I recently finished the book “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. I have to say that I would highly recommend this book! Janice not only talks about her personal experience with practicing gratitude but includes lots of other research. The book is filled with many stories of how gratitude can transform your life. She interviews a variety of people including professors, friends, psychologists, CEO’s , actresses, artists and many others and has so many inspirational stories. One of my favorite lines from the book is from psychologist, Dr. Robert Emmons who is one of the worlds leading experts on gratitude. He says “You don’t need good events in your life to feel gratitude. Instead grateful people reframe whatever happens to them. They don’t focus on what they’re lacking; they make sure they see the good in what they have.”
Lately, I have had quite a few situations with clients who like to go to Costco or Sam’s Club to buy in bulk and save money. There are also many clients who have embraced Amazon’s auto ship policy. But is this really saving you money??
As a professional organizer I have to say more times than not buying in bulk only creates a new set of issues.
The reasons I do not agree with bulk purchases:
-Some houses just do not have the storage space for bulk purchases. Especially cases of paper towels and toilet paper.
-If storage space is limited then these bulk items have to either be shoved into a space, left in garage or maybe even scattered in different places throughout the house.
-If items are scattered throughout the house then there is a good chance you will forget what you have and buy more.
-These bulk items also steal space from the items that you need on a regular basis. Making it much harder to find what you use daily.
-Haven’t we all gotten on a health kick with a certain new protein powder, vitamin, or snack that we really wanted to love? But with adults and especially kids we go through phases and may grow tired of a certain product. Then we are stuck with cases of something we no longer eat.
-Plain and simple, food has an expiration date. If you stock up on more than you can possibly eat before the item goes bad then the food is wasted.
-Once you tire of an item then it is much better to donate to a food pantry than to just let the item gather dust and expire.
-If you are about to run out of an item there are so many websites and stores at your disposal. With one click of a button or a 10 minute drive to the store you can replenish in no time.
I know there are situations where a bulk purchase makes a lot of sense. For example, you need to take snacks for your child’s classroom, you are hosting a party or maybe making holiday gift baskets for your neighbors and friends. This is the case where you may save some money. But again how much is that annual fee to keep your membership? And when you go to buy in bulk are you tempted to pick up other items that were not on your list?
Next time you are tempted to stock up on something ask yourself these questions. Do you really have a place to store these things? Do you really need such a large quantity? How much are your really saving? How much time will you spend trying to find a place to store the items?
I have been reading quite a bit about minimalism lately and what it truly means to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Many people hear the word minimalism and say that it is not for them. Some of us think of a typical empty house with white walls and no stuff. But if I have learned anything lately from the various blog posts, podcasts and books I have read it is that minimalism is not easily defined. There is not a right or wrong way to be a minimalist. Minimalism can be defined by you and applied to YOUR lifestyle. Anyone who is trying to rid their house of excess stuff and is willing to simplify is taking steps towards becoming more minimalist.
I just finished the book “The More of Less” by Joshua Becker. (Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own). It was a great book and had some good insight into the benefits of owning less. I would highly recommend it.
There are many resources available on the subject of minimalism, simplifying your life and intentional living. All you have to do is have an open mind and be willing to make even one small change. You just might surprise yourself.
Some of my favorite resources:
“Everything that Remains” by the Minimalists
“You Can Buy Happiness and its Cheap” by Tammy Strobel
Slow Your Home by Brooke McAlary
(her new book just came out “Destination Simple”)
Related to simplifying your wardrobe:
Courtney Carver and her blog Be More With Less
(Project 333 and The Tiny Wardrobe Tour)
You can also check out Pinterest and search my boards for Capsule and Minimalist wardrobes for some inspiration!
As many of you know, I have just moved into a new house. Even though it was a local move it is still so much work! I would much rather help a client that do that again myself anytime soon. I did find that during the first few weeks of moving in when there is so much to do I had a hard time sitting still or going to bed at a reasonable hour.
Have you ever been too exhausted too sleep? Your body is so tired but your mind is full of all the things you need to do. This is where I decided to try a podcast. Yes I am a little late to the game on that one! I kept wanting to try one but never had until now. Oh my goodness…let me just say its a great way to wind down and get stuff done at the same time. If that even makes sense?? First I used the podcast as my reward for a long day of unpacking. I would listen to it in bed to help me relax. Then one day I thought why I am not listening to this while I am doing stuff?? I ended up binging on like 10 episodes of Young House Love has a podcast.
If you are not familiar with Young House Love they are a cute DIY husband and wife team that have written 2 books, have had product lines on shades of light and target and have written a blog for years. Yes there are a lot of DIY ers out there but these 2 are so easy to relate to and very funny. They talk about their house projects, design, products they love, family, their dog and more…
I must say I was sad once I had listened to most of the podcasts. I tried a few other podcasts and was instantly turned off by all the advertising. I think I got spoiled with Young House Love. Finally I have discovered 3 others that I do enjoy.
How I Built This which is an NPR podcast that interviews entrepreneurs and business owners about how they got started. I listened to the one about Kendra Scott, the jewelry designer, actually on the recommendation of Sherry at Young House Love. It was a good one. I love Kendra Scott’s designs and it was so interesting to hear her story.
The other podcast I am enjoying is Slow Your Home. It is a lovely Australian couple who talk about slow living and living intentionally. I don’t know if its her accent or the content of the show but she is very calming to listen to. The podcast is a more thoughtful one to reflect on life and being less busy and more present.
The last podcast is The Minimalists. It is 2 best friends who have embraced a life of minimalism after being in the corporate world. They have written numerous books. I have read their book Everything that Remains and really enjoyed it. They are also on tour now speaking to groups everywhere about why they chose to live with less. They are funny and witty and really make you think.
Anyway, the whole point of my rambling is if you have not embraced the world of podcasts give them a try. You can listen while you do laundry, cook, organize and clean. And you can even throw on some headphones and listen when you get in bed. For those of you that are always busy its a relaxing way to wind down guilt free!! ( and you might even learn something in the process).
Organizing can sometimes seem daunting especially if you have limited time. However, an area that can have a huge impact are bathrooms. Products can pile up quickly and pretty soon cabinets and drawers are overflowing. Counter tops end up covered with things that just landed there.
After years of helping clients I have noticed almost everyone buys products that they don’t always end up liking. Because they spent money on that magic hair serum or beauty product they feel guilty getting rid of them. But why should you keep things if they don’t work for you??
Take time to remove the products from your bathroom that you will never use. If they are practically new then you could give them away to a friend, family member or a charity that can give them to someone in need. If they are old or expired then toss and don’t look back!
Remove travel size items and store them in a bin out of the way as well. Next time you pack for a trip you can go to the bin to replenish your toiletry bag.
If you buy extras of your favorite products then designate a place for “extras”. Either a linen closet or put away in a cabinet so they are not in the way of your daily routine.
Keep only what you use daily out on the counter in a small basket or a nearby drawer or shelf. This will keep your morning routine simple and quick and make cleaning your counter a breeze!
Most of us can relate to having a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. Lately I have been reading a lot of minimalist blogs and articles about the concept of capsule wardrobes.
My husband and I also watched the documentary “The True Cost” on Netflix. It is a very interesting film about the fashion industry and what it has become over the last couple of decades, and explains what happens to all the excess clothing that is donated from the U.S. The documentary interviews many workers in other countries about the conditions they work in to make a lot of the clothing that we as Americans wear. The interviews are heartbreaking to watch and really make you think about these foreign workers making as little as $2 per day, often in unsafe conditions.
I am certainly not saying to get rid of all the clothes in your closet that are made in Bangladesh and other countries who treat their workers poorly. And as another blogger said we should not be discouraged about donating our clothes to Goodwill and other places.
-The most important change we can all make it to buy less.
-Buy quality, not quantity.
-Be aware of brands and companies and do your research to support companies who are treating workers fairly.
-Support small businesses and artisans.
If you would like to learn more here are a few of my favorite blogs and articles related to simplifying your wardrobe:
I can’t believe it is already September! I do have to admit I am relieved we may get a break from this heat finally. Fall is my favorite time of year and I thought it would be fun to share some inspirational decorating ideas with you.
We all get in a rut from time to time and think we have to decorate in traditional holiday colors or stick to a certain look or theme.
The main goal is to have fun and be creative!
Do you have trouble sitting still and doing nothing? Yep I’m right there with ya! I have been working a lot lately and suddenly find myself with a few days off. Normally I would feel guilty for sitting still and doing nothing but today I decided not to! I slept late and decided to watch a few movies while relaxing on the couch with my pups and listening to the rain.
Sometimes you have to appreciate the little things. It’s okay to have a day of doing nothing. We all deserve it from time to time.