Posts filed under ‘Decluttering’

Simplicity Day Reminds Us of the “Simple” Life

Today is #National  Simplicity Day. When was the last time you looked to simplify your life in terms of goals, balance, meaning, and social media?

Answer the questions below to get you started on this reflection.

  • How balanced is your life between the various areas like sleep, work, and recreation?
  • Are you spending quality time with the important people in your life and on projects that advance you towards your goals/dreams?
  • Is your spiritual life a relationship that you cultivate?


One of my goals for this summer is to finish unfinished projects. And one of these projects is decluttering. Yesterday, with the help of my daughter, I went through ALL of my clothes. I tried on everything and only kept what I really liked or loved. The rest is in the give-away pile.

I have given myself a month to mend (mainly shorten) the clothes that need it. Otherwise they, too, will be given away. And after a month, I will check to see what I’ve actually worn. My tentative goal is to do something like Project 333.

I still need to do more work in my closet. I am surprised at how many non-clothes items are in there. I am also surprised at how many scarves I have. Tons, I tell you, tons!

“My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.” ~ J. Botherton


I tend to work too much. As a result I neglect the important people in my life. That is one reason I wrote a Summer Bucket List. I want to make sure I have friend-balance in my life. So far this summer I have done well with having “dates.” Read #4 for an update.

These non-romantic times have been fun. I’ve eaten, chatted, walked, viewed vacation photos, and crafted. It may seem weird to some to have to schedule in dates, but I am finding that works for me.


One thing that gives meaning to my life is a relationship with God. I want to and need to spend daily time reading and meditating on Scripture. I need to and want to spend time talking and listening to God. And finally I need to and want to spend time at church and with the people of the church. This type of focus keeps me maturing and balanced.

Also to add meaning to my life, I am thinking about what’s important to me. I am listening to an audiobook, Thrive. Arianna Huffington wants us to consider four areas to get back to living a life that counts: wonder, giving, wisdom, and wellness. I want to focus on these as well.

Joelle from 21 Delights wrote a list (of 21 things) that brings meaning to her life. Her top 10 are as follows … her husband … her children … her relationship with the Divine … Her extended family … witnessing goodness … life stories … friendship … solitude … Music … and art. Go here to read the complete list and post about why she wrote it.

I haven’t written such a list yet. What would your list include? What do you want to do more of? Less of? Read how a STOP DOING list is helpful.


Social media use can, at times, consume way too much of my time. I go on for just a quick minute. And then an hour later I am still on there. I want to and need to declutter that area of my life, too.

 It’s good practice to look at your social media use the way you would closets full of stuff. Ask yourself: Am I using social media intentionally or out of habit? What benefits does it bring me, what are the trade-offs, and do I need to change anything? If I cut back on social media, how else do I want to use that time? ~ Ellen from Simplifying at Home: Living Better with Less

In conclusion, in honor of National Simplicity Day I am reading a real book and not something from social media. I am reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. He was an advocate for living a life of simplicity. If you’ve read this book, what are your take-aways?

Your Turn . . .  How “simple” is you life? . . .  Where would you like to make a change in the areas of GOALS, BALANCE, MEANING and/or SOCIAL MEDIA?

Related Posts . . . Check out the article that was the brainchild of this post: NATIONAL SIMPLICITY DAY from the National Day Calendar website.

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I Am a Declutterer of Books

Of all the categories of my possessions, the book category has the most items. And it is the hardest category for me to purge. When I get into a fret about what to keep and what to give away, my daughter reminds me that I have time. I can take the time I need to do this sorting at my pace.

Books hold many memories for me especially the ones associated with homeschooling. It’s been 11 years since I’ve homeschooled. (11 years? Where did THAT time go?) It really is silly to hold onto these books. I am not going to use them again. I am not a homeschooler any more. It is time to update my (internal) image.

This week and last, I’ve been going though the bookshelves again. I want to and need to pare down my possessions. Bye-bye four bags of books. They were mostly books associated with our homeschooling days.

Don't these shelves look good? It is cool to see space on my shelves. It is cool to see my few knick-knacks. My goal is to empty one bookcase. I have 3 at home.

I have a lot of notebooks: 2 shelves worth. That is my next project. See what's in them: then toss, file, or give the contents away! Notebooks need to go.

NOTE: The middle photo is the 5th photo in my series, A Winter of Self Portraits. When I was brainstorming a list of items for my Winter Bucket List, I came up with the idea of taking 12 self-portraits.

Your  Turn . . .

  1. Do you have a lot of books? Is it easy or hard to manage these?
  2. Is there something that is hard for you to declutter? If yes, what? Why?
  3. Take your own self-portrait and share it with us.



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Grateful for 5 Things Done From Summer Bucket List

For the past 6 years or so, we’ve been having a “Make It” contest at our women’s retreats. We choose an item (for example flip-flops, pot-holder, wand) and ask the women to decorate it according to one of the three categories chosen. Click on the contest rules link “Contest_Rules_potholders – 2009” to see the instructions for the Pot-holder Make It Contest.

Last year’s (June 2011) contest item was a pail. Through a time of brainstorming, my friend Geri and I went from pail to bucket. This led me to creating a Summer Bucket List using a turquoise beach pail.

I picked 10 goals for my Summer Bucket list. These 10 things were not specifically summer oriented, just things that have been on my mental to-do list for a l-o-n-g time.

I am good at picking goals. I am good at writing out how to obtain them by mapping out a plan and a setting realistic deadline.  I am good at starting.

However, I am not too good at finishing. That’s why I look for creative ways like this to get things done. That’s why I put the retreat verse (Philippians 4:13) on the pail with puffy paint. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (I love using puffy paint even though it did come off in places.)

That’s why I wrote the following explanation on the required index card:Because of God’s available strength, I am able to do many “impossible” things. I.e. Lose 10 pounds, declutter, and add new healthy recipes to my cooking repertoire.

I started working on the Bucket List in Mid June. My finish date is September 30th. It is still Summer HOT here then.

I read this quote on FB the other day (thanks Anza):When you have a desire, back it up with action or let it go. To believe you want something you’re not doing anything to achieve is actually deceptive” (Buster Carter). Ouch! It made me think about my Bucket List. I decided to see how far I had come.

To my amazement, I’ve completed 5 of the 10 items. And I still have 5 weeks left! I am grateful that God indeed has helped me with these items. I am grateful that I persevered in accomplishing these 5 things.

  1. Decluttered 3 boxes. I also went through my closet and gave away some clothing that no longer fit.
  2. Finished 3 homework assignments for consecration. One of the assignments took FIVE minutes to finish. I had procrastinated MONTHS and MONTHS in doing that final work.
  3. Bought new tops that look good on me and I like to wear. Last Spring I lost some weight and have been in need of new clothing. I am still looking for trousers that fit and look good. (Shopping is such a trauma for me.)
  4. Exercised 4-6 times a week doing something I loved. Since late April I have been exercising this consistently in order to get my (formerly) broken shoulder back into shape. However, I cannot say that I have found the exercise I love to do.
  5. Had a family outing. I was able to attend a dinner party my daughter had and both my son and I were able to attend along with some of her friends. I was hoping to spend the next day with both of them, but my son became ill. Had another great time with my daughter though.

This is good progress for me. Wahoo!

The other items on the list still to do are as follows:

  • Write an e-book.
  • Finish reading the Bible and then get a new one.
  • Compile 7-10 new recipes that are healthy, tasty and become favourites.
  • Read two books for fun.
  • Lose 10 pounds.

Your Turn . . .

Where have you made good progress? For what are you grateful that you’ve finished and/or that God has helped you accomplish? Go here to read what other’s put on their Friday’s Fave Five Gratitude List.

Related Posts . . .

  1. Motivating Myself in 5 Areas
  2. Bingo Helps Me Get Things Done

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Motivating Myself in Five Areas (GPM)

Katrina at Mama Manuscripts is hosting Goal Planning Monday
(GPM). I am participating so I’ll have a record of what I complete each week. I’ll also have a tool to energize my (sometimes) flagging motivation to complete (1) the jobs I tend to avoid or (2) jobs that get overshadowed by the urgent items on my to-do list.

Her plan is to post 5 things to complete during the week. I am tweaking this a bit and posting 5 categories with two (sometimes three) actions to be done. (h) is  for home and (w) for work. I will put a line through the task and date it when I am finished.

1. Exercise

(h) Walk 30 minutes (4-6 days)

(h) Sign up for the Idita-Walk (1/11)

(w) Take a 5 minute stretch break every 90 minutes (3 times this week)

2. Declutter project

(h) Table in dining room area

(w) Filing cabinet

3. Food

(h) Plan menu for week from anti-inflammation diet

(w) Buy and bring in snacks for 3 weeks for work (1/7)

4. Miscellaneous

(h) Fix my godson’s blanket (1/11)

(h) Decide on and buy present for soon-to-be 15-year-old niece (1/12)

(w) Email chronic pain resource list to Brittney (1/7)

5. Procrastination Project

(h) Call to see if part is in for car (have an appt. at 7:30a.m. on 1/8)

(w) Take food to food bank (1/7)

Your Turn . . .

  1. What’s on your goal list for this week?
  2. Do you plan by category?
  3. How do you motivate yourself when your energy or motivation is flagging?

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10 Goals to Discover Who I Am & Where I’m Going

My divorce shook me up in every way imaginable. I lost my sense of balance and perspective. But I am now becoming who I am meant to be. I am finally okay.

This is due in part … to my family/friends … to deepening my relationship with God … to finishing my education (received my BA and MA) … to a supportive church and work environment … to working on the pain … and … to writing down and following wishes (a.k.a. goals).

Only four more months of 2010! Plenty of time to reach more goals. Ample opportunity to discover who I am now and where my life is going.

Here’s my list of putting things put back into my life.

1. Save money for a trip to NZ in March. Read books and watch movies that are based in NZ. Study NZ travel guides and pick 2-3 new experiences.

2. Upgrade my health: Prepare for walkathon in April 2011; Take vitamins, eat meals, and sleep on a set schedule; Lose 20 pounds.

3. Spend quality time with a friend each week.

4. Learn how to use MP3 and add current music to playlist.

5. Finish afghan (knit) for my office.

6. Read the Bible twice (in different versions).

7. Write a post for this blog 3-4 times a week.

8. Declutter 5 boxes. I’d like to say I’d do more, but it’s best if I make my goals ridiculously easy to reach.

9. Go on a silent retreat to meditate on work and personal priorities.

10. Cook/bake something new with Michelle and do something crafty each month.

Some of these items might seem frivolous or not that life-changing. But these are things that will help me focus, have fun, and stretched out-of-my comfort zone.

Your Turn

  • What will go on your list for the next 18 weeks?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What activities/events will give you a fresh sense of self and a new interest in life?
  • What do you need to do to heal your physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or intellectual self?

Related Posts

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4 Secrets to Contentment



How content are you? Always? Never? Sometimes?

Pastor Mike is doing a series on Generosity in a World of Greed. Sunday’s message was titled, “The Lost Art of Doing Without.” One of the gems from the sermon was how to be content.

The most important step to contentment is . . .

. . . Seek the Lord above all else and you will have what you need

  1. How do you fare in this area on a scale of 1-10? 
  2. Do you seek God before seeking goods?
  3. How will you seek the Lord today…Prayer…Read Scripture…Obey Scripture…Other?
  4. Make a list of your needs. Share this list with a friend. Would s/he agree these are needs? Share this list with God in prayer. Compare it to Scripture (I.e. Matthew 6:33). Are they truly needs or are wants mixed in there too?

“At one time or another, we’re all guilty of allowing wants to live in our hearts as needs.” Jim Fay & Charles Fay

Pastor shared 3 more secrets to being content. Read the 3 following statements. Pick the correct answer.

Fight the impulse to . . .

(a) “have it now!” (b) shop. Shopping is evil. (c) share.

Don’t buy things . . .

(a) you can’t afford. (b) ever. (c) that are cheaply made.

Remember your most important needs are . . .

(a) food, clothing and shelter. (b) good quality chocolate. (c) to be put on hold until you tithe.

The correct answer for each statement of truth is letter (a). Delayed gratification and correctly identifying/buying needs versus wants are actions that lead to contentment.

How are you doing with the above secrets? Is there a change you will make today? What is that change?

Pastor based his sermon on 1 Timothy 6: 3-19. Read and ponder these Scriptures. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you from these verses? Share what you learned/heard with at least one person today.

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My Plate’s Full. How’s Yours?

I’m still being mindful of the 30 Days of Nothing & the Friday Decluttering Challenge. Sorry that I haven’t made it to  the keyboard to post about my progress and thoughts. This next week will prove to be just as busy – some deadlines coming up for school.

To see what happened on the Friday Declutter Challenge, go to this post on Marcia Francois’ Organising Queen.

Click here to see who’s participating with Mary of Owlhaven in her 30 Days of Nothing.

So what are you up to this week?

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