Simplifying for the New Year

Hello! There are many new faces that find this space at the beginning of the new year (not surprising – it’s a great time to set some intentions around your stuff). If you’re new here, nice to meet you. I’m Rachel, minimalist-ish author, mother of three, recent transplant from a downtown condo with a walk score of almost 100 to a house in a small town. I’ve been writing about living with less stuff for over seven years now (has it been that long??!!) through many moves (we lived overseas for four years), adding a few kids and several stints without a car. I’m an introvert with a side of extroversion that I drum up for public speaking or meeting new people. I love chatting about the challenges and benefits of simplifying your stuff and life and am a frequent podcast and radio guest on the subject.

Some things about me, this space and the kind of minimalism we talk about:

I love tiny houses. But I’m not ready to live in one right now. I’ll often share stories of radical decluttering here because I find them interesting and motivating. But until very recently we’ve always lived in apartments and we’ve always owned a couch and a dining table. I don’t think I could convince my family to live in a tiny house but I love reading stories about families that do. I find that lifestyle fascinating and there’s always interesting things to learn about how to live and love your life with less space and less stuff. And no, you don’t have to live in a tiny house if you want to practice minimalism or simplifying (more on that to come).

Minimalism is a gift and a privilege. Having too much stuff is a sign that you’re doing well in life. What a gift. And being able to give a lot of it away, or live with little by choice, is a privilege. These ideas may seem obvious but I have to remind myself of them regularly. And while I don’t always remember to write this caveat in at times please know that I realize what a privilege it is to write about deciding to live with less.

Even small change can bring great rewards. Too often we let perfect be the enemy of done or good. Do no fret if your six bedroom house feels too daunting to declutter. There is much to be gained by simply getting rid of the extra four spatulas you own and choosing your 50 favourite pieces of clothing and donating the rest.

There’s no perfect way to declutter or magic number of things to own. I can’t tell you what to own and what to give away. Simplifying your stuff is a process and after that it’s a way of life. You find what works for this season of life and when things change, as they inevitably do, you adjust again.

Find what works for you. There are seven years worth of posts on this blog and even more ideas and strategies in my books.  Find the ones that speak to you. Find the ones that work for your life. It may be finding a decluttering buddy and keeping each other accountable. It may be committing Saturday afternoons to your garage until you can finally park your car in it again. It may be simply putting a box in each room of your home and when you find something that is a duplicate or that you don’t use, you put it in that box. When the box is full you deal with it: recycle, sell, donate. Or it could be that you decide in 2018 you will get rid of 2018 things. Find a method and a motivation that resonates and then…. go!

I’ll have more posts up in the next six weeks that outline specific areas of home and life and ideas for streamlining them. But as with anything in life, find the one that works for you!

Links and more:

You may have seen some of these linked on Facebook or Instagram but I wanted to share them here as well. Lots of podcast invites in December and more lined up in January. I’m enjoying listening to them as well: I really like CarefulCents podcast (very raw talks about money and goals and emotions) and for general parenting ideas and commiseration Slate’s Mom and Dad are fighting podcast.

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