According to Karen Trefzer in her new book The Minimalist Tool Kit, “Clutter is sticky.”

Here’s my version of how that works.

You are the first one home. You drop your purse, keys and the mail on the hall table, kick off your shoes and leave them on the floor.

Your husband comes home, add his keys and sunglasses to the pile on the table, kicks off his shoes and leaves them on the floor.

Your kid come home from his after school activity and adds his shoes and backpack to the pile on the floor.

The door bell rings. You try not to trip over any shoes on your way to answer it and are embarrassed to have your neighbor see the mess in your entryway.

OK. Here’s a different scenario.

You come home drop your keys into your purse and hang it on its designated peg on the wall. You kick off your shoes and tuck them into a cubby under a bench. You take the mail with you to the desk where you drop all the junk mail into a recycling bin there. You realize you got a letter so you get a letter opener from the desk drawer to open it and decide you might was well open the rest of the mail while you have the opener handy. You drop all the now unneeded envelopes in the recycling bin, place the bills in a to do folder, and sit down to enjoy reading your letter.

Your husband comes home, sees the clear table, and opens the drawer to put his keys and sunglasses where they belong. He kicks off his shoes, sees your in a cubby and put his in another one.

You kid comes home from his after school activity, kicks off his shoes, and puts them in a cubby. He takes his backpack into the kitchen where he puts his lunch containers into the dishwasher and his homework on the table where he will work on it while eating a snack.

The doorbell rigs. You can easily get to the door and are comfortable inviting your neighbor in to chat.

That second scenario took only moments longer than the first one but I sure find it a more pleasant one.



ps. the Kindle and paperback versions of the book are now on Amazon. I follow Karen’s blog so I know she not only talks the talk she walks the walk and has helped me to do so as well. I get nothing from recommending this book to you except pleasure if it helps you in your own journey to minimalism.

Simple Diet

Simplicity and minimalism are related systems but they are not the same. Simplicity says to do things as simply as possible. Minimalism says to decide what’s important to you and get rid of everything that keeps you from that.

With both of those in mind I started thinking about weight loss systems.

Most diets work.

As long as you follow the rules for that specific diet including their rules for a maintenance program once you reach your goal weight.

Weight Watchers works because their points system causes you to eat fewer calories.

The rice diet works because when you can only eat those few foods you tend to eat fewer calories.

South Beach, Paleo, and Keto work because they limit your consumption of carbs which usually results in eating fewer calories.

Residential food programs work because their limited menus mean you eat fewer calories.

Beginning to see a trend here?

If calorie reduction is the common denominator of all weight loss programs, why not just focus on the calories?

So I decided to get rid of the clutter of special programs and go for simplicity.

Back in April, I told I want to lose 100 pounds in two years (that’s a safe rate which tends to result in keeping the weight off) and it told me I need to eat 1384 calories per day.

When I was at Structure House they gave me a formula for figuring out your calorie needs. It says when I reach goal weight I will need about 1300 calories per day to maintain that weight.

So the simple diet for me is to eat 1300-1384 calories per day.

Of any food I want.

Cheesecake? Sure, just count those calories.

Potato chips? Sure, if that’s how I choose to spend my calories.

FitDay lets me enter what I eat into their database and it tells me how many calories I am consuming.

And there will be no transition to a maintenance program since by the time I reach goal weight I will have been eating the right number of calories for two years.

Easy. Simple. Not cluttered.

And working.



Minimalism is…

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it,” Joshua Becker.

What do you value? The ability to travel? The ability to give of yourself to others? The stuff you collect? A job that makes lots of money? Time with your family? Seeing friends regularly? Time to get more healthy? Time to study things that interest you?

What in your life keeps you from being able to do what you value? Too many things requiring maintenance? A sense of not yet having enough of this to be able to do that? People in your life making too many demands on you? Too much house to clean? So many apps you can’t find the one you need? Too many “favorite” TV programs?

Is what you need more time? If it is, what is wasting yours now?

What could you remove from your life to get you where you want to go faster?

What are you most likely to regret when your life is over? The money you didn’t earn? The time you didn’t spend with friends and family? The things you never owned? The Joneses you didn’t keep up with? The person you would have helped if only you had more time or money?

Once you figure out what you most value, sorting out what to keep vs. what to get rid of becomes much easier. Even if that means getting rid of people who no longer contribute to your values–how many Facebook friends do you really need anyway? Wouldn’t it be more fun to meet a friend face to face and spend some time together?

Make room in your life for what you really value. You’ll be a happier person for doing so. Yes, Jim, for you that includes fishing.