About the Author Rachel Jonat (The Minimalist Mom):
Rachel Jonat is the writer behind the popular blog The Minimalist Mom(theminimalistmom.com). Rachel has written about minimalism for the Chicago Tribune,Business Insider, the Globe and Mail, Chatelaine Insider, and Babble.com. She has also partnered with brands such as the Royal Bank of Canada and ZipCar.
In September of 2010 my husband and I decided to become Minimalists. What does this mean? We want to live a life free of clutter – both physical and mental. We want to own fewer things and do more. So far that means getting rid of half of our possessions including our car. It feels really good. You should try it.
About the book Do Less:
Stress less while living more! An inviting living space. Time spent with loved ones. Peace of mind.
With Do Less, a happier, more serene life is just moments away. From your home to your finances, this straightforward guide teaches you how to scale back your possessions and commitments to just what you really need. With hundreds of ways to minimalize your life, you’ll quickly uncover the joys and rewards of paring down.
A must-have for any shelf, Do Less helps you rediscover the simple moments that have been buried beneath the piles of to-dos, to-knows, and to-buys.
This book is the start of a BIG CHANGE in my life. I need to “Stress Less while Living More!” My hubby emptied out 9 years of boxes from the office that he converted into a reptile room (no snakes, just bearded dragon, geckos and ignuanas.) He piled it all in the living room and dining room and expected me to throw it all away. I just can’t throw away all those cute kindergarten papers, art projects, scrapbook supplies and lots of games, bags and review items. The book came at a perfect time so I didn’t get buried in those boxes of stuff! Instead, i have been stressing less by following Rachel’s suggestions.
Here are a few things I am going to do to declutter my living room and my life:
- Have a yard sale. We have a town-wide yard sale coming up and we will be ready!
- Donate items to families in need. My son grows out of his clothes way too fast. I am constantly throwing his clothes into the “too small basket” in his room. I need to donate them as soon as they don’t fit him. If I wait too long, they won’t be “in style” or they may become damaged.
- Sell unused, new items on eBay.
- Get rid of paper clutter by shredding. Go paperless on as many bills as I can.
Some areas I still need to work on are my bedroom, closets and the KITCHEN! I have too many clothes and i only wear about 1/4 of them. The rest are going in the yard sale or on eBay. The KITCHEN is a whole other story that you really don’t want to hear about.
Great quote that starts the book: “Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” Oscar Wilde
My Interview with Rachel:
MDR: I have a few questions about getting your children on board – especially on the internet/TV Screen time. My son was raised playing games on Nintendo, Wii, Computer, and loves to watch animal planet shows and cartoon network and Nickelodeon. We are going to cancel our DirectV subscription because my husband lost his job last week.
How can I get him outside more and inside on the computer less? He is an only child and does have lots of playdates and things that we are involved in.
Rachel: I wish I had an easy answer for getting kids away from screens and outside playing. This is a constant battle for modern parents. I try and remind myself that I have to be a good role model for my kids which means not looking at my iPod when we’re engaged in an activity and not checking my phone if I hear a text message come in.
What is outside for him to do? Are there chores or yard work to earn allowance? Is there a dog to walk? Does he enjoy climbing trees or collecting leaves? I’d start with small measures to even just pull him away from the screen. When my preschooler is clamoring for a television show I try and try and distract him. Often I ask him to do a chore, take his laundry to his room, and that’s enough to take tv request out of his mind. For older kids I think you have to be more structured and set time limits. I know a few parents that use screen time as a reward for finishing homework and doing chores around the house.
MDR: Meal planning- how do you incorporate bulk and canned foods into your daily meals without wasting?
Rachel: We don’t buy in bulk or large size cans. For our family I’ve found that I save more money by limiting waste than I did buying in bulk. I know some families do really well with bulk buying but I don’t think everyone has the skills for it. If you’re often throwing out stale or off date items that were bought in bulk it might be wiser to just buy what you need for each week and save your money by reducing your food waste rather than buying in bulk.
MDR: Decluttering- what is the best way to store items that you will use once you free up time from all the other time suck activities (like TV)- i have lots of scrapbook and craft supplies that my hubby wants to throw out.
Rachel: If you’re serious about using those items put them somewhere where you can see them multiple times a day. You could even put them in a much needed space, say your dining room table, to really motivate you to use them. If the hobby really is a priority right now you will make time for it and even find workable space for it.
It’s normal to be in a season where you don’t have time for your hobbies. However, if that season turns into years, and you still can’t find the time, why not sell or donate those items to someone that will use them. When you’re ready to pick up that hobby again you can slowly invest in the gear for it.
i highly recommend reading Do Less! There are so many areas in our lives that can be simplied. Things become more manageable when they are simple! I can’t wait to finish simplifying MY life!