I subscribe to half a dozen magazines (they are a secret pleasure!) Home design & cooking/travel magazines are my favorites. Sometimes I do not get to read them, so they stack up – but then I take them with me when I get on a flight and have time to unwind.

Recently, one of my magazines came with an ad for a new magazine called Magnolia Journal.  With the ad was “Note From Jo” (written by Joanna Gaines*) and the title of her “note” was “The Complexity of Living a Simple Life”.  This spoke to me on many levels; not the least of which is my company is called Simplified Lives!

The entire “note” was interesting and witty, but two ideas resonated with me:

  • “Another thing that’s tricky about simplicity is that you don’t just make a onetime decision – I want to lead a simple life – and then there you have it; you’re good to go. Rather this requires day-by-day, moment-by-moment deciding…
  • Don’t get me wrong. I love abundance in many forms, but not at the cost of a sound mind or peaceful home.”

It struck me how terribly hard it is to keep things decluttered – and simplified in my own home!  I have a basket on a shelf by my entry and I throw items in there when I come home and do not know where to put them immediately; recently when I was cleaning out that basket, I thought to myself, “I just did this” – and I do not feel like going through all this stuff!  Oh, and my stack of mail…need I say more?! I try so hard to declutter – but it is a constant battle!

And, I also “love abundance” – however, I am getting better at not having too many things that I am not using.  I have just donated two boxes of Christmas decorations that I did not use this year, and I donated a big bag of wool blankets that I am not going to use (it breaks my heart to give away nice blankets but my guests prefer nonallergenic comforters).  This past year, and in 2020, I am making myself use boxed stationery that I have already purchased; taking a pause in the purchase of those “oh-so-cute boxes of stationery”! Small steps to simplify!

So – February 2020 – a little more space opened up in my basement, office and in my attic! Having to adjust to the notion that I will always have to simplify and declutter – oh it IS a challenge!

By Valerie Achorn

Valerie Achorn, M.P.A., President of Simplified Lives has many years of experience managing moves for clients around the country. Holding a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from Harvard University, Valerie brings a broad management background and savvy networking skills to Simplified Lives.