You Can Do This {Even If You’re Reading This Under a Pile of Laundry, Old Mail and Wrapping Paper}


Here’s a secret: you can get the best and truest and most rewarding part of living with less without lifting a finger.

Sure, I talk a lot about clutter on this blog, the struggle to get it out and keep it out of the house, and resisting the oppressive culture of busyness and more, more, more. And those struggles and challenges are real.

But you can get the best of minimalism, the part I find to be most helpful, with a stuffed garage and layers of Disney memorabilia and your fifth grade cross country participation medals laying around the house. Because the best part isn’t the tidier house or the the savings from living smaller.

The best part of minimalism is realizing You Have Enough.

You have enough. Nothing you can buy or own will change how you feel about yourself. If you’re meeting all your basic needs – food, shelter, clothing – there is nothing in a store that will bring you lasting contentment or happiness. Awakening to the fact that a new entertainment unit or those tops you keep putting in a virtual cart and then abandoning, will not make you happier, that to me is the best lesson of minimalism. You have enough. 

So before we kick our butts, and homes, into gear take time to look around you and see that you truly have enough. If you’re reading this you have Internet access – lucky you! – and likely are living with indoor plumbing, clean running water and heating. You’re clothed (or not but likely that’s a choice!) and you’re probably even dealing with a bit of dietary excess and thinking about eating less by choice. You’re doing pretty well next to most of the world. Enjoy that fact. Remember it. You have enough.

The 2016 Clutter Cleanse Challenge

  • runs for six weeks
  • each week will focus on one area or topic like building a capsule wardrobe, streamlining finances or kid clutter.
  • there will be three posts a week plus prompts on the blog Facebook page
  • I would love it if you shared your tips and comments here and on the Facebook page. Whether you’ve been trying to live with less for two years, or if this is the first time you’ve heard of minimalism, it is so helpful to hear how others declutter their home and how they deal with the challenges of stuff.
  • NEW: I’ll be Instagram-ing this challenge and would love to see your progress! You can follow me on Instagram – the_minimalistmom – you can post with the hashtag #cluttercleanse16. Search the hashtag for more inspiration.

Watch for the first post in the 2016 Clutter Cleanse series on Sunday.

My 2016 inspiration and kick starts. Here are a few small things I’m using to springboard myself into what should be a big year for me personally and professionally.

  • Brave Enough, Cheryl Strayed’s collection of quotes from her book Wild and her Dear Sugar column, is my inspiration to start the year. My work space will accumulate a lot of Cheryl Strayed quotes on post-it-notes in the next few weeks.
  • I love productivity apps. Working for myself leaves me at risk for a lot of wandering mind/Internet surfing. The Pomodoro app will be ringing on my laptop a lot in the next two months as I work to get my first draft of my second book into my publisher (August 2016 release!). I’m also testing out the 1-3-5 To Do List that another freelancer recommended to me to
  • Setting personal and family goals. My husband and I are sitting down this weekend to set some personal, financial and family goals together. Last year was a quiet year on those fronts as we welcomed a new baby and had a big international move to tackle. This year I’m ready to push myself. We’re starting 2016 with a family financial challenge that I’m both scared and excited for. I’ve signed up for a May half marathon, have a new book coming out with Adams Media this summer and we have some fun trips planned both with and without (wow!) our children. It’s going to be a big year.

Do you have any new year traditions on reflecting on the past and setting goals or making plans for the coming year?

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  • I’ve started a new tradition this year. Instead of starting on New Year’s Day, I looked at what I wanted 2016 to look like and then made a rolling start on habits and progressions from the beginning of November 2015. I started with little things like developing better reading habits and limited my screen time to the 3-4 shows I Already enjoy (which is brilliant cos the ones I love have long hiatuses). I’m finding that starting my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ early are beginning to make a bigger impact on my state of mind than it ever has. For the first time in my life I’m becoming addicted to personal growth instead of dreading the change. My biggest goal starts in February, when I go back to study. I’m still nervous but I know that I have laid some solid foundations for me to succeed despite the extra load.

  • I need to join in with this. I totally get the you have enough aspect of the minimalist movement and I do want to keep a certain amount of clutter (ie memories) but we have way too much stuff in our house! Plus I set my intentions and word for the year on my blog this last week, good luck for 2016

  • One productivity app (well, a web-service, yet) I’ve found uniquely adapted for minimalists is Complice. It makes you focus on today, what you can do to push your goals forward today and for that reason there is no way of setting a date to a task. You have a list of goals, easy way of assigning tasks to those goals and, in another tab, weekly, monthly and yearly reviews. I’ve found the reviews challenging but extremely worth writing – they help you notice that your effort really has some effective.
    But the thing that prompted me to recommend to you trying out Complice is your mention of Pomodoro technique. Complice has a built-in timer where you can modify the time, assigning tiny tomatoes to tasks in-progress and a video-chat rooms for co-working using pomodoros (ie. people are working at the same time using a common timer). This is the coolest part. There are real people who can see if you’re slacking and congratulate you on accomplishing something and help you if you don’t know how to attack a task.
    There’s a free trial, too. The final bonus is that it’s owner is Canadian 😉

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