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  • Loosen the Grip of "More Stuff" - Small Notebook
    the following child because they were on special I think I may have clothed an entire city on the clothes she has given us Don t ask me about clothes we are seriously minimalist When I realized my comment was getting longer than the longest blogpost I knew it was time to write a post about it AnnieA says February 23 2011 at 6 23 pm Gail Vaz Oxlade s site has a list in the Buidling a Basic Wardrobe at http gailvazoxlade com blog archives 2528 Julie EssentialSimplicity says February 26 2011 at 12 31 pm I don t know if my basic wardrobe list will be any help to you but here is what I came up with for me at the beginning of the year still working toward weeding out the current wardrobe as I acquire the new one http http essentialsimplicity blogspot com 2011 01 minimalist sahm wardrobewhat im wishing html Julie EssentialSimplicity s last post Our Decorated Nursery Amy says February 21 2011 at 6 44 pm I ve been going through the exact same thing realizing how much time and effort our stuff takes up thank you for this fresh perspective Danielle says February 21 2011 at 6 56 pm what a great and timely reminder let us not be held hostage by the pursuit of the american dream Danielle s last post workin girl Jen M says February 21 2011 at 7 06 pm Amen to that I m involved in that long process of paring down all the stuff I own It s really been in the last year that I feel like I ve turned that final corner on the paridigm shift from It s on sale I must buy it to getting rid of all the stuff I ve acumulated and never or hardly ever use and only buying things when I ve purposefuly thought about it before hand One area I still find myself accumulating things is souvenirs when I travel Have you been tempted to buy things while you re in Italy How are you resisting or deciding what to buy Perhaps it helps that you are there for longer so you have more of an opportunity to think through what you really want to take home I find it hard when I m traveling to resist the things that I like that are unique to that place because unlike at home I can t think about it and come back later Rachel says February 22 2011 at 1 24 am I don t really tend to buy souvenirs when I go on trips I m more likely to remember a trip if I journal or take pictures Andrea Howe says February 22 2011 at 1 50 pm That is the same with us We recently went to NYC with the kids and the only thing we bought was candy from Dylan s Candy Bar Andrea Howe s last post Youve Got Questions Ive Got Answers Part 3 Fashion Edition Megan Faith Like Mustard says February 22 2011 at 6 54 pm Rachel I m the same with photographs I d love to hear how you organize or pare down photographs My external drives and photo boxes overfloweth and there s no time for scrapbooking like I used to Suggestions Megan Faith Like Mustard s last post Bible in 90 Days Week 7 Recap Rachel says February 23 2011 at 12 36 am Yes Here is my essential tool to organize digital photos trinity says February 22 2011 at 11 40 pm When I am tempted by souvenirs I stop and think how will this look on the garage sale table and what will it go for Usually this takes care of that yearning If I am really sorry when I get home you can get most everything on eBay If I still Really Need Something I save the gelato cup and teensy spoon a water bottle with an usual label or something like that Amanda says March 21 2011 at 1 56 pm When we feel a real need for a souvenir we get a christmas ornament preferably something somewhat ridiculous One We have a lovely glass crab from Cape Cod a cheap little cable car from San Francisco a monkey on a space shuttle from Cape Canaveral Dorothy s house from a roadtrip through Kansas It s fun to spend the trip hunting for something memorable and later a delight to pull them out every year and remember our adventures They serve a great purpose then we put them away for the year Andrea Howe says February 21 2011 at 7 11 pm We moved last year to a house with not one single linen coat or utility closet in the house We just had the 4 closets that existed in each bedroom For months it drove me crazy to try to fit all my stuff from our old house into this new house and I spent hours organizing reconfiguring storage arrangements etc Until after the holidays a couple of months back I decided why am I holding onto all this stuff Why do I need 20 towels and 10 bath mats WHY So I purged and it all fits now and the frustration I once felt with no linen space is now thankfulness that it has helped me see the light that I can definitely survive with just 2 sets of towels Andrea Howe s last post Youve Got Questions Ive Got Answers Part 3 Fashion Edition Rachel says February 22 2011 at 1 56 am What a neat story about overcoming that frustration and the time it was consuming Martha says February 22 2011 at 10 41 am I did the same thing with my linen closet One of the greatest benefits to my simplifying is seeing it affect my daughter We recently redid her room and she minimized the furniture and stuff because she wanted it that way A sign of maturity and growth to me which delighted my heart It has taken me a lot longer Andrea Howe says February 22 2011 at 1 51 pm wow that s amazing I really hope to be an example to my children like that as well Andrea Howe s last post Youve Got Questions Ive Got Answers Part 3 Fashion Edition Amanda says March 21 2011 at 1 57 pm I m always amazed at how free the kids are in getting rid of stuff I m the one who tries to hold on Denise C says February 22 2011 at 4 56 pm I can relate to the towel collection I felt like Monica on Friends 11 guest towels The 3rd move with my husband we had 2 kids I thought why on earth do I have so many The never used ones went to a local shelter some looking a bit rough went to the cars dog Hubs I have 2 sets of white towels I love white towels bleach them they are brand new Our kids have 2 sets too That is it Ah free from the towels Cat Moore says February 21 2011 at 7 17 pm That is what I m trying to do In fact my word for the year is simplify we are moving this coming Sat and are down sizing I m actually excited about that part and it has felt SO good to throw out and give away If we hadn t used it in a year it s gone Thanks for this post It really makes you think about where our lives have ended up I feel the same way Wendy says February 21 2011 at 7 18 pm This message is so timely for me We just moved and in the process of packing up our belongings I estimate that I got rid of about 25 of our things And now that I m unpacking I find that I m still paring down My big turning point was realizing that I haven t been living the life I want to live partly because of the clutter in our house I want to spend my time creating playing with my children caring for my family reading and cooking When things literally get in the way of that it s time to clear it out Wendy s last post The Inconsistent Week or Two in Bentos February 7 18 2011 Virginia says February 21 2011 at 7 29 pm I hope I have a big house full of things that I bought just because they were on sale this made me snort out loud Great post Living the Balanced Life says February 22 2011 at 9 17 am This sounds absurd but isn t it how most Americans are living Especially before the recession hit Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post 10 steps to continue learning throughout life michelle says February 21 2011 at 7 30 pm Ah yes I have a fondness for tote bags there must be a name for it I m so over having stuff too It s funny the more I get rid of the more I find that I can part with Your blog s been a big help to this former keeper Ginny says February 22 2011 at 11 07 am Me too This blog has been a tremendous help to me I tend to hang onto things just in case And that just in case never seems to happen So I don t keep anymore Julie Creating This Life says February 21 2011 at 7 42 pm What a lovely well written post The last line is applause worthy Jane says February 21 2011 at 7 49 pm Thank you Rachel for this reflection Since the holidays and my 3 year old s birthday this month I find myself wasting hours fretting about what to do with all these toys They seem to be taking over my house Living with 2 kids in a three bed room house 1100 sq ft should be fine right then why does my mind keep wondering to thoughts of if only we had a bigger house then what then I could never get rid of any of my kid s toys Imagine that Even after what feel likes months of purging stuff I think i could purge a whole lot more Now imagine all the fun I could have with my kids if I don t have to spend that time shoving toys back into boxes Lisa says February 25 2011 at 1 08 pm Now imagine all the fun I could have with my kids if I don t have to spend that time shoving toys back into boxes How true Those of us who can minimize cannot manage to minimize our childrens toys It is a problem for me too I think I m going to ask my kids to make a list of their favorite toy keep only what is on the list and donate the rest emily freeman says February 21 2011 at 8 36 pm This post is so lovely So true what you say about those young girl dreams They never include stuff really More like heart hope and all those invisible things emily freeman s last post the magic of morning Sara says February 21 2011 at 8 52 pm Love love love this post We are moving towards less stuff but thats easy The hard part is not bringing New fun stuff home Lillian says February 21 2011 at 10 20 pm LOVE this post especially We never talked about our intentions to own so much stuff that we would spend our free time trying to organize it all That hit just the right spot with me Lillian s last post Balancing Living the Balanced Life says February 22 2011 at 9 22 am Oh that sounds like where I have been living my life as well I am working hard to purge and clear out even more but I do believe some of these items have babies and multiply when I put them back in the cupboards I am so over spending time moving stuff around Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post The world really is at our fingertips Prerna says February 23 2011 at 5 31 am LOL I agree Bernice They do have babies No seriously I love this post but can I please say this I love the discussion happening right here in the comments a whole lot more Thank you amazing ladies You ve shared some great stories inspired a lot and been a great encouragement I m not a minimalist but neither am I a packrat I m just someone learning how lovely and liberating it is to not have too many things Prerna s last post Cooking with Kids Fun Foods Your Toddler Will Love to Make and Eat Maggie says February 21 2011 at 10 26 pm Yes yes yes I ve spent the last year living out of suitcases and it s taught me so much about what s necessity vs frivolity for me I have some essentials that have come with me to Texas Southern California Maryland Germany Ireland and now Korea Travel coffee mug and Klean Kanteen Blank journals Yoga bility used to be a mat now it s sticky gloves and socks Knitting supplies IPhone and Macbook I can make do with less clothing if it s all clothing that I love and that loves me I have two small toiletries bags that haven t been unpacked for 14 months and I don t need more Pretty soon I leave Korea and will be home for good and I intend to stay conscious of just how little I actually need and how little I am growing to even want to feel met and fulfilled Thank you for the reminder Maggie s last post Wandernest The DMZ Stacy of KSW says February 21 2011 at 11 01 pm Amen I ve been downsizing our things for almost 3 years now and am so embarrassed to say I m still not done This year alone I will donate sell or trash 2 011 and hopefully that will be the end of that More life less stuff Stacy of KSW s last post What I can t stop eating april says February 22 2011 at 3 54 pm I totally hear you Stacy My husband and I have moved every 6mos three years over the last 10 years for a total of 14 moves After our last move I realized how much stuff I just keep moving It s ridiculous I have been working for the last year on getting rid of stuff and totally embarrassed to admit that I m not even close to done yet I m making progress though Just last week I finished shredding filing papers that have been kept since 2003 I stuffed 10 kitchen trash bags full of the shredded stuff and was left with just a small handful of things to file I still don t completely understand why I have burdened myself with moving this stuff 5 times Tsh Simple Mom says February 21 2011 at 11 14 pm Absolutely beautifully said friend You have a knack for saying in 100 words what I tend to say in 1 000 And you re making me ache with yearning to live overseas again We ve been here one year now And I m counting the days until we re released to go back again Enjoy Tsh Simple Mom s last post A Road Map for Your Financial Journey Boaz says February 22 2011 at 12 54 am Am i the only one who noticed how totally bourgeoisie this post is Happy to hear that your biggest problem is that you have too big a house full of stuff you bought on sale You are only OVER IT because you have it or the option of it if you want it Rachel says February 22 2011 at 1 19 am Actually I don t own a house and never have and I m currently living out of a suitcase for a few months But you re right having too many nice things seems like a nice problem to have which is why I think so many people see what s good about it and miss something better Karen Scotland says February 22 2011 at 9 08 am Yep you probably are the only person to read that from this post and I m guessing you re fairly new to Small Notebook if that s how you ve read it Rachel s place in life seems to come from a combination of good planning frugal living and astute choices She seems to have chosen early on to avoid acquiring all the stuff so many of us felt essential in our twenties including a house This leaves her free to focus on the really important stuff and as a nice by product leaves her with the financial means to do so Karen Scotland Living the Balanced Life says February 22 2011 at 9 25 am Hear hear Living the Balanced Life s last post Reach out and take a hand Vanessa says February 22 2011 at 11 37 am I love reading this blog and have been reading it for a long time now so I get what the usual message is however I have to agree with Boaz You are only OVER IT because you have it or the option of it if you want it There seems to be a movement you find it on certain blogs if you re online a lot that is against acquiring new purchases Some of us did not grow up with a lot of stuff so when we do get older and can buy things we want those things and there is nothing wrong with that we should have them if we want them and can afford them It s terrific to follow your dreams passions hopes but unfortunately the majority of people I ve encountered live lives of quiet desperation as Thoreau said Some of us will never get to live out our dreams not through any fault of ours it s just the way life is sometimes If stuff makes us feel good to have then I d like to know how to organize it how to get rid of stuff I don t want anymore and possibly bless others with it but I still want to keep some of it and not be made guilty by others who think it s too much for me to have It s none of their business after all I don t think Rachel is saying that though I think she s just happy to be following her dreams but hopefully there s an awareness there that just because something works for one person or one family doesn t mean it will work across the board for all Karen says March 9 2011 at 12 42 pm I totally agree Owning stuff is not wrong Neither is owning a home A place for your roots For your grown children to come back to With stuff they remembered when they were young to bring them comfort It feels good to still have some of those things around As long as your stuff doesn t own you then to each his own Have stuff or not We are all individuals Natalia says February 22 2011 at 3 59 am A great idea but so very hard We move every two years last time from one side of the globe to the other but we still have lots of stuff Much of the big stuff is artworks which we are not ready to part with A lot are books gorgeous beautiful books And tools we rarely use them but they are good to have when they are there So many things that if we were truly being minimalist we could let go of but That said I am still bad at buying things I don t need use or really want after owning for awhile I made a resolution to stop buying clothes for a year and except for three things I stuck to it And you know what I still manage to get dressed every day and some of those days I look mighty fine thank you The reason I am sharing this previously I would not buy an excessive amount of new clothes but once I resolved to buy NO new clothes I realised that actually I don t need to Just this morning I was talking with my six year old about buying some new orchid plants as they were going cheap He said why not just live with the ones you have So true And I will remind him of that next time he bugs me for something new Natalia s last post Pomplamoose for slackers jennifer says February 22 2011 at 5 52 am I am trying at the moment to clear a pathway through my belongings so I can find my future as a mother a wife a librarian a quilter a knitter whatever I may become I am so overwhelmed with the things I and my family own that I cannot see past the end of the day And that s no way to live Thank you for these words of inspiration I hope they will keep me moving through the many days of sorting and unburdening to come jennifer s last post created angelvalerie says February 22 2011 at 6 04 am Thanks for this post it is so well stated Rachel I absolutely love this reminder to focus on the things that matter I think I need to frame this up on the wall angelvalerie s last post living deliberately Tara says February 22 2011 at 7 46 am As usual you highlight an issue that runs rampant through the entirety of our culture I don t care whether you are poor or rich or what your socioeconomic status is referring to the above snarky commenter people feel the need to buy things for no real reason at all I don t really think this post is about de cluttering or even physically simplifying but reassessing our desires and what is important to us People are materialistic no matter where they are on the income scale Even those of us that find intangible things to be far better need a wake up call sometimes I appreciate you introducing me to mine Tara s last post Life Lessons for the Freelance Writer the nester says February 22 2011 at 7 52 am My hero Maaike Quinn Life with FlyLady says February 22 2011 at 7 56 am Thanks for this wonderful post Rachel You are so right I especially like the picture with the children lying in that pile of blankets Children are so good at enjoying their environment They don t need a lot of stuff A few things or toys is enough imagination will do the rest They enjoy their time without over thinking things I love it Living the Balanced Life says February 22 2011 at 9 29 am This is so true My 6 grandkids have some toys not a huge abundance by choice but their favorite things to play with are each other They make up games and pretend oh and blankets and pillows can become castles or spaceships So much better for them in the long run Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post Being productive in stressful times Lissa says February 22 2011 at 8 02 am Thank you for this post Rachel My girlfriend and I are moving in together in May and are struggling to come to a consensus about how much stuff we need to keep and store since there s no way it will all fit in a NYC apartment and how much we can get rid of There are family heirlooms and beloved items of usefulness but there s also a lot that we don t actually need I think we re holding on to a security blanket Which is fine if we own up to that and come up with a plan to ween ourselves from the blankie once we realize we really don t need it Lissa s last post Book Review Candor renee FIMBY says February 22 2011 at 8 18 am Yeehaw Speak it sister I feel like a congregant in a boisterous charismatic church preaching to the choir This kind of post gives me tingles and has me shouting yes ClassiclyAmber says February 22 2011 at 8 20 am YES What YOU said I am sooooo over it too We ve done the big big dreamhouse with all the extra expenses and all the meaningless stuff I am so ready for change I am ready for a more lovely quality filled lifestyle and simplified so we can focus on the most important things in our life our immediate family Thank you for sharing your thoughts D ClassiclyAmber s last post 23 Weeks kyle says February 22 2011 at 8 20 am Man I didn t get past the line about Taco Cabana I love miss that place Mela Kamin says February 22 2011 at 8 24 am can t agree loudly enough I finally made it to this point where the stuff I thought I wanted would solve some problem or need really irritates me I want it GONE We ve decided to downsize this has proved to be a great motivator I still get paralyzed trying to figure out the best place to give stuff to but it s jut another stall tactic My family deserves better Thanks for this beautiful example Jess says February 22 2011 at 8 58 am If only the whole world would read this Life changing Thank you Bonita says February 22 2011 at 9 20 am Wow I m speechless Meagan The Happiest Mom says February 22 2011 at 9 31 am Just found this post via SimpleMom Love it I am not a minimalist either and do enjoy the things I own I think for me there s a simple litmus test if something gives me pleasure each time I look at it and I find it a pleasure to take care of it s an object worth having If something makes me feel tired anxious or weighed down when I look at it and taking care of it is a hassle it s just more stuff Living the Balanced Life says February 22 2011 at 9 31 am I agree This is something I wish that everyone in developed countries could read I will do my part and share Great post Rachel Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post Doing the right things at the right time Vicki R says February 22 2011 at 9 44 am Definitely Shout it from the rooftops even the Italian rooftops I m making 2011 my year of release My 4 yr old is what has spurred me into action I personally don t feel that we even have a lot of stuff but his attitude lately has been when I m done with X you can get me X or expecting a token of some sort every time we step into a store It s already expected that he will attain something new all of the time Yes I m well aware that s partially my fault but I really don t get him something every time we shop I think it just seems like it to him Either way I do not want him to have this sense of expectation disappointment over STUFF I want him to feel that in regards to relationships in regards to commitments to have expectation of kindness love respect Great post Vicki R s last post 39 Satakieli says February 22 2011 at 9 52 am We re in the process of packing up our things for an overseas move Germany to the US I can t tell you how tempted I feel to throw it all out How do we manage to collect so much We re downsizing anyway so a lot of it is going straight to the thrift store it s quite a liberating feeling Satakieli s last post The Big News Heather junevintage says February 22 2011 at 11 02 am Oh this is so timely for us We are moving to a new 3rd world country place soon and there are so many questions about what we shall take Amazing words thank you elizabeth says February 22 2011 at 11 07 am beautiful and perfectly said thank you for the reminder Jo says February 22 2011 at 11 14 am This is something that my family and I will be experiencing very soon on many levels We are in the process of purchasing a travel trailer and moving into it full time to travel the country with our three children What an adventure and learning experience we are about to embark on Neither of us have a job we can take on the road so it will be little stops here and there along the way to work some new and exciting temp job to make some cash We can t wait but even more than the trip I can t wait to purge so much of the stuff in our home I do often wonder why I need 15 bath towels or 12 dinner plates for our little family Why does my 2 year old NEED 75 hot wheels cars It is not a matter of it cluttering up my home which it does of course but it is weighing down our life This post was wonderful and so very well timed for me to read Thank you Julie EssentialSimplicity says February 26 2011 at 3 05 pm If you have a blog or start a blog about your travels can you let me know where to find it We are starting that process too though ours will be more drawn out as it will be close to two years at the earliest before we will be free to move about the country Jessicah says February 28 2011 at 10 46 am I noticed your comment and thought I d post this link to the website friends of ours who are traveling around in an RV http giveeveryday com Monika says February 22 2011 at 11 14 am Well said Rachel I recently came to the conclusion that life is about appreciation of the stuff you have if there s too much stuff you can t really appreciate it you re too busy organizing it Life shouldn t be a numbers game That said I wish I could ditch half of what I have there s just too much to have to be responsible for all the time Kate says February 22 2011 at 11 26 am We never talked about our intentions to own so much stuff that we would spend our free time trying to organize it all Having just spent all of yesterday doing just that your post really rang true In fairness part of yesterday was also spent purging my closets and taking three huge bags of clothes to Goodwill but I still wound up at the store buying more plastic storage bins Thanks for the great post Kate s last post Savor the Sleeplessness Kristen PrettySweet says February 22 2011 at 11 45 am Beautifully written I am trying to release my hold on all the stuff that doesn t matter There s just TOO MUCH of it Amen and thanks Kristen PrettySweet s last post Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins Kait Palmer says February 22 2011 at 11 59 am Hallelujah and Amen I m currently registering for our first baby shower and am trying to keep it as SIMPLE as possible I don t want to have to rent an extra truck just to haul around all these baby clothes and toys when we move However trying to convince my grandma that the baby will indeed survive without a wicker bassinet fringed in lace and with a halo suspended over it with draped tulle is a feat that is near impossible Kait Palmer s last post It Was A Short Hike Maryanne Sivers says February 22 2011 at 12 14 pm Love this I so want to purge purge purge I will be sharing this on http www minimumwageprosperity org Saz says February 22 2011 at 12 44 pm But I hate the idea that someone would trade in her special hopes and dreams for something that can be bought You really got to my heart with that one When we were younger and just dating my husband and I had so many dreams for our future that do not include the stuff we have accumulated in the past 3 years of marriage We have been struggling to make a plan to pursue our Big Dream namely moving overseas and this post made me realize that the pursuit of stuff is getting in our way Time to purge Saz s last post Home Projects and ROI Ashley says February 22 2011 at 1 09 pm I just stumbled across your blog from a link to this article from Simple Mom I have got to say these are my exact words lately I am so over stuff so tired of it being everywhere so tired of cleaning it all up and trying to organize it all My daughter and I have gone through our home over the last month and have filled 18 containers full of stuff we do not want need use or are made with too many chemicals or products we don t like It s insane the amount of stuff I alone accumulated before she even came along Getting pregnant Oh forget it I added piles and piles of more stuff we didn t need I absolutely hate it now We are selling and giving away 60 70 of our stuff As rooms get emptier I find myself more and more at peace and at ease We are sticking to owning as little as possible Thanks for sharing I am glad I m not the only one feeling like this Ashley s last post Cous Cous w Kale Mushrooms Dried Cranberries amp Sunflower Seeds Recipe Kim says February 22 2011 at 2 16 pm I m reading this while on a break from helping my 10 yo packrat plow through her dizzying collection of minutia which is currently piled up in the middle of her room Secretly I just want to bag it all up and toss it darlene says February 22 2011 at 2 21 pm amazingly beautiful post Thank you for putting these thoughts into words for our benefit beautifully and simply said darlene fieldstonehilldesign Light ParentingInPrague says February 22 2011 at 2 30 pm So true Thanks for putting it so plainly A nice wake up and readjust Cindy May says February 22 2011 at 2 31 pm I totally agree with today s sentiment I feel kind of sad when I think how much time I spend just moving things around though there is a certain satisfaction when you redecorate without really getting rid of anything I prefer to recycle reuse or sell what I purge so it s a slow process I also realize I don t tend to accomplish much with any of my projects when I m spending more time with my things However I do quite enjoy thrift shopping and would be sad to give that up I just try to limit the amount of trips I make and get rid of some old stuff after I bring the new

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  • How to: Quit Your Job and Go to Italy - Small Notebook
    on the planet We made our move to Germany nearly 10 years ago because of a good job offer but it s been an incredible opportunity that I never really thought I would have I ve learned so much and grown so much as an individual And it s of course brought my husband and I very close together as we went through the whole culture shock Looking forward to reading more about your adventures in Florence A friend of ours just moved there from Capri so we re probably going to be visiting her in the summer Tiffany No Ordinary Homestead s last post The shutter project Katharina says February 14 2011 at 10 30 am I hope you enjoy your adventure and living in Florence I ve been there several times well that s because I don t really live far frome there Vienna Austria When spring is here I d recommend to make a short trip to Montepulciano One of my favourite Italian places and for you it would be something like a one and a half hour drive Katharina s last post Valentinsherzen filzen Susan says February 14 2011 at 11 04 am Thanks for posting some of the steps that led to your adventure in Italy I love how the details came together what a wonderful experience you are having I am also glad you don t have to deal with the visa stuff we live in Switzerland we re expats my husband works for an international company we apply for and receive residency permits each year so we understand Schengen I was in Florence last March and we had two great church experiences the first was the English church where we enjoyed Palm Sunday with olive branches The 2nd was walking thru the old town eating Gelato that night when we heard praise music we followed our ears and walked in with our cups joining in with the singing and it was such a blessing Keep the Italy posts coming And the beautiful photos Ciao Amy Homestead Revival says February 14 2011 at 11 32 am Despite how romantic and exciting this all seems God is in the details and this too is how He will gently move you and your family through the experiences of life that He has designed for you It will be exciting to see how in the future He uses this time in Italy and the experiences your family will have for His glory The tricky part is to keep your eyes open so that you can see it as it unfolds and experience the joy And for us your readers we need to remember not to covet your path but find joy and thankfulness in the one He has chosen for us And someday MAYBE something just as exciting will be in the works for us My husband and I experienced something very similar when after two previous attempts to move to California God opened the door wide on the third time and 20 years later I realize how perfect it was for our family I just have to keep telling myself that story over and over and remember to be grateful so I don t forget in the hustle and bustle of life Amy Homestead Revival s last post Wanna Barn Hop Jennie says February 14 2011 at 11 37 am Wow What an adventure Sometimes I get so caught up in planning and I forget that the future happens one day at a time I m definitely going to have to bookmark this for ideas since we ve been talking and talking about moving abroad Thanks for the tips Jennie s last post Getting Used to Simplicity Chloe says February 14 2011 at 11 41 am I am loving this So often we stand in the way of our own dreams I love that instead of giving up to Real Life of a mortgage or job or daycare you figured out a way for your dream to be reality through reasonable decisions And I love that you outline the hard choices you made here I know you will have an amazing time Kait Palmer says February 14 2011 at 12 00 pm This gives me so much hope If my husband stays with the same company in 10 years or so before we re 40 he ll get a paid sabbatical I would love to be able to live in Ireland or Spain and seeing you do this makes it seem so possible Kait Palmer s last post Minor Thing Left Out Lily from Italy says February 15 2011 at 4 09 pm A paid sabbatical Wow some things are unthinkable for Italian workers I Live in an Antbed says February 14 2011 at 12 13 pm What an incredible adventure Are you writing a book about it It would be a great way to share all your tips and photos and stories Plus it would be a great read Have a great sabbatical I Live in an Antbed s last post C S Lewis on Love carmina burana says February 14 2011 at 12 35 pm I love how you break tasks down and make them doable small tasks organizing your clothes closet to large moving to Florence I m hoping to go to nursing school in a few years and reading your beautiful blog has inspired me to start simplifying our household routines now to make the transition to mama in school full time easier Freedom in flexibility you really said it all carmina burana s last post Winter refreshed kathy says February 14 2011 at 1 12 pm This is very exciting to read about and I can t wait to hear more Would you mind terribly telling us what profession your husband is in I m just so curious Rachel says February 14 2011 at 5 27 pm He has done sales and project management and a few more things His last job was in commercial air conditioning which kept him busy in Dallas with all the heat and extreme weather Erika says February 14 2011 at 1 16 pm When I first read you were taking a year off I thought you were a bit crazy Especially with kids It did not help that I had just read the 4 hour workweek in which Tim says you need to move to another country to save money I would like to stay home and save money But this post has awesome lessons Pay debt live within your means do research and know when to take risks and enjoy life My hat is off to you and the choices you made I envy the experience the kids and your family will have while in Italy Erika s last post Buying my Fabric Wholesale Rachel says February 14 2011 at 5 20 pm Thanks I knew it did sound crazy didn t it Marcia 123 blog says February 15 2011 at 5 03 am I love how honest Erika is Me I just thought WOW and I was a bit jealous because my husband is very risk averse However when you break it down as you did and make sure you have the money thing sorted I think he would go for a 3 month stint somewhere Sheila says February 14 2011 at 1 50 pm While I don t personally ever want to live overseas I love the way the good decisions you have made all along allowed you do live your dream It s a lesson to anyone regardless of what your particular dream is Living the Balanced Life says February 14 2011 at 1 55 pm Oh Rachel I love reading about how all this is unfolding I have another online friend who is RVing around the country with his wife and daughter I love to see people live their dreams and hope to be among you guys some day soon And I love ciao ya ll very funny Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post Is multitasking the key to productivity Kathleen D says February 14 2011 at 2 06 pm Loved this post What a wonderful city you chose as your new home My daughter studied abroad last summer in Florence and loved it She took a cooking class in Florence that was just wonderful We are still reaping the rewards from her summer in Florence I visited her for too short of a time and would love to go back sometime soon I have a girlfriend who wants to live in Italy she visits it enough that she should just take the leap and move Anyway her favorite spot and where she wants to live is Montepulciano So I would definitely add it to the list of places to go Paige says February 14 2011 at 2 14 pm It just sounds like such an amazing experience I love reading your posts and finding out what your family is up to I am envious of the simple life you live and how you became free of debt and stuff I even tried my very own No Spend Month I was slighlty successful but I can do better Have fun Ciao Paige s last post Love is in the air se7en says February 14 2011 at 2 44 pm I am so glad you posted all the hard work side of it Just adding a bit of reality to We jumped on a plane and headed for Italy for a couple of months It sounds so lovely and truly a great escape Hope you are having a fabulous time My hubs and I have walked that river path so many times thanks for the memories Lots of love Karen Scotland says February 14 2011 at 2 50 pm This is so great to hear Interesting to see all the hard work and preparation behind the immediate decision but also all the preparation and life decisions allowing you to reach a place where you COULD make such a big decision Just enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can in your time over here in Europe Karen Scotland Anna says February 14 2011 at 3 30 pm So will Doug be going back to work after you return from Italy rather than taking the whole year off What city will you settle in here in the States I wish you and your family wonderful days of happiness during your trip Taking a Sabbath is healthy Rachel says February 14 2011 at 5 30 pm His new job is one that he is really looking forward to so he wanted to go back to work for this one By that time he will have taken six months off so he thought that would be enough I m not sure where we ll settle when we get back I think they re still deciding where to place the company Megan SortaCrunchy says February 14 2011 at 4 28 pm Oh friend This makes me grin for you guys Lovey love love love Megan SortaCrunchy s last post Our Give LOVE Valentines Brooke says February 14 2011 at 5 10 pm First off good for you for taking the plunge I think it must take a lot of courage to actually up and move across the world Your story makes me think of all the people who left Europe a hundred years ago to come to America but without the benefit of Google Thanks for sharing a bit of the how tos I m bookmarking this post in case I ever get up the courage to move somewhere amazing Rachel says February 14 2011 at 5 19 pm Oh my gosh you aren t kidding about Google I can t believe I ever traveled without Google s translator email and maps I would be lost without it now Living the Balanced Life says February 15 2011 at 12 16 pm I can t even imagine planning a vacation without the internet now I was looking at some OLD photos probably 14 years old of my kids hanging in the kitchen There on the counter was a stack of 6 telephone books white and yellow pages for our local city and the large metro area I am so glad we don t need those anymore lol Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post Reach out and take a hand Finley says February 14 2011 at 6 32 pm Oh my gosh this is amazing Ever since I first read the post about your move to Florence which coincidentally was the first time for me to read your blog I have been inspired to do something similar I really like how you broke down what it takes and it s not just a bird pooped on my head Unfortunately we aren t in the right time position in our lives but God willing there will be a time when we can experience a different culture or even just a different state for that matter Thanks again for all the details about what it takes When people write about this stuff it seems that they have family money daddy s trust fund that allows them this kind of freedom It seems like the two of you have made responsible self supporting choices and are now enjoying the rewards All the best to your time abroad Tracey says February 15 2011 at 12 57 am As I am standing here reading your post and all the comments from my new home in the Netherlands after a move from Japan I see that many of us have a story to share The Grace of God has allowed this midwest American family to have the adventure of a lifetime around the world but as with you many of our own decisions have put us in a position for it to be possible The point is that it can be done IF you want to do it It is not overnight and it takes planning and discipline But it is possible even for ordinary people like you and me The real question is what is it that you want to do badly enough to try to make it happen Sometimes God closes doors but we only know that if we try to go through them All the best to you and your family Florence is wonderful but more than that your memories will be priceless Start a new blog as a journal for your adventures when you go home you can have it turned into a coffee table book with very little effort Tracey s last post FORGET IT FRIDAY ukrainiac says February 15 2011 at 5 37 am Our family of five upped and moved nearly 10 years ago to Kyiv Ukraine But as you so clearly wrote not a quick decision and it involved a lot of work I m currently trying to simplify HERE can t even figure out how so much STUFF came to be in this flat so that we can one day return to the States where our children and their families are now living We ll know when the timing is right for the return Enjoy your wonderful 89 days ukrainiac s last post Happy Valentine s Day Rachel says February 16 2011 at 9 53 am It s a process that never ends right So glad to hear from you again ukrainiac says February 16 2011 at 12 44 pm Thanks for remembering me it s been a while I am so happy encouraged inspired by reading special blogs again ukrainiac s last post Vadim insert your last name here David says February 15 2011 at 6 26 am A little over a year ago my family and I moved from the US to Switzerland We will likely be here for 2 4 more years Our situation is a little different in that we transferred for my wife s job But I had to quit my job which I liked very much Still it is a great experience that we are all enjoying immensely And I suspect that years from now my wife and I will look back on this as the best decision we ever made Enjoy your ex pat time Jennifer Tankersley says February 15 2011 at 8 38 am We are doing something similar except my husband took an active duty assignment for 1 year I wrote you once and told you that I was in Italy too Currently however my children and I are living in England for 3 months staying in a different cottage every 2 weeks We had to come over on a tourist visa since it is only for 1 year and he got the job kind of last minute and I was impatient to begin my European adventure The UK is about the only place in Europe that doesn t doesn t belong to the Schengen area England is expensive but it is kind of nice to be in a place that speaks my language while I am here alone with my children We ll be back in Italy for another 3 months beginning in May We ll be coming back by train and stopping in Florence Will you be there around May 11 or 12 Then it is back to Maine in time for my kids to start back to school we are homeschooling this year since we are nomadic If you would like to check out our adventures I have a family blog at http thetankersleyfamily wordpress com mamabeck says February 15 2011 at 8 39 am Your photos just take my breath away Florence was Hubs and my favorite trip and one we relive by looking at pictures often It s icing on the cake for me to hear that you are able to be there for this time without a debt load Enjoy the city soak in

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  • Our First House - the Before Pictures - Small Notebook
    the updates Michelle says August 17 2011 at 11 33 am YES I was totally going to post this link Rachel if you haven t seen this you have to look It is eerily similar Even if what they did isn t your style it should give you some ideas Michelle s last post A perfect mirror Valerie says August 16 2011 at 7 44 am Sweet We had avocado and goldenrod here too We painted cabinets and panelling alike You can even paint formica Who knew Have fun Valerie s last post Plans for the 2011 2012 school year Mary says August 16 2011 at 7 44 am Oh Rachel I love your new home And I am so glad you are not giving up your oven I hope you weren t kidding That oven is the best How I wish I had a vintage made in America oven from the 70s Those things are workhorses They are loved by collectors and decorators doing remodels to restore homes back to their 70 s glory Is it by chance an Amana Did you know that Amana Appliances were originally owned and operated by a small group of German Pietists a group of Christians sharing a common origin with the Amish Their appliances were made by hand one at a time As of 2010 the company was acquired by Maytag That was real quality Famous Chef and Cookbook Author Sheila Lukins author of the Silver Palate Cookbook among others her most recent being Ten has a vintage double wall oven also She said in an interview that it is the best oven she s ever had and heats cooks beautifully Also I love your kitchen sink The pale yellow was my favorite color for sinks appliances of that era I know that you are planning on changing a lot of things but I highly recommend that you look at a lot of vintage decorating sites on the web before you do anything So much of what you have in your home is classic What you replace it with probably not be of as good a quality And I do hope that you keep the bar You can change the top but the bar is a classic And a real gem since it is sunken You will love entertaining with it If you have a chance see if you can browse through some decorating books about ranch homes from the 70 s You can probably find them at vintage bookstores definitely in the clearance section at Half Price Books They will provide tons of ideas for preserving the charm of your home Also great for ideas especially kitchen ideas are vintage entertaining cookbooks from that era like the 70 s version of Betty Crocker s Hostess Cookbook And I know a lot of folks don t like the wood paneling today but that is sooooo vintage Our family room was lined with it in the house I grew up in The room had a red brick see through fireplace so hip LOL sliding glass doors to the patio of course and was decorated with a round captain s table and chairs and a floral colonial style wing back couch and chair I just loved it The only thing I don t miss was our love of orange but I still love the harvest gold Oh and that fabulous shag carpeting That seems to actually be making a comeback So glad you found such a great house And one that you know has been loved and cared for throughout the years Congratulations Love Mary Mary s last post Ouick Tip Little Bags of Bacon Rachel says August 16 2011 at 8 14 am The oven and stove are both O Keefe Merritt I am going to see what we can do to save the stove The cabinets are better quality than we could afford to buy that s for sure Mary says August 17 2011 at 6 31 am Oh my That is fantastic about the stove and oven yes try to save both And I agree with you about the cabinets Keeping them is so wise because any wood you would replace them with would not be up to par Continued success on the remodel I m so thrilled for you Love Mary Mary s last post Ouick Tip Little Bags of Bacon waysidewanderer says August 16 2011 at 7 51 am We recently bought a new to us house our 2nd home and we looked at one with arches just like that I like them and it is the thing that kept me going back to look at pictures of that house We didn t buy it though mainly because of ducks Can t wait to see what you do with it There is nothing like the love you feel for a house when you invest your time and creativity into making it your own So happy for you waysidewanderer s last post A Favorite Thing Jennifer says August 16 2011 at 7 58 am I love it Can t wait to see your improvements Stacie O says August 16 2011 at 8 19 am I can t wait to see your updates Your home is a mirror image of the rental home we re living in I am DYING to do some updating but have been stuck on the wood paneling and the kitchen cabinets The homeowner doesn t want us to paint anything Maybe with your pictures he ll see the light Looking forward to your posts Living the Balanced Life says August 16 2011 at 8 20 am Love it Rachel And oh it does have so much potential I absolutely love the brink arches Hmm the bar And yea the carpet in the bathroom would have to go I had the kitchen cabinets in my house when I moved in over 20 years ago The good thing is they are solid wood and about 10 years ago we took them all outside gave them a good beating and then a wipe on washed finish and ended up with some great looking cabinets I just could not see spending 10k to replace perfectly good albeit ugly cabinets Can t wait to see what you do with the place Bernice Living the Balanced Life s last post New ebook for busy women launches TOMORROW Jenni says August 16 2011 at 8 21 am You are going to have so much fun with your new house I am looking forward to being in your shoes in the future Jenni s last post Wanted Guest Posts Jenna says August 16 2011 at 8 29 am How fun is that going to be Jenna Jenna s last post Check It Fig Sparrow says August 16 2011 at 8 30 am Oh how I love good before and afters Can y wait to see what you do The house seems to have great bones Like the ceiling height in the living room Fig Sparrow s last post Mint Chocolate Chip with Honey and Cinnamon Juliet says August 16 2011 at 10 20 am I am quite frankly over excited by the prospect of watching you transform this house Being able to watch this process may well be what keeps me from jumping off a tall building until election season is over Juliet s last post Deather se7en says August 16 2011 at 11 14 am Oh I love your house we bought exactly the same sort of house ten years ago A house that had been lived in by the same family for about seventy five years and every decade or so they re carpeted All the walls were a different shade of off white bleh It took us a while but eventually we unearthed the beautiful wooden floors and ripped the carpet paneling off the walls and repainted it took us a while but now we are in a house we love se7en s last post Sunday Snippet A Trip to Lesotho and a Back to School Reverse GiveAway Willowgirl13 says August 16 2011 at 11 20 am As old as it is the house looks beautifully maintained It s hard to see the wear in the pictures after so many years of living Best wishes to you Paula Simply Sandwich says August 16 2011 at 11 27 am I know you have your hands full with all of the updates but it seems like the house has great bones and a lot of potential Just tell me one thing why did people think carpet in the bathroom was a good idea Ugggg Best wishes to you Paula Simply Sandwich s last post Middle School Madness Christine says August 16 2011 at 11 41 am LOVE the oven and LOVE the edging on cabinets in the kitchen And since love is the theme here I love the quote I m also working on a re model or as much as you can remodel an apartment anyway Very encouraging Cindy T says August 16 2011 at 12 02 pm Here s another site for you to check out that I am really enjoying http retrorenovation com Megan at SortaCrunchy says August 16 2011 at 12 07 pm Oh I cannot WAIT to see this unfold I love any house with character and friend yours has LOTS of it We have dark wood paneling I can t wait to see what you do with yours if anything CONGRATS sweet friend Megan at SortaCrunchy s last post Swag for YOU A Haute Green Cloth Diaper Giveaway Amy Sullivan says August 16 2011 at 12 08 pm Oh I would never try to get you to lose the oven it s the best part Really great place can t wait to see what you add Amy Sullivan s last post Because You Inspire Jessicah says August 16 2011 at 12 14 pm First of all congratulations Second carpet in the bathroom EEK I cannot even imagine how often I would be cleaning pee out of the carpet if that were our house The 1 year old likes to run around diaperless and play in front of the full length mirror in our bathroom I was so happy to see a post from you in my google reader and I can t wait to see what you do with the house Jules says August 16 2011 at 12 41 pm Squee I am so excited I love everything 70s right now so I am with you on keeping the ovens if they work Knowing the way things were made they probably work better than my stainless steel ovens that I have had repaired twice in the 6 years I ve owned them Jules s last post A Poet a Playwrite and a Man of Letters Jo H says August 16 2011 at 1 03 pm Having lived through the era when your house would have been considered the latest thing I would have little desire to keep anything but the exterior walls I realize many of these things are considered trendy again and it really has been maintained well hasn t it which is a big plus I m really looking forward to seeing what you do with it What an exciting time for you and your family Congratulations and may all your plans come in under budget amy says August 16 2011 at 1 21 pm Congratulations What a wonderful space I quite like that fireplace and the abundant natural light is fantastic I have never understood carpet in bathroom But somewhere along the line it must have felt like quite the luxury maybe Oh boy oh boy I love a house that has tons of character and holds good ol stories about the past This one is just waiting for you all to weave your own tale And yes padded bar safety first Lynda says August 16 2011 at 1 33 pm This is the jackpot compared to the house we have that was built in 1973 It had an avocado kitchen with dark cabinets too We just gutted and renovated it this year after 5 years We still have a golden harvest bathroom and a powder puff blue bathroom that need to be replaced in addition to more renovation besides what we have done Except for the wet bar area I could live with what you have I have no idea how long it would take to bring this place up to date Unlike your house the prior owners did not take care of it Diane Longaberger Lifestyle says August 16 2011 at 2 18 pm Congratulations Looking forward to the reveal and the tons of useful tips you ll be sharing I ve gotta say I love the harvest gold sink With bamboo gold being one of the official Fall colors you are so on trend But what I like best is all that sunshine smiling back at me while I m on sink duty so much more cheerful than ubiquitous stainless steel My fingers are crossed that she remains Diane Longaberger Lifestyle s last post A beautiful giveaway with a terrific story Go check it out Becca says August 16 2011 at 2 19 pm Wow how exciting It is kind of like looking at a brand new canvas Congratulations on the new home Great anticipation to watch it unfold under your artistic brilliance 0 Megan says August 16 2011 at 2 21 pm Fun fun fun Can t wait to see it all happen Megan s last post PowerPoint Digi Scrapping 101 Saving as a JPEG or other image file Jenni D says August 16 2011 at 2 24 pm Rachel it seems that we are going through some similar life changes at the same time We recently moved into a ranch style home that has great bones and super retro finishes It will be interesting to see what you love and what you re going to change We re renting our place from my husband s parents who bought it so that we d have a decent place to stay while he s in law school Good news they ll let us paint Not so good news there are some differing views as to what should be changed and not My in laws heyday was the 70 s so they see a lot of finishes and wonder why we wouldn t want a pepto bismol pink sink tub and toilet with a wooden lid that has coordinating water lily wallpaper on the mirror But I m grateful that they ve done something so generous as to buy a house and will make changes as we are allowed PS I LOVE the butter yellow sink and countertop Seriously the white ones are overrated to me We have a brand new white Kohler sink and already I ve had to put mats down to protect it from scratching from pots and pans I think that shade of yellow is cheerful and could hide nicks and scratches well Jenni D says August 16 2011 at 2 27 pm PSS You really should play some ABBA or Earth Wind Fire while you do your reno projects Maybe a Disco ball over the bar Cindy May says August 16 2011 at 2 31 pm Like you our first house which we are still currently living in was built in the late 60 s and still has some of its retro charm but sadly no arches down the middle of our living room I think the only drawback of owning an old house is finding replacement parts for things Depending on the size you can t always just pop out to Home Depot as we discovered on many occasions I could also do with a bigger closet and am a little envious of those with walk ins but instead I ve just comandeered one of the closets in a spare bedroom and some dresser drawers in there too Although many of the furnishings might be better quality than you find in homes today our bedroom doors have seen better days and some are even splintered in places Also our kitchen counter top white formica is scratched with tiny holes in a lot of places so We have carpet in one of our bathrooms too which will be ripped out whenever we finally get around to updating the room Good luck with all your DIY projects and can t wait to see the finished results Stephanie says August 16 2011 at 2 34 pm You found yourselves a real gem in that house The condition of it and the possibilities are amazing I can t wait to see what you come up with Jan says August 16 2011 at 2 43 pm Looking forward to all updates Heather says August 16 2011 at 2 52 pm Oh my goodness I had that kitchen And you ll want to change that oven If it s anything like mine was the insulation is so thick you wont be able to fit a turkey in it Or a regular size cookie pan Or a lasagna dish Or can t wait to see the after Rebecca says August 16 2011 at 3 00 pm I am in love with the brick arches Looking forward to creativity with updating My mom has the 70 s orange counter tops and I refuse to let her spend the money to change them We just add color schemes that go with them Kelly Shenandoah Soaps says August 16 2011 at 3 06 pm I think my house has finally found it s long lost twin Patty says August 16 2011 at 3 38 pm Oh Can I fly down there with a sledge hammer to help with the brick Arches My house is all fixed up now my father and I took the entire house the the studs room by room I m itching for

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  • Simplify | Small Notebook
    Guide Should You Keep the Baby Stuff You Might Want Later Declutter the Reading List Clear the Clutter Free Stuff Clear the Clutter Take It Back 1 2 3 11 Advertisements Hi I m Rachel I ll help you simplify your home Share this site Pin it Get new posts delivered to your inbox Subscribe by email For Winter How to Deal With the Keepsakes You Shouldn t Save Want

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  • Homekeeping | Small Notebook
    Clutter The Pile of Clothes in the Bedroom How to Quickly Clean Hardwood Floors The Fridge That Cleans Itself They Say House Cleaning is Good Therapy 1 2 3 6 Advertisements Hi I m Rachel I ll help you simplify your home Share this site Pin it Get new posts delivered to your inbox Subscribe by email For Winter How to Deal With the Keepsakes You Shouldn t Save Want

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  • Organize | Small Notebook
    Awesome as Ever Organize Your Medicine Cabinet How to Make It Easier to Clean Kids Rooms Clear the Clutter Limit the File Storage 1 2 3 8 Advertisements Hi I m Rachel I ll help you simplify your home Share this site Pin it Get new posts delivered to your inbox Subscribe by email For Winter How to Deal With the Keepsakes You Shouldn t Save Want to Simplify Start

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  • Money | Small Notebook
    7 Ways to Stay Open with Your Spouse About Finances Our New Company Pier Teach Kids About Saving Money Love Doesn t Buy the Groceries 1 2 3 6 Advertisements Hi I m Rachel I ll help you simplify your home Share this site Pin it Get new posts delivered to your inbox Subscribe by email For Winter How to Deal With the Keepsakes You Shouldn t Save Want to

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  • Family Life | Small Notebook
    the Kids Parenting Thoughts 10 Playtime Ideas and Family Finances What I Love About You Valentine How My Family Has Good Mornings The Work Process 1 2 3 6 Advertisements Hi I m Rachel I ll help you simplify your home Share this site Pin it Get new posts delivered to your inbox Subscribe by email For Winter How to Deal With the Keepsakes You Shouldn t Save Want to

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