IMG_2798I haven’t been to an estate sale in months.

I get the emails and page through the pictures of what’s for sale, but not much appeals to me. It seems that these days I’m more interested in editing the contents of my house and my life than adding to them.

This isn’t a new phase.

Years ago, my daughter Lindsey gave me a piece of word art that said simplify. She’s a thoughtful gift giver and the piece suited me perfectly. It was a three dimensional word attached to a base, and it sat on top of the cabinet in my office for forever, until – predictably – I donated it during a decluttering session.

So I’ve always been a simplifier, but lately the urge has been strong.

Big Brothers Big Sisters comes through our neighborhood once or twice a month to pick up donations, and on the days they’re due to arrive I’ve been covering my porch with boxes and bags of stuff for them to take: margarita glasses, throw pillows, capri pants, craft supplies.

And I’ve been simplifying in other ways too.

I’ve let magazine subscriptions lapse. I look for those tiny unsubscribe links at the bottom of emails. I deleted my entire Pinterest board called Projects, because I’ve lost the desire to spray paint mason jars or make pumpkins out of book pages.

And we’ve finally decided to get rid of our landline. I’m going to take care of that when I go into the cable company’s office, because I want to simplify our cable package too.

This all sounds pretty drastic, but it’s actually been freeing. So freeing.

William Morris famously said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”


To me, that is just about the perfect sentiment. I think of it often – daily even – as I look at the contents of a closet, a drawer, or even my calendar, and ask, “what no longer works for me?”

By letting go of those things, I’m free to enjoy what stays that much more. I feel lighter, energized, more focused.

I know I’ll go back to an estate sale eventually. After all, I’m a simplifier, not a minimalist. But I don’t think I’ll go as often as I once did, and this latest round of letting go has inspired me to think differently about what I’ll bring home.

An interesting piece of art? Yes. A good book? Always. But they’re still just things, and when I no longer find them useful or beautiful, there is gratification and fulfillment in letting them go to someone who will.

How about you? Do you ever feel the urge to simplify?

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  1. I have been feeling exactly like you for the past year. Comes with age I think, and the empty nest part of our lives as well. Love your posts. Sherri

    1. Thank you, Sherri. 🙂

  2. Such a synchronous post…I too am unsubscribing from emails and I feel so much better with an uncluttered inbox. Same with magazines and am going to begin editing closets and cupboards. It is freeing. One blog I follow does a no spend month once a year. I like that idea. Loved this post.

    1. Love that word choice, Nanci…synchronous. Happy simplifying!

  3. Simplify seems to be the name of the game these days for me too! I’ve been deleting emails, even some blogs…and I’ve got boxes of things to go to various places. We are even simplifying our garden beds…so they are easier for us to care for! It is freeing! I’m thinking it’s due to aging, being empty nesters…or, is it the culture of today? Either way…I’m keeping it up! 😉

    1. I think it’s natural for empty nesters, Donnamae, but it’s definitely in the culture too. We live in such a time of abundance.

  4. Thanks, Julie, I really needed to hear this! My oldest moved to Boston after grad school & my youngest will begin his senior year at university (out of state) this fall. And I’ve just been feeling stuck. I typically don’t do well with change, but finally feel that I need to rethink the uses of some of the rooms in my home which will lead to rethinking design/decor/possessions. It feels stagnant & I don’t feel that I can move forward into this new phase of my life while being tied to old ways & posessions that no longer fit. I want to be unburdened by my possessions & feel free. Thanks for the inspiration to do just that!

    1. I completely understand how you feel. Congratulations on moving forward and enjoy that ‘free’ feeling.

  5. Julie, thanks for the inspiration and motivation. I so need to get on the band wagon with simplifying. There are blogs out there that are nice, but they often give me the feeling of clutter. So much stuff! William Morris sure had it right!

  6. Yes, yes and YES! All of those things you are doing, I am about to do as well. An empty nest will certainly put everything into perspective. I will be simplifying AND getting myself in shape and healthy. Out with the cable boxes, extra TVs and papers. My house will be lean when I’m through, and hopefully inspire me to downsize in the next couple of years. 🙂

    1. That’s exciting, Sharon. I do think that simplifying our homes can lead to growth in other areas, like health. I need to pay more attention to that myself. And YES to the TVs. I have two small TVs that used to be in the kitchen and my office that I need to get rid of. We have quite enough without those!

  7. I’m with you on everything, but the landline. I need it for my alarm and also 911 calls. They are routed differently through cell phones which can mean a matter of minutes to arrive, and that can have drastic consequences. I’ve lost touch with so many people when they ditched their landlines and don’t have facebook, etc.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Teresa. I’ve heard the 911 thing before.

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