Monthly Archives: December 2012

52 Reasons to Simplify Your Life in 2013

20130101-104535.jpg

Embracing simplicity has changed my life.

Aside from returning Sparky’s shy smile back in 2000, saying ‘yes’ in 2006 and meeting our two babies in 2009 and 2010, it’s easily one of the best things I’ve ever done.

2011 was the year I turned to simplicity.

Now it’s your turn. 2013 is your year.

The year to embrace simplicity. The year to let go. The year to feel lightness. The year to say yes to happiness.

2013 is the year of simplicity.

52 Reasons to Simplify in 2013

For some of these reasons the benefits are immediate, while for others, the benefit will come later. And some you won’t even realise you need help with yet.

Living a simpler life in 2013 means:

1. Less physical clutter in your home.

2. Less stress from constantly battling clutter and the emotions it brings.

3. You will be less likely to overcommit yourself in daily life.

4. Less time spent cleaning.

5. More time for people you love – your kids, your partner, your parents, your friends.

6. More good conversations as you will spend less time thinking and talking about stuff.

7. Less impact on the environment.

8. Learning that gifts and love are not the same thing.

9. You will spend less money.

10. You will eat healthier, less processed foods.

11. Less dusting because you will have less knick-knacks decorating your home.

12. Less time organising your belongings.

13. Less waste – you will collect less packaging, less disposable fashion, less excess food.

14. Less likely to inadvertently support child slavery and unfair work conditions through buying cheap, disposable items.

15. You can stop being a slave to fashion trends.

16. More honesty – you will get to understand what’s truly important in life, and honesty follows swiftly.

17. You will focus less on the negative aspects of others – and yourself.

18. Improve your mindfulness as you strip away all the things that distract you.

19. Naturally focus on your health more as your self-awareness improves.

20. Eat less takeaway.

21. Feel pride in your efforts.

22. Feel lighter in yourself – emotionally and physically.

23. Accept that its OK to move forward, to change, to evolve.

24. You will have more energy.

25. You will think more clearly.

26. Feeling more content with what you have.

27. You will feel happier – or give yourself the opportunity to experience more happiness.

28. More time to pursue passions and hobbies.

29. More time for relaxation or to do nothing at all.

30. Tidier wardrobes.

31. You will be able to help those less fortunate with donations of both physical items and money.

32. Spend less time getting dressed in the mornings.

33. You will only own clothes that you like, fit well and suit your lifestyle.

34. Spend less time organising your stuff.

35. Everything you own will have it’s place – meaning it’s much easier to keep tidy.

36. You will learn to embrace quality over quantity.

37. Learning to look after what you do have.

38. Discover that the value of people and the value of their stuff is not related.

39. Watch less TV – you will cut out the mindless channel surfing.

40. You will be more likely to consider travelling.

41. You will have less luggage when you do.

42. You will be more inclined to look for adventure or the road less travelled.

43. Less time (and money) wasted shopping for things you don’t need.

44. You will pay your bills on time.

45. Your house will look more appealing because it will be less cluttered.

46. Your cleaning routine will be simpler and easier.

47. You will be less likely to find housework overwhelming.

48. You need less furniture, which gives you more space.

49. Your home and its style will reflect you, not IKEA.

50. No more dreading drop-in visitors.

51. You are giving yourself the opportunity to get out of debt.

52. You can start saving for that long-awaited holiday/house deposit/college fund.

And the best part? You’re not alone. I’m here to help.

You may remember my 2012 in 2012 Declutter Challenge from last year. Where I decluttered well over 2012 items.

Well this year, it’s on again and I’d love you to join me.

2013 is the year I’m going to help you declutter – and de-own – at least 2013 items in your home.

Regardless of where you are on your simple living journey – whether 2013 will be your first clutter-free year, or if you’ve been simplifying for some time now – there’s always room to improve.

Starting next week, I’ll be publishing a printable monthly checklist of clutter-rich places to focus on in your home, as well as tips on how to keep motivated throughout the year.

If you want to work towards that goal with us, we will be keeping track of our progress right here on the blog. That way, we can work through the Declutter Challenge together and keep each other accountable as 2013 gets underway.

Believe me when I say 2013 can be your simplest year yet – if you choose.

In the meantime, Happy New Year to you – yes you – and I hope the January 1st hangover isn’t too bad!

Much love to you and yours.
xx

On Breaks and Holidays

Taking a Break

 

I’m taking a break over the holidays. I think you should too. After all, it’s an opportunity to reconnect – with family, friends, spirit, passions, hobbies and yourself. And, if I’m honest, I’ll also be reconnecting with test cricket, mojitoes and afternoon siestas.

So often we lament the fact that we don’t have enough time to relax, to connect, to just be. So let’s not waste this time of year. Let’s make it count.

I’ll be taking a digital sabbatical from today through to mid-January. To be truthful, you may not even notice I am gone. Things will be quiet this week – I’ll be walking the simple-living-walk and taking the Christmas week to reconnect and recharge – so there will be no new post this Thursday.

Aside from that though, I’ve scheduled some great posts for the break and there will be something new to read every Monday and Thursday, as usual. The difference being I won’t be around to reply to comments, Tweets or emails. And being that I’m not the Leader of the Free World I think the earth will continue to turn in my absence.

Holiday Reading

If you’re anything like me, you will be looking forward to some reading time over the holidays. And while I am demolishing Hunger Games (I know, I know), you may be looking for some reading material that is slightly less… brutal. So, for you, I’ve put together the 10 most popular Slow Your Home posts of 2012:

21 Quick Actions You Can Do Today to Simplify Your Life

The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful, Clutter-Free Home

Get Rid of Your Paper Clutter Once and For All

Simple Living. It’s Ridiculously Complex

How To Run Your Household Budget

9 Kick-Arse Reasons to Slow Your Home

12 Things Happy People Do Differently

The Antidote to Perfection is LIFE

The New York Times Best-Selling Author…And Me.

 

And don’t forget, you can also pick up a copy of my new e-book ‘Destination: Simple – Rituals and Rhythms for a Simpler Daily Life’ here for just $6.99. It could be exactly what you need to make 2013 your simplest, happiest year yet!

In Other News

As of January 2, those of you on the Slow Your Home VIP List will not be receiving blog updates via email anymore. I’ve decided to help you minimise the number of unwanted emails blocking up your inbox, and instead will only be sending the fortnightly Slow Home Newsletter as well as the occasional email with an exclusive simple living tip or idea.

If you’re not already part of the Slow Your Home Tribe, you sign up right here to join us.

And if you’d like to keep receiving those emails notifying you of new blog posts, simply add your email address here.

Finally, The Merriest of Merry and Happiest of Happy

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are.

Much love,

Brooke xx

Merry and Bright and… Simple

An early Christmas gift from me (and my incredibly helpful children) to you, this holiday season…

Please feel free to share it.

You can’t possibly know how much you mean to me, coming here and reading and contributing and teaching. Suffice to say, I am a very lucky woman to have you. Very lucky indeed.

Brooke xx

(Music provided by Royalty Free Kings.)

Faith.

Faith in the Dark
Faith in the Dark

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you’re drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna be cooler than TV
For all the kids that are wondering what they’re gonna be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you’re singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there’s things that we don’t really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

— Willy Mason, Oxygen

Physically, I am about as far removed from the horrific scenes in Newtown, Connecticut that a person could be. Almost literally on the other side of this earth. And yet, over the past weekend I have been unable to separate my mind from the people who live there. The people who are hurting. The people who are broken.

I have no words that would do any justice to how heartsick I feel. But I do know there are far more good people in the world than bad. And I have faith that we can band together and be the strength our shattered neighbours need.

This quote was found on Simple Mom over the weekend, and it has filled me with as much hope for humankind as anything else I’ve seen. So I thought I’d share it:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” 

-Mister Rogers

You Need to Sweat the Small Stuff

Why You Need to Sweat the Small Stuff

We’re often told, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Don’t let the little, niggling details of life get you down. Don’t miss seeing the forest because you’re focused on the tree. Don’t let the small, unimportant things stop you from enjoying – and living – your beautiful life.

And this is good, solid advice. But it’s advice we’ve all heard before. And I have to wonder:

How’s that going for us?

I don’t know about you, but when I try not sweating the small stuff, I automatically start thinking of the small stuff. As though my brain is saying, “Right. Here are the things we need to stop thinking about… So let’s think about them. A lot.”

The inconsiderate train passenger, the annoying sound of a lawn-mower at 7am, the too-slow driver, the price of milk, the lines of traffic, the fact that the supermarket has no avocadoes. Small stuff.

And for this small stuff, I agree with the advice above. I think it should be repeated like a mantra whenever you feel the weight of a thousand little problems on your shoulders. Don’t sweat that particular small stuff.

But this weekend, I am calling on you to sweat the small stuff. Some small stuff at least.

The key? Make it the right small stuff.

  • A smile to a stranger
  • A hug to a child
  • A moment of quiet, taken for yourself
  • That first sip of hot coffee
  • A visit to a grandparent
  • A phone call to a friend
  • Reminding someone you love them
  • Words written on a fresh, blank page
  • A reassuring squeeze of the hand
  • A cheeky glance between lovers
  • A love note
  • Holding the door open
  • Telling someone to have a wonderful day – and meaning it

These are small things. Tiny even. And hundreds of these moments present themselves to us every day, yet because we’re so busy sweating the other small stuff – the wrong small stuff – we miss them completely.

But here’s the kicker… This stuff – the list above – stops being small as soon as you pay attention to it. The person on the receiving end doesn’t see it as small. In fact, these tiny actions have the power to change their day. You have the power to change someone’s day by paying attention to the small stuff.

So please, let’s sweat the small stuff.

When was the last time someone’s small stuff changed your day?