Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reduce Clutter, One Small Change, & another giveaway!

Back in December I gave myself the challenge to de-clutter something in my home everyday.  The transformation I experienced that month lead me to wanting more space and less clutter.  So I set my intentions for a new year, and launched the year-long challenge - Reduce Clutter; Create Space.

In six-months time, I donated big items and boxes to charity, avoided buying art supplies and used what I had - including recycled materials and old wood, remembered my cloth bags more often, found creative uses for brown paper bags when I forgot, cleared out my closets and gave away tons of clothes, repurposed sweaters and junk mail, started my first garden, cleaned out and organized my kitchen, got more creative in cooking healthy recipes, slowed way down to enjoy more quality family time, chose to stop trying to fit in so I can live my most authentic life, found time for yoga classes again, cut cable, reduced our grocery budget, interviewed these amazing reduce clutter explorers, launched three e-courses inspiring others to create the lives they love from the Inside Out, and joined the One Small Change challenge.  Whoa...it's been quite a year so far...big breath in, big breath out....

The closets continue to get cleared and revamped - I mean how many games does one small family need?

We are finding new ways to use the things we have, rather than going out and buying more.

Our garden continues to gift us with so much abundance and I love that I don't have to buy much produce at the grocery store this summer.  We are eating extremely well and it has been such a wonderful luxury since we made the decision to spend less on food.

All the vegetables you see here were picked just last night (along with a beautiful ripe watermelon!)

A few weekends ago our old pipes were clogged and we couldn't use the kitchen sink for a few days.  Instead we, I mean my husband, washed all of the dishes outside.  Although it was a hassle it kind of felt like camping.  And what I learned from that weekend is it's easier (after a while) when you live more simply.  It taught me to be much more mindful about how many dishes I use in a day.  You really start to become aware of it when you have to wash everything by hand!

So rather than reach for yet another cup, I am trying to use one drinking glass, one plate, and one bowl for the day.  I still need more practice at it, but it's my One Small Change that I'd like to implement for August.  I continue to be reminded that using less means more time and s p a c e for the things I enjoy most - so less dishes to wash or load means more time painting, playing, knitting, being fully present...

Although my reduce clutter challenge started out on a physical level, I can see that from clearing the physical clutter, my mental and emotional clutter are releasing as well.  I am seeing greater clearing in my home (with much more to go) and I am seeing much greater clearing and BIG changes going on inside myself.

I believe that Reduce Clutter; Create Space and One Small Change go hand-in-hand.  The more we can clear and let go, the more s p a c e we create.  The more s p a c e we enjoy, the more stillness we experience.  The more stillness we have, the more aware and mindful we become to make one small change at a time.  With each small change we are giving the greatest gift back to ourselves, to our families, to our community and to our world.  

I feel completely blessed to have charted down a new path to live a greener, simpler life.  Reducing clutter and making small changes along the way have brought more health, happiness, connection and a greater sense of peace in my life (along with challenges and resistance to be sure!)  And to honor the blessings I am experiencing (like another life growing inside me) it seems like another great time to... 
celebrate with a giveaway!

Leave a comment here, by Tuesday, August 17th, and you'll be entered to win a spot in my January e-course, Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery.

Your Personal Reflection:  What is one small change you can make this month to bring goodness into your life?

(It's never too late to join the Reduce Clutter; Create Space or One Small Change challenges!  See the list of reduce clutter participants here.)

Want more inspiration to make change?  Read this article about a couple that gave up everything but 100 personal items.  And you have to check out the Happy Janssen's and their amazing life on the road.


  1. This month I started taking two yoga classes weekly instead of one. Now I feel more integrated with my practice and feel like it's a much more amplified component of my life--exactly what I need...more good stuff...simple stuff.

  2. Oooh.. I feel very childlike, raising my arms and waving "pick me pick me"! LOL But.. pick me. :)

    I don't have a dishwasher so do all my dishes by hand -- I also live alone and am flabbergasted by how fast the dishes add up, esp. since I'm now cooking so much more to eat more "simply". Simple hasn't met my sink!

  3. This course sounds exciting... although I'm a mess to change -
    It's a gift from my mother ;)
    Help Please ;) lol

  4. I love it! Now I think it's my turn to try. This week I am going through school clothes and trying to figure out a way not to have too many (we get some awesome hand-me-downs but sometimes it's just too much) so that the drawers won't close. I am inspired! Thanks! (and I am also jealous of your watermelon;)

  5. I'm so pleased to read about your wonderful year. Hope to get into your course someday.

  6. I recently found your blog and have been inspired by your posts about reducing clutter. I would love to win a spot for your next e-course!

  7. one glass is so smart!!! i finally got the ingredients together for homemade deodorant and toothpaste - it's just the making that's left! thanks for another opportunity - fingers crossed!

  8. You are right...they do go hand in hand! I just gave away 5 bags of stuff last week!! So excited!! We are going easy this month and fine tuning all of our 7 changes from the year! Thanks for the giveaway Love Love Love!

  9. One goodness I would like to bring to this month would be making a sourdough starter. Simple ingredients for a healthier and frugal, homemade bread. (No sugars, plastic bags and who knows what else!) Fingers crossed for the e-course!

  10. Shannon, first, your tomatoes are beautiful! We're still waiting for ours to ripen here.

    I've completely enjoyed the Reduce Clutter, Create Space. Though I haven't followed the schedule, it has been a reminder all along. We continue to reduce the "stuff" in our life and it feels good, though sometimes like we aren't doing enough. Do you ever feel that as you try to reduce your clutter?

  11. You are truly an inspiration, Shannon. I am making a much more concerted effort to recycle now and have reduced packaged food almost to nil.

  12. Please enter me. I've decluttered loads by moving house 4x in 2 years. An extreme way to lighten the load, but it worked. Still, that won't keep me from taking it up a notch in the quest to simplify.

  13. Today is our 42nd anniversary.We have moved this summer into a smaller home and our goal has been to downsize and simplify so we can truly enjoy this part of our lives. It is so wonderful that you younger folks get how unimportant "things" are.Don't measure your lives by possesions. A routine simple life is a blessing.Check out your local charities and recycle places and make monthly visits.

  14. I still have a room in my house of stuff that I haven't unpacked yet. What occurs to me is that I haven't gone in there that much to get out the things I needed, so chances are I don't really need the stuff that is in there.

    One question I have is, what about the things from your childhood? Do you hold on to those or do you part ways with them?

  15. The one small change that I am going to make this month is to say "no" more often to things that STRESS me out instead of bring me joy!

  16. I hadn't really thought about how reducing my clutter could help us on our green, eco-friendly path, but WOW! Great idea! I have been trying for months now to start weeding out, but always put it off. Last night, I told the mister I am committing myself to just 30 minutes a day to work on decluttering our home. Now I'm kind of jazzed about it!!

  17. I've been a "lurker" in the past, but I wanted to say thanks for the encouragement to get rid of things.

    My husband is the hoarder (nothing that will get him on tv, or anything, but too much for our small home), which makes it harder for us to get rid of things, but it's funny because living in the extreme has made me realize just how important it really is to live simply and have little. I feel absolutely trapped by maintaining, organizing, sorting all of our belongings.

    BUT, he has made progress and we're now seeing more space in our home. It's amazing how much bigger everything feels without all the junk!

  18. I would love a chance to try your course! I like the idea of using just one plate, cup and bowl for the day. It's a good one.

    Thanks for the chance,

  19. I have been thinking about making all the steps that you talk about this year but have had a hard time getting started. . . you are such an inspiration. . . maybe now is the time for me.
    emailcrockett-mommy at yahoo dot com

  20. I love your new steps and decisions!
    I still have two rooms to work on my office and the basement.

  21. Wow, this blog is such a treasure to find. And at just the right time in my life, too. I am becoming more and more mindful of who I am in this world and how I raise my family -- how we relate to our environment. Just like you, I started my own organic garden for the first time this year and, while it's definitely a learning process for me, I am loving it.

    To answer the question you posed: my one small change I am making this month turns out to be a rather large change, and something that will impact my family and my children's lives immensely. We just made the decision to homeschool and I'm so excited, scared and hopeful about it. I think this small(/large) change is making us more aware of every interaction we have with our kids and every interaction they have with our community. I believe it's about creating space in our days for learning and exploring. And creating space for down time too, which I often overlook.

  22. I am working on changing my mindset...from worrying about lack to being thankful all the time!

  23. I was blessed to find your blog from Hip Mountain Mama and I am thrilled to discover your suggestions about reducing clutter. My one small change that I am making this month is to try to turn off the negative voice that constantly tells me that I am not good at anything. It whispers that I'm not a good mom, nor am I a good wife. I don't even know who I am... I want to try to be mindful to tell that voice I hear that she is wrong... I could really benefit from your e-course.

  24. I love the photos from your garden! I wish my big city balcony garden would produce like yours!

    I try to take a trip to goodwill at least once a month. Both to drop off a box of clutter as well as to see if i can find anything i need second hand before hitting the store! I think living in a small space helps. It doesn't allow you to build up to much stuff!

  25. Thank you Shannon for our sharing, your kindeness and the love you spread. You are such a wonderful person! xxx ni
    (go take a look, I'm re-opening my Etsy store slowly... more creations are coming in! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ni123

  26. Oh you are such an inspiring treat! This month my focus is on being the person I want to be by following what Socrates said..
    “Let he that would move the world, first move himself.”
    So...by being a true artisan (making bread, soups, tea cakes..) Being a artist and a writer (creating in my journal) and being a yogi and peace maker. (by waking early to practice daily...) Some of these have been started over the past couple months but actually having them come together is the hope and intention:-)

  27. Thanks to each of you for sharing your thoughtful, mindful comments. I'll announce the winner Wednesday morning!

  28. Your really are inspiring Shannon!=)
    Working on the closets right now. Have lots to give to Goodwill and maybe even a garage sale possibly!


Thanks for sharing!