SIMPLIFYING YOUR HOLIDAYS

In today’s post I wanted to share with you EIGHT WAYS you can simplify your holiday season this year. Over the past several years I have been pursuing minimalism, and it has not just been about decluttering and living with less physical items, it has also been about living a more intentional life. It’s been about eliminating anything that no longer serves me so I can live at a slower pace. One of the things I evaluated was how I spent my time, money, and energy around the holiday season. There are several things that I have intentionally chosen to do in order to simplify my holidays.

The first thing I wanted to share with you is to MINIMIZE YOUR HOLIDAY DECOR. I am all for people doing whatever works for them! If you have the time, energy, and bandwidth to deck the halls all out for the holidays, then you do you! But my guess is you’re reading this blog post for a reason. You long for things to be more simple during the holiday season. Having a more simplified holiday decor collection will definitely help with this. I am now down to two large bins for my Christmas decor, and I feel like this is a good amount. Something else I do is choose holiday decor that could be cross-over into winter. Having decor that is not Christmas specific will cut down on the amount of time it takes you to put everything out.

The second thing I would suggest is EVALUATE HOW MANY GIFT EXCHANGES TO BE INVOLVED IN. I recognize for some people this is really meaningful and important. Just evaluate if there are gift exchanges or people on your holiday gift list that could be eliminated. We stepped away from extended family gift exchanges because we don’t get to spend the holidays with them in person. It didn’t really make sense to purchase something they told you they wanted, wrap it up, then stand in line at the post office to mail it. It felt like at that point we were really just exchanging money. 

Third, I would suggest DO AS MUCH ONLINE SHOPPING AS YOU CAN. It takes the stress out of shopping to sit in the comfort of your home instead of hustling and bustling around with everyone else.

Another suggestion I have is to EVALUATE YOUR HOLIDAY GATHERING COMMITMENTS. Are there any holiday parties that you could say no to? All of the extra commitments around the holidays can get overwhelming, so intentionally choosing which parties to go to is wise.

The fifth thing you can do is, DON’T COOK ALL OF THE HOLIDAY FOOD YOURSELF. Does your local grocery store or a nearby restaurant have pre-made holiday foods you could purchase? Sometimes it’s helpful to at least purchase a few pre-made dishes, especially if you are hosting a holiday meal.

The sixth thing you can do is KEEP HOLIDAY BAKING SIMPLE. Instead of making a dozen different types of cookies, maybe choose your 4 or 5 favorite cookies. Perhaps buy pre-made sugar cut cookies to decorate. Or pre-made icing to decorate your cookies.

Next, the seventh thing you can do to simplify your holidays is consider NOT SENDING OUT HOLIDAY CARDS. This is a tough one. At least it was for me. I have been married 26 years and we always sent out a family photo Christmas card up until last year. I started writing Christmas letters about everything that was going on with our family that year as well once our kids got to be school aged. It was fun, but also a lot of work and expensive to send out after purchasing the cards, the paper for the letter, and the stamps. So, last year I finally decided to just remove this from my holiday to-do list.

My eigth and final idea is to KEEP YOUR TRADITIONS SIMPLE. If you have traditions that are time consuming or a lot of work it can be overwhelming. By keeping your traditions simple you are more likely to have follow through, and it will remove some of the stress in your holiday season.

Well, I hope these ideas were helpful for you to simplify your holiday season this year! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, and whatever holiday you celebrate!

Here is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering Sentimental or Holiday Items

Today I wanted to talk about decluttering sentimental items, and in particular holiday decor. Decluttering sentimental items can be such a difficult thing! Holiday decor can have an added layer of difficulty because of the sweet and fond memories wrapped up in the items. I always encourage people to start with an easier category when beginning their decluttering journey because momentum is the key. It’s a whole lot easier to declutter items that don’t have a sentimental attachment. Starting there will give us the confidence in our decision making process as we gain momentum with decluttering. If you are in a place where you are ready to tackle decluttering sentimental items, but you are struggling, I have ten questions you can ask yourself as you make these decisions.

The first question you can ask yourself is: Am I going to use it again? If you didn’t put it out this year, how likely are you to put it out next year? Oftentimes if we do not display something from our Christmas bins one year, we are not very likely to display it the next year. And even less like the next year, or the next. I know it can be difficult to be realistic with ourselves when it comes to sentimental items, but really evaluate if you are going to display items in the future. 

If you’re not going to display the items, the second question you can ask is: are these items worth just storing away in a closet, attic, or basement? I am all about displaying or discarding. For me, when things are out of sight, they are out of mind. Be honest with yourself if the items are important enough to just have stored away in a box somewhere.

The third question to ask is: Am I believing in my  fantasy self? This term refers to having items in your home that you think you will one day use because of who you wish you would be. You have a desire to follow through on ideas you have, but the reality is you probably won’t. Maybe you’re keeping old Christmas cards to use for a future craft project, or you have some other craft materials to make things that you will actually never make, or maybe you have a lot of holiday decor with the idea that you will put it all out but the reality is you don’t have the time or bandwidth during the holiday season to do so. Again, being realistic with yourself is the key. Ask yourself how much you really need to have on hand. How much will you actually use?

The fourth question you can ask yourself is: is this meaningful to my children or family members? Think about if your children or family members would want these items when you are gone. I know this is a bit morbid to think about, but it is a good way to help make these decisions. If you missed my previous blog post (or YouTube video) regarding Swedish Death Cleaning, you should check it out for a more in depth explanation, but this mindset has helped me when making decisions especially regarding sentimental items. The basic idea of Swedish Death Cleaning is recognizing that one day when you pass away your children or other family members will have the responsibility of deciding what happens with the belongings you left behind. It is already an emotional time dealing with the loss of a loved one, but there is the added burden of going through their stuff. Therefore this question of will your family members find these items meaningful is valuable.

An adjacent question you can ask yourself with regards to your children or other family members is: can I pass anything along to my children or family members now? While you are still living it is a great time to ask your family members what items are important to them. You may find that what is important to you may not be important to them, or vice versa. It may be easier to let go of sentimental items if you know they are going to be cherished by family.

The sixth question you can ask yourself is: will this matter to me one year from now? Five years from now, or ten years from now? Thinking about sentimental items in terms of the future can help you to make those decisions. You may want to hold onto items for now and that’s okay. It can take time to let things go. In a recent video on my YouTube channel where I was going through my Christmas decor to declutter, a friend asked me if I was emotional going through my kids’ childhood items (my three children are now young adults). I honestly was not emotional. It took time, but I am starting to get to a place where I am accepting this life stage. It takes time to transition for sure, but when you’re ready to let go, you’re ready.

The seventh question you can ask yourself is: is this item something I could take a photo of to have the memory? Sometimes it’s enough to have a photo of the special item, and this takes up far less physical space since photos are now digital. This is an especially great technique for larger sentimental items.

Another question you can ask yourself is: how much Christmas clutter am I okay with having displayed in my home? Everyone has a threshold of how much stuff they can have around them. Studies have shown that clutter can contribute to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. For some people that threshold is higher, but really evaluate your threshold. If you like a lot of holiday decor and you have the time and energy to put it all up, then by all means keep it all! But if the reality is you have way more than you feel comfortable displaying then it’s time to evaluate what you can part with. 

The ninth question you can ask yourself is: do I have the space to store what I want to keep? Physical boundaries can be a great way to limit what you keep. It can be helpful to give yourself boundaries by having a certain number of bins for your holiday decor and only keeping what fits in the bins.

The tenth and final question you can ask yourself is: Am I keeping items because of guilt? Sometimes we keep sentimental items or holiday items because they were gifts given to us. It can be very difficult to let go of items given to us, however it doesn’t seem sustainable to keep every gift ever given to you. I am sure the person who gave you the gift would not want you to keep the item simply out of guilt and might rather you pass it along to someone who can use and enjoy it!

Well, I hope these ten questions were helpful to you to process through making decisions when it comes to decluttering sentimental and holiday items. This time of year as we get out our holiday decor and set it up is a great time to think through these questions! Happy decluttering, and happy holidays!

Here is the YouTube video I created in conjunction with this blog post if you would like to check that out.

7 Tips to Avoid Decluttering Burn Out

Have you decided it’s time to get serious about decluttering your home? Are you tired of the piles, not being able to find what you need, and just the stress of clutter? Today I wanted to share with you 7 things you can do to avoid decluttering burn out. Sometimes when we decide we are fed up with the clutter and want to do something to change it, we can quickly get burnt out! 

Often people try to do too much, too fast, causing this decluttering burn out. In light of that, my first suggestion is to do a little at a time. I know at first it can be easy to pull everything out of a space konMari style and want to tackle everything all at once, but I suggest you resist the urge to do this. It is better to do a little at a time so you don’t get easily overwhelmed. I would start very small – maybe a single drawer or cabinet. Usually starting small like this gives us motivation to choose another small space, and then another, until we have gone through every space in our homes! Another idea adjacent to this is to set a timer. It can feel less overwhelming to work on projects like decluttering when we know there is an endpoint.

My next tip is to have a decluttering plan. For anything in life, when we have a plan set in place it makes everything go more smoothly. When we have a plan, we also have that feeling of there being an endpoint. {{Although I will say, as long as items are still coming into your home – even as gifts, freebies, or things your kids bring in, decluttering is a constant process. You just eventually get to the point where it’s not as overwhelming.}} What I like to do is choose one room in my home per week to deep clean and declutter throughout that week. Going through spaces in this way breaks it down into more manageable tasks.

My third tip is to make a game out of it! Making a game out of any task that isn’t fun can make it fun! I like to play the Minimalism Game, however this may be overwhelming to some people. With this game, you choose one item to get rid of on day one, two items on day two, three items on day three and so on throughout a month. So you end up donating things for 30 days, equaling over 400 items! Another game you could play is have every family member take a trash bag or box and see who can find the most items to donate. I am sure there are so many great decluttering games out there which you could Google for more ideas!

My next tip is to take breaks. If you feel a burn out coming on, take a few weeks or months where you aren’t focusing on decluttering. Sometimes we just need to take a break from it to recharge and feel ready to go through things again.

Another thing you can do to avoid decluttering burn out is to not start with sentimental items. These items can be very difficult to declutter and slow your process down. By starting with a space with items that you don’t have sentimental attachment to, you get the momentum you need to be successful at decluttering.

My sixth tip is to celebrate your successes. Celebrating along the way can also help with the momentum. When you acknowledge the progress you have made it can inspire you to keep working at it. An idea that I have seen is to take before and after photos. Sometimes we forget how far we have come! Having those photos can remind you of how much progress you have made!

My last tip is to invite a friend or a professional to help you! Sometimes you just need someone there to help you talk through why you should keep or get rid of items. Having another pair of eyes and someone else’s input can be really helpful. Also, this can also make this process less painful and more fun!

Well, I hope this post was helpful to you and that you are inspired to start decluttering your spaces today!

The Real Secret of Tidy People

I think I have figured out the real secret to being a tidy person. I have a whole blog post sharing how to keep your house tidy. These habits are easier to develop if we adopt this secret of being a tidy person. In my other blog post I share several habits you can cultivate to become a tidier person. Dealing with things immediately instead of setting them down to deal with later, having a cleaning routine that makes sense so you can stick to it, enlisting the help of other family members, and having a place for everything are all great habits that can help you to stay on top of clutter accumulating. But the real secret is the final tip I shared in that post – DON’T OWN A LOT OF STUFF!

The real secret of being a tidy person is that they don’t have extra inventory in their homes. They don’t keep things just in case. They don’t want to manage a lot of inventory. I think I came to this conclusion as my kids got older. Now that all of our children are adults, even though currently they are all living with us, I realize that there is a lot less stuff I need to manage. When they were younger there were toys, school papers, and sports equipment. Now that they are older they manage their own things.

In addition to that, over the past 7-8 years I have been pursuing minimalism. It is definitely a slow process for me decluttering my home and learning new spending habits, but less inventory in my home equals less to put away, clean, and organize.

I have a friend who openly admits she is not tidy. I would consider her a maximalist. She loves ALL the things! And I think that is totally fine! We are all different, and that’s what makes the world a beautiful place! I can go over to her house and appreciate all of the things she has surrounded herself with, but I personally could not live this way. If you’re someone who loves all the things, that is okay. But just know that the more you own, the more difficult it will be to be a tidy person. It comes down to what you value and what you can handle.

I am very affected by my external environment. My guess is you are too since you are reading this blog post and wanting to learn the secret to being tidy. Clutter and extra stuff around me definitely affects my anxiety and my mood. When my external environment is chaotic, I feel a bit chaotic in my mind as well. Everything we own takes up our energy and time. The less we own, the less we have to manage, the easier it is to keep a tidy home.

The more I simplify our home, the more I really see the benefits of living with less! Easily being able to tidy your home is one of those many benefits. I hope this post was helpful for you today!

Swedish Death Cleaning, 3 Benefits & 7 Tips

I have heard a lot about Margareta Magnusson’s book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, but I wanted to read it for myself. From what I learned before reading it, it was definitely something that resonated with me as someone who has a habit of regularly decluttering. The basic idea of Swedish Death Cleaning is to declutter and minimize your things leading up to your death in order to not leave a burdensome amount of stuff behind for your children or family members to deal with after you pass.

While reading this book I discovered 3 benefits of death cleaning and 7 tips as you embark on the journey of death cleaning. If you’re young, well that’s a relative term since none of us really know when we will die, don’t stop reading! You might find some of the benefits and tips helpful!

The first benefit in death cleaning is just acknowledging your mortality. When you face your mortality, you realize that your children or other family members will one day have to deal with the stuff you leave behind. It’s already stressful to lose a parent or loved one, dealing with their belongings can be an emotional and time-consuming task. It is good to acknowledge that whatever you leave behind will be someone else’s burden.

The next benefit is having a death cleaning mindset, which is you think more about how you can reuse and recycle things rather than bringing new things in.

The final benefit, you learn to appreciate things at the store instead of always having to bring the items home with you. Recognizing that anything you bring home will need to be later decluttered or handled by your children or family members after you pass will slow the inflow of things coming into your home.

Next I wanted to share some tips I learned about Death Cleaning. The first tip I learned was to not start with sentimental items. These items can really slow down your progress in decluttering, making it discouraging to continue on. By starting with items that don’t have sentimental attachment and there is not an emotional connection, you can get the momentum you need to encourage you to move forward.

The next tip is that it is easier to Death Clean when your home is organized. It’s never too early to start decluttering and organizing your spaces. It will make the process so much easier later on down the road. I think it is so beneficial to have a practice of regularly decluttering. We constantly have items coming into our homes. It’s much less overwhelming to deal with items a little over time. In addition to that, as we age it gets more difficult to maintain and manage our belongings. The fewer items we own, the easier it is to manage.

Tip number three is to take your time. This is why knowing about death cleaning is so important. If we acknowledge that it’s a process that needs to be done, then we will have plenty of time to go through our things. There might be circumstances where we are forced to go through things quickly – whether it’s an unexpected move or the loss of a loved one, but it is ideal to go through things little by little. This way you can be thorough.

Another tip I found helpful was to declutter items that are private that family members may not want to find. I am sure you can use your imagination on this one! I will give you an example from my decluttering experience. One time while decluttering my closet I found some old journals from my middle and high school years. It was mostly filled with angst ridden feelings that I guess were easiest for me to process on paper. Skimming through them I realized I really didn’t want to read these journals again, and I certainly didn’t want my kids to one day come across them, so I decided to get rid of them.

The next tip is to not feel bad about decluttering gifts! We can’t be expected to hold onto every gift we ever get for the rest of our lives. That would be ridiculous. Most people would not want their gifts to become a burden to you. For those gifts that you are no longer using or loving, it is okay to let them go. I really appreciated a quote from the book which was: “I will never feel guilty for not keeping presents forever. To be grateful and happy for a present when you first receive it is something different, because that gratitude is not connected to the thing itself but to the giver who gave it to you.”

The sixth tip is that you should save photos for last. Photos fall into that sentimental category, but in addition to that if this project is left undone before you pass it’s not quite as burdensome to family and friends. It can be a positive experience for them to be able to go through all the photos. 

The last tip is to have a “throw away” box. This is a box that you would literally write “throw away” on the outside of it so family members know that the contents of the box are really only meaningful or sentimental to you. This may be childhood toys, special letters or notes from family or friends, or maybe journals you kept.

I hope this was helpful to you! I highly recommend this book! It is a quick and easy read and there were definitely parts that made me laugh!

The video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

10 Organizing Mistakes

In today’s post I wanted to share with you 10 organizing mistakes people commonly make when trying to complete an organization project. I hope knowing these mistakes prevent you from making them when working on future organizing projects!

The first mistake I wanted to share is not decluttering first. This is the first thing you need to do with any organizing project. There is no sense in organizing items that you no longer use or love. You should declutter before assessing what organizing tools you will need to complete the project.

The next mistake is not measuring your space before purchasing organization bins. It is really important to measure the space you will be organizing so you know what size of bins to purchase and what type of items will fit in the space. I know a lot of people like to pick up organizing bins when they see them, but for a more functional space it’s best to know what you need before purchasing anything.

The third mistake is getting over ambitious. I think it is best to start small when you are organizing a space. Start with one drawer or one shelf. Maybe you have time allotted to organize an entire closet or even room, but know that many people underestimate the amount of time it’s going to take to get a space organized. Many people are overambitious and end up leaving organization projects half done. You will more likely have success if you do a little at a time, or at least be aware that it will likely take more time than you think.

The next mistake is wanting a Pinterest looking space instead of a functional space. Many people turn to Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration to get a space organized. Oftentimes spaces that look perfect are not functional. You can still achieve an aesthetically pleasing look with function, but it is really important to focus on function so that the new organization system is sustainable. 

Speaking of being sustainable… the next mistake is not keeping up with the system you set up. There is a common misconception that getting a space organized is one and done. Most spaces need to be maintained in order for it to function properly. Many spaces around your home have rotating inventory – whether it’s the fridge, pantry, or closet. You need to keep up with the system set up and declutter and reorganize the space on a regular basis.

Another mistake people make when organizing a space is not leaving breathing room. This goes hand in hand with keeping up with your system. When you organize your space you will likely not have that exact same inventory all the time. Leaving “breathing room” will allow for space for new or extra items that might come in later.

The next mistake people might make is not labeling an organized space. The obvious things may not need to be labeled, but it is important to label organizing bins in order to quickly find what you need. This also helps other people who will be using the space to know where things belong.

The eighth organizing mistake is not getting other people on board with the system. It is important that everyone who is using the space understand the system and commit to using the system properly. It is the best way to ensure the space functions well and stays organized.

Another mistake is not recognizing your organizing style. I have referenced the four organizing styles on my channel before. Cass, from the Clutterbug (she has a blog and YouTube channel) has come up with four different types of organizational systems, which I have found to be great classifications. Each one is represented with a bug. 

The first is the ladybug. This type of person likes things to be put away out of site, but their cabinets and drawers can get easily cluttered because they want to quickly shove things in drawers, baskets, or cabinets. They need a macro-organizing system – where things are quick and easy to put away. 

The next type is a cricket. They also like a clutter free environment, but they like things to be organized in detail, so micro-organization works best for them. 

The next type is a butterfly. They prefer everything to be displayed. A butterfly also needs the fast macro-organizing solution, however they will want things to be visible. They often feel like they could never get things organized and feel messy, but the truth is they can have a place for everything fitting within the way they thrive. 

Lastly is the bee. These people are also visual people and want their things on display, however they want things to be organized in detail. Like the cricket, micro-organization works best for them. They are likely the type of people who are big into crafting or even have a home business with a lot of supplies that need to be organized in detail.

The final organizing mistake is not taking things immediately to the donation center. When you don’t get rid of your decluttered items immediately, you risk them trickling back into your home and organized spaces.

Well, I hope sharing these common organizing mistakes with you today will help you for future organizing projects around your home!

The YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post.

Quality Over Quantity

Today I wanted to share about quality over quantity. And I really think this could apply to almost anything in life. I’m sorry if you get tired of hearing about my journey towards minimalism, but it has helped me to realize that having quality items is more important than quantity. 

Quality doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money on something. I would much rather find one amazing vintage piece – that might not even cost much – over purchasing a cart full of items from the Target dollar spot. As I have been working on intentionally decluttering my home over the past several years, I have noticed that the things I declutter the most are things that are not high quality – whether it’s clothes, shoes, or home decor.

I have learned to really be cautious in the dollar section of stores, or in the clearance aisles. I used to be so tempted by the deal, but now I realize that oftentimes those things end up getting decluttered a few years later or even just months later, and it’s not really worth having to take care of those items – clean them, organize them, and store them. Not to mention that it is a waste of money!

But I’m not just talking about physical items. I think quality over quantity can translate to other things as well. 

I have learned that quality over quantity is valuable with relationships. Over the past couple of years, I have been more intentional with my time and energy with regards to relationships. I have started saying no to get togethers or other engagements because I find it much more meaningful to go deep with a few people than to have a bunch of relationships with people who only know me on the surface.

In addition to relationships, I have been learning to be intentional with where I spend my time and energy. I’m always evaluating if there is anything I need to do differently, as there is only so much time and energy to expend each day. I must be intentional with spending quality time in the areas of life that matter, rather than spreading myself thin in a lot of different areas. Finding out what is important and what brings you joy, and spending time doing more of that will bring so much meaning and purpose to life.

I’m certainly not perfect at any of this, and I’m still learning to constantly evaluate my investment into quality over quantity! I hope this post was inspiring!

Shopping Addiction

There is a topic I have been wanting to address, but I don’t like to talk about it. It’s embarrassing and tough to actually face when you have a problem area in life. Shopping addiction. I really dislike the word addiction, and honestly I want to back pedal and say it’s not really an addiction, it’s just a problem. But if I look at the definition of addiction, that is what it was. I say “was,” using past tense because I do feel like I’m recovering. I still struggle sometimes, but I am aware now and that’s half the battle. I’m taking the steps to break the habits that keep me in the cycle of shopping when I don’t need to.

So, the first step to dealing with any bad habit and creating healthier habits in life is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Sometimes we don’t even recognize that certain behaviors are problematic. We live in denial. Perhaps there is a small part of us that knows it’s a problem, but consciously we don’t want to acknowledge it because then we are admitting to a negative behavior pattern and then we have to deal with it.

Just acknowledging it doesn’t change anything though. In order to make changes, we need to come up with practical steps to address the issue. Once I realized I used shopping as a coping mechanism to deal with hardships in life, I came up with a plan to combat that. 

About 7 or 8 years ago I came across the concept of minimalism. This idea intrigued me as I have always felt overwhelmed by stuff, especially when things in my physical environment were out of order. I loved the idea of only living with what I loved or what was useful to me! This is when my intentional decluttering journey began. 

For several years I felt like I was working so hard at decluttering but I still had a lot of stuff! It was then that I realized in order to really make a difference in minimizing my things I couldn’t just declutter, I also had to curb the inflow! It was then that I decided to do no spend challenges. The first year I did a no spend month in January. I was specifically focused on not purchasing clothes, shoes, and accessories; and also home decor. These were the categories that I saw I had the most inflow. The next year I decided to push myself even further and did no spend January and February. That went fairly well and the following year I extended my no spend challenge through March! Realizing I could make it through a quarter of the year, in 2019 I decided to embark on a no spend year! I continued to specifically focus on clothes, shoes, accessories and home decor. I have this whole process documented here on my blog.

I did want to talk a little bit about the psychology behind shopping addiction. While I did mention that I didn’t really want to claim it as an addiction, but I believed it truly was – I recognize that some people may have much more severe problems with it than I did. As I read through information about shopping addiction, many people have financial problems which propel them into debt because of their shopping habits. Thankfully mine was controlled enough that we don’t have any sort of debt. In addition to this, oftentimes the resulting debt can cause anxiety or depression – causing a cycle of shopping as the person may try to alleviate the feelings with shopping, which causes even more debt. At its worst, it can also cause hoarding tendencies where the items are not even being used, but piling up in the person’s home. According to Donald Black from the University of Iowa, nearly two thirds of all shopaholics have mental health issues like anxiety or depression (source: psychguides.com) In order to really deal with the shopping issue, you must deal with the mental health issues – which are the deeper, root cause.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) does not officially recognize shopping addiction as a distinct disorder, and considerable debate surrounds the legitimacy of the disorder according to an article from healthline.com. It seems to fall under the category of compulsive behavior, which would be an anxiety disorder.  If you are wondering if you might have a shopping addiction, I did find some symptoms from that same article to determine if it is a problem for you.

  • obsess over making purchases on a daily or weekly basis
  • shop to cope with stress
  • max out credit cards or open new ones without paying off previous balances
  • feel intense euphoria or excitement after making purchases
  • buy unnecessary things or purchase items that go unused
  • steal or lie in order to continue shopping
  • feel regret or remorse over purchases, but continue to shop
  • be unable to pay off debt or manage money
  • fail in attempts to stop compulsive shopping

I’m learning that the best way for me personally to combat the negative spending behaviors is to replace those behaviors with positive behaviors which address my anxiety. For me, pursuing creative outlets has helped tremendously! I have enjoyed sharing creative content on YouTube, Instagram, and here on my blog. I have also been pursuing self growth through creating monthly challenges for myself (documented on my YouTube channel), learning new skills through taking Skillshare courses, and watching YouTube videos with self help and psychology content to learn more about why I do the things I do. Finding new behaviors to replace the old ones has helped me to be more intentional with the direction of my life.

Here is the video where I share the information from this blog.

I hope this post gave you some encouragement today if you are struggling with out of control shopping. I am by no means perfect yet, and still sometimes struggle with shopping for unhealthy reasons, but I’m aware and making changes!

Tips For An Organized Closet

I have a problem. Clothes. This is the one area where I really struggle to keep minimal. I actually wrote a blog post a while back about why I no longer strive to create a capsule wardrobe. Because of my love of fashion, and therefore my plethora of clothes, it’s imperative that I stay on top of keeping this space organized and tidy. Today I wanted to share with you 7 tips for keeping your closet organized.

Tip number one is to DECLUTTER! Are you surprised that this is my number one tip? If you know me well, then you are not surprised! I always encourage people who want to get a space organized to first declutter! Getting rid of anything that no longer fits you, or has stains or holes is a good place to start. Keep only the clothes that you feel amazing in!

Tip number two is to KEEP A DONATION BIN in your closet for any clothes you want to declutter. If you are bringing new items into your closet, throw the items you are decluttering directly into the bin. Also, when you put something on and you don’t feel amazing in it, and you take it back off… don’t hang it back up! Put it directly into the donation bin. When the bin gets full, you can drop it off at your local donation center.

Tip number three is to BUY UNIFORM HANGERS. Having uniform hangers automatically makes a closet look more tidy and organized. My favorite type of hanger for aesthetic reasons is wood hangers. I have never owned the thin velvet type hangers, but I have also heard that these work really well because they fit more clothes into a space because of their thin design. Having uniform hangers also gives us natural boundaries on how many clothes we own (unless of course you go out and purchase more!) I have a set number of hangers and this helps me to stick to the “one in, one out” rule where I need to declutter items if I bring new items in.

Tip number four is to LABEL BINS you have in your closet. This is not a must, as you may already know what is in each bin, however labeling the bins makes it easier to identify each bin when you need to get something out.

Tip number five is to CATEGORIZE CLOTHING BY TYPE. I know that it looks pretty to categorize clothing Home Edit style in rainbow order, however it is more practical to have different sections for different types of clothing. You can still organize each category in rainbow order, still making it look nice. In reality, we dress for activity or weather. It is easier to find what we need if all of our tank tops are together, all of the short sleeve shirts, all of the cardigans – you get the picture. It takes less time and brain space if we know what type of clothing item we need and then only look through that section to select something. I also like to keep my shoes organized by category and have each type of shoe grouped together. 

Tip number six is to HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING. This tip is helpful really for your entire home! If you have a place for everything, it is much easier to put things back away quickly. If it is quick and easy to put things away, we are more likely to actually put them away instead of creating a pile of clothes in the corner chair, on a workout machine, or on the floor. If everything has a place, we are also more likely to stay on top of decluttering as more things come into the closet.

Lastly, tip number seven is to ADD GOOD LIGHTING to your closet. It is surprising what good lighting can do for your closet! When we moved into our home, our closet had no real light fixture, just a single bulb. Although I did not add brighter lighting, it did level up my closet to add an actual light fixture. I am in the process of looking for additional lighting to add to our closet so we don’t always have to turn on the overhead light. There are so many options for battery powered lights to add to your closet space!

Well, I hope these tips were helpful for you. In my opinion, closets can be the most difficult space to keep organized as there seems to be items coming in and going out frequently! Although I did say I’m not interested in creating a capsule wardrobe, I have decided to challenge myself in the month of February 2022 to live 28 days with 28 articles of clothing (not including pajamas, workout clothes, or accessories.) I will update you in March to let you know how that goes! I thought maybe trying it out without totally decluttering most of my wardrobe would give me a good picture of how I feel with less clothing options!

This is the YouTube video I made in conjunction with this blog post if you want to check that out!

7 Tips For Slow Living

Over the last several years I have been focusing on living with only the things I need and love. I have shared some of this journey here on my blog and over on YouTube. I have consistently taken steps towards this goal of living with less. Each month I spend time intentionally decluttering my spaces, and over the last several years I have done spending fasts, including my no spend year back in 2019. One of the primary reasons for this journey was to get to a place where I had less physical possessions to take care of so I have more time to live at a slower pace. Pursuing this journey has also caused me to really evaluate my life – what I spend my time, energy, and money on. I have learned more self awareness in the last 5 years perhaps than in the rest of my life! I do recognize that everyone is in a different life stage and what is “slow” for me might look different than what is slow for you. Our youngest is now 18, so I have a lot less responsibilities around child care than I did when my children were young. However, I believe whatever life stage you are in, you can find what works for you and your family – still choosing behaviors that will support a slower pace. Today I wanted to share with you 7 tips for slow living.

The first tip is to EVALUATE YOUR PRIORITIES. What do you spend your time, energy, and money on? You could probably look at your bank statements and your phone time usage for a picture of this if you’re not sure. Oftentimes we may THINK we have certain priorities – like cultivating healthy family relationships, health/fitness, habits that help us grow – like reading, taking a course, talking to a counselor or therapist; but in reality the statistics (bank statements and phone time) tell a different story. At times, it can be easy to live life on autopilot – not even recognizing that you are developing priorities whether you are conscious of them or not. Intentional living is naming your TRUE priorities and making day in and day out habits that will curate the life you ACTUALLY want. Say them out loud, write them down, or tell a friend.

Knowing your priorities can help you decide if there are things you need to do differently, which brings me to my next point: slow living requires us to CUT OUT THE NOISE. Living in the time we live in, we are bombarded daily with messages – the news, social media, email, and more! We need to choose what we will allow to speak to us. Putting boundaries on habits that are a time suck like internet scrolling, social media, TV, and shopping will give us more time to live slowly. It will look different for each person, but maybe you can decide how much time a day you will a lot to these activities, perhaps you can take a day off of social media or internet use each week, or maybe delete apps and take time off for a period of time to reset your mind and habits around these things. Studies have shown how addictive social media in particular is! We need to set boundaries and not allow this NOISE to be ever present!

The next tip for slow living includes BEING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. I must admit, as a type A who makes lists and plans things out, this has been difficult for me. There are times when I struggle to live in the moment because I am worried about something in the future. It is a good practice to be aware of this, and try to redirect your mind to enjoying the moment. I think it is especially important to live in the moment during routine things. It can be really easy to live life on autopilot, especially in the routine moments of our days, instead of really enjoying even the mundane. There is some sacredness to the mundane – tasks we perform everyday can almost become a moment to treasure because these little everyday mundane moments add up to the wholeness of our lives! Slow living requires us to not live on autopilot, but to really enjoy everyday practices and living in those moments rather than thinking about the next thing that needs to get done. You are consciously aware of the things you choose to do instead of just going through the motions of life. 

The next tip is DON’T OVERCOMMIT. I think it is much easier to say yes to things than to say no. We must be intentional about our “yes” because commitments pile up much quicker than we anticipate or expect. If you are hesitant to say no because you don’t want to let someone down, remember that you need to do what is best for you and your mental health. You are not in charge of someone else’s feelings. If you are unable to do something and the person is “let down,” really that is on them and not on you!

On a similar note, UNCOMMIT TO THINGS THAT ARE NO LONGER SERVING YOU. This one can be even more difficult than saying “no.” It is important to evaluate the responsibilities you have and which ones maybe are not working well for you. Cutting out those things in life that are not serving, you or are worse yet detrimental to you, will provide extra time in your schedule to slow down.

Another thing that has helped me to live slowly with intention is to SCHEDULE IN REST. Particularly if you are someone who tends to struggle to slow down, scheduling in rest will give you permission to rest. Each morning I like to spend time quietly, for me that is reading the Bible and praying, prior to getting on social media or checking email. I also schedule one day a week where I don’t work and for the most part stay off of social media. This day helps reset my mind and body so I am forced to slow down. On this day I find it easier to do things like reading, self reflection, and self care that I don’t make time for on other days because I feel “too busy.”

Lastly, another way to slow down is to MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO GET IN NATURE. This doesn’t have to be a big production where you’re pulling on hiking boots and going out for a hike that will take half the day. Walk around the block, or even just step out into your backyard. I have found that putting away my phone and getting into nature resets my mind. 

I hope this post was encouraging to you today! I don’t have all the answers, and I still struggle with some of these things, but I am AWARE – and that is the first step to changing behavior!