The value of one hour to think about one thing.

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Sixty minutes, two times a day, 5 days per week = 10 HOURS.  That’s the amount of time I spend commuting each week.  I try to make the most out of that time.  As of late, I phased out listening to my usual politics podcasts because, well, it was getting toxic.  Then I discovered the value of choosing to think about one thing for one hour during my commute. I’ve been using this time to think creatively. I start by selecting from a mental menu of options to think about.   Continue reading “The value of one hour to think about one thing.”

Why I stopped wearing patterns


As I pruned my wardrobe down to the clothes I wore most often and then reflected on why I wore some things more than others, I realized I had gotten rid of almost all my clothes with patterns.  Patterns are exciting when first purchased but after a few wears, I tend to get sick of looking at them.  And because they stand out in people’s memory, I feel that I can’t wear the same patterned clothing over and over again.

Continue reading “Why I stopped wearing patterns”

good read: voluntary simplicity

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This week’s good read is a really interesting essay on simplicity by Richard Gregg, a social philosopher who is known mostly for his work on non-violent resistance.  In 1936, he first coined the term “voluntary simplicity” in an essay entitled The Value of Voluntary Simplicity.  It is thorough and still relevant– a total consolidation and refreshing reminder of why we choose simplicity.  He writes about the importance of simplicity as it relates to human relationships, personalities, domestic life, unity, society, equality, civilization, leadership, non violence, the environment, art, and beauty.  This is essential reading for anyone interested in minimalism.

Here are a few notable quotes from the essay:

Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life….  It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose.”

Continue reading “good read: voluntary simplicity”

clutter is how far away you are from your present self

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What is clutter? Webster defines clutter as a collection of things lying about in an untidy mess. But what about the things themselves? Clutter neatly arranged is still clutter, isn’t it? In learning more about minimalism, I’ve begun to learn to recognize clutter in new ways. This is the first step in removing it and preventing it from re-entering our lives.

So what is clutter? And how does it enter our lives?

Clutter reflects how far away you are from your present self.

It happens in 3 ways: Continue reading “clutter is how far away you are from your present self”

good read: the anti-mcmansion


I stumbled across a feature on the Apiece Apart blog inspiring woman series about Christina Kawabata’s beautiful house in upstate New York where she and her architect husband raise their two kids with very little material possessions in one large open concept space.  It was featured in the NY times, in an article titled ‘the Anti-McMansion‘ and also on the Remodelista blog.  In the interview with Apiece Apart, she talks about people’s general reaction to her home and how she has managed to raise two children with this lifestyle.  It got me thinking about the idea of creating “domestic calm” and how that might be important to have firmly in place before bringing children into this world.

[image credit:  Apiece Apart]

good read

ny times article

Stumbled upon a surprising NY times article by David Brooks on the evolution of simplicity — his analysis on the progression of minimalism / asceticism throughout history.  It is surprising to find David Brooks writing on this topic.  I usually find myself irritated by his right leaning political opinions, but found myself nodding in agreement with him here.  It’s a must read.

good read: understanding why we hold on to clutter

good reads

Understanding why we hold on to clutter helps us make better editorial choices when decluttering.  Linda Sand, a commenter on the bemorewithless blog’s great post on “how to get rid of clutter you care about”, wrote that the trick for her was learning that “I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.” The meaning of this took a few moments to settle in but when it did, it resonated with me.  It’s worth repeating:

“I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.”

I am so impressed by how inward and honest she is with herself.  This wisdom can extend beyond decluttering and informs general life decisions as well.  Her comment helped me realize I was doing the same thing.  Now I feel like I can look at that burnt sienna blazer collecting dust in my closet and finally let it go. It’s not me, it was an image of a girl I admired, but it isn’t me.  I think this subconsciously happens to all of us…  are you holding onto something that isn’t ‘you’?