Friday, January 31, 2014

Dreaming of School

The title of this blog may be a bit misleading.  No, I'm not dreaming about returning to school (at least I don't think so).  I had a disturbing dream last night,  realizing that I hadn't attended any of my classes or opened any of my books (at least it wasn't exam time yet). The feelings from the dream are still very present this morning, so that tells me I need to try to decipher them.

Some interpretations would indicate that I may be a perfectionist and am putting expectations on myself that are too high and I'm fearful of not meeting them. I may be neglecting an important issue in my life or am unprepared for a challenge.  Perhaps I feel that I'm slacking and not giving my best in some area of my life. Some might say it also entails fear of rejection, but I have a hard time relating to that last one.

I do believe that dreams stem from the unconscious mind (although I do acknowledge that they also occasionally result from eating something odd before bedtime) and may reflect anxieties and fears from my waking life.  And while the best way to eliminate or deal with them may be confronting and resolving the basic issues, the problem still remains of figuring out what those issues are!!

If a dream holds this much energy for me, and I can remember it so vividly, I do need to at least attempt an interpretation.....because I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with Calculus, French, and Western Civilization.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's Not Even Sunday

My Sunday posts are the ones dedicated to slower and simpler living.  I know it's not Sunday yet, but yesterday I actually practiced what I preach and it felt wonderful.

As I walked into my office, I passed (as usual) a box and some other miscellaneous stuff on the floor, and noted once again my irritation with the clutter.  I sat down to work, and simply stopped. What was that I used to teach in my seminars?  Oh yeah - start cleaning or decluttering those areas that bother you most.  I stopped what I was doing, and in 10 minutes, had that entire corner of the office cleaned up.  Really?? All the energy I've expended in trying to ignore the mess was corrected in a few minutes???  Why do I forget these simple remedies?

Having worked for awhile, I went to the kitchen to make breakfast. Again, I noted in passing the counter under the microwave and it's accumulated "stuff". And I also realized it was the next most irksome area that needed attention.  Instead of ignoring the problem, since I had had such great success in the office, I took a few minutes in sorting, disposing, and clearing away the mess.  Wow!

Simply clearing away the small areas that are the most irksome is so freeing.  Key word is small area - I'm not ready to tackle an entire room, from the aspect of time and energy.  But every job can be broken down into doable, 10 minute tasks.  And cleaning away what bothers me most has immediate benefits. Having removed the irritation, and feeling successful, I can then go about my day.

Yesterday's Lesson:  Stop ignoring the bothersome areas of my life and take a few minutes, if not daily then at least weekly, to tackle the most irksome.  Really, how hard is that??

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sudoku and Beyond

Working on puzzles helps our minds to stay young, aside from just being enjoyable. Some folks do crossword puzzles daily.  I prefer math puzzles. And yes, I do them daily.

I started years ago doing Sudoku, which I thought originated in Japan, but after some research (of course) it also has roots in France and puzzles by Howard Garns in America.  But we know it as Sudoku, which is the registered trademark in Japan.  Sudoku is a logic based combinatorial number-placement puzzle.

Next I found Ken-Ken, which is the trademarked name for a style of arithmetic and logic puzzle invented by Japanese math teacher Tetsuya Miyamoto who intended the puzzles to be an instruction-free method of training the brain.  Per Wikipedia:  KenKen grids are divided into heavily outlined groups of cells –– often called “cages” –– and the numbers in the cells of each cage must produce a certain “target” number when combined using a specified mathematical operation (either addition, subtraction, multiplication or division).
So Ken-Ken takes Sudoku a step further by including math operations.  (This one is also my personal favorite, at the moment.)

Then there is Kakuro, also from Japan.  Again from Wikipedia:   is a kind of logic puzzle that is often referred to as a mathematical transliteration of the crosswordThe objective of the puzzle is to insert a digit from 1 to 9 inclusive into each white cell such that the sum of the numbers in each entry matches the clue associated with it and that no digit is duplicated in any entry. It is that lack of duplication that makes creating Kakuro puzzles with unique solutions possible, and which means solving a Kakuro puzzle involves investigating combinations more, compared to Sudoku in which the focus is on permutations.

Of course there's always just the basic logic problems to solve.

No judgment, please. This is just how my mind works.  Doing these puzzles is my way to relax while getting my mind in gear. And yes, I actually really enjoy them!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Perfect Cup of Tea

In an earlier post (last January, I believe), I talked about being a tea snob.  Well, it hasn't gotten any better, I'm afraid.  In that post, I wrote about using hot water, just before it boils or just as it starts to boil.  Now I know why.  Boiling depletes the oxygen in the water, which the Chinese (makers of tea for thousands of years, so they probably should know) call "dead" water.  So now I use the left over water for water plants or soaking reed for baskets.

Now add to that my research on tea production, use of pesticides, and even the tea bags themselves.  Oh, will it never end??  The following article lists teas by brand and their use of pesticides.  Some of them on the list I do like, especially Tetley.  But my daily brew is thankfully not on the list: Red Rose.  It does make one ponder.

What’s In Your Mug? The Toxic Truth About Tea

We hear about it all the time; tea is loaded with anti-oxidants and cancer fighting benefits. “Drinking just one cup of tea daily can reduce your chance of bla bla bla by 50 %..”. While many of these benefits may be true, there is also information that is often overlooked which reveals some toxic facts about the common tea brands. Do the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to drinking tea? When teas are laden with cancer-causing pesticides does it make a difference for the tea to have cancer-fighting properties? Therefore do the toxic properties cancel out the beneficial properties? Being an avid tea consumer I was very shocked and disappointed to find out that some of my favourite brands of tea were among the worst for pesticide levels. Many of these brands market their teas as being beneficial to your health, yet do nothing to control the toxins existing in the teas. Here is another clear-cut case of profit being put before people’s health.
A look inside my personal tea cupboard, just so you can appreciate how much I really love tea!
Let’s take a look at some of the tea brands that contain the highest pesticide levels. Celestial Seasonings is among the worst; this makes me especially sad because I’ve always loved this tea brand (you can probably tell by my extensive collection). There’s just something so whimsical about the name Celestial Seasonings… Anyway, in a study conducted by EuroFins (a worldwide analytic testing company) 91% of Celestial Seasonings teas contained levels of pesticides that exceed the US federal limits. Considering all of the other toxins and poisons that the FDA lets slide by, this is very alarming. When Celestial Seasonings started in 1969, it was “founded on the belief that all natural teas could help people live healthier lives.” Maybe that was the case in 1969 because there weren’t as many pesticides being sprayed, but in this day and age we have to be wary of the products we are consuming.
Other notable teas containing toxic pesticides include: Tetley, Bigelow, Mighty Leaf, Teavanna, Tazo, Davids Tea and many more. Not only do many of these teas contain these toxic pesticides, many of them contain artificial flavorings as well. Also, a popular way to mask undesirable sounding ingredients is to tent them under the umbrella of “natural flavouring,” any ingredient that comes from a natural origin falls under this category. So, additives such as: Castoreum (a chemical taken out of glands from a beaver that are located near the anus,) Carmine aka Natural Red #4 (made from dried and ground up Cochina beetles, gives foods a red color,) and many more. Just because something says all natural doesn’t mean that it is a good thing for you to consume. Be sure to thoroughly read ingredient labels before purchasing; be aware of what you’re putting into your body.
Here is a chart that includes some popular tea brands and indicates whether or not they contain pesticides and additives.
With all this being said, you may be feeling a little down in the dumps, but don’t worry! There is an upside to all of this. There are some trustworthy companies that provide quality organic teas to its consumers by monitoring the amount of pesticides and also using sustainable farming methods and fair trade standards. Some of these include: Teatulia, Numi, Zhyna’s Gypsy Tea, Choice Organics, Traditional Medicinals, Rishi and many many more; you just have to look. Even though brands like this are a little more expensive than the conventional ones, it is well worth it. Not only will you be getting the full benefit that the tea has to offer, you will be supporting ethical, sustainable and organic farming practices. The more people that switch to brands like these, the greater push conventional brands will feel to start changing their practices and principles and get with the changing times!
Tea can definitely be a great way to boost your health. Black, green, white, oolong and pu-erh teas all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant that is native to China and India. These teas contain many anti-oxidants called flavonoids; the most potent of these are known as ECGC and can help against free radicals that can contribute to a variety of cancers and heart disease. Many herbal teas contain some pretty amazing health benefits as well, although they are not as beneficial as the teas that are coming from the Camellia plant.
Now that you have learned some of the truth behind your favourite teas, you can make a more informed  and healthy choice when considering the many different types of teas that are available! I know I will…  for the love of health and tea!
Much Love
Disclaimer to Consider: As stated on their website, Glaucus Research, their clients and/ or investors hold trading positions in the securities profiled on the site and therefore stand to realize significant gains in the event that the stock price rises or declines. We personally are not able to verify this study as 100% correct but felt that the results were still worth both noting and considering in the likelihood that they are indeed true.

Are Your Tea Bags Toxic?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Life Is Complicated

As I'm back on the mainland for a few days for board meetings and appointments, plus dealing with a bit of grogginess from the flu and bronchitis, it occurs to me just how complicated life really is.  Just to function at the expected basic level, we need electronics, apps, passwords, immediate recall, with information and schedules at our fingertips.

I praise the island life for eliminating cell phone calls and most texts, for slowing things down.  But obviously I'm not totally unplugged.  Or is it just returning to the mainland, where life continues to zoom along and upon arrival any visitor is expected to immediately get right back into the flow?

I even dreamed about it last night, all the rush and "fast speak" and schedules.

Evidently I need to better prepare myself when I re-enter this mode of life, to avoid some of the culture shock.  Perhaps it's because I'm not feeling quite 100% yet.  Or maybe I've just gained a new perspective on how crazy we've let our lives become.

OR, heaven forbid, I'm just getting old????????


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Slower & Simpler - An Easy List

The following article is just about perfect, in my view, as an encouragement and how to simplify with some easy steps.  Evidently I need reminders.  Obviously simplifying is an ongoing process for me.

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 08:13 AM PST
While we’ve established that simplicity is a practice and not a destination, there are practical things you can do every day to simplify your life. And the good news is, there are practical things you can do quickly.


Set a timer for 10 minutes. Choose any of the following tasks. Stop after 10 minutes. Then celebrate your simpler life.
1.       Donate any shoes you haven’t worn in a year.
2.       Write three thank you notes.
3.       Turn on soft music, lay down and close your eyes.
4.       Read this: How to Complain Less
5.       Remove any glasses, dishes, silverware, serving dishes or cooking utensils from the kitchen that you haven’t used in the last 6 months. Box it up and write “kitchen stuff: donate after 30 days” and then put it out of site. If you miss something, go get it. If not, donate it.
6.       Open any email that you didn’t sign up for, or signed up for but don’t need/want/like anymore, scroll to the bottom of the email and click “unsubscribe”.
7.       Bring two small bags to your car. Fill one with trash and the other with anything that doesn’t belong in the car.
8.      Put the things you collected from your car where they belong.
10.   Dump the contents of your junk drawer or desk drawers that you don’t open frequently into a paper bag. Close the bag. If you don’t need anything in the bag in 30 days … get rid of the bag and everything in it. If you do need something in the bag, remove it and put it where it belongs.
11.    Bring a box into your bathroom and fill it with anything that has expired or that you don’t use or that will be expired by the time you use it. Learn more about disposing of unused medications here.
12.    Donate all of your formal occasion dresses that you haven’t worn more than once. Yes, all of those dresses that you bought for something fancy and justified the purchase by saying, “I’ll be able to wear this again.”
13.    Read this: Reset to Zero.
14.    Clear as many counter tops as you can while still taking the time to put things where they belong. Have a donation box close by incase that is where they belong.
15.    Find capsule wardrobe inspiration on Pinterest.
16.    Remove all expired, stale, unwanted items from your pantry and refrigerator.
17.    RSVP with a “no thank you” to any requests that you’ve been sitting on for a week or longer. If you are still thinking about it, you aren’t excited to do it.
18.   Read this: Unthink Everything
19.    Unfriend your Facebook friends who aren’t your actual friends or delete your account.
20.   Turn off your phone and computer. Repeat.
23.   Write down how much money you are spending to store your stuff. Decide what you would rather do with that money every month.
24.   Empty the cabinet under your sink. Wash it and then only put things back that you use.
25.   Schedule all annual medical appointments like physicals, mammograms, dental visits or other routine medical things.
Any of these suggestions can help you move forward on your simplicity journey but don’t wait until you think you’ve arrived to experience the benefits of simplicity. Skip the guilt-dwelling, soul-sucking process of focusing on everything you didn’t do, or how far you still have to go.
§ If your closet is a disaster but your kitchen counters are free of clutter, celebrate that.
§ If your morning was stressful and hectic, but you were able to sit quietly for 20 minutes after lunch, celebrate that.
§ If you went to the mall and overspent on stuff you don’t need, but came home and filled a box with clothes that don’t fit you to donate, celebrate that. (And about your mall binge … You can return that. )
Turn your focus to the ways you’ve made progress on your simplicity journey and use the momentum of how that makes you feel to tackle the next thing.
Simplify and seize the joy!
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to Be More with Less and connect with me. Check out for simple ideas for your life and business.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Don't Save Stickers / Use the Candles

Part of my thoughts for 2014 is to use what I already have.  Stuff that I've been saving.....for whenever.  This means to use the china more often, to drink from crystal.  I have collected notebooks with soft leather binding, and will now use them, even if it isn't for anything profound.

I just put out some candles, and actually lit them.  Using some of the excess that I already have is freeing, as well as a special treat.  I want to use things before it is too late - before either the fun is gone or they've melted??

There is a delightful article about this:

It feels almost decadent to use some of these things, because I treasure them.  The joy of touching them and using them definitely outweighs the fear of keeping them safe for that perfect the future... that "one day".

Let today be that one day......for a few things, at least.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The U.S.Penny Debate

Having just had a discussion regarding banning the U.S. penny, I thought I'd do a little research. It's astounding just how much time and effort has gone into the debate:

And really, all I can contribute is that the phrase "a penny for your thoughts", if we really to eliminate the penny, might be more accurate for what we usually intend when we say that.  And how about the sales pitch: "for just pennies a day"?  And what about "penny pinching" as a useful phrase?

Gosh - without the penny, many colloquialisms will also disappear. Just hope we're ready for that.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Artwork in Chimera Gallery

Today the fruits of my first goal as an artist on Lopez Island will be realized.  I will be setting up some of my artwork in Chimera Gallery. A simple statement that encompasses so much.

The entire progression:  from the first visit to the gallery, buying the house, finally moving to the island after a lifetime of visiting, applying for membership in Chimera (only available to island artists), going through the jurying process, being accepted as a member but on the waiting list, and finally being chosen as full member with a small area of my own in which to place my art -  is a dream fulfilled, a goal come true.

So I plan to enjoy every minute of today, appreciating the little moments that make up the whole experience. This is not the time to take anything for granted. I am relishing it all. In setting up my pieces comes the realization (the perfect word, which means both consciousness and comprehension as well as achievement) that I am truly an artist on Lopez, and proud to be included in the gallery.

And yes, the thought has not escaped me of the irony that one definition of the word chimera means
a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.

So new goals need to be set and plans to achieve them developed.  But not just yet.  Today is for being in the moment, savoring - and perhaps even celebrating with a cup of peppermint mocha from Caffe La Boheme next door!

Showplace for Lopez artists and artisans, providing a central location in Lopez Village for the display and sale of their quality fine art and crafts. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A flock of red-winged blackbirds visited my feeder yesterday.  Is it a sign of spring already?  Well, at the very least, a sign of hope that spring will come.

An entire flock - just for Sophie and me. Seems rather selfish, but we quietly enjoyed it.  We just watched them in the trees above the feeder, on the ground, flying off and regathering, calling to each other, flashing their beautiful wings....and emptying the feeder as well.

It was a very special treat - for all of us.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Star Gazing

The strongest impressions of returning home after being away included the sunset reflecting off of Mt Baker while waiting for the ferry and the most vivid stars twinkling in the sky when I finally drove up to the house and turned off the car lights. The stars were brilliant, absolutely filling the sky, taking my breath away. One could only stop and gaze.

Star gazing....interesting term and how apt:  the definition of gaze is to look steadily and intently, esp. in admiration, surprise, or thought.

So I'm home, waiting for the island to work its healing magic.  My cough is worse, but my heart is lighter!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Morning Humor

Yes, our football team (the Seahawks) won the playoffs and is going to the Super Bowl.
I'm finally packing up the car and hopefully heading back to Lopez this afternoon. Both wonderful things.
But this flu rhino is still bogging me down a bit, so I'm needing to cheer myself up with some tidbits that always make be smile.  Never a bad thing on a Monday morning!

“A sense of humor is just common sense dancing.”
William James

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Slower & Simpler - A Reminder on Dealing with Clutter

In need of reviewing some parameters that help in eliminating clutter, I resurrected an easy template:
Clutter Emergency Card
  • How long has it been since I used this?
  • Do I like it?
  • Does it work properly? - Is it broken?
  • Do I have more of this kind of thing? How many do I need?
  • If I keep this, what will I get rid of to make room for it?
  • Can I locate this information somewhere else (probably on the Internet) if I need it?
Actually, the entire article was helpful to reread:

But I'm also using my own model. I have a list of areas in the house that need to be tackled, but if one area (aka right at this moment the kitchen counter under the microwave) is bugging me, that's the one to do next.  It's wonderfully energizing to tackle and clean a space that is bothersome and "on the radar" every time you walk by it.  My energy is wasted trying to ignore it.

De-cluttering is certainly an on-going project, isn't it??

Saturday, January 18, 2014


At the risk of sounding like I'm complaining (which I really do try never to do):
Dealing with the flu bug (which, by naming it so, makes it seem small and insignificant, while in reality it's taken over my entire life at the moment) just reinforces how much energy goes into what I do on a daily basis. Actually, what anyone does.

It takes energy to get up and get dressed, to live your day, to check a few things off the to-do list, to plan, to create, to write.

Nasty bug.  Bad bug.  I really, really want my head back so I can think!

Maybe it should be called the flu rhinoceros - makes more sense:  all about the nose, snorting, mowing down any plans one might have made, uncontrollable, huge and all consuming, stomping around in the heat (fever) as well as in the get the drift!

Somehow that makes me feel so much better, to be dealing with a rhino than just a bug!!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Food Cravings - Nutritionally Based?

This is one topic for which I can find little on the internet to reinforce my views.  I truly believe that my body craves the specific foods that it needs when it is healing.  These last few days I've been craving fruit.  I normally never crave fruit.  I think it needs those nutrients right now to combat the flu.

When I was recovering from surgery years ago, I craved shredded wheat (with very little milk), tuna fish, and green salads with a little cheese - every single day.  I could actually eat very little at the time, but those were the only foods that I wanted or could handle eating.  Apparently they were just the right combo of nutrients that my body needed to heal - and it did heal amazingly quickly.

But most of the articles on the internet talk about cravings as psychological indicators of other things.

I'm not convinced.  Oh sure, I know that craving chocolate would not necessarily be a healing choice.  And I certainly do have occasional cravings that are NOT healthy choices.  But when my body really needs to heal, and I'm paying attention, I am convinced that it will lead me to the best choices in food for my recovery.

So I'll just stay in my own little bubble of belief.  I'm working hard to be in tune with my body and listen to it.  And I need to feel better....I have work to do, kits to make, baskets to weave!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Yarn, Odd Balls, the Stash

As I continue to sort and straighten, I'm having a very hard time parting with my yarn.  I know just as soon as a I give it away, just the right project will come along.....

So I'm eliminating the really "odd" stuff, and trying to limit myself to just one plastic bin....well, maybe two...

Clothes and shoes I can easily give away.  Yarn and weaving materials are entirely another thing!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Excuse to Relax

I need to go find a good book.......

Trying to find the silver lining in waking up with the flu today...

I can read all day and not feel guilty.

Since I have very little appetite, I can eat whatever I DO feel like eating.

Staying warm and napping throughout the day - how bad is that???

And I'm definitely staying home so I don't infect others. (Wish everyone would do that!!!)

Downside?  I can't visit with friends as planned, or return to the island just yet.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Business of Life

Back from a relaxing vacation for only a couple of days, and now in the throes of the "busy" work of teaching - making lists, gathering materials for kits, pricing tools, making up the basket kits....  I'm organized, and not stressed (exactly), but I'm just busy.

Reminded me a great blog that I read:

6 Solutions for the Chronically Busy at

It has some great ideas, one of which is a new organizing tool that is a running list of all that you need to do (instead of the "to-do" list that is unmanageable and never, ever done) on I think I'm going to try it - it's fits more with how I think. I'll still need my daytimer for appointments and what MUST get done that day.  Wonder if I can get it on my iphone???

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Recent Vacation in Mexico

Knowing that I would be unavailable to post to my blog while in Mexico, I pre-posted for last week.  My vacation highlights are below.  And my January Money Diet was in full effect - free room with friends, used mileage for the flight, we ate in the room for most meals, and only purchased pre-planned items to replace some worn out counterparts at home...which will be tossed out.

Even I'm impressed and pleased with the stop of in-flow, especially on vacation.  I gave myself permission to fully embrace and enjoy everything with my eyes...I just don't need to bring it home with me.  So I really had to "look" at the item that my first impulse was to buy, and then easily let it go and walk away.

Some photo memories of my blissfully warm week in Nuevo Vallarta are below.  About all I accomplished was reading both Fall of Giants and Winter of the World by Ken Follett, and taking a towel and napkin folding class....besides getting warm and totally relaxed.  And learning that iguanas can run across the bottom of a pool underwater....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Slower & Simpler - Five Steps for 2014

This posting is so succinct and clear on re-evaluating how to lead a simpler life, that I just have to share it.  Embracing five steps, not hundreds, is much easier to grasp.  Simplifying the simplicity to-do list - awesome!

5 Steps Toward a Simpler Life in 2014

5 Steps Toward a Simpler Life in 2014
Another year has come and gone! This is a time when many of us pause and reflect on how things are going. We look around at how we spend our time and make sure we are on track with the type of life we want to live.
For many, this reflection ends with a realization that things have gotten a bit out of control.
Schedules and closets and kitchen drawers and lives tend toward complexity. So, it only makes sense that we will occasionally find ourselves in varying amounts of clutter from year to year.
Whether you’re totally overwhelmed or only slightly off-track, we all long for a similar thing… a simpler life.
And experience has taught us that longing for simplicity isn’t enough. We have to dosomething about it.
So, don’t let any more days pass before you act. You can do something today to gain more focus. It’s those little first steps that propel you in the direction you need to go.
Here are 5 steps you can take today to lead you toward a simpler life:

1- Revisit your values and priorities.

It’s important that we have a “why” behind our “what.” We have to understand our motivation. Our priorities are those things that are most important to us, personally. Our values are the guidelines for how we go about our day-to-day lives.
If we don’t have a clear view of the goal, we won’t be able to lay out a clear path. We will begin to wander and get off track. Revisiting our values and priorities helps us to adjust our focus a bit. It helps us to regain clarity on what it is we’re trying to accomplish in the first place.
If you’ve already done this in the past, it may be time to reconsider. Part of your clutter and frustration may be present because your values have actually changed. You may be out of alignment and not even realize it.
There may be things that used to be important to you that are no longer important. Or, perhaps, things have become important to you that didn’t used to be.
These times of introspection can be very helpful. I highly recommend that you make note of what you find. You’ll want to refer to these lists at times.
Here are a couple of articles to help you further in this area:

2- Attack physical clutter, one space at a time.

Here’s a reminder from Captain Obvious…stuff piles up. Especially after the holidays!
It still amazes me how quickly things can find their way into my house or workplace and try to hang out in the craziest places. Before I know it, there’s stuff everywhere.
And clutter isn’t cool.
When there’s all kinds of unnecessary stuff lying around, it messes with us. It distracts us. It takes our attention away from more important things and forces us to manage it.
When we start noticing the clutter-creep, it’s time to take action!
Don’t let the piles overwhelm you! Just pick one little area and get to work. You won’t be able to tackle everything at once, but you can do something.
We often struggle to find time for whole-house-turned-upside-down-decluttering-sessions. But most of us can make time to declutter one closet. We can clean out onedrawer. We can work on that one bookshelf.
If it helps, you can set a 15 minute timer and just see what can be done in that short amount of time. Don’t let it sit there. Do something about it.

3- Stop the inflow.

One way you can make a difference right now, with zero time commitment, is by stopping the inflow. This is a mental switch that you flip that increases the amount of “NOs” that you use.
You have daily moments of decision where you will either let more in, or block it. You’re already going to face these decisions. They WILL come to you. Use this opportunity to get ahead of the clutter game.
“Stopping the inflow” is determining to cut off the supply of stuff into your life. At least for a short amount of time, until you get everything under control.
  • When you realize there is “too much” going on, you have to stop accepting invitations to events.
  • When you realize that you have too many clothes, you have to stop buying more.
  • When you realize that you spend too much time watching TV, you have to stop setting the DVR to record more.
You get the picture.
If your container is full, stop pouring.
If the tub is nearly overflowing, turn off the faucet.

4- Walk away from some people.

Some people thrive on drama. Others are constant takers. Then, there are the unsafe ones that can’t be trusted with your friendship.
Walk away from those people.
Don’t be mean. Don’t repay their aggression. Don’t wish them harm. Just depart ways.
Because life is short.
There are only so many days. Don’t waste them in conflict with people unnecessarily.
There will be plenty of drama that we have to endure. Why should we continue to experience drama that’s in our ability to avoid?
There are people that you love who need you. They need your best energy. They need your attention and time. Don’t waste that time and attention on people who hurt you.
You and I both value relationships. We love people. But we can’t be everything foreveryone. We have to prioritize our relationships and focus on those we value most.
Don’t let the people you love most suffer because an abusive person is eating away at your life. Determine to be healthy. And, sometimes, healthy requires walking away.

5- Push the reset button on your time management system.

Because we only have so many days, we have to manage our time well. I often think of a statement that has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time. For that’s the stuff life is made of.”
We all make decisions everyday about what we will do with our time.
  • Where will we go?
  • What will we do?
  • Who will we go with?
And we all have systems. Some are simple. Some are more complex. But we all do something to keep up with our appointments and tasks.
Time management is not really optional. It’s something that everyone does. We either do it well, or we don’t.
Of course, every person is different. We value different things and live different lives. So, our systems will also be different. Whatever the case, make sure you have a system that works for you.
It doesn’t matter if you have the latest tips, tricks and tools. What matters is that you have a system of decision making and tracking that allows you to live in accordance with your priorities.
Only you can ensure that your life is in alignment with your values. Only you can decide how you spend your days.
Well, those were my 5 suggestions to get you started. I’m sure you have others in mind, as well.
Share them with us!
What steps do you plan to take toward a simpler life in 2014?