on many blogs about Simple Living.  Everyone says how much happier they are with less stuff in their lives.  But is it or will it be true in my case?  I pray and hope so!  I am very excited about this journey and have been trying to get my husband, Rich, excited about it as well, but with no luck.  Who would be excited about going through many boxes and totes and doing away with STUFF, personal stuff, your kids stuff, your parents stuff, just plain stuff.  We all have stuff in our lives...is it too much...how much can we do away with to have a simple life and be happy?

    I know Rich is or was not excited about de-cluttering our stuff until I sent him 2 links in an email two nights ago about doing that, de-cluttering your life, your home, your personal belongings.  I have been looking forward to doing this for quite some time and have purged some in the past but not to the degree that I am thinking of now.  This will be a big challenge for Rich and I.  Since having teenagers was the most biggest challenge we've had as of yet, this will be the one in our Empty Nest years.

    Not only are we going to downsize in belongings but we are going to see if it truly brings us happiness!  That is my goal is to be happy and carefree...everyone wants to be happy, I know, but do you think that getting rid of STUFF in your life will bring you more happiness?  I am hoping so!

    So, now to pass on to you, my friends and family, the two links that started this ball rolling for Rich and I two days ago, August 16, 2010.  One is an article from the New York Times featuring Tammy Strobel and her husband Logan Smith, both 31, and living in Portland Oregon and how they started their journey to living simple and being happier.  They even sold their cars...not sure about that one for us?!?!  We'll see!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    The second link I sent to Rich was Tammy Strobel's blog called RowdyKittens.  After he had read both the article and some of Tammy's blog he immediately came into the office to get a paper and pen and began writing down the names of books to go to the library to check out the following day.

    http://rowdykittens.com/2010/08/4-things-you-can-learn-from-your-lizard-brain/#more-17304

    Oh, the excitement continues as we read the books and blogs and learn how these other people are working on downsizing their stuff and their journey through it and how we can make it a wonderful and adventurous journey for us.  Join me as I blog everyday with, hopefully, the excitement of things and stuff disappearing out of our home and out of our lives for good.  Lightening the load for me personally and for my mind.  De-Clutter your home, de-clutter your mind.  Will you join me!

    Lisa