my old country house



The holidays passed in a blur, and 2020 has ARRIVED right on schedule. One of the three kids has headed back to his Grown-Up home, the January blues are hovering and I’m ready to get going on my New Year. I feel the itch to get back to Normality. Whatever that decides to be.

And with my New Year come a few NEW “goals”. I’ve never been a fan of New Years Resolutions, they feel too Final and punitive in nature.  I prefer instead to look at what IS working in my life, areas where I AM achieving my goals and then find other areas where I could apply these GOOD Habits and improve.


PART ONE – Involves steps I will take and outline later to improve my Painting sales and personal success as an artist. This will GROW MY INCOME-

PART TWO – Involves simplifying my life – especially in the area of clothing and shopping. THIS SHOULD HOPEFULLY MAXIMIZE THE INCOME I MAKE.

I really want to take some time to see where and how my money is being spent and to save for some things that are way more fulfilling and important in the long run than new shoes or outfits. In addition, and important in the BIG PICTURE – I have just become acutely aware of the toll Clothing production is taking on our environment. In a post from “Hello Homestead” (which I highly recommend to read and follow)

She shares –

“According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, textile production produces 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas every year. … The impact of textiles and clothing industry on the environment goes beyond emissions. Dyes used to produce toxic chemicals pollute waterways.” …..Jan 15, 2019

It goes so much further than this and basically – I want to see what I can do with the time, money and emotional investment I have been giving to shopping for clothing,  etc. I don’t so much spend on the house anymore – so that really isn’t an area that would feel tough to “cut back” on – but this might. I think as the kids have left home, I have fallen into a habit of buying things to wear to fill a space. I/We would love to save for a new kitchen and a 4rth bedroom. Those things would change our lives and improve the value of our home which we hope to rent as an air B&B and perhaps sell when Cooper graduates from college in 2023.

Have you ever heard of  Tal Ben-Shahar? His website BIO describes him –

“Tal Ben-Shahar is an author and lecturer.  He taught two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership.  Today, Tal consults and lectures around the world to executives in multi-national corporations, the general public, and at-risk populations.  The topics he lectures on include leadership, happiness, education, innovation, ethics, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness. His books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and have appeared on best-sellers lists around the world.”

Anyway, I have listened to him speak on a few Podcasts and something he says that really resonates with me is that when he is working with someone who wants to make a change, instead of STARTING WITH WHAT IS WRONG with them, he begins with WHAT IS WORKING. He has found that this puts us in a positive frame of mind when thinking about the areas we want to improve. It also helps us identify ways we behave when we ARE successful, instead of all the ways we do things wrong. Personally, this is now the way I prefer to address almost anything. We feel like crap when we beat ourselves up about things we do “wrong”. And when we feel like crap, FIRST, we have to dig out of that hole, often falling into more negative habits.

So to begin I am going to look at where I have GOOD HABITS?

I’m very good at maintaining my workout schedule. I exercise 5-7 days a week, nothing too monumental or like training for a Triathalon but I make sure I keep to my schedule by :

  1. Working out BEFORE I start my work-day. If I wait until later in the day The “when am I gonna go ” keeps nagging me and distracts me from my work?  Also working out first boosts ALL the good endorphins and starts my day off more energized.
  2. Work out for a minimum of 20 minutes but no more than an hour. More time is not productive and just uses time I don’t have. The exception is taking a beautiful outdoor hike. Those can take a while.
  3. NOT working out is not an option. Sometimes I will just go and walk 20 minutes on the treadmill, nice and relaxed. The routine helps.

So, it looks like the POSITIVES ARE: Routine, Discipline, and Parameters.


  1. Purchase Nothing NEW to wear unless as a gift for someone else. The ONLY exception is underwear.
  2. I can thrift shop and buy things second hand online and in local Thrift stores if events come up that require something I do not have. but the goal will be to try to work with what I have.
  3. Keep as a spreadsheet with my income, work expenses, AND ALL Spending.

So there you have it. I AM TRYING TO KEEP IT SIMPLE. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE your input. I will touch base here once a week to share my experience and tips on thrifting and the process of cutting back and if anyone wants to get on board, I would love that and I can share how you are adjusting as well.

I have found a few sources for great inspiration when It comes to CUTTING BACK and Maximizing the Income I do make. HERE are THREE of my GO-TOs :

  1. CAIT FLANDERS – I FIRST heard about Cait and her “Year of Less” on the Young House Love Podcast – Episode #96. In 2014 she instituted a “SHOPPING BAN” with parameters and which included take-out coffee, The Ban was so successful and revealed so many areas of improvement that in the second year she ALSO focused on what she DID BUY even with the shopping ban and identifying items that Women need, basics that when shared in an interview, resulted in a  BOOK DEAL! See! You NEVER know where one positive step will lead – you just have to take that first step!


2.   JOSHUA BECKER is the writer of the BECOMING MINIMALIST blog,  the WSJ Best-Selling author of The More of Less and The Minimalist Home. He has appeared on numerous media outlets including The NYT, WSJ, USA Today, and CBS. On his Blog  “BECOMING MINIMALIST”   he writes regularly from all different angles about de-cluttering your life to make it better and more fulfilling. A good place to start reading Joshua is this POST  which has his TOP POSTS for 2019.


HIS BOOK “MINIMALIST HOME: HOW TO DECLUTTER, SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE FOR BETTER CALM AND FOCUS.  Lays out how to DE-clutter your life and gain more from what really matters (SPOILER ALERT – IT IS NOT STUFF)

3. MIRANDA ANDERSON – FOUNDER OF “Live Free Creative Company”  AND  the podcast “LIVE FREE MIRANDA”? 

My buddies, John and Sherry at Young House Love also interviewed Miranda ON EPISODE  #152. She talked about her book – “MORE THAN ENOUGH” and the freedom she and her family DISCOVERED and continue to reap the benefits of  – when they did not buy “stuff” – especially items that they could either be – MADE, BOUGHT, THRIFTED OR SIMPLY DO WITHOUT.  Her Blog – LIVE, FREE CREATIVE is one of my favorites – especially when it comes to making Family-Wide changes. She gets her whole family on board and is teaching them so much about what really matters!

So I’ve just scratched the surface here, but all of these are great resources if you are interested in doing your own version of Simplifying. and I hope that ONE YEAR from NOW – I too will become a great resource as I dig deep and buckle down. Heres Hoping!




  1. This post really resonates with me. I love my stuff and have a lot of “treasures”. Having said that, I spent the previous winter going through every drawer, closet, room and pulling out items to “release” and I had two HUGE 3-day yard sales last summer. We ended up making almost $3,000. Admittedly, I’ve spent a few minutes looking for something that I then realize that I sold. If you are going to do this, take photos of the stuff at your sale. I did and saved time looking through the photos rather than scratching my head wondering where something was.

    I’m selling more stuff through etsy, facebook marketplace and ebay. It will take time but I’m ok with that. Once you start, it becomes easier to “release” some of the extras in your life.

    It gave me such pleasure for people to buy and hopefully use many items that were languishing in a box or on a shelf. So much better!! Yard sales are sooo much work, but sooo much fun once it starts. It’s really social and I have to admit I almost gave some stuff away, like a sweet dollhouse to a grandma for her granddaughter….with all the furniture. And going to the bank was really fun, haha!!!

  2. Hi Lesli, I’m late responding to your posting. Three weeks of respiratory infections put us down for the count. I’m so thrilled you touched on this subject and I can’t wait to follow your postings. My husband and I sold our big house and over an acre of land ( we were tired of the work ) and downsized to a 950 sq. ft. house. We love it! I donated so much I was embarrassed taking it to Habitat for Humanity. We had several yard sales too. The relief I felt having tons less and not buying things we really didn’t need was priceless. I read Joshua Becker’s blog to keep myself on track. I love to cook but now try to keep my meals healthy but simple. It’s helped my food costs immensely. best wishes on your goals. I’m with you in spirit!

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