You’ve done well. Now enjoy.

With the new year quickly approaching, I want to remind you of a few things:

1. You’ve done well. You’ve done well this year. You’ve pushed through things, overcome some and are still working on others. But you’ve done well so give yourself some credit.

2. You’ve done a lot more than you think you have. Looking back at the year as a whole, it can feel like only a few things stand out. We easily forget all the little things we have done, which often add up the most.

3. You deserve to relax and enjoy yourself. And don’t tell yourself otherwise. Relaxation and happiness are not things we need to earn. You don’t need to reach some quota before you’re allowed to have fun. Waiting to reward yourself after you complete a goal is great, but too often we hold out until the big goal is accomplished, before letting ourselves enjoy even the tiniest rewards. Reward yourself for the small steps you’ve taken. Or just reward yourself because you’re wonderful and you deserve it, no matter what you’ve accomplished today. (See points 1 and 2.)

Relaxing and enjoying are different from splurging. Enjoy freely. Splurge occasionally. (tweet that)

4. You have the power to decide how you feel next year. How did you feel this year? What were your predominant emotions? Were you mostly stressed, happy, bored? Of course we experience a range but if one feeling stands out to you, is that feeling something you want to feel again this next year? If not, what needs to change?

5. Everything is a choice. This is something that really hit hard for me this year. I found myself committing to things because “I had to”, only to realize that I actually could have said no. “But I didn’t have a choice,” I found myself thinking. It was when I had that exact thought that I realized, “No. I completely, 100% had a choice. And I always have a choice.” And so do you.

Next year is filled with so many possibilities. Whatever limitations are coming to your mind right now, challenge them. Ask yourself if they must be so, or if you have a choice. You can make next year whatever you want it to be. For that matter, you can make the remaining days of this year whatever you want them to be.

You can.

Now enjoy.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

You don’t need 15 candles

With the holidays in our midst, I know many of our homes are looking extra clutter— I mean festive.

You have stockings hung, garlands draped, and trees skirted. Presents everywhere, and wrapping paper everywhere else. Food. All the food.

And maybe a candle or two. Or three, on the mantle. And one in the kitchen. It smells like sugar cookies, yum. Then there’s the cranberry-pine scented one by the tree, just to give it that little extra zoosh.

After the holidays are over you’ll put away the snowman candle collection and bring back out your basic floral and perfumy, year-round candles. The linen scented one for the bathroom. The sexy one on your nightstand. The expensive one that was a gift, which you reserve only for when the girls are over for wine night.

Yeah. Girl, same. I’ve got one that smells exactly like lemon bars and it’s the yummiest thing ever. That one’s in my kitchen.

But let me tell you. You do not need 15 candles. Dare I say it, you do not even need 10 candles. Maybe five. Maybe. (How big is your house?) (tweet that)

Candles have definitely been a weakness of mine for years now, but it’s something I’ve really tried to stop in the last year or so. Once I finish the ones I have now, I can buy more. But until then, I do not need any more candles. And most likely, neither do you. I’m here to support you, ladies (and gentlemen). Be strong. We can do this.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

When Christmas Perfection leads to overwhelm

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and also the most everything time of the year.

It’s the time to eat the most cookies and desserts you’ve had all year.

It’s the time to cook the most elaborate meal you’ve made all year.

It’s the time to get out all the fancy china, with way too many pieces of silverware and all the special serving spoons and butter knives and gravy boats and snowman spatulas, and on and on and on.

(When really your normal set of dishes and cutlery would do.)

You don’t need all those things and all those desserts and all those Christmas cards to write— but yet we write them.

And we stress because we waited too long and now they might not make it in time for Christmas. And the presents still aren’t wrapped and…

You might feel overwhelmed. Honestly I’m not partaking in any of the above (except the eating desserts) but I got overwhelmed just now typing it all out.

It’s not your normal. It’s no one’s normal. So it’s completely okay to feel overwhelmed this time of year. Don’t feel guilty or like you’re just not able to handle it like everyone else is.

They can’t handle it either. Everyone is pushing extra hard this month to get everything done and to make things just perfect.

But I think that’s one of the big flaws. This idea of Christmas Perfection. Maybe it’s how we saw our own parents handle the holidays, where everything seemed so effortless because we were kids and didn’t know the half of it. Or maybe it’s to live up to some Instagram expectation that’s now become our standard.

Whatever it is, this idea isn’t sustainable, and it’s hardly attainable. (tweet that)

We exhaust ourselves by making sure the appetizers are perfectly spaced on the tray, while looking over our shoulder to make sure the right wines are being paired with the right cheeses.

It’s too much.

What if we did Christmas a different way this year? What if we minimized all the plates and little spoons. What if we only made our favorite few dishes and really savored them. What if we only bought half the Christmas gifts and didn’t send out any cards.

What would that Christmas look like? Would it look like a Pinterest fail, or would it actually look a lot closer to how we remember Christmases feeling when we were kids? Carefree, fun, and memorable.

Would we have more time to sit down, and admire our favorite few Christmas decorations we put out this year? Would we engage more directly with those around us, instead of worrying about a half-hearted card in the mail? Maybe we would pick up the phone and call the few people we actually think about on Christmas. Or, maybe we’d have more time to think of more people.

What is your idea of Christmas Perfection? Is it something you can post on Instagram? Or is it something you have to be there to feel? Something only those around you can experience together?

Whatever it is, I wish you a lovely Christmas. And I wish you peace. Peace of mind and peace within yourself. I wish you a slow pace and a happy heart. And lots and lots of dessert.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

The speed you’re not used to

With all the holiday rush and the hundreds of things we think we need to check off our to-do lists, take a minute to read this quote from Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist:

paul coelhoSome people go through life like they’re in slow motion. For others, everything is a rushed blur. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, but have days that lean to either extreme.

The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and savor every moment with family and friends, but usually the opposite gets prioritized, resulting in stress and fatigue. (tweet that)

This time of year more than ever, try and find pleasure in the speed you’re not used to. If you’re rushing more than usual, try and find joy in the experience. See if you can keep up your pace but lose the stress and the hectic state of mind. Embrace that this is your speed this time of year.

Or, if you can, slow down a bit. Go completely counter to what everyone else is doing and really be present this December. You might feel pulled to “do more” or be in ten places at once. But is that what will make you happy? Go slow despite the social pressures. Do what feels right for you. As Coelho says, allow a new person to grow inside of you.

On a related note, check out Sage On Earth, a travel blog I recently found about a family of four who combines simple living with family adventure, “discovering our beautiful world at a different pace.” P.S. They have a beautiful instagram, too.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

I need to get my husband on board with minimalism | Ask LFB

“This morning my husband hung his shirts outside his closet — because he couldn’t find a place to squeeze them in. He has a very, very small closet. I went in and pulled out all the sweatshirts I could find, and he has more or as many as I do! (Not a very good use of space.) This then led me to look in the drawers which seem to hold things like old swimsuits and sweaters he’s never worn, and all kinds of things I didn’t know he owns!!

I’ve been asking him to go through his closet and get rid of things, which he’s done a bit but boy do we have a long way to go! I don’t know that he’s inspired or cares. There’s got to be a better way that I can sell him to get him on board getting rid of things he doesn’t need.”

—Nicole

Hi, Nicole! Welcome to the LFB fam!

I think you mentioned a couple key points:

1. He has a very small closet. Depending on your outlook, this is an advantage or a disadvantage. For those with a ton of stuff, it’s an obvious disadvantage. But I’d encourage you both to try and frame this as a positive thing. Embrace the small size and what it offers. A smaller space lends itself more easily to maintaining tidiness. And fewer clothes in a closet means less time standing in front of it deciding. So once he does get rid of some more things, his closet will be a quick stop along the way and not the burden it currently is.

2. Sweatshirts in a closet are not a good use of space. Everyone differs on how they like to organize things but it sounds like for you it is clear his current system isn’t working. Ask him if he feels the same. He might have more space than he thinks if only it was better used.

3. He’s holding on to things he doesn’t need. Maybe the best place to focus for now is on the more obviously unnecessary items. Rather than go for the abundance of sweatshirts in the closet that he sees every day, have him look through those drawers and get rid of the items that aren’t in his every day radar. He might not know he has some of those things either! This exercise will more quickly free up some great drawer space, which you can then use for sweatshirts.

4. You both have a lot of sweatshirts. I’d suggest you take a half hour together to each go through your sweatshirts at the same time. This is an area where you have common ground, and something you can do together so the hard work doesn’t all fall on him. Show him that you are ruthless with getting rid of the ones you know aren’t your favorites, and set an example for him to do the same.

5. He might not be inspired, but that’s okay. As frustrating as it is when someone we are close to isn’t happily aboard the minimalism train, it’s ultimately each person’s choice. You can encourage him and set an example, but it’s up to him to follow it or not. If he doesn’t, or not up to your standard anyway, don’t lose hope, but don’t put too much pressure on him either. Keep chipping away at the small, easy things to get rid of, which will set into motion a flow of decluttering and decreasing that overtime can make a big difference. I always like to get rid of the easiest things first, because it gives momentum and also makes the other non-essentials that much more apparent — now that you can see them!

I hope this helps, Nicole. Check back in with me on how it turns out!

Brianna

 

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.