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