alright, so i need your help … or some advice.

Inspired By Charm


lately i have been seeing and hearing the word ‘simplify’ a lot. even as i was typing this, the postman delivered my august martha stewart living and across the front cover (which is beautiful as always) it says in fancy script ‘simplified’.


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i also thought a lot about a comment made by a fellow blogger today over at abby try again. she writes,

“James and I lead an incredibly simple life. We don’t own a car, we don’t own a television, no iphones, no fancy expensive cameras. Believe me, if we could afford these things-I’d have them all in a heartbeat, but for now they just aren’t within our reach.”


lately i’ve been trying figure out how i can buy a new car … a jeep perhaps – but do i need it? no, my car is fine. old, but fine.


ever since i heard the word ipad,  i knew i needed one … and have been trying to justify reasons for buying one. but do i really need it? no. not at all. can i even afford it right now? heck no!


all those beautiful things i showed you from CB2. do i love them all? yes. do i want them all? yes. do i need them. yes. nope.


i’m also surrounded by lots of ‘things’ in my own personal space.


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when i worked in philadelphia i wore a suit and tie everyday. in the past two years i can count the time i wore a tie on my one hand. so what do i do with these fifty plus ties that i adored two years ago? give them away? keep them in a box?


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tea cups and saucers that came with the bed and breakfast. they have been in this cupboard for two years. i don’t want to get rid of them because ‘what if’ i need them? and this is only one collection of things that were a ‘free gift with purchase’. i have an excess amount of tools, tacky headboards, baskets, etc. i didn’t even buy the stuff … and don’t even like it … but i don’t have the heart/nerve to throw it away.


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plant trays and plastic pots. i’ve had these for over a year in case i ‘need’ them. but they just get in the way.

i could go on, but you get the idea. right? what do you do with this stuff? i’m learning that holding on to these things leads to clutter. then clutter leads to stress. and stress leads to unhappiness.


so, i think it’s time to simplify. any adivice is appreciated. do you have the same issue? how have you simplified your life? how long do you hold unto stuff? how do you stop yourself from buying things you don’t really need? etc, etc, etc….


i promise to do my own research. and with your help, comments, links, etc i will post (sometime next week) our findings. thanks in advance!

(wow – my pictures are beautiful in this post today. maybe i should think about putting them into a contest. the garbage can.)

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  • Anonymous at

    General rule of thumb regarding clothes is that if you haven’t worn it in 1-2 years, you aren’t going to.

    Go through the stuff you have but don’t use, and visit the salvation army website to get valuations of worth for these items if you plan to donate them. Then carefully go through each item with a valuation for it and mark it on an Excel spreadsheet. Then donate it, and get a receipt that you put with your Excel file – voila, itemized tax deduction next year!

    Or you can just donate or participate in freecycle (look ’em up online). Don’t just throw things away, especially if they are in usable condition. That would be a tragedy.

    Penn State has Trash to Treasures, no reason you can’t…

    The biggest challenge really is not buying what you don’t need, even if the price is incredible.

    Good luck!!


  • Nadia @ at

    Hi Michael,

    I love your blog, and this post! I am ALWAYS trying to simplify, mostly because I move around so much – 6 times in 6 years – and I’ve come up with something that works for me: whenever I get something new, I donate/sell something I have. I used to keep a lot of things in a “just in case” mental file, but I’ve realized that if I haven’t done anything with them by now, I probably won’t. I keep a box (ok, maybe 2) in the garage for projects, but if I haven’t worked on the project in 6 monhts, then it gets tossed too.

  • by...K@ Ashcroft at

    So about those ties… why don’t you have some sort of give away? I would take all the head boards etc and things you don’t use/like and give to a charity like goodwill or habitat for humanity. Call a local nursery and see if they want the plant thingies and if not, throw them in the recycle bin or see if a local school could use them for a project. The dishes, if you honestly think you may use them someday then find a way to display them in the meantime and use the cupboard space for something else.

    *dusting off hands** there I feel much better, wanna come to hotter than hell AZ and help me simplify my crap? haha totally kidding of course. I have stuff in boxes from 2 moves ago that I need to go through and eliminate. Eliminate, that’s a good word!!! 😀

  • Lovely Scribbles at

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Michael! I hear you on the need to simplify. I’m an organizational freak, but I still struggle from time to time with holding onto stuff that I just don’t need. I figure that if I haven’t used it in 2-3 years, it can be donated to someone who can. Good luck simplifying!

  • Kim @ NewlyWoodwards at

    I totally feel you on the ties. I don’t actually have ties, but I wear a suit or dress to work every day. I’ve often told my husband that if I ever get a more casual job or work for myself, I will have lots of heels and dresses to rid myself of.

    My advice: Get rid of everything you don’t use. Or Freecycle it.

    My opinions – The cups and saucers – sell them. If you need them, you’ll find some other ones that you love more or you’ll borrow them. And, let’s be honest, you probably won’t need them. The plant trays – recycle or Freecycle them. They aren’t being used, so find someone who can use them. They will appreciate it.

    I speak from experience. I’m a “stuff” collector. I have to make a concerted effort to purge things that I don’t love and aren’t adding to my quality of life. It’s really helped to tell myself that if I decide that I NEED that kitchen gadget/shoe box/fabric scrap in 10 years, I’ll just buy another one. No harm done.

    Best of luck!

  • Esther@fleurcottage at

    set it out for froo…it’ll fly away! 🙂

  • Esther@fleurcottage at

    i really meant FREE! lol!

  • The Weinbergs at

    could you incorporate your ties into the quilt- maybe a border? I have no idea how to quilt so maybe this makes no sense but it looks like you have some great colors and patterns there.

    Have a garage sale open house… people can stop by the B&B to look around and maybe pick up a few things from the gift shop and your sale!

  • Anonymous at

    Hi Michael,
    You can use the ties in you quilting endeavors. There are a few different ideas at: **http%3a//

  • Margaret at

    I know this post is really old but if you still have the ties you could make them into cute little wallets like this and sell them in your gift shoppe. I got one as a gift from my mom for Christmas and EVERYONE that sees it compliments (even guys) me! I’m sure your ties are a little more expensive than the $.50 ties my mom got from Goodwill but if you’ve still got them or come across cheap ones it is an idea. not to mention your sewing skills are great now (still drooling over your curtains and quilts)

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