What I Learned From a Pine Cone

August 19th, 2014

What does this pine cone have to do with memories? Read the important lesson it taught me. There’s a pine cone sitting on the bookshelf in my living room.

There has been for years.

This is the fourth home I’ve displayed it in, and it’ll be the last.

Why will it be the last?

The pine cone taught me something last week, as I picked it up to dust underneath it, and noticed how it’s become a little bit broken, a little worse for wear.

It occurred to me that the memories I had attached to it, assigned to it, had also become worse for wear. Read the rest to hear the story of the pine cone and what I’m going to do about the lesson it taught me.

How to Simplify Your Entire Life

August 12th, 2014

The following is a guest post by Catherine Burket. Catherine is a teacher and new mama from South Carolina.


How I simplified my entire life in two weeks. Amazing story! We both felt it.  

My husband, Tim, and I were happy with our life we’d built together, but we just felt like we were stagnating.

It was time for a big change.  We just weren’t sure WHAT needed to change.

It boiled down to two options:

  1. Move overseas with a job opportunity, or
  2. Have a baby.

(Spoiler alert- we picked baby.)

A job presented itself to us where we would live in Europe (in a teeny apartment).  We loved the idea, but there was one problem. We would only have about 2 weeks after finding out we got the job to pack up and move to Europe.

We knew we couldn’t fit our three-bedroom house into a studio or one bedroom apartment, much less afford to ship everything over there.

But we also didn’t want to get rid of everything in case we decided to stay and go with option two.

Read about what Catherine and Tim did, and how they simplified their entire life in 2 weeks.

Talk Back to Your Stuff and Win the Clutter War

August 5th, 2014

4 Ways Your Stuff Convinces You to Keep It (And How to Say No)Our stuff wants us to keep it. It tries so hard.

Even if we know it’s not useful to us in our current season of life.

Our stuff begs. It pleads with us that it really is valuable.

It’s a lot easier to get rid of things like clothes that don’t fit, kitchen appliances we don’t use, broken objects, furniture we no longer like, and ancient worthless electronics we’ve replaced. That’s the easy stuff, and where everyone should start their decluttering adventures.

But once we’re past decluttering all of the easy things, sometimes we hit a wall, because our personal things are so convincing. And some of the non-personal stuff knows how to make us hold on, too.

Our stuff has perfected a few arguments, and we’ll hear them over and over (if we listen).

4 Ways Our Stuff Tries to Convince Us to Keep It

  1. “You CREATED me. You MADE me. Therefore, I’m a part of you. I’m basically one of your kids. How could you get rid of me?”
    • Photographs we’ve taken,
    • Paintings we made in an art class to practice a certain technique,
    • Papers we wrote in high school,
    • A blanket we spent a month crocheting.

    Read the rest to find out the other 3 ways your stuff tries to convince you to keep it (and how to say no.)

Is Your Clutter Stealing All Your Time?

July 29th, 2014

How to Reclaim Your Time From Your ClutterA couple of weeks ago, I decided to spend my morning cleaning out our garage closet.

The kids were at school, and I had received the extra bit of motivation I needed to get this job done from my daily Hardcore Homemaking email, so it was time.

I had two hours to work before it would be time to pick up the kids again.

And I used all of the time. All of it.

Two hours on one closet, and I wasn’t even done.

There was still work to do! There were a few things I couldn’t get to because I needed my husband to move something heavy for me.

And beyond that, I also had a pile of stuff I needed to drive to my local donation center, as well as a few things I wanted to try to sell.

What is the true cost of stuff-ownership?

People talk about it a lot, and I’ve done some of that talking too. I think by now, we all know that it isn’t just whatever you paid for it, coupled with the storage space to keep it.

It’s much more than that.

And my garage closet drove the message home for me.

Stuff takes time.

Even if it’s “just sitting there” with seemingly no maintenance required.

Stuff takes time, even if it’s “just sitting there.” Reclaim your time. Here’s how. Tweet this.

Read the rest to find out how to reclaim your time.

How to Take Back Your Facebook Newsfeed

July 22nd, 2014

how to make Facebook less annoying Facebook sucks.

That seems to be the general consensus, anyway.

But most of us are still on Facebook, for good reasons.

Keeping up with friends who live far away. We’re a military family, so I get it. 6 moves in 7 years will do that to a person. But military or not, we’ve all got people we love all over the place.

Communicating with groups of local people for events. I do a lot of playdate-inviting via Facebook. My neighborhood coordinates group garage sales through Facebook. I sell stuff we don’t need anymore on Facebook (I never look at Craigslist anymore). Our class spouse club sends invitations to get-togethers and coordinates potlucks through Facebook. It’s convenient because most of us are already there.

Sharing photos with friends and family. It’s kind of the same as #1 but definitely easier to use Facebook for this than to email photos individually, or text everyone, or print and mail them. Let’s face it. Sometimes Facebook is convenient.

Participating in groups. I know people who have quit Facebook totally… except for groups. When we find a group we “click” with and learn from, that’s super valuable. And it’s fun to be part of a community we identify with. Kind of like my community of real homemakers making real changes (that actually stick). We have a blast on Facebook together!

Keeping up with brands, companies, and blogs we like. Sure we could use Feed.ly for keeping up with blog posts, but sometimes bloggers post “extra” goodies on Facebook. And we don’t necessarily want to sign up for email lists for every company we like, but “liking” them on Facebook still lets us keep up with their sales and promotions (if Facebook’s algorithm decides we need to see them).

You can also do cool stuff like following other people’s interest lists, and creating your own. Here’s my “Home – Organizing, Simplicity” list if you’d like to follow along with some of my favorite bloggers and pages.

So… maybe it doesn’t really suck. Not completely. There are great reasons to use Facebook.

But Facebook can be really, really, really annoying.

Read the rest to find out how to fix your newsfeed.