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Book Giveaway #4 – The Power of Less

by J. Money on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Power of LessToday’s giveway is special to me for a number of reasons. First, because I’m a HUGE fan of minimalism and simplifying our lives. Secondly, I’ve actually READ this book (shocker) and it’s one of my all-time favorites!!! (not shocker) And finally, because my boy David Damron is giving them to me FREE to give to you all! TWO sexy copies for two Budgets Are Sexy readers :)

In fact, David’s got a new minimalist eBook out too: Project M-31: Simplify Your Life in 31 Days, and I think you’d like it. Thanks David!

The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life

Here is what Amazon has to say about it (although I’ve already told you – It’s AWESOME!):

“With the arrival of the 21st century we have encountered a mental and material explosion in the Western world: we have near-unlimited information at our fingertips, we can have children who are healthy and safe, and we have wealth and possessions beyond what most of the world can dream of. Yet we are more stressed than we have ever been: the majority of us are profoundly unhappy. Though we are surrounded by what we want, our desire to keep and still get more creates a pressure that we cannot tolerate. But the flipside of our society is that we can choose what to accept, and what not to accept: what to keep, and what to lose, joyfully and consciously. With this handbook of simplicity, Leo Babauta shows us why less is powerful, the difference between what you want and what you need, and how to clear out what you don’t.”

Want it? Drop a comment with something YOU do to simplify your life every day (perhaps with your finances, career, habits, etc) and I’ll announce the 2 winners this weekend. GOOD LUCK!

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More: The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life
*Giveaway over: The 2 winners are Doug and Dorothea!


{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nate April 13, 2010 at 7:45 am

Since I had my boy one year ago, I have almost completely stopped watching tv at night. Limiting tv has freed me up to do so many other things I never thought I had time for, especially spending time with my son.

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2 Grant April 13, 2010 at 7:57 am

I moved into a new apartment with my wife about 6 months ago. We had a space for an office but until about a month ago it was a wreck. A custom built desk by me (man win!) meant we had a place for both our computers.

I’ve simplified my life by leaving my laptop in the office at all times. No more surfing with TV, while eating a snack or before bed. It makes me much more productive in other areas of the house.

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3 Eric April 13, 2010 at 8:17 am

Not sure if this is simplifying but my life is much easier since I’ve been preparing for the next day the evening before. I make sure I have my lunch prepared and clothes ironed so in the morning all I have to do is worry about getting dressed and eating breakfast. It is great not having to rush around.

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4 Laura in Atlanta April 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

Well, one thing I have recently been super conscious of trying to do . . . to just try and “shut down” when I come home from work. I used to walk in and immediately turn on the TV . . . now, I walk in and turn on some nice quiet jazz (John Coltrane ;-)) – it just relaxes my mind SO much to not have jabbering commercials and newscaster yammering at me.

I also have limited the amount of News TV that I watch for information. I used to be a junkie for news programs, but I have gotten so overwhelmed with so much NOISE (yelling, blaming, pointing fingers) being thrown at me and all for ratings. I find that reading the news is much better than having it preached at me, so I have a few of my favorite news sites I visit and that’s good for me.

So, more music and less tv . . . just less NOISE I think. Been enjoying quiet evenings with a cup of Earl Grey and a good book with John Coltrane playing quietly in the background . . . nice.

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5 A. Moore April 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

Does learning how to use gmail filters count? :D

Seriously, though, I’ve been working on decluttering my house for about the last month. At the beginning of March, I stopped, looked around, and said to myself, “WTF am I doing with all this STUFF?!” (I obviously spend too much time online, what with the “WTF” and all.) The decluttering journey has been insane – I’m frankly shocked and disgusted about some of the stuff I’ve been keeping around. Not in the “I’m a hoarder” way, but in the “If this shirt isn’t decent enough to give to Goodwill, why do I think I should still be wearing it to work” way. Even though I still have work to do, and boxes to go through, I’m already seeing a big difference in the amount of time it takes to maintain my house. Cleaning, dusting, and laundry are all moving more quickly… all because I finally stepped up and threw away some of the junk I’d been clutching desperately.

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6 Tiffany April 13, 2010 at 9:21 am

The easiest way I’ve simplified my life is going low tech. My husband and I decided to get rid of cable tv. This really limits the tv we watch and has given us much more valuable time together. Instead of plopping on the couch to watch some show we don’t really care about we take the dogs to the park, go on a bike ride, or plop on the couch and talk! I also got rid of text messaging. I tell my friends I’d much prefer to actually speak to them. Some are annoyed because thye’re addicted to technology, but I don’t care. I don’t want to be a slave to my phone. I actually can’t stand it now when people are texting away while you’re with them. I find it very rude. We also only have a desktop computer, so that limits our time online when we’re home. You have to really want to hang out in the office to surf the web, and we usually don’t. We’d rather be doing something else.

Going low-tech has been the best thing for us and our time together. And our wallets!

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7 Young Mogul April 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

I have recently gotten on the bandwagon of voluntary simplicy, in combination with my financial freedom aspirations. These two aspects are what inspired me to start my blog. I have read the books, ‘Affluenza’, ‘Your Money or Your Life’ and I am currently reading, ‘The Guide to Simple Living’. This book would be a nice addition, as I am sure I can get new ideas from it.

To simply my everyday life, I am now following the advice to remove 1 thing from my house a day. I have done this for the past 3 days. Also, the rule is when you bring in one new thing, you must remove something else to prevent clutter. I am planning a huge garage sale on Friday and Saturday of this week to give away half of the excess I have collected. I am now committed to living a more conscious life, which extends to my purchases also.

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8 Sarah Fowler April 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

I’ve been doing a lot of simplifying lately… I’ve decluttered, started using Mint.com to track my finances automatically, stopped watching TV (and started reading a lot more), have library books delivered to my house, and have one Saturday a month where I don’t schedule a single thing except time to catch up (on repairs, laundry, etc.) and relax.

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9 Meghan April 13, 2010 at 9:34 am

Not sure if this is simple for everyone or just me but I’ve started planning out meals for the week and buying accordingly. It helps me save money and watch my health. It’s also less stressful knowing what I’ll be eating every evening.

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10 Claudia April 13, 2010 at 9:36 am

I’ve been thinking about minimalism a lot lately, especially after seeing Leo Babuta’s list of the 50 things he owns. http://mnmlist.com/50-things/ Ever since we moved into our apartment over a year ago I’ve been trying to unclutter (I’m dropping stuff off at Salvation Army probably once a month). I’ve also been trying to simplify my life by using my computer at home less. I spend 8 hours a day sitting in front of my computer and the internet – I really don’t need to spend another 4 hours surfing at home. I cut back on computer time a few weeks ago and have been really happy with my decision.

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11 Jane April 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

I’ve been trying to get back on a decluttering kick lately. Selling what I can and donating the rest (for a tax deduction, when possible) definitely helps the finances, and something about having less crap around helps my ADD brain work better.

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12 philip April 13, 2010 at 10:05 am

Besides automating finances? The biggest simplification thing that I do living in Houston I pack up what I need in the mornings so I can leave straight from work and go do everything else that I want that evening without having to drive all over the place.

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13 Ashley April 13, 2010 at 10:26 am

To simplify my life, I initiated a few new things:
* only do laundry two days a week (if it’s not clean- too bad),
* to keep sheets together and easy to find, I put the entire folded bunch inside a pillowcase (it makes for a neat package and no more hunting),
* when cooking, I make enough for leftovers, and
* when a new thing comes into the house (no matter what it is) something else goes out.

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14 Nicole April 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

I just came across something similar yesterday – doing more with less – and found it really informative and instructive. I’d love to read more on it, because, well, mostly I’m just adding more and more on in order to do more, rather than doing less in order to do more. I’m really just all over the place!

If I had to pick a few things I’ve done to simplify, it would be actually doing less social media interaction, as much as it pains me to say it. I gave up twitter for lent so I could pray more, and I really haven’t gotten back to it as much (even stopped following some people I realized weren’t so important in the grand scheme of things, just noisy). I stopped blogging in order to have more time for myself. And I have to say, not doing those things have really enabled me to focus more on my health, well-being and happiness, rather than what everyone is saying about the news of the day.

However, I still want to write, so I’m brainstorming ways to bring the blog back in a way that is simplified and yet still fits into the social web. So much to think about, yet so little time!

I guess it’s also worth noting (because I really want the book!) that I do electronic bill pay for most of my monthly bills, and I use online banking so I never have to balance a checkbook. Makes it easier to de-clutter that way.

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15 Brent April 13, 2010 at 10:37 am

I simplify my life by making sure that my boys are always on the same schedule. That means up at 6:30, daycare at 8, pickup at 4:30, dinner at 5:30 outside at 6, bath and pjs at 7, bedtime for the little one at 7:30, bedtime for the big one at 8, rinse repeat. It keeps bedtime fighting to a very minimum as a year ago it was a good amount of crying everyday before bed as we struggled to find the right schedule.

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16 sarah oneill April 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

The top two things I do to simplify my life that have made the biggest difference are:

Keep to a somewhat schedule for the kids, there is never a question about who had a snack when, or what time is nap or bedtime.

Try to do as much as I can ahead of time. Anything from setting the coffee pot at night, to packing lunches, to laying out clothes. I also pay my bills the day I get them in the mail (automatically on their due dates).

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17 J. Money April 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

These are brilliant guys!!!! Keep ‘em coming…

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18 Joe April 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

Two years ago I moved to China for work. I had to fit everything I owned into 4 medium sized suitcases–the rest went to family, friends, and charity.

Eventually I want to move back home, so every day I think about buying something I picture trying to fit it into one of my four suitcases ;-)

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19 Doug April 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

I just say NOOOOOOOO!!! I’ve learned over the years that just saying no can have an incredible impact on your time and stress levels. Just by saying no to one or two things throughout the week you can give yourself an extra night or two to spend time with family or friends, or read………or sleep!

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20 Danielle April 13, 2010 at 11:08 am

I simplify by using the fifteen minute rule to keep clutter from becoming a monster in our house. Every day, just spending fifteen minutes on one area. That way, I don’t spend a full day over the weekend having a nervous breakdown trying to clean everything. (Because that has happen before and it is NOT pretty.)

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21 David Damron April 13, 2010 at 11:09 am

Thanks J Money for letting me help your readers out. I appreciate the opportunity.

For everyone out there with more ?’s about minimalism or simplicity, feel free to hit me up at The Minimalist Path or on twitter @DavidDamron

David Damron
The Minimalist Path

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22 Aaron April 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

I learned how to use Outlook efficiently and it has greatly simplified my workflow. Instead of checking Outlook constantly and replying to email threads immediately, I now limit myself to checking email 4 times a day (stretch goal of 2!) and I make sure to write detailed emails that will resolve the situation or ask all the questions that I will need answered in order to dissolve the topic. This has helped me not worry about email, communicate more efficiently, and overall become less stressed at work.

Aaron

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23 lenciB April 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

To simplify my life:
* I make a meal plan on saturday and a grocery list based on the plan, and only get the items on the list on Sunday when we grocery shop
* I have my husband pay all of the pills. It’s simplified MY life :)

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24 Alana Taylor April 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I haven’t owned a TV in 4 years. I am 21. It’s a big deal for a girl my age. But I have found that it has changed my life for the better. I don’t miss it… I don’t need it. I find myself reading more books, spending more time outside, making time to learn to cook, hitting the gym consistently, and going to sleep earlier.

By reducing one tiny object, I was able to gain a wealth of time, knowledge, and relaxation.

I’d love to read the book.

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25 Christine April 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Recently started using mint so that I can check all my accounts under one thing. I still have to log in to the individual accounts every now and then, but its very useful to have it all in one site and also to see your net worth!

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26 Aspiring Minimalist April 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Can I enter if I am in Canada? I hope so! :)

I keep a “toss box” next to my closet, and when I come across an item (could be clothing, or could be anything) that I haven’t used in a while, I toss it in my “toss box.” Usually I keep things in there for a 3 – 6 months (or when it’s full), and if I haven’t had the need to retrieve any items I tossed, I probably don’t need it. The, I bring the box to the local Goodwill store.

Having less stuff, makes it easier to clean to keep track of, and costs less time and money to maintain.

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27 JOB's Money - Free by 30 April 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I simplify my life everyday by eliminating technology and television from my home. When I enter, there is music playing and no television to be seen. All of the techie stuff that I have is hidden away to create a peaceful atmosphere.

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28 Katie April 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

The best thing I’ve done to simplify my life is to have an evening routine and a Sunday routine. Since I’m in school, the evening routine includes filling up my backpack with everything I need for the next day, picking out my clothes, getting snacks together, and even untying my shoes (since I usually slip them off without untying.) This means I get to sleep in for another ten minutes.

My Sunday routine is similar, except I fold and put away my laundry, file all my papers, write out my schedule for the week, and I try to go to bed extra early so I have a nice start to the week. I’m bad about going to bed early, but when I can manage to do it, I feel great.

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29 Becky April 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm

To simplify my work week, I try to plan and cook all my meals each weekend. What’s been really awesome is finding a recipe and discovering I actually have all the ingredients on hand! I do believe less is more, and to help earn money towards reducing our debt, we just participated in our community yard sale. If your community offers one, GET IN ON IT! Think about how much advertising they will do for it, and you will have many more people than if you did it on your own. More people = more profit!

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30 gina April 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

i try my best to say yes to my kids and no to anything not essential. i also have taken time each day to get rid of something.

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31 Jenna April 13, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Mint.com and automating as many bank transfers and bill payments as I can. I feel like I have complete control and visibility into my finances, which could have otherwise been a huge stress.

But, I would LOVE to simpilfy so many more areas of my life. I need to do a better job of staying organized both at home and work. I should probably check this book out even if I don’t win it!

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32 Erin April 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Keep one continuous list in a note book of what needs to get done. Also working on getting rid of A LOT of things that I DO NOT need (but thought at one point I thought I did).

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33 Julie April 13, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I’m trying to get rid of all non-essential things around the house – things that have been in boxes in the basement for years that I see as sentimental, but don’t really need. We are putting our house up for sale in the next couple months and REALLY NEED to de-clutter.

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34 Caity April 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

After 18 happy years living with my parents in suburbia, I’m on my own in my college apartment. Having to get groceries and do other so by foot or bus instead of car has really helped me reconcile what I buy and what I need. (Not to mention college apartments aren’t know for being very big… eek!)

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35 Anthony April 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

What do I do to simplify my life? I keep it simple in the first place!!! I don’t have a fancy car, fancy house, fancy clothes, fancy entertainment centers.

1. I have a 6-year old car (that I hope will last another 10 years).
2. I have a house that I can afford and only bought what I needed: my housing expenses are about 14% of my gross income, whereas the experts say you’re safe at about 28%.
3. My current wardrobe is mostly the same as it was 3 or 4 years ago. I have about 10 go-to shirts and another 8 or 9 “nicer” shirts. I have 3 or 4 pairs of jeans that fit with everything, and several nicer pants.
4. The TV in my living room is a 32″ LCD without a surround sound system. ‘Nough said!

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36 BRB April 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

This sounds weird and doesn’t seem simple, but it really is. I make my own lotions and face creams. Last night I whipped up a new face lotion in just a few minutes because I had everything thing on hand. I don’t have to worry about putting it on a grocery list to buy and I know exactly what is in it. And if I don’t like how it is working or want to change it up the next time I make it I can. I also make my own body spray out of essential oils and I can have a different fragrance every few months for nothing!

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37 sarah w April 13, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I’ve been doing daily cleaning routines that make it so I don’t have to do any major cleaning on one day. Every day is a quick wipe and things stay clean. Sort of related to money since time is money and things stay nice longer when clean.

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38 Mike April 13, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I cut the cable a few months ago in exchange for an antenna. Makes more room for productive reading time.

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39 Ernest S. April 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Really simple and basic, but I carry a small multi-tool (Leatherman Squirt) in my pocket that I find so useful! It saves me so much time with making small home repairs on the spot, opening bags and packages, and giving me the peace of mind and confidence to get things done. I can honestly say that it helps to simplify my life every day.

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40 DOCTOR s April 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm

How do I simplify my life? i have started making a little to do list on a little post it note every day. I keep it in my back right pocket and evaluate it each morning when I get to work. Things get crossed off and stuff I didnt tend to gets added to the next days sticky note. Simple, yet effective. (thats what she said)

If I win this book, I will read it front to back.

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41 Lundie April 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm

I try to boil my day down to the top 3 things I need to do. It keeps me sane.

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42 Andy M April 13, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I think Leo is great! Something I do everyday to simplify my life is a 10 minute burst clean. Doing so I have found my life is much more in order.

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43 Mara April 14, 2010 at 12:47 am

dangle a free leo book in front of me? of course i’ll bite!

how do i simplify? let me count the ways:

downsized to very small house in downtown area
got rid of credit cards
automated finances for both home & business
got rid of anything that has not been used in the past year (50% of what i owned!)
make up a small loaf of no-knead bread to rise overnight (takes 5 minutes)
clean as i go in the kitchen
clean bathroom after morning shower
use duvets for shake-n-make beds
reduced wardrobe by 60% to simplest basic items
eliminated all makeup except lip balm & moisturizer
let my hair go naturally gray and cut it very short myself
upped my meditation schedule to twice daily
came to realize what i really want to do for a living
stopped shopping for anything except food
let my husband cook breakfast & dinner :D

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44 Chontzy April 14, 2010 at 3:31 am

i’ve simplified my work wardrobe to blues and blacks for pants and blues and whites for shirts. kinda boring but i can grab pretty much anything that’s clean out of my closet and i’m good to go. makes clothes shopping a lot easier also!

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45 Dorothea April 14, 2010 at 6:00 am

The biggest thing for me was switching from perfect to good enough.
It applies to time (no more things done inches away from the deadline in the best standard known to mankind) as well as stuff (no more gadgety stationary when I have whole drawers full that will do the job just fine).

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46 Lentzk April 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Consolidating all my electronics into a single device like my ipod touch has help with pocket clutter. Having to cary a wallet, keys, Ipod if I want music between classes, Laptop for the internet cause we all its hard to go without now a days, and a cell phone, my ipod touch helps reduce the list of needed devices down to the bare essentials.

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47 J. Money April 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm

“The biggest thing for me was switching from perfect to good enough.” – YES! I’ve learned to do that more too, sooooo helpful.

@Doctor S – I am going to try that post-it note in the back pocket trick starting tomorrow. I think it’ll look a little more professional than all those doodles on my hand ;)

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48 Brian April 14, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Something I do daily to simplify my life: I meditate.

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49 Dustin | Engaged Marriage April 15, 2010 at 10:43 am

I make a conscious effort to NOT multi-task. By focusing on one thing at a time and devoting my concentration to it, I can not only get more done but have more peace of mind while doing it.

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50 Grace L. April 16, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I’m sure it doesn’t sound like much, but I keep a bag on the doorknob of my bedroom door. Every time I come across an article of clothing that doesn’t fit, I throw it in. Once a month or so I take a filled bag to the local thrift stores. I have WAY too much clothing and this helps me weed out little by little what I won’t wear.

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51 Miss Lissy April 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I think part of simplifying my life is realizing what’s really important so I try to find 5 things that I’m grateful for every night.

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52 AceKen April 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I Automate whatever I can so I don’t have to think twice about it.

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53 J. Money April 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

*GIVEAWAY IS OVER*

The 2 winners are….drum roll please….Doug and Dorothea! Congrats guys :)

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