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I crave real simplicity.

I’m not really a minimalist in the true sense of the word. I could never get rid of my shelves (and boxes) of books and I think it’s okay to have more than three or four completely mix-and-matchable outfits in my wardrobe.

But I know how full and crazy life is. I have a home, a husband, and (soon!) a tiny baby to take care of. I have a dream business I’m developing. I try to write. I have commitments and obligations and relationships I want to cultivate…and I’m not always very good at juggling it all.

What I want is to streamline and simplify whatever I can in life to make it easier to focus more on the things I love and less on the things I do just because they need to be done.

I love order, but I’m not very good at maintaining it. I need a little help sometimes. Keeping life simple is key for me, but I’m not always sure how to get there from where I am right now.

That’s one of the reasons why I have a thing for books about organization, minimization and efficiency. I may never be Martha Stewart. I know that I have to find out what works for me — for our life — on my own.   But I sure can pick up some tricks of the trade by absorbing what works for others who are better at this than I am!

So I picked up a book.

I started reading Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott while waiting (and waiting and waiting…) for one of my prenatal appointments a few weeks ago. I’d snagged it from Amazon when it was available for a free download months ago, and since we were currently in the process of completely rearranging our bitty home and our schedules to accommodate our little addition on the way, it seemed like a good pick. It was!

Simple Living (a #giveaway at @KindredGrace!)

The fact that it is broken down into thirty days of simple, easy and helpful chapters really helped me stick with one of my newly re-discovered disciplines: focus on one new thing at a time and stick with it.

And I loved that she starts out the book with taking time to chart out our dreams. Knowing where you want to be makes knowing how to get there so much easier. 

Simple Living covers everything from your incoming and outgoing “stuff”, to quick closet order, to learning how to simplify your social media without cutting it out completely. But one of the the things that really stood out to me was the section about “Dead Plants”.

Most of the  time, I’m okay with keeping my real plants alive. But the dead plants of obligations, projects I’ll never finish, and even books I’ll really never read do tend to clutter up my life. The idea about making it a regular routine to take time to clear out those “dead plants” from my life and schedule was perfect for me.

That afternoon, I went through our bookshelves and pulled all the duplicates and books I just knew I wasn’t going to read again or ever. I took a (very) deep breath and made the decision to sell my quilting frame. I am going through my obligations and commitments and freeing myself from the ones that I know don’t belong in this season in my life.  Scott and I aren’t big collectors (with the exception of books, that is!), so we don’t have many piles of useless stuff laying around. But both of us know our wardrobes and closets need some attention. That’s our next project from the book, and I’m looking forward to it!

It isn’t easy to cut out things that feel like they might be good or important. But it is so freeing to have more room for what really is important, not just what might be.

You should read it.

I know we’ll never be minimalists like Lorilee and her family have chosen to be. And maybe you won’t be either. But if you think you’d like to simplify your life so you can live it a little more fully, picking up a copy of Simple Living is a good idea.  Whether it is your budget, your closet, your email or your relationships, these little 30-day steps are a great place to start to as you work towards adding disciplines and simplicity back into your life.

What’s one of your keys for simple living?

I’d love to hear it!

The Giveaway

Want to read Simple Living for yourself? Leave us a comment telling us your key for simple living and use the Rafflecopter form below to be entered for a chance to win one of three digital copies of Lorilee’s eBook.  (Many thanks to Lorilee for being so generous to share her books with us!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 Comments

  1. Would love to read this as decluttering is a life-long process. πŸ™‚ thanks for offering this giveaway!

  2. I’m wanting to simplify our finance flow. The whole thing, we do not have a good method for keeping track of receipts or anything. Not good!

  3. Alexis Harrison says:

    I’ve started waking up almost 2 hours before I have to leave the house in the morning. I am able to make coffee and breakfast spend time with Jesus, shower, get ready and not feel rushed or forgetful. My mornings are less stressful which makes my whole day better!

  4. I really want to clean out my closets

  5. My current project is cleaning out clutter. I am living at home at the moment, and with one small bedroom that is containing all of my life it can get very overwhelming. I’ve been slowly picking a “station” each day to work through and declutter.

  6. I think I’ve needed help with simple living from the moment I was born! πŸ˜€

  7. Simplifying is something desperately needing integration into my life. Sometimes I delegate complete tasks, sometimes I take full responsibility… cutting out the working together part of a job sometimes simplifies. Obviously that’s not the ideal approach every time, but in some situations it is good and helpful.

  8. I have a basket under my desk that I throw the random pieces of papers with addresses, phone numbers, or memos scribbled on them. Than once a week, or when I get the time, I sort them out. Some are thrown away, the others are filed. It saves time and energy, while simplifying what my desk looks like!

  9. Having lived one year overseas, I took with me much, much less than I have in my closet and on my shelves right now – but it was a year with much more room for companionship, time for new friends, space for new experiences which didn’t have anything to do with material stuff. In a way, I felt richer and more blessed in these months when I actually owned just a few things of my own.
    I still get rid of things easily and with no regrets – I even like to donate clothes and books because I am sure someone else will need them. My goal is to live with as little in every season as I would take on a three-week-holiday. Doesn’t work all the time, of course, but it’s a good aim… And it makes you think about what you really need.

  10. A good calendar! I use it to schedule everything and help me remember πŸ™‚
    I find that I’m becoming more of a minimalist the older I get.

  11. I got my tip from Apartment Therapy…. The secret of the outbox!
    Since I’m attached to the things I save, from clothes to dishes…. It’s hard to cull the clutter and let something go.
    The outbox concept says, put the items you are almost ready to get rid of in the “outbox” which may be a box or a spare room… For me, it’s my hallway. And a week later, see if you’re ready to get rid of it. It may take a couple weeks, even months. But eventually, your attachment lessens, and if it doesn’t, you’re just not ready to part ways.

    I find if I’m tired of stepping around it in my hallway, it’s ready to go. If my heart tugs each time I see it, it’s a keeper!

  12. This sounds like a great read! I’m very sentimental, so I find I have to purge regularly or my stuff takes over πŸ™‚

  13. Kirsten D says:

    Oh, this sounds like such an encouraging “bite-size” read and approach to simplifying and organizing! With baby #3 due in December I’m beginning my nesting phase of “clear out junk, make space for baby, and solve little problems while they’re little”. πŸ™‚ I need to use the dead plants idea quite a bit, too…there are things I’ve held onto from my single days that I may not really dig into again with three littles, but other single friends may love the opportunity to use them!

  14. Something that helps me is to purge several times a year and carefully consider any new purchases I make.

  15. One great way to simplify your life is to have regular clear-outs, and get rid of stuff you haven’t worn/used in the past year. Because we’ve moved house so many times, this has been easier for us to do, but even in living in one place, it’s good to do it a few times a year.

    1. Moriah Ortega says:

      “Dead plants” . . . I think I like that idea.

  16. For me , a regular deep cleaning/purging of extra items helps and if I get some “new” clothes, I get rid of some old worn out ones that I no longer will wear.

  17. I’m not great at simplifying either, for I have too many hobbies and projects going on in my life right now. I like to occasionally pick an area and just deep-clean, throw stuff away and box up things that I want to keep, but can hide away for now. This sounds like a great book!

  18. You guys (and the Lord!) have been right on the nose, posting things that I am directly dealing with. My husband I made a spontaneous decision to move into The Wheelburrow, a camper on my Dad’s property. And while it’s a HUGE 50ft camper, it’s definitely not a house. It’s working beautifully for our small family now, and we’re able to minister to my Dad’s family in so many ways that would be harder if we were elsewhere. But in this little house-on-wheels, there is a desperate need for simple living that I’ve never tried before.
    In the next few weeks, I’m going to start tackling some big organization projects and it’s going to take a lot of prayer and perseverance to let go of things I’ve wanted to hold on to, but I simply can’t store anymore. πŸ™ Thanks for sharing this, Chantel! Even if I don’t win the giveaway, this is definitely going on my Amazon wishlist, lol.

  19. right now, my key for simple living is accurate meal planning. I am not just planning what meals that we eat, but how often we eat them. I plan for leftovers and have severely reduced our waste (and our grocery budget!) by planning. Since there’s only the two of us, I had to adjust my tendencies to overbuy food!

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I still need help for simple living.

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