Honest Simplicity

my winding road to a simpler life

Category: Declutter

Slow Your Fashion

1st grade photo of me wearing a dress my mother made

1st grade photo of me wearing a dress my mother made

My life is, admittedly, detached from the effort it takes to make the clothing I wear.  I wonder about it, but not as often as I could.  Who made this skirt?  How much did that person get paid?  Probably not enough  What happened to the fabric scraps?  How long did it take to create my favorite jacket or that well-loved shirt?  What should these items have cost me?

When I was a girl, I remember my mother sewing outfits for me.  At that age, I didn’t fully appreciate the time and talent she put into those clothes.  They weren’t fancy, but neither was I.  The clothes she sewed for my sister and me were simple, well-constructed, and made by loving hands.  When sewing, she would call me to pause my playtime and have the items fitted.  It was a familiar part of the process.  I remember delicately sliding on the half-sewn garments to avoid sticking myself with the many pins holding the seams together.  Then, after my mom inspected her handiwork, I’d hand the garment over to her and bounce away to finish whatever activity I was in the middle of.  After a good span of time, I had cute new clothes to wear and I felt so proud that my mom had made them.  I even remember her making matching headbands one time, which I thought was pretty special.

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One In One Out

One in One Out

One in one out: it is a simple guideline which helps me avoid acquiring more stuff than I need or even want.  I’m not a perfect stickler for this rule, but I try to follow it often because I like the results it brings.  Besides keeping my belongings in check, it guards me from being a sucker for sale signs and trends.  It encourages contentment.  When I shop, I ask myself whether or not I’d be willing to replace something I already own with this new item.  The answer to that question determines whether or not it is truly worth the purchase.  Of course, down the road, I might change my mind about something I bought.  My tastes and needs change and when that happens, I don’t sweat it.  I no longer feel like I need to hold onto something just because I paid good money for it once.  That is a guilt-induced clutter trap and you should stay away from that kind of thinking.  Since adopting the habit of one in one out, I have regretted far fewer purchases.  This week, I bought a new pair of flip flops, but not on impulse.  I had a pair of flips already, but they are leather and I wanted a pair that could get wet when I water the garden, take my kids to the swimming pool, and for a upcoming trip to the beach.  Since I had a pair of shoes in mind which I could let go of, I bought the new pair, guilt free.  One new pair of shoes came into the house and another pair is ready to donate.  Easy peasy!

Interview with 7 News Denver



I was privileged to participate in a segment on 7 News Denver about the benefits of simplifying one’s wardrobe.



Under The Sink

Today’s Cleaning Task #1: clean and line the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

1st: I emptied everything out of the cabinet, discarded unnecessary items, and scrubbed it clean.


2nd: I measured and cut non-adhesive shelf liner to size (Duck brand if you are curious) using my rotary cutter and cutting mat.


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Spring Cleaning Bug


The spring cleaning bug bit me this week and took hold.  I’ve vacuumed up dust bunnies and the insides of drawers, removed tiny toys hiding out under the living room furniture, tossed books and clothes unapologetically into my donation pile, and recycled other odds and ends.  It all feels very gratifying.  Admiring one tidy shelf is quite satisfying.  Emptying out an entire drawer is even better.  Just because I have (share) 6 dresser drawers doesn’t mean I must fill them all.  Don’t you love walking into a room that is free of clutter?  It is soothing to the soul.

How about you?  Have you started your spring cleaning yet?  Do you know where to start?  Identify which area of your house Read the rest of this entry »

Empowering My Little Pack Rat

I have a little pack rat.  He is my five-year-old son and your trash could quickly become his treasure.  A discarded bottle cap becomes a miniature pie pan in his hands.  An empty plastic jar is soon the perfect coin container.  Paper and cardboard remnants transform into handmade books when this young author gets a hold of them.  I greatly appreciate his creativity and ability to entertain himself, but the hoard he creates needs to be dealt with from time to time (especially since his bedroom is roughly 8’x9′ with no closet!).  My daughter, who was recently sharing his room, chose to move downstairs because of his untidiness.  I lovingly teased him recently, calling him Templeton (as in the rat from Charlotte’s Web).


Today was the day we tackled the mess.  Though my son has a tendency to collect junk, he needs no convincing that a clean room is an enjoyable room.  He does need motivation and encouragement to do the job.  Once he started sorting his Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Tiny


I am reading The Big Tiny for the second time after lending it out to friends. In her memoir, Dee Williams invites the reader along for a raw look into her winding journey to simplicity. At times, her humor makes me laugh out loud, with tears running down my cheeks. In other moments, I can feel her tangible sadness and doubt. Though her joys far outweigh any disappointments, Dee doesn’t sugar coat the struggles she faced in downsizing her life into an 84-square foot home on wheels. On the process of letting go of her belongings, she writes, “I didn’t plan for this sort of hardship; I thought getting rid of stuff would be a simple matter of elbow grease and logic. Feelings of loss or remorse weren’t supposed to be a factor….I thought I would be beyond all of that.” Her story is uplifting and beautiful in its honesty. The lessons she’s learned challenge us to review our own meaning of happiness, our relationship to stuff, and to question how much is really enough. She writes,”…I stumbled into a new sort of ‘happiness’, one that didn’t hinge on always getting what I want, but rather, on wanting what I have. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t tied so tightly to being comfortable (or having money and property), but instead is linked to a deeper sense of Read the rest of this entry »

A Joyful Simple Christmas, Please


I love the cozy Christmas season, warming our spirits in the midst of winter.  Christmas is supposed to be a holiday of love, Read the rest of this entry »

T-Shirt Toss

bin of t-shirts

There is a plastic storage bin in our closet moonlighting as a stand for our floor-length mirror.  Its true purpose is to hold once-worn t-shirts.  The plan was to repurpose the shirts into a t-shirt quilt.  That sounds great, right?  We have a bunch of sentimental shirts we don’t wear any longer, so making them into a usable item, such as a quilt, seemed clever.  Lately, I’ve been thinking, though, about whether I would actually love this quilt.  Would it just be another item full of sentiment but under appreciated by me?  I think so.  Therefore, I’ve decided to say goodbye to the shirts.  I’m not saying goodbye to the memories Read the rest of this entry »

One-Car Family!


My son wanted to say one last “goodbye” to the car

We are officially a one-car family as of today! For months, we’ve discussed the idea of going from two cars to one.  Here was our thinking: Dan already commutes to work by bike or bus during the week.  We live on a bus route and are conveniently close to downtown, which makes the commute easier.  I stay home during the week and use one car to run errands and go on Read the rest of this entry »

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