Simplicity isn’t just about having a minimalist home.

This story picks up from where I left off in my last post. If you want to start from the beginning, check out Back to the Real Me.


The more I simplify and get rid of everything weighing me down, the more I realize that I’m getting back to my true self. I’m not just shedding extra clothes and shoes and useless gadgets; I’m also shedding years of habits and thoughts that I had adopted as my own that were not serving me in the slightest. Slowly but surely, I’m letting go of my hate for my body, of feeling like everything has to be perfect, including myself, and I’m saying goodbye to the insecure, beaten down, sad and lonely version of myself that has existed for far too long.

As I uncover what really matters to me and find out what truly brings me joy, I am finding myself – the me that I have missed! And the me that I’ve longed for and honestly feared was lost forever. Thankfully I’m able to let go of the anger and resentment towards those who helped shape me into that sad version, as well.

Now I know with certainly some of the things I want to make a priority in my life (listed randomly): taking time to appreciate the miracle of nature, listening to, making, and writing music, strengthening my faith in God, reading endlessly about things that interest me (or a sappy novel, or mystery, or …), writing parts of my story to share with the world, writing down my hopes and dreams (or worries, or grocery lists, or… – just writing down everything!), drinking good coffee and good wine (emphasis on good), eating the cheese, saying “yes!” to the chocolate, and spending quality time with my family and real friends (you know, the “quarter friends” who are genuinely putting an effort into our relationship).

This is my current list of priorities, but also “allowed” and desired in this process is the ability and freedom to adjust! Yes! We can change our priorities. We can change our minds. And we should! We should definitely take stock of what’s going well in our lives (and what isn’t) and take action, usually in the form of shifting our priorities.

As I make time for these things each day, I can feel myself letting go of the past, making room for more good in the future. But most importantly I am allowing myself the time and space to be here, right now, enjoying the present, without regrets (past) or worry (future). Just being the me that I am supposed to be, right now.

I Just Kept Driving

This story picks up from where I left off in my last post. If you want to start from the beginning, check out Back to the Real Me.


I remember that as I was preparing to make my exit from my life in San Diego, I didn’t want to take much with me. I shipped boxes of clothes, shoes, and important items ahead of me and packed everything else into my tiny car. I was totally fine with leaving the rest. It’s surprising how much you can fit into a VW Beetle convertible! Leaving a bunch of stuff was just another chance I had to lift some major weight off my shoulders.

Before I got wrapped up into this relationship, I proudly only possessed what could fit in my car. When I moved, and I did often, I’d give away a bunch of stuff, load up my car, and go. Then I’d have fun furnishing my new place with thrifted items. I’d collected a few things I’d kept along the way as I got a little more settled (a bed, for one), but for the most part I was still all about living freely. My focus was spending my time and money on experiences rather than things. Then something changed. Unfortunately that something was me.

You see, I wasn’t good enough for the person I was dating. I didn’t dress right, wear my hair the right way, make enough money, and I was much too fat. I was asked as soon as I would walk into their home for a family dinner not how I was or what was going on in our lives, but “how’s business”? It was a not so subtle way to point out that I wasn’t making as much money in my business as they thought I should be.

I was constantly made to feel bad about myself, even receiving birthday cards that made fun of my weight. There were constant jabs like these. And one day I finally caved. I had stood my ground, telling them I wasn’t going to diet for them, but in the end I lost the battle. They wanted me to use a meal replacement program they had seen advertised, because they thought I would lose a lot of weight quickly. Then I’d be less of an embarrassment to them.

These people, my partner’s parents at this time, made fun of people constantly. And they weren’t quiet about it! I can now see how it wasn’t ever really about me. It was definitely their problem, not mine. But their behavior was horrifying, and yet for some reason, I stayed in that relationship. I let them change me. I started obsessively dieting, buying fancy things I couldn’t afford, ignoring controlling and abusive behavior, and trying to keep up with their impossibly ridiculous standards.

I wouldn’t grasp the full impact of this for some time. Even now, as I write this several years later, I’m realizing different ways this affected me and how I thought of myself, and decisions I would make because of it. But when I did finally decide that I was going to leave this person (and their parents), it was like all the lightbulbs came on at once. I couldn’t wait to get further and further away from these people and this life. So, I just kept driving.


If you are still reading, thanks for letting me share a part of my story! I want to encourage you, right now, to stop and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, am I living the life I want, or the life someone else wants for me? Am I in a safe and nurturing environment, or am I in a situation that I shouldn’t be in? It took nearly three years for me to finally listen to my family and decide to drive away. Don’t wait. Be honest with yourself, and if you need to recalibrate, do it! I am not a licensed counselor, but please feel free to reach out if you need support on any of this. I know from experience that even when you know something isn’t right, it is not easy to leave (and stay gone).

Reality Check

This story picks up from where I left off in my last post. If you want to start from the beginning, check out Back to the Real Me.


Realizing I craved authenticity more than anything else, I continued my journey Eastward, and stopped to visit another dear friend. This one is my practical friend – the one who tells me like it is, and helps me see things from an entirely different perspective. But most importantly, she listened as I worked through everything I had just gone through out loud. I ended up staying a few days, soaking up the practical advice in a safe environment, enjoying the intelligent conversations. I started feeling myself light enough to be inspired to play a little music again. Something that I would later recognize as a huge red flag! If you’re not doing something that you love and that makes you “you”, take inventory of your life and your feelings and make sure you’re ok!

During that visit, we didn’t do anything extravagant. We ate meals at home, went through the drive-thru at Starbuck’s on our way to drop the kids off at school, and just hung out. I joined in on a few days of their cozy life, and I felt myself grow more and more convinced that I was doing the right thing starting over. That isn’t to say that I never doubted this decision, or never freaked out about being in my thirties and having absolutely nothing to show for it. Not to mention the reality that I was driving home to live with my mother with no plan whatsoever other than to get out of my current situation and home to a safe and supportive environment.

If you want a reality check, ask people who *really* know you what they think about how your life is currently going. That doesn’t mean you should give them or anyone else control over your decisions or happiness either. But these real friends, these are the people who aren’t afraid to call you out. They will notice when you’re lost, and they will remind you of who you were before your soul was pushed down into hiding.

That’s what the first week of my journey out of San Diego looked like: a huge reality check. I knew with certainty that I would never go back to that life, and that I truly wanted to be the real me again, though at this point I wasn’t even entirely sure who that was.


If you are still reading, thanks for letting me share a part of my story! I want to encourage you, right now, to stop and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, am I living the life I want, or the life someone else wants for me? Am I in a safe and nurturing environment, or am I in a situation that I shouldn’t be in? It took nearly three years for me to finally listen to my family and decide to drive away. Don’t wait. Be honest with yourself, and if you need to recalibrate, do it! I am not a licensed counselor, but please feel free to reach out if you need support on any of this. I know from experience that even when you know something isn’t right, it is not easy to leave (and stay gone).

Back to the Real Me

It occurred to me recently that most of my focus these past few years has been on getting rid of things that don’t serve me, and putting my energy into what lights me up. It seems so simple, but we are influenced greatly by our partners, families, employers, friends, neighbors, social media… everyone shows us the way we’re “supposed” to be, so it’s no surprise that many of us get lost along the way! As I work to uncover the real me and prioritize the things that mean the most to me, I am finding myself healing from past experiences that have carved my path. I finally feel ready to address and share some of those things. As I work through these traumas (and move past them), I am fully embracing the me that I love and everything that represents who God made me to be authentically.

Free Falling

Continue reading “Back to the Real Me”

Do Something Good

Do something good. Just to do it. Not to get credit for it, but just for the sake of doing something good. It’s so easy to immediately go to social media and show your people something awesome you did. We think, wow, what I just did (insert any accomplishment/charitable act here) was so amazing, I can’t wait to see what everyone else says about it! “Facebook or it didn’t happen!”

I get it. I have done it (and still do sometimes), but I’m working towards getting away from it. Now I understand what it’s really about: getting external validation. And honestly, if we are in constant need of external validation, it is time to turn inward and do some work on ourselves. Our self-worth should come from something much more meaningful than social media likes, comments, and follows.

Now, back to the doing… what’s something good we can do? There are so many people out there that could use some help, and even more people who could just use a smile or a little pick-me-up! A little bit of “happy” goes a long way!

Simple Ways to Spread A Little Cheer

Send a sweet or funny text to someone you’ve been thinking about, but haven’t spoken to recently.

Write a note or send out a card to brighten up someone’s mailbox.

Take the time to make an actual phone call or video chat with a friend or family member.

Drop off cookies for your neighbors.

Bring an extra coffee to work, and bless the first person you run into with it.

Leave an extra generous tip on that coffee.

Invite someone to go for a walk with you.

Smile at everyone you see on your walk.


Want to take it a step further?

I just found out about this amazing service called NeedU.Org. It’s a free website that you can use to really help someone! It’s kind of like setting up a meal train, only you can set up so much more than meals. You customize it and make it work for just about anyone or anything. It’s a simple and free way to organize needs for both those giving and receiving. If you know someone in your community who could use some help, I urge you to start them a page and share away!

Why we started NeedU

Over the last few years, we’ve experienced times when we needed some extra support. Some of these times were sad, marked by the loss of loved ones. Other times were happier but hard in their own way, like the birth of two children in one year. Our friends, family and community were there for us and expressed how much they wanted to help, but we didn’t know what to ask or how to ask for it.

We created NeedU because needing help is normal, and yet there was no platform out there that bridged the gap between asking and receiving help. 

— A note from the co-founders of NeedU: Jonathan, Brandon and David

Clutter-free Gifting and Receiving

Let’s be honest, when we’re trying to simplify our lives, we don’t want to receive a bunch of random items to find homes for, and we don’t want to gift others things they don’t need, either. So how do we give and receive gifts? I have compiled some of my favorite ideas on this. But first… my favorite Christmas sweater. 🎄

Communicate

Let people know what you need (or don’t need). It seems so simple, but we often don’t want to be difficult, so we don’t speak up. But here’s the thing, if you ask for what you actually need, you make it easier for the person trying to buy you gifts! They don’t have to guess, they won’t worry about getting you something you won’t like, and they can easily cross your gift off their to-do list. I just heard on a podcast recently to be a good gift receiver, become known for things you’ll always want and use. For example, I love cheese, chocolate, dry red wine, herbal teas, and local honey. I will absolutely use and love those items anytime, and they’re consumable so they won’t take up space for long! Another idea is to be known for what experiences you would enjoy, such as manicures and pedicures, massages, coffee shops, wine/beer tasting, and live music… Any gift cards that enable me to have more of those experiences are more than welcomed! Yours might look completely different from mine, but you get the idea. Make it easy by being open and honest about what you want to receive, and you’ll open up that line of communication for others to be honest about their wants and needs, too.

Shop Local

Shopping local is fun, and helping small shop owners is a win-win! I am not perfect at this by any means, but when I can, I try to keep it local. For example, instead of ordering books online, I asked my local bookstore to get them for me. I got a call when they came in to pick them up at my convenience. Simple, effective, it supported a local store, and I got a great, personalized experience. I did a similar thing when shopping for my new walking shoes. I knew what I thought I wanted, called my local running store, verified they had options for me to try, and went there instead of buying online. It didn’t cost me any extra money, I got to try on several styles, I supported someone in my community, and I went home with a pair of shoes that day. In fact, I walked out of the store with them on. When’s the last time you’ve done that? It’s been far too long for me. Instead of mindlessly clicking “buy now” and ending up with way more than you need or want to spend when gifting (or buying for yourself), be purposeful and mindful of your shopping experience, make a list, do research, and shop in your community.

Gift Consumables & Experiences

As I mentioned before, my main wishlist items are things I will always use. They will be appreciated, and won’t take up space or be wasted. I won’t worry about where to display or store them, or whether or not they fit or flatter me. This helps keep our homes clutter-free, and also gives people options for doing or enjoying things they might not have in their budget right now. Examples include specialty food/drink items, gift cards, memberships, online subscriptions, local experiences (movies, music, sports, museums, etc).


I hope these ideas help as you navigate a meaningful, clutter-free holiday season. Stay tuned for more ideas and random thoughts from me on IG, Facebook, and soon you’ll find me on Pinterest, as well. You can search for “Live Like A Daylily” to get right back here, too.

Stay safe, and as always, be your best self every single day, and remember to Live Like A Daylily.


My go-to capsule wardrobe guide. This is the only thing that’s truly worked for me! I recommend it whole-heartedly for you and your loved ones!

Christmastime is here!

The holidays are looking quite a bit different for us this year. Of course we have all of the Covid concerns in getting together with friends and family, lots of our favorite events are canceled, restaurants and shops closed or limited, less money to go around… but instead of dwelling on things I can’t control, I’m going to focus on what I can. So here’s what my Christmastime is looking like. I hope it helps inspire you to make some changes (the good ones), too!

Less

  • Perfection. This is a big one for me. This year I’m taking a step (or six) back and letting things happen as they will. We picked out a tree yesterday, and I let everyone else decide what size and shape to get. My toddler helped decorate our tree, and I didn’t move any (ok, many) ornaments. I didn’t dwell for hours perfecting our Christmas cards, but instead made it special, chose meaningful photos and a quote, and clicked purchase. Perfection is the worst. Let it go! It’s way less stressful for everyone.
  • Busy. This is a little easier this year because lots of our usual plans have been cancelled for us. But I’m still seeing people rushing around looking frazzled and stressed. I was pulling out of a parking spot yesterday (doing a quick and simple pickup for Christmas presents, so fun!), and this lady pulled out of her spot after me, but apparently I wasn’t pulling out quickly enough, because she honked at me and zipped around me giving me a crazy look. What on Earth is so worth all the rushing and aggressive driving? Everything we’ve gone through this year with losing Prudence has made me slow way down and enjoy each moment, and I am trying to remember to continue that speed even during the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
  • Stuff. I know you knew this was coming. And yes, it is possible to have less stuff and reduce your consuming, even at the holidays! In fact, getting rid of things before we introduce new items we receive is a wonderful idea. Donate any unused decor, pantry items you won’t use, outgrown clothes and toys, etc. My husband and I had several discussions about our planned purchases and budgets for Christmas, I used an app I like (it’s called The Christmas List) to organize it, and then I was able to purchase things online without worry, “accidental” impulse purchases, or overspending.

More

  • Movement. Moving our bodies helps in so many ways. But especially during times of extra stress and commitments, it’s even more important to remember to take care of ourselves. I’ve made a commitment to walk at least one mile a day (yes, I’m walking in the cold outside), for the month of December. Comment below if you want to join me and 99 Walks, and I’ll add you to my team! The 99 Walks focus of the month is “Leave a Little Sparkle”. I love it so much! What can we do to leave a little sparkle wherever we go? I’m working on slowing down, making eye contact, saying hello (or even better paying a compliment), smiling (behind my mask), and being more present in every situation. There’s a lot more opportunity for that when we slow down and walk.
  • Memory Making. I think all new moms probably go through the phase where we want to establish the best traditions and keep up with the Pinterest boards of the best moms out there. But that’s not what I am doing this year. I’m picking and choosing what works for us! What a concept, right? We went and cut down a tree yesterday at the cutest tree farm, right out of a Hallmark movie, and got some beautiful pictures. The lighting was perfect. It wasn’t too cold. It was wonderful. But, it has taken us five years (and five tries) to find a place like this! We’ve had some less than amazing tree-getting moments, probably mostly because I put so much pressure on making it be perfect and tradition-worthy!
  • Nature. Ok, if you know me, you probably know that I hate being cold. I didn’t live in the Southwest for 10 years of my adult life for nothing! But I now know how important it is for my toddler (and me) to prioritize our outdoors time – no matter the weather. It’s really incredible the benefits you get when you just go outside and play. You probably know we’re doing a goal of 1000 hours outside each year (which is about 3 hours a day). We may not make that goal this year since we started at the end of January, and didn’t get into the momentum until much later. But it’s not about the achievement. What? I know. I love crossing off the list, getting a gold star, sharing my wins… but we spent so much more time outside having fun and making memories than we would have without this goal, and that’s what this is all about! So whether you do 10 minutes or an hour, bundle up and get some fresh air each day. Trust me. It’s great!
  • Fun. Yep. Plain and simple. More fun! Some things I’m doing this year: I always have a Christmas movie playing, whether it’s one of my Hallmark ones or Elf, or a cartoon classic, there’s always a Christmas movie at the ready! Advent calendars! I got a chocolate one from Aldi, and we’re also going to do one from 1000 Hours Outside (a different nature focused activity for each day)! I’ll link to that below. Making ornaments… I have a recipe saved that we’re going to try (link below)! Making and decorating Christmas cookies with the family. Trying new recipes. Getting special holiday treats, hello Elf cereal and candy cane deodorant! What are your favorite fun Christmas activities? Comment and let me know!

This week’s favorites:

99 Walks

1000 Hours Outside Advent Calendar

Candy Cane Deodorant- Healthy deodorant that works! Get a Free Travel Size Deodorant with your first order HERE

Handprint Christmas Ornaments

Myers Christmas Tree Farm

The Christmas List App

I’m Wildly Grateful For…

My health. This year has been rough in that department, but I’m doing the work, seeing results, and will continue to be my best self. I saw a post the other day on social media that said something along the lines of “don’t talk about your goals, go achieve them”. Powerful, right? That resonated with me. So I’ll just leave you with one of my new favorite quotes.

My family. If Covid has taught me one thing, it’s how much I love my family. I love having more time with my husband, more help at home with the kids, and more downtime in general. We’ve had an incredibly rough year with the loss of Prudence, but my family is surviving and we’re stronger than ever.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”

Michael J. Fox

My friends. As someone who has moved a lot, I’ve had a lot of acquaintances, and not so many real friends. It’s only taken six years in my current town, but I finally have my four quarters.

“Be careful who you call your friends. I’d rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies.”

-Al Capone

My Walking Community. I attribute so much of my motivation, inspiration, healthy mindset, and improved physical health to joining the 99 Walks community. It’s incredible. You can join me here: 99 Walks.

My Fashion Meets Faith Community. I have connected with some of the most amazing Christian women, and we talk about everything from seasons of friendships, to finding our purpose, to what to wear to an event, and how to tie a scarf. It’s wonderful. I found Shari Braendel during the Fall Refresh challenge when I was changing my closet out for the season, and came across the Closet Outfit Planner! I just switched out my capsule to my Christmas colors using the planner, making a few adjustments to fit my lifestyle (animal print top = Christmas cat sweater).

My Christmas 2020 Capsule Wardrobe

What are you grateful for?

My Decluttering Method

When I started out decluttering/minimizing, I tried many methods, as you have probably seen if you’ve been following my progress on social media. I did a little of this and a little of that, and finally, as I’m finishing my entire home declutter, I’ve figured out my own method! So here’s the thing. What works for me may not work for you, or maybe parts of it resonate and the rest doesn’t. Great! Just like I’ve done with all of the methods I’ve tried, and what one of my good friends says to me all the time, “take the best and leave the rest”.

First Steps

First things first. Figure out where to start! Marie Kondo starts with clothes. Joshua Becker starts with the easiest shared living space in your home. I say start with what gives you the most trouble on a regular basis.

For example, when you open your cupboard for a coffee mug first thing in the morning, do you find yourself muttering complaints under your breath about the cabinet being jammed full with a ridiculous amount of mugs? Or worse, does opening the cabinet start a chain of projectile Tupperware that somehow ends with you spilling your coffee, something breaking, and then stubbing your toe? Yes, I have been there. And maybe that cabinet is a great place to start for you, too!

Or maybe it’s your clothes closet. Or pantry. Or dining room table. Or mudroom? I personally think you should attack the area that will give you the most relief right away. Enjoy your newfound space in an area you use regularly, and get that boost of confidence to continue to declutter the rest of your home.

Now what?

Ok, so we’ve picked our starting point. Now what do we do? This is what I have just figured out to be the easiest and quickest way to sort a space, and I’m excited to share it with you! Gather bins, boxes, laundry baskets, tubs… anything that can temporarily contain your things for sorting. Take a quick inventory of the space you’re about to declutter, and make a label for each bin! I’ve seen this done before and have used this method in the past, where you have a bin for keep, donate, recycle, etc. but this is a little different.

Let’s use the example of the coffee mug/Tupperware cabinet. One bin would be mugs. One bin could be plastic Tupperware (and lids). Another could be glass jars. And then Pyrex containers. You can be as specific as you want! Remember. This is just a temporary way to quickly sort and edit your things. The reason I like the bins instead of just emptying the cabinet out onto the counter (or floor) in piles, is that it is a foolproof way to keep like things together. It also creates a boundary for you, and allows you to see exactly how many mix-matched mugs you actually have, for example. I mean, if you fill up more than one bin or basket of mugs and there’s three coffee drinkers in the house, you might have more coffee mugs than you need to keep in that cabinet. Yes, I’m speaking from experience! On the other hand, if you’re constantly running out of Tupperware, you may find that you only have a few matching pieces and lots of missing lids. You’ve made it easy to see what you actually have, and not what you think you have.

How long will this take?

Good question. Each task is different, and it really depends on your energy level, both mental and physical. I have days I can knock out an entire closet or room, feel amazing, drop off all of my donations, take the sold stuff to the post office, and come back and do more! Other days I am overwhelmed by it all, and am lucky if I get through one drawer. So here’s my tip on time. Always set a timer for 20 minutes. You can adjust as needed for what works for you, of course, but 20 minutes is a sweet spot for me. Anything shorter doesn’t seem to give me enough momentum, and anything longer makes me feel overwhelmed and I burn out quickly.

Sometimes I pick a project I can complete in that time, and other times I use that 20 minutes to dive into an entire room declutter. What often happens is that because I’ve allowed myself to stop after 20 minutes, I get a lot done, feel pumped, and I hit repeat timer on my phone and keep going! Not every time though. Sometimes I get through a small drawer in 20 minutes, give myself permission to stop at the timer, and come back to it when I feel more energetic or motivated to do more. But I usually try to do *something* most days, even if it’s just clearing off my nightstand, for example.

So that didn’t really answer the question of how long it will take you, or how much time you should commit to this. But both of those things are going to be different for everyone and for every space. I highly encourage you to set goals for completing projects, but also be flexible. I have grossly underestimated the time it would take me to complete my whole home declutter, but it’s fine! I’m still going. I’ve made so many positive changes, and am feeling the benefits even more with each decluttering session. I’m also getting much, much better at it and plan to redo each area once I’m finished with this round.

What do I keep?

Whatever you want. Nope. That’s not a trick. Truly. Go through your things. Keep what you want to keep, and get rid of the rest. There are various schools of thought on this, but that’s my take on it. Love your elephant collection because it reminds you of your grandma and dad? Cool. Keep it all. Get frustrated every time you try to get a filing system down, and want to get rid of your filing cabinet for good? Cool. Get rid of it.

Yes, those are both examples of my stuff I’ve recently gone through. Yours will be different, of course. But you get the idea. Keep what makes you happy. Keep what you actually use. Display your memories in a way that makes you smile. Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose in your home or life (like the broken mop, or platform shoes that you haven’t worn in 3 years). Get rid of things that don’t make you smile (you know the cheap decoration you bought in the Target dollar section on a whim)? Or even more so, if something causes you pain or guilt or has anything negative attached to it, let it go!

I’ll let you decide. This is your stuff, not mine. And while I’m on that subject, remember to only declutter your own things. Your family will hopefully see how amazing the house looks and feels and will start to follow your lead. You’ll have to help your young kids, of course. But leave your husband’s stuff alone (unless you’re doing laundry and come across his holy socks. I think those are fair game).

How do I organize it?

I don’t know. Ask The Home Edit! I’m definitely not an expert, but the one thing I’ve found to be a steady system for me is to contain your items. Create a boundary, and stick to it. So let’s go back to the bins in your kitchen with your coffee mugs and Tupperware. Now look at your empty cupboard. Figure out where you want your mugs to go, put only what fits there, and let go of the rest. Same goes for everything else. Find a good spot for your Tupperware and lids, and make sure it is enough to store things nicely without overcrowding. Then that’s your boundary. Don’t buy more if it doesn’t fit there.

Setting boundaries and keeping them are I think the simplest way to maintain our lifestyle of living with just what we need. I recently redid my capsule wardrobe and now I have exactly 27 hangers. I won’t add any pieces to it unless I take something away. I do have clothing in a bin that’s not in season and or not in my current capsule theme, but I’ve also created a boundary there and won’t add more than the current bin allows.

As for how to actually organize it? Also up to you. I do like Marie Kondo’s folding method for some things. And I like the clear bins for fridge and pantry storage like they use on The Home Edit. But ultimately I don’t think this matters much. If you have less stuff, you’ll need less storage solutions. If you like to keep things in boxes and baskets, cool. If you would rather just use your drawer or shelf as is, cool. I promise you that you will think you’ve found your perfect method and you will probably change it multiple times. It’s fine! It’s a process. Try to have fun with it.

What do I do with the discards?

I’ve struggled with this a lot. And here’s what it comes down to for me. If you have the time and patience to sell it, go for it. You can do this on fb marketplace, Poshmark, eBay, and various other places online. I’ve done all three of these, and there are definitely pluses and minuses for them all.

If you would rather donate your things, find a place in your area that aligns with your values. Covid has made this tough. At this point in my journey, I am giving away most things on fb or dropping at Goodwill. For clothing, I actually started a local swap, and we send anything that doesn’t get claimed off to ThredUP. You just create an account, print a label, and schedule a USPS pick up. The other benefit of this is that it’s an online consignment shop. I may get a few bucks here and there in store credit, but if the items don’t sell, they donate them, and if they can’t be donated, they recycle the items responsibly.

Let’s break it down

  • Start where you need it the most.
  • Gather baskets/bins and label them temporarily for sorting these items.
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes and start sorting into bins.
  • Repeat until you’re done with this space.
  • Keep what you want, get rid of the rest.
  • Return what you keep to it’s new home, leaving space for future items.
  • Stick to your boundaries.
  • Re-home the discards ASAP. Don’t keep them in your home very long!
  • Pick your next space and start from the top!
It doesn’t need to be fancy! Just gather bins and something to label them with for the sorting step. Then get to sorting!

Ditch the To-Do Lists!

I’m a bucket list girl. I always have been. I’ve dreamed and made bucket lists and to-do lists for as long as I can remember. And I usually get them done! I don’t take no for an answer… I put all my time and energy into getting to the end goal, and I’ve accomplished and experienced some pretty awesome stuff along the way!

Since getting married and gaining a step-daughter four years ago, my lists have gotten more purposeful and specific. I wanted to start new family traditions, and make everything exciting and memorable! Add in my baby (who just turned 2), and oh man… My lists were intense! I’d ask the family what they wanted to do for summer, fall, or Christmastime, because of course each season has its own list, and usually they’d come up with one or two items that were important to them. That left me with the incredible task of filling up the perfect bucket list for the entire family! So I’d pour over pre-made lists on Pinterest, stress out about not finding the one that met our needs exactly, then decide to find the perfect template for one that I could fill in with ideas from various ones that were ok, but didn’t make the cut as a whole. The entire process was nuts! In trying to create the perfect family memories, and not miss out on anything, I was stressing myself (and everyone else around me) out so much that it would often create tension and make us all miserable.

I remember trying to get the step-daughter involved one Christmas. It was so incredibly important to me to create wonderful memories together as a family. So I bought a bunch of supplies to make tons of different types of cookies and to make our own personalized (but matching, of course) stockings, and I planned to spend the evening like they do on the Hallmark movies: drinking eggnog and having a wonderful time. You know what happened? The kid used glitter glue and put a word in a different language, I don’t even remember what it was, maybe German, on her stocking. It was so pretty. I was like, see, look how perfect our Christmas is! Then we looked up what the word meant… it translated to ” this sucks”. I. Was. Crushed. Why was this happening? I set everything up to be the perfect stepmom with the perfect blended family, and we were going to have the perfect Christmas! I’ll bet you can guess that the rest of the evening did not go well.

It has taken pretty much the entire four years of being a stepmom (and now another 2 of being a bio-mom) to realize that I can’t make everything perfect. In fact, I can’t make ANYTHING perfect. It doesn’t matter how much I want something to go a certain way, or how much money I spend on decorations, or how much time or energy I put into something. I can’t control everything. Shocking, I know. I really thought I could. I wish I had figured this out a long time ago, but you know what? I am just so grateful I’m learning now as I go, and hopefully we’ll all remember these times with at least some pleasant memories being created as we navigate life together during the holidays, and on the ordinary days, as well.

I didn’t make a fall bucket list this year, but we still did some fun stuff. We visited a few orchards, made apple crumble, carved pumpkins, dressed up for Halloween and went trick-or-treating, bought special seasonal coffees and goodies we don’t usually keep around, went to a wiener roast, played in the leaves, rode in the combine… you get the idea. We did all of the fun things we wanted to do (while being Covid-safe, of course) – without a list. WHAT? I know. I am just as shocked as you are. So if you’re like me (Enneagram 7, if you hadn’t yet guessed that), and you want to make sure to have the best holiday season, take it from me. Don’t try to squeeze everything in. Don’t force people to do things with you they don’t want to do. Trust me, it is way more fun to have less expectations and a family who is all in a good mood at the holidays (and every other day).

Oh, by the way, I found out last night that the teenager threw out her matching family Elf pajamas… WHAT!? The old me would have completely lost my head over this. But no, the new me gave her crap about it for a few minutes (while trying to remind myself that this was NOT a big deal). I brought it up a few times today with the hubby to have him help me fix this “crisis” for our Christmas day photos – we’re not into buying a bunch of stuff we don’t need this year (hence why we’re reusing these and not getting new ones for everyone), so I’m not about to replace them if she is just going to throw them out after one use again. We’re still coming up with solutions… but my top choice so far is to have her wear my super obnoxious Mrs. Claus dress instead. Haha! I think that’s fair, don’t you? But honestly… this time next year I will probably still give her a hard time for this in jest, but I don’t want to have a repeat of past years where there’s yelling and crying and all sorts of stress-filled moments. Moments that should have been fun and full of love and warmth.

So, this season, I am going to breathe, take lots of long hot baths, go for long walks outside, drink seasonal coffee drinks, make our home as tidy and cozy as possible, and enjoy myself doing whatever else feels right in the moment. Hopefully the rest of my crew will take a cue from me and have a little relaxing fun, too!