Tag Archives: Chronic Depression

Naked House Interview: “Take a Hard Look at Your Calendar”

writings in a planner
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Kelly Rupiper is Content Director at Upparent, a recommendation-sharing website for parents. She is also the mother of two elementary school-aged kids. See Upparent.com. Here is the interview we did for my book, The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Mollie: Have you ever significantly reorganized and decluttered your home? What led to the decision and what did you change?

Kelly: Parenthood brings with it a lot of stuff. When my kids were a newborn and a toddler, we moved from a small condo into a larger home and it felt like the floodgates for accumulating toys, clothes, and gear were opened. It was easy to add more and more stuff now that we had the room, and though I don’t think we had gone overboard by common standards, eventually I started feeling like we were spending too much time putting away toys, sorting through piles of clothes, and generally cleaning up. The effort that we were putting into taking care of all of these things was more than the happiness we were getting out of having them. This was around the time that people started talking more about a minimalist lifestyle, and the idea of letting go of the clutter seemed freeing to me. I spent the better part of a year combing through our home and putting together donations, selling items on Facebook, and handing things down to family members. A few years later we embarked on a cross-country move, and this was a great opportunity to think critically about what really needed to come with us and pare down some more.

Mollie: What are your most prized beliefs regarding minimalist lifestyle—the ideas you most want to spread?

Kelly: A minimalist lifestyle isn’t just about owning as little as possible or going without. It’s about limiting yourself to the things that are important, special, and useful to you, and getting to enjoy these things every day because you’re not weighed down by needing to weed through and maintain all of the fluff.

It’s also not just about physical belongings. Think about taking a more minimal approach to the way you schedule your family’s time and attention, too. Take a hard look at all of the after-school activities and obligations on your calendar, and think about how it would feel to spend less time driving around and more time at home as a family.

Mollie: Tell me more about the benefits of minimizing one’s schedule.

Kelly: Aside from keeping more money in the bank and enjoying more family time together, I have found that minimizing the number of activities that kids have on their plates helps to keep them from getting burned out. My kids tend to get overwhelmed when the schedule gets to the point where we’re running from one activity to the next, and lessening their load means they can actually look forward to the things they’ve signed up for.

Mollie: Why do you think people have a hard time being at home with no planned activity?

Kelly: There’s an instinct to feel like we have to entertain our kids, and the choruses of “I’m bored!” don’t help. But when kids aren’t overwhelmed by a playroom stuffed with endless choices and instead have a small collection of toys that inspire open-ended play, it’s pretty amazing to see how well they can entertain themselves and each other without parental intervention.

Mollie: How can people learn to embrace unplanned family time?

Kelly: Simple, low-key family traditions can be a great way to give some structure to your family time without introducing outside obligations. My family does a weekly Friday night family movie night and we rotate the person who gets to pick what we watch. The kids look forward to it all week. We are also reading the Harry Potter series together, and we sit down to read a chapter most evenings after the kids are showered and ready for bed. Introducing fun (and often free!) activities like these gives the family something easy to do together that they look forward to and creates memories that you’ll be able to enjoy for years.

Mollie: Can you share a few specific tips for simplifying a home?

Kelly: Do what you can to keep excess things from coming into your house in the first place. Getting your family on board with this will make it much easier. It’s hard to deny well-meaning relatives who love to buy gifts for your kids, so give them ideas that mesh well with minimalism: a museum membership, a kids cooking class, or one larger-ticket holiday gift (like a basketball hoop or a streaming service membership) for the whole family to enjoy together. My kids will often choose a special family experience like an amusement park trip or theater tickets instead of a large birthday party with friends and gifts.

Mollie: Any final thoughts?

Kelly: Minimalism isn’t just about clearing out your house. It’s about changing your mindset, so you’re better-equipped to maintain your new way of life moving forward. Once you discover and embrace how freeing it is to be living without the clutter in your house and on your calendar, it’s easier to be able to say “no” to the pressure we all feel to take on more.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Naked House Interview: “Living in an Off-grid Tiny Home Is Extremely Important to Me”

snow covered wooden house inside forest
Photo by Adriaan Greyling on Pexels.com

Tara Skubella teaches tantra and conducts tantra ceremonies. See nakedearthtantra.com.

Mollie: Tell me about your minimalist lifestyle.

Tara: My partner and I are minimalists who live in a tiny home (a converted fifth-wheel) nearly off-grid on the side of a mountain. We’ve been here for three years and love it. We’ve condensed so much of our lives to make this our truth. Not only are we tiny house minimalists, but we don’t have running potable water and heat with wood.

Mollie: What was your decluttering and simplifying process like?

Tara: My first decluttering process happened while I was living in a 1400 square foot house. I donated, gifted or threw away 365 things in my home that I no longer needed. These items ranged from old cleaning products and makeup to pairs of earrings to clothing to a piece of furniture to kitchen supplies and books. It’s amazing how fast you can rid of items no longer used.

This became a ritual I continue to do about every other year, even while living in a tiny home. Most of the items I release these days are small things like pens or pencils, makeup, notebooks, accessories, old food and clothing items. It feels good to have a fresh start every now and then. Releasing 365 things clears the mind and gives us one less object to worry or think about each day for a year.

Mollie: What are your most prized beliefs regarding minimalist lifestyle? What ideas you want to spread?

Tara: Living a minimalist, off-grid, tiny-home life is extremely important to me. I enjoy being immersed in Mother Nature. I depend on snow for water to do my dishes and to boil water for tea. I depend on dead standing wood to heat our tiny home during the harsh 9,000-foot winter months. Living with Mother Earth instead of carving space into her creates a wealth of gratitude each day. Even living the primitive way I do is still very abundant, as I’ve experienced harsh survival situations in the past. Coming home to a cozy, safe space warms my heart.

I also believe living with less helps me with my ADHD. Since my mind is cluttered most of the time, living in a space with less to clean and to worry about simplifies my life even more. Living with less is also a mindful life choice and practice. Consciously choosing what we can live without opens the spirit to reconnect with intuitive choices about what we truly need in order to survive. Otherwise, instead of being more mindful of tasks we look for an easy way out. Thinking this way sometimes isn’t a big deal; however, the more we develop an attachment to objects for meeting our needs, the more we look for answers outside instead of within.

Mollie: Can you share a few very specific tips for cleaning, organizing and simplifying a home?

Tara: Yes. First, if you haven’t used something in a little over a year, you really don’t need it so get rid of it.

  1. Second, if you bring a non-perishable item into the house, release something else as an exchange. For example, if you buy a new pair of socks, donate or gift a pair that has never really fit right. If you receive a fancy new air-vacuumed mug for your birthday, donate the plastic one that doesn’t keep coffee warm as long as your new one.
  2. Also, remember that linens and towels can add up quickly. We only need one to two sets of sheets per bed and one to two bath towels per person. Depending on the family size, three or four kitchen towels is plenty. People often accumulate too many linens because we don’t like to do the laundry. This accumulation also happens with clothing. The more we are able to be mindful with laundry, the less we actually need on hand.
  3. My final tip is to rent a storage unit. Seriously. If you are uncertain about releasing a number of items, rent a storage unit and place those items in it, then see how often you return to use them. For the items you truly need, you’ll be willing to drive to the unit, use it and drive it back. If items stay unused for several months or they aren’t worth the rental fee, then you’ll learn that those unused items aren’t worth the money and effort to keep around.

The solution is almost always fewer things. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Naked Interviews: “I Brought Two Suitcases with Me and Two Suitcases Back”

suitcases placed on edge of bed
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Haley Gallerani runs The Vegan Abroad, a website about traveling sustainably and as a vegan. Visit it at theveganabroadblog.com.

Mollie: Have you ever significantly minimized your possessions? What led to the decision and what did you change?

Haley: I would say that I officially became a minimalist in 2018 when I moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I brought two suitcases with me and two suitcases back. I knew that I wouldn’t be living in Thailand forever so I didn’t want to purchase too many things while I was there. I did have to purchase a few things for my apartment, but it came furnished so my purchases were minimal.

The biggest way that I minimized my possessions was with my clothing. I used to own so many clothing pieces that I hardly ever wore. I now rotate among around ten different outfits. My biggest tip for simplifying your wardrobe is to only purchase neutral colors. This will allow you to mix and match more than if you own clothing with different colors and patterns.

Mollie: What is your life like now? How often do you travel and for how long? Do you still take only two suitcases?

Haley: I have been in the United States for the past few months, but I will be moving to Europe in January 2020. I am a big believer in slow travel. That means that I spend a long time in one location before moving onto the next. Europe is a bit more complicated than Thailand because of visa issues. I will start in Italy where I will stay for three months: one month in Rome, one month in Florence, and one month in Sicily. Then I will be going to Croatia for three months before finally settling in the Czech Republic where I will get a visa.

I am planning on only bringing one suitcase and a backpack with me to Europe because I will be moving around so much. I know that this is going to be even more challenging since Europe has four different seasons that I need to pack clothes for whereas it was almost always summer temperatures in Thailand. I am excited about the challenge, though, and I think that I will grow even more minimalist.

Mollie: What are your most prized beliefs regarding minimalist lifestyle—the ideas you most want to spread?

Haley: My most prized belief regarding a minimalist lifestyle is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for minimalism. I think that you have to find what brings you joy in life and focus on that. Clothing doesn’t bring me joy, so that is a very easy area for me to be a minimalist in. I do love cooking, though, so someone could look at my kitchen and think that I am not a minimalist, but then look at my closet and think that I am. Ultimately, I think that minimalism is about focusing on the things that matter to you, and spending less time (and money) on the things that don’t. When you find the things that don’t bring you joy, get rid of them.

Also, try to find ways to simplify the things that do bring you joy. For example, I am an avid reader. I only purchased physical books prior to moving to Thailand. I decided to purchase a Kindle before moving to Thailand so I could easily purchase books in English while I was abroad. It ended up being one of the best purchases that I have ever made because I no longer have the clutter of books anymore, and I can fit hundreds of books on a very small device.

Mollie: Any final thoughts?

Haley: Becoming a minimalist can be scary at first as you are getting rid of a bunch of your possessions. The thought of “What if I need this in the future?” may show up. My advice would be to keep the item that you are questioning for six months to a year depending on what the item is. If you haven’t used it in that time then you should probably get rid of it.

The solution is almost always fewer things. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Naked House Interview: “Voids Can Give Meaning and Emphasis to Chosen Elements”

worms eyeview of well
Photo by Filipe Delgado on Pexels.com

Pablo and Beverly Solomon have been minimalist designers for over forty years. Their work has been featured in over forty books as well as numerous magazines and newspapers; on TV and film; and on the radio. You can see examples of their fashion and home designs at PabloSolomon.com and BeverlySolomon.com.

Mollie: What is the essence of your minimalist design philosophy?

Pablo: You have so often heard it said that the core of minimalism is the concept of “less is more”. We would modify that a bit and say that putting quality over quantity is also minimalism. Minimalism is also the recognition that simplifying your life and achieving a harmonious balance between things and experiences, between your comfort and respecting nature, between activity and rest, etc. are also goals. Minimalism strives to be a physical representation of a serene, uncluttered mind that lives in harmony with nature.

Mollie: That’s an interesting idea. What does minimalism have in common with living in harmony with nature?

Pablo: Beverly is part Native American. One of her core beliefs that we try to follow is that we are just passing through this life and should leave the smallest negative marks behind—that we respect nature by using only what we need and protecting the rest. Minimalism design not only tries to blend the architecture into the setting, but to do the least amount of damage in the process. The concept of your home blending into the setting is representative of your being part of nature, not at odds with nature.

Mollie: Can you share a few specific tips for living a successful minimalist lifestyle?

Pablo: It really begins with choosing to live in harmony with nature and to create a setting for yourself that puts you at peace. Keep the things that you cherish, that bring you happy memories, that make your life more pleasant. Eliminate those elements that just fill space for the sake of filling space. Learn to embrace the concept that voids can give meaning and emphasis to chosen elements. And it is okay to be as minimal or non-minimal as makes you comfortable.

Mollie: How do voids help give meaning? Can you give me an example of how you would use a void in an interior or exterior home design?

Pablo: The most simple example would be a wall. Having one valued painting is emphasized by the blank space around it. Were the wall to have as many paintings as you can cram on that wall, no one painting would have much impact.

Mollie: Any other thoughts?

Pablo: Like so many truths in life, the journey is often more important than the destination. Just considering the mindset of minimalism and taking the first steps in simplifying your life and calming your mind are worth it. Just let go of one thing today. Tomorrow is another day.

The solution is almost always fewer things. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.

Naked House Interview: “Respect the Space as a Defined Perimeter for How Much You Can Keep”

close up photo of yellow tape measure
Photo by Marta Longas on Pexels.com

Amanda Clark is the owner or Ever So Organized®️, a full-service home organizing company based out of Orange County, California. They specialize in decluttering and creating beautiful, functional and organized systems for homeowners. See eversoorganized.com for more information.

Mollie: Have you ever significantly reorganized and decluttered your home? What led to the decision and what did you change?

Amanda: A few years ago I moved into a new home, more than doubling the square footage of the previous home. I did not declutter before the move because I was pregnant with my third baby and fairly immobile. A month into the move my third baby was born and I decluttered my entire house during my maternity leave. I no longer wanted to organize and re-organized the amount of stuff I knew I didn’t even need. I wanted to enjoy the expanded space without adding more stuff in it.

Mollie: So now you actually have a large home that is spacious, too? What is that like?

Amanda: With more space in my home comes more space in my head; a weight has been lifted. I’m extremely proud of my house and it has been featured in a local publication. That never would’ve happened if it was filled with stuff.

Mollie: Can you share your process for decluttering?

Amanda: Look at one area at a time. For example, a pantry, closet, or even a drawer.

Step one: Remove everything from the space. That means everything!

Step two: Wipe down and clean the surfaces while they are empty.

Step three: Sort like items together. You may be surprised at how many black socks, tubes of toothpaste (you can never find) or cans of beans you own.

Step four: Declutter. Be ruthless. Do you love it? Does it improve your life? Can you purchase it in twenty minutes for under $20 if you need it later?

Step five: You are now allowed to shop for those pretty containers only after you know what you have left. Can risers, plastic dividers for drawers and matching slim velvet hangers really can make a big difference organizing your space. Go wild on Pinterest for ideas or check out my Instagram @eversoorganized.

Step six: Use containers to separate items and label everything.

And finally: Respect the space as a defined perimeter for how much you can keep. Don’t cram more stuff in the space later on. Use the one-in, one-out rule to keep it under control.

Mollie: Any more tips?

Amanda: Yes!

  • Turn all of your hangers backward in your closet. As you wear something replace the hanger with the cleaned item as you normally would. At the end of the season you can clearly see which clothes you have worn and which you haven’t. Consider decluttering those never-worn items.
  • Have a pretty bin, basket or container in a handy area. Put your mail, to-do items and even broken items you’ve been meaning to fix inside the container. Set aside time every single week to work on those actionable items. If you are consistent, very few things will fall through the cracks.
  • File fold your clothes in your drawers. This will change your life.

Mollie: What is file folding?

Amanda: File folding is a simple way of folding your clothes in a square or rectangle shape and then placing them in the drawer on their sides instead of flat. It looks similar to folders in a file cabinet. No more forgetting about what’s on the bottom of your pile: now there is no bottom.

Mollie: Any final thoughts?

Amanda: Less stuff truly means more time, more money and more freedom: less time maintaining the stuff, more money in the bank account because you are buying less and more freedom from consumerism.

The solution is almost always fewer things. Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a Minimalist Home.