It’s Fall!

Today is the official beginning of autumn. There is just something special about the fall, isn’t there? School starts. The weather gets cooler. The leaves change colors. People seem to transition mentally from the carefree days of summer to a more focused mindset as we look toward the end of the year. Fall seems to be a time of change inside and out.

Fall is also a time of simple pleasures. It’s time for warm hoodies and hot drinks. Apples, squash, and pumpkins are in season. It’s time for bolder colors and cute boots. It is a time of change, and change is good.

For many reasons I believe that this fall will be really big for me. I am taking on more leadership at my church. I am making progress with my second book. I am already getting steady work as a substitute teacher. Who knows what else could develop? (You can be sure that I will keep you posted)

So as the weather cools off I thought I’d give some ways to get ready for fall and make the most of it.

  • Now is a good time to take a look at 2014. How are you doing with your goals for the year? If you are doing well, great! Keep it up. If you’re not doing so well there is still time to make progress in 2014. No need to give up on this year and plan to try again next year. The time to act is now.
  • Make plans to enjoy the weather. The sweltering days of summer are over and the deep freeze of winter has not yet come. Get out and enjoy the moderate temperatures. Go for outdoor walks and runs. Take a drive and look at the fall leaves. Make a game out of raking the leaves. You could even go to an orchard and pick your own apples. Just make sure you have fun with the weather because winter is coming… (I couldn’t resist)
  • Evaluate and change your wardrobe. This a good time to put away the lighter fabrics and pull out the sweaters and the long pants. Before you put things away check to make sure that they still fit and that they’re in good condition. If not, don’t bother storing them. Toss them.
  • Take part in things that are uniquely fall: hay rides, fall produce, fresh apple cider, campfires, and roasted marshmallows. This is the perfect time for these things.
  • Take advantage of the harvest. This is the perfect time to can and make jams and jellies. I usually make fresh tomato sauce from the last of summer’s tomatoes and it lasts me all winter. And there is just something about that preparation for the winter that is soothing.

Fall is a great time of year. I am looking forward to the next season with great excitement and anticipation. I hope that you are as well.

Happy Fall!










Going Small

I am a minimalist but I still have a small bit of fashionista in me. The fashionista in me likes to change handbags for different seasons. So today I moved into my fall handbag. It’s black. It’s sleek. It’s sexy. And it’s small.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I moved into a wristlet. It is a full size handbag. It’s just half the size of the one I had been carrying.

I hadn’t been carrying it because it was too small for me to fit all my stuff. But I faced a choice: let this tres chic handbag go to waste or stop carrying so much crap. I took a hard look at what I really need on a daily basis and pared down to just the essentials. Nothing more.

We have been trained to believe that bigger is better. We want bigger homes, cars, and closets. We want bigger phone screens. And apparently, some of us want bigger handbags. Of course, bigger comes with a bigger price tag. There may be other costs as well, like higher costs for heating, cooling, and gas.

Bigger also causes another problem. Bigger usually means fore stuff. I don’t understand. It is a universal law that if I get a larger handbag I will somehow fill it with stuff. An even larger handbag will cause me carry even more stuff. If I started wheeling around a suitcase behind me I am sure that within a week it would be full.

So instead of constantly going bigger to accommodate more stuff, why not go small? Why not consciously choose less space and make conscious decisions about the things that go in that space? Having less space forces you to think carefully about what stays and what goes. You can’t just add it to the rest. You have to choose.

So what did that mean for me? I had to commit to one pack of gum and one box of mints. I had to choose what medication I wanted to carry. It meant that I had to commit to one lipstick look (one liner, one lipstick, and one gloss). It meant that I needed to sort through the miscellaneous papers and receipts and business cards and decide what was important to keep.

Perhaps the biggest change is that I can’t carry my iPad with me everywhere I go. My new handbag simply will not accommodate it. This forced me to think carefully about whether I need my iPad with me everywhere. I’ve decided that I don’t.

I am constantly seeing stories of people wanting bigger homes and bigger cars. Of course, sometimes a larger space is legitimately needed. We have kids and get married and start businesses. But too often more space is not truly needed. More space is desired to hold all our crap.

I think it is time to challenge this notion. It is time to reject the idea of constantly going bigger. I think it’s time to go small.

It can be a challenge to make do with less. You will have to be creative and you may have to go without some things. The reward is less clutter and perhaps lower cost.

Are you ready to go small? Perhaps you could carry a smaller wallet, handbag, or backpack. Could you stay in your current house if it had less stuff? How about getting by on a smaller budget? How can you make do with less?