Community

Over the past year, I’ve become incredibly aware of the community with which I surround myself. I’ve been blessed with neighbors who are like family, with colleagues who are supportive and have become close friends and with other acquaintances who are disbursed so divinely throughout my days providing smiles and laughter at just the right times.

I’ve shared my family’s simple living journey with many members of my community and I realize that they have all played an important role in my journey. Whether they’ve responded to my story with intrigue and curiosity or they’ve been cheerleaders right from the start, they have all helped me move forward in some way. They have inspired me to live my life, to spend more time enjoying their company. And for me, the key to living my life is simplifying. Getting rid of the stuff that drains my energy and that distracts me from DOING things. This is how I’m finding joy.

I’ve found that simple living is something many people are aware of and interested in, but many people just don’t know where to start. In this day and age where you have to actually book time in your calendar to prepare your calendar for the upcoming week, the thought of stopping your routine to assess your life and intentionally take action to simplify prevents many people from ever realizing this way of living. They just don’t know how to jump off the speeding train they’re on.

I often hear stories of people who are just waiting for one more event to happen or one more financial goal to be reached or for their kids to become a certain age before they begin their simplifying journey. And while I completely understand this logic (my previous spreadsheet-based way of evaluating everything comes to mind), I want to challenge you to this thinking.

What if there was one small thing you could do today that would start you on your simple living journey? I guarantee that if you set the intention then take one small step each day, you will realize your dream to live simply sooner than you originally planned. And if you surround yourself with a supportive community, each step along the way will be easier to take.

Radically simplifying your life takes a LONG time…we’re into our second year at this point and we still have work ahead of us. But we began feeling the benefits of simplifying right from the start. And so can you.

So why not start today? Why not give it a try and see what happens? And if you need support along the way, know that I am here, as part of your community, to inspire you and guide you along. I wish you the best!

Blessings,
Lisa

Home

Home

Last summer, I had the opportunity to spend eight weeks exploring and traveling. It was the first time in my life that I felt like I actually had a real “summer vacation”. There had always been weeklong trips here and there, but it always seemed that just about the time we got settled into vacation mode, it was time to pack up and head “home”.

So after being able to spend almost two months away from my “home”, visiting new places and spending time with friends and family, I experienced a major turning point in my life. I realized that I didn’t have to be at my house to feel at home. I realized that home is where my joy is, not where my stuff is.  I didn’t need my stuff to be happy.

Home can be anywhere….it doesn’t have to be confined to four walls filled with things. For me, home was

  • the 18-hour drive to the ocean
  • the hotel room overlooking Niagara Falls
  • the 100-year-old house on the ocean where we were welcomed to watch fireworks on the 4th of July with friends old and new
  • standing at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on a cloudy day looking up in awe with my family and other curious visitors

None of these experiences required much more than clothes on our backs and food to eat…

They were, however, filled with many other things like

  • contentment
  • laughter
  • stories
  • friends
  • nature
  • presence
  • listening
  • learning
  • exploring

There is nothing like the experience of being away from your stuff, with the people you love, doing activities you enjoy to make you realize how little you really need.

Simply being free from the responsibilities of your things, opens up so much space. Space that can be left empty (to just be) or space that can be filled with all that you love.   And in this space, you can feel at home wherever you are.

So I ask you to consider, where is “home” for you? Share in the comments below-I’d love to hear!

With Many Blessings,

Lisa

Possibility

My life has changed a lot the past year.  It’s been almost one year since I said goodbye to the corporate world where I had spent the previous 16 years.

Last year, the combination of some family life events, some soul searching and a giant leap of faith put me on a new path. The path I had been on wasn’t terrible, but something was missing. And in many ways I was just letting life happen to me.

My story is still evolving, but so far, this new path has been SO MUCH FUN!  Those that have known me for a while tell me I’ve changed. It’s humbling to see that all the good I’m feeling on the inside is being reflected on the outside. Inspiring others to let go and live simply has been incredibly joyful to say the least!

Today I’m sharing one word that has been at the heart of my transitions over the past year.  It is possibility.

This one simple mindset shift has done so much for me. I’ve learned to look for the possibility in everything that has come my way.  And with this new way of looking at things, new experiences and opportunities have presented themselves in unimaginable ways! (More to come in future blog posts!)

So next time something comes your way, good, bad or seemingly indifferent, let your mind wander…  Let it wander to places it’s never been and remain open to possibility…for days, weeks, even months.  And when you’re least expecting it (in the shower, in the checkout line or driving down the road), intriguing, crazy, unconventional ideas will come to you.   These are the ones filled with possibility. These are the ones you want to pursue.  Jot them down. Let them percolate.  Remain patient and open. Allow for the possibility that these crazy thoughts, these initially irrational ideas might just lead you down a path that could change your life for the better. Anything is possible!

I’d love to hear what possibilities you discover.  Feel free to share in the comments!

With many blessings,

Lisa

I’m With You…

My post on Facebook on Friday was about how letting go can be easier said than done sometimes. I had prepared that post almost a week in advance but ironically, it was just what I, myself, needed to read before my weekend activities.

I have intentionally been letting go of a lot of stuff lately. Some has been very easy. Some has required a longer line of questioning. And some has been a bit tough.

I had a few situations this past weekend that fell into that tough category. These situations required me to be very intentional and let go of what I was used to and comfortable with. I am sharing my experience with one of these situations with you to let you let you know that we are on this journey together… And to let you know that it’s more than just “stuff” that we sometimes choose to simplify…

On Saturday, I got my hair cut… A LOT. I donated 10 ½ inches to Locks of Love! I had been planning this for almost a year and a half, but when it came down to actually doing it, fears of change and letting go almost made me change my mind. In those moments of anxiety, indecisiveness and wanting to hold on to what I was familiar with, I reminded myself what my intentions had been for so long. And I reminded myself of what I knew would be gained on the other side (by others besides just me). So with my support team in place (my husband, kids and my long-time hairstylist) I proceeded as planned!

I cringed as she started cutting (trying to hold still, of course) knowing that the decision had been made (long ago) and that there was no turning back. But now that it is done, I am so thankful that I followed through with my original intentions. My heart is warmed knowing my donation will bring joy to someone who desperately needs it, my morning hair routine is simplified (saving time) and hair products will last a lot longer (saving money). In my book, that’s win-win-win!

So I want you to know that as I am encouraging you to be intentional in simplifying and letting go, I am walking the path with you! The freedom and joy I gained from this experience serves as fuel to keep me going and to keep sharing with all of you! And I know that as you continue to be intentional and work towards your life of simplicity, you, too, will find that on the other side of the tough decisions are the incredible feelings of freedom and joy.

Blessings,

Lisa

Light

Three months ago, on a bitterly cold and snowy day in early January, the home and store three doors down from mine started on fire and were ultimately destroyed. It was an emotional day for everyone on our block and it was one that I will not forget. Thankfully, everyone in the home was able to get out safely, but all else was lost.

The event was a vivid reminder for me that life can change in an instant. The items we spend years accumulating can be taken away from us so very quickly.   Yet, we have survived and, most importantly, life goes on without the “things”. We grieve, we shed tears and we get angry. We want to blame. We ask “why?”.

But slowly…ever so slowly…we again begin to smile…to laugh…to see a glimpse of light and hope in what is a very dark time.

We never forget the day that everything changed…that so much was lost…

But as the days…months…and years go by, we begin to see how much we gained. We see so much light. We are still here. Our stuff is not, but we are. 

As we move forward we realize that most of those things (the furniture, the clothes, the dishes) would likely have been replaced or given away after many years anyway. But when they are taken away without it being our choice, it hurts.

Almost 24 years ago, my home was lost in a tornado. This cold day in January brought all of my emotions to the surface from that hot day in August many years ago. The ones that I felt as the wind whirled by the truck I was in as the tornado hit. The ones I experienced as I tried to get into the house to find my sisters as the sky turned from dust and darkness back to sunny and deep blue.

And then the emotions I feel now, looking back, knowing that all is okay. Knowing that we move on…we are never the same, but we see rays of light that pull us forward…and we move on. We move on without those “things” that, at the time, it hurt so much to lose.

I know that intentionally letting go is much easier than having it taken from you. Most of us are attached to our things in some way. I challenge you to question this attachment. If “it” was taken from you today, would you be okay? Would you be able to see the light and move on without it?

When you let go of the attachment to your things, what space does that create for you (literally and figuratively)? What freedom now lies before you?  What dreams are now possible?

We often don’t understand the feelings and emotions of something until we’ve experienced it firsthand, but I hope this helps you to consider now what you can let go of, without having to experience the hurt. My hope is that you see only light and that you find joy in the freedom you create!

Blessings,

Lisa

 

Stories

We all have stories.  I love hearing my clients’ stories as we work on their organizing projects.  I love hearing my friends’ stories as we share a meal.  I love watching stories unfold as I observe and listen…

As we share our stories, we give them life.  As they are told, the event being shared is alive once again in the present moment.  

As we grow, the meanings of our stories become transparent.  The lessons learned can teach us and shape us…if we let them.  In this sense, our stories can become more valuable as time goes by.

It’s especially amazing to me when our stories intertwine.  We are all connected.  Our words alone connect us in so many ways…  Our stories have the power to uplift a dear friend, to teach a young child and to comfort a family member.  

As we share our stories with each other, the great world in which we live seems a tiny bit smaller, bringing us all a little bit closer to each other…

What’s key is that stories can be shared, insight can be found and lessons can be learned simply through our interactions and our words.  “Stuff” is not needed.  Sure, a tangible physical item can help us remember a detail from a story, but it is not needed to give the story life.  Our words alone are capable of so much.

As you journey towards a simple, intentional life filled with all that brings you joy, may you NEVER underestimate the power of your stories.   For they have the ability to do so much…so much more than any “thing” you will ever own!

Blessings,

Lisa

Intangibles

I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life working with numbers.  Not to oversimplify general accounting principles (and all of my years spent learning them!), but on a high level, what I did was sort through and categorize a group of items (expenses & revenue), make sure everything was where it belonged (accounted for) and then present it in a way that was understandable for the user (in the financial statements).

Sounds similar to what we do when we organize, wouldn’t you say?  I would never start rattling off general accounting principles in the middle of organizing a closet, but the process we go through is very similar.  You need to assess everything, make decisions on where to put it (keep, donate, recycle) and then present it in a way that flows well and works for you (the user).

An obvious difference, however, is that numbers are intangible in a sense.  They are black and white (and sometimes red) and you can see them on paper but you can’t really hold them and feel them.  However, you can think about them and understand their meaning without actually physically holding them.   This is a key point to consider when assessing the value of your things.

We often keep things to hold on to the memory.  But the memory doesn’t live in the stuffed animal or the sweater.  It lives in us.  In our heart, in our mind, in our soul.

I challenge you to think deeply about this when you are evaluating what you have in your home.  What can you savor as an intangible memory in your heart?  What happy memories can live on in your mind?  What can you physically let go of to create space for the memories yet to come?

I challenge my clients (and myself) to keep one container of keepsake items for each person in your home.  When the container gets full, assess what is in it and determine if it still has the same value for you that it did when you initially placed it there.  As time goes by, it can be easier to let go of certain things.  By doing this, you can create space for what’s new and you allow more to be held in your heart.

I also encourage my clients to selectively display items with significant meaning.  Your home should be a reflection of who you are.  Of what has shaped you as a person.   Of what you love to do and what brings you joy.  Your heart, mind and soul can hold and reflect this as well.

So next time you’re going through your home and assessing the items that surround you, maybe it would help to think about the numbers in a financial statement.  Remember that we don’t need to physically hold on to the numbers to capture their meaning.  Be open to the idea that there is limitless space in your heart to hold countless memories.

I wish you surroundings full of peace and hearts filled with joyful memories!

Blessings,

Lisa

Simplicity

Simplicity…a word that awakens a variety of feelings.  Maybe for you it brings feelings of peace as you envision it consistently in your life.  Or maybe it brings overwhelming feelings as you wonder how and where to begin incorporating it into your life.   Remember…it is a journey…

As with many things in life, simplicity looks different to each of us.  And it can look different at various points in our lives.  Growing up, my life was simple in many ways.  Yet as a child living on a farm in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, I did not view it as such.  I did not have the gift of the past to appreciate the present. 

Today, we have the power to choose to move forward on our journey towards simplicity.  Taking a bit of time to look back and reflect on where we’ve encountered simplicity in the past, might just make it a little easier to move forward.

Looking back and intentionally thinking forward, today I see simplicity as:

Being in nature
Creating art with family
Quiet moments of solitude
Sunshine-filled days by the ocean
Snow crunching under my feet as I walk in the park
Living what I love
Genuine laughter
Cool, rainy days watching surfers dance with the waves
Just enough toys to inspire my children, but not too many to overwhelm them
Noise-filled gatherings being present with those I love
White space in my home
Free time in my life
Gratitude in the moment

I encourage you to reflect on when you’ve had simplicity in your life.  What did it look like?  How did it feel?  How can you choose today to move forward with it in your life?  I’d love to hear what simplicity looks like for you!

Blessings,

Lisa

Journey

In this day and age, the journey towards simplicity is a bumpy, sometimes nearly impassable, one.  We are constantly bombarded by influences of “bigger and better”, “more, more, more” and “you need this to be happy”.   Some are more blunt than others, but even the subtle messages can push us into an existence that is less than joyful.

As I look back, I realize my journey began many years ago, although I didn’t intentionally begin following the path to simplicity until recent years.  My mission with my organizing business and this blog is to support and inspire you to live a simple, joyful, organized, intentional life.   I hope to be a voice of hope in the midst of the influences that surround us on a daily basis.

A book is in the works with the details of my journey, but, meanwhile, through these posts, I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of my story.  I hope that the seeds I plant inspire you to let go of the status quo, question the “norm” and live intentionally!  May a life of simplicity and joy unfold for you!

Blessings,

Lisa