Digital Declutter: Clearing Your Digital Space

digital declutter

We all know that a cleaner, clearer home or work space contributes to a clearer mind.

We declutter and clear our physical spaces to make room for the things that are most important to us.

Your digital space is your presence in the digital world: social media accounts, email inboxes, websites and blogs. How many emails are currently sitting in your inbox? How many social media pages do you follow? What is clogging up your newsfeed? How many websites and blogs have you subscribed to?

Your digital space can be clogged up with noise that creates and contributes to your overall busyness and the only way to unclog the space is by removing what isn’t important to you.

I’ll admit that the last time I performed a digital declutter, it took me almost a week. I had to sift through over 2000 emails! It was a very long process, but worthwhile.

Here are some of the ways that you can tackle a digital declutter.

Digital Declutter: How To Clear Your Digital Space


Email subscriptions

Have you subscribed to blogs, websites or services and have never even opened the messages or newsletters you’ve received? This is a sign that whatever that person is trying to sell to you or the message they are trying to deliver to you is not important.

But before deleting their email, UNSUBSCRIBE from their service. This will ensure that you stop receiving communication from them. As I outlined in my strategies for less paper clutter, you have to prevent the clutter from entering rather than just getting rid of it. A successful digital declutter stops the clutter from re-entering your digital space.

Don’t feel guilty about this. You are not doing yourself a favour by receiving digital junk mail, and you are not doing the other person or business a favour by wasting their time and effort sending you communication that you are not interested in.


Email Inbox

Some of your emails will be important and worth holding onto. For these emails, it’s a great idea to create separate folders and to file the emails into the relevant folder.

Emails that are no longer needed should be deleted. I suggest starting from the oldest email in your inbox, because chances are that the older emails will no longer be required. It should be easier to sift through these.

Be honest with yourself- remove the “just in case” mentality many people have. As I have previously mentioned, one of the many mistakes people make when decluttering is holding onto something they think they need when in fact they don’t need it.

I recommend spending no longer than ten minutes on this process at any one time. This is one of those tasks you will have to return to a few times before you have your inbox under control.


Facebook Pages

Social media decluttering can be a difficult and controversial process. You’ve heard of people “unfriending” others which has led to arguments and awkward confrontations.

But when it comes to blogs and websites that no longer serve you, unliking their Facebook page removes their “noise” from your newsfeed, so that you can make room for status updates and information from people and businesses that can serve your needs.

Similar to email subscriptions, businesses and blogs want to reach out to as many people as possible however an authentic business or blog will want to reach those people who they will serve the most. As a blogger, I can only serve those who are interested in leading a less busy life, and these are the people I want to “like” my Facebook page. If I no longer serve you and you need to “unlike” me, then as much as it might make my little ego feel sad, I will understand that my services are not for you. And that’s totally ok!


Digital Decluttering For Bloggers

If you are a fellow blogger, then there are a number of ways that you can declutter your blog’s digital space.

Analyse your blog’s current social media presence. Are there any social mediums that are not doing so well for you that you could perhaps delete?

Are there any affiliate programs or advertising networks that are not generating an income for you that you could remove from your blog?

Are you part of any blogging Facebook groups that are not helping you with your blog journey that you could remove yourself from?

By decluttering your blog’s digital space, you are making more room for creativity and abundance. You are able to focus on creating more abundance for your blog through new income initiatives.

Removing noise from your blog will also improve your reader’s experiences. Have you ever been annoyed or distracted by annoying and irrelevant advertisements on a blog you are visiting?


You can make more room in your digital space for the things that are important, by focusing on the digital decluttering strategies I have listed. You can start off small and slow, and focus on decluttering bit by bit over time rather than trying to tackle it all overnight.

Have you decluttered your digital space? What was the most challenging part of the declutter? How  many emails are sitting in your inbox?

When I Had To Own That Red Display Cabinet

I used to be a fan of the hit NBC series “Parenthood”.

Even though TV is mostly trashy, I enjoyed the Parenthood storylines.  I also loved admiring the different homes/sets for each of the Braverman families. I loved looking at the décor and the furniture, and I loved how each set reflected the personality of the family.

But one thing I couldn’t get my mind off was a set of red bar stools and a display cabinet that featured in one of the Parenthood homes. I loved the colour, and I just damn wanted it for my home!


Parenthood Display Cabinet

Image of “that red display cabinet” from Parenthood, from Hooked On Houses

Being Fixated With Stuff

So I began a mission which lasted about 10 months, of looking for something similar here in Australia. Getting the bar stools and cabinet shipped from the U.S. was out of the question due to the cost of freight being more than the cost of the items!

But then one day it dawned on me: what would I put in the display cabinet? I didn’t have anything exotic or precious that was worth displaying in such a nice cabinet. I didn’t want to store my every day dishes in there because I already had a place for those.

I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t really need the display cabinet.

I felt a bit sad at this realisation. How ridiculous, yeah? I had become fixated with something, not because I truly needed it but because I felt excited by the challenge of trying to find the item I was after. It was the thrill of the consumer chase.

If I did end up finding and buying the cabinet, I bet I would have been disappointed a few weeks later. I bet I would have thought to myself, “Now what? So I have this display cabinet, but it hasn’t made me any happier than I was months ago”.

And that, folks, is the consumer cycle that so many of us find ourselves trapped in.

Wanting something, convincing ourselves that we need it, buying it and then moving onto the next thing we want or need. It is one of the mistakes people so often make when decluttering, as I outlined HERE.

We are fixated with stuff.

But our fixation doesn’t end after the purchase. We have to look after the item, and sometimes insure it against theft or damage. We have to find a place to store the item. After the life of the item has ended, we have to find a way to dispose of the item.

We become so fixated with stuff that we find it hard to let go. We find it difficult to get rid of some of the stuff we own- we might have an emotional connection to the item. Or we might be too afraid to get rid of the item because we think our lives will be less fulfilling if the item isn’t around.


Fixated with stuff


But the great news is that we can break ourselves from the consumer cycle and stop being so fixated with stuff. We don’t have to feel trapped anymore.

I believe it is the number one reason why decluttering does not work for many people. Months after decluttering, they find themselves back at square one- a house full of crap that once again, needs to be decluttered.

You might be asking yourself, how can you break out of the consumer cycle?

Becoming less fixated with stuff is something that does not happen overnight- it’s a process that can take months or years to refine. But the process begins with recognising what your current habits are and your attitude to stuff. Think about how and why you shop, and how you treat your belongings.

Becoming less fixated with stuff will allow you to develop some new healthy habits that will lead to living a simplified and less busy life. Some of the habits to acquire for a more simplified life can be found HERE.

Do you buy something and then forget about it? Do you cherish what you have bought? Are there any underlying emotions or triggers leading you to acquire more stuff?

Do you have a picture in your mind of what you want your life to look like, and so you shop and acquire stuff that will help your life become what you imagined it to be?

If someone offers you something for free, do you accept it because you really need it or is the fact that the item is free exciting to you? Do you accept the item out of guilt or obligation?

Have you ever admired a product in a store but not felt the need to buy it? Or do you immediately need to own everything you admire?

Do you worry about what might happen to you if you didn’t own that particular item? Do you often find yourself thinking “what if I need it and I can’t find it?” or do you have a “just in case” thought process?

Thinking about and analysing your current attitudes to buying and owning stuff can be a real eye opener! Don’t feel angry towards yourself for your current situation, and try not to feel guilty if what you discover about your behaviour and attitudes isn’t quite what you were hoping for.

Even those of us who think we are not victims of consumerism can surprise ourselves when we really stop and think about our last purchase (such as my desire for the red display cabinet)!


Now it’s your turn to confess! I’d like to read about a recent purchase you have made, and what your reason for the purchase was? Was it out of necessity or a desire you had to fulfill? Have you ever become fixated with owning something, like I did with the red display cabinet?

Linking up with:


I Must Confess


If I Only Knew…

If Only I Knew

If I only knew back then:

That a simplified life was within my reach.

That buying all the stuff for our new home was a waste of time, money and energy.

That throwing these huge birthday parties for my kids would not make their lives any better.

That hanging out with small minded people would make me, well, small minded.

That filling all the minutes of my day with tasks and activities would not create an enriching life for me.

That the importance of health is underrated and I should make the time to look after myself.

That sleep is more vital than we realise.

That having a wedding with 30 guests would have been far better than a wedding with 100.

That what people show on the outside is not a true reflection of what is going on inside.


But these things, I didn’t know back then. I do now. And the difference is, I can appreciate what I know now more than I could have back then when I was younger.

Not knowing back then what I know now allowed me to experience some hard lessons and some frustrations. But these were all lessons that had to be learnt.

If you told me 10 years ago that I was hanging around with too many small minded people, I would have denied it.

If you told me I shouldn’t be throwing big parties for my kids, I would have ignored you.

If you told me I should have given up some of the activities I was involved in, I would have argued with you.

Yes I wish I knew some of the things I know now. I wish I had started my unbusy journey years ago, or had not embarked on a crazy busy life instead. But there’s no point wasting my energy on regret and wishful thinking.

You may have found this post as somebody about to begin their unbusy journey, or someone who has finally had enough of living a life of busyness and less meaning. Maybe you have finally embraced minimalism and simplicity and wondered why you never did it earlier.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But so is living in the present moment.

Forget “if I only knew” and remember “what I know now”. Use what you know now as your source of inspiration moving forward. It will be far more rewarding than regretting the past!

What do you wish you knew when you were younger? What do you know now that will help you shape the rest of your life? Share with me in the comments.

This post is linking up with “I must confess” via the wonderful blog “My Home Truths”:

I Must Confess

Celebrating Love The Simplified Way

Ah, anniversaries. They can be an interesting day, can’t they?

Some people forget them, others spend extraordinary amounts of money on gifts for their partners while some have a simplified yet special day.

How We Celebrate Love The Simplified Way

Mark and I have celebrated 11 wedding anniversaries and when I think back to each one, I smile. How we have celebrated is a reflection of whatever life stage we were experiencing at the time.

I was lucky to be home for our 4th wedding anniversary after giving birth to our second daughter 6 days earlier.

For anniversaries 4 to 8, we would buy Chinese food and a bottle of wine and drive down to our local beach, where we would watch the sunset and listen to the radio program “Love Songs And Dedications” (not because we were hopeless romantics but some of the callers made us laugh).

For our 9th we stayed at the Crown Metropol 5-star hotel in Melbourne and spent a night enjoying our city and staying in our luxury room. But then we realised we had to do something even more special for our 10th!

So we spent 2 nights at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne- which was the most relaxing weekend I have ever had, and our favourite anniversary. The hotel really made us feel special! Our annviersary coincided with the Chinese New Year and there were celebrations throughout the city. The day ended with a fireworks display which we watched from the top of the Eureka Tower.



Simplified anniversary

The hotel really made us feel special on our anniversary!



minimalism anniversary




simplified life

Chinese New Year celebrations viewed from the Eureka Tower, Melbourne.



This year for our 11th anniversary, we thought we would keep it simple but fun. We went ten-pin bowling in the city followed by dinner and a leisurely stroll along the Yarra river, to South Wharf where we have never visited before.

Each anniversary has been special to me because I got to spend the day with my husband, no matter what we did. And I think that’s what has made our anniversaries so memorable: we have focused on what’s most important and not what society tells us is important when celebrating an anniversary.

In fact, we don’t remember ever buying each other a gift! We have never cared about whether our anniversary theme is paper, clock, wool or leather. Who cares? Not us! What’s important to us is celebrating our love for each other. You don’t need gifts to do this.

Living a more simplified life is all about recognising and celebrating the important things, and leaving behind the stuff that truly does not matter.

Society places too much emphasis on materialism when celebrating relationship milestones- whether it’s buying a dozen red roses, a piece of jewellery from Tiffany’s or dinner at an exclusive restaurant. Just look at how commercialised Valentine’s Day is!

Society also places pressure on men to spend ridiculous amounts of money on their partners for their anniversaries. Many women expect lavish anniversaries and are disappointed when their partners don’t deliver.

We have friends whose partners have passed away, and friends whose partners are currently experiencing trauma or illness. Seeing what our friends are going through is a reminder to make each day count, and not just our anniversaries. It’s nice to celebrate our special day but our relationship is a lifelong commitment.



That’s why it’s important to create time each day to be with the one you love. Unfortunately for many people, the busyness of life sucks away the quality time that could be spent with their partner.

Before becoming unbusy, my husband and I would see other each for only 15 minutes a day during the week. He would work all day and come home, and I would then leave for work and work through until 11pm. That 15 minutes together was usually very stressful- he would be exhausted from work while I would be rushing in a panic. It was a bad time to have a conversation!

After creating a less busy life, my husband and I decided to make either Friday or Saturday night as our “date night” (depending on what night the football is on TV!). We have a love of movies from the 80s, so we pick something fun and share a bottle of wine and a laugh. But now that we are both unemployed (we were both laid off from our jobs in the last 10 months) we have all day together as well, and sometimes when the kids are at school and kinder we go hiking in the countryside or for a bike ride. We never would have dreamed of doing this 5 or 10 years ago!

If it’s a challenge for you to find the time to spend with your partner, then perhaps a good start is to set aside some time each day. It could be 30 minutes at the end of your day, or even a commitment to sit together and eat dinner. Set aside a “date night” either once a week or once a month when you commit to doing something together, even if it’s waiting until the kids are in bed and enjoying a quiet meal and a movie at home.

Do you celebrate an anniversary or relationship milestone? How do you celebrate? Do you find it a challenge to make the time to spend with your loved one?

Linking up with:


I Must Confess


Living In Smaller Spaces

Recently, I shocked my 11 year old daughter when I told her that as a kid, I shared a bed with my  younger sister and we ended up sharing a bedroom until I started high school. Having always had her own bedroom, my daughter couldn’t imagine sharing anything with her younger sisters. She has never experienced living in smaller spaces.

We live in a fairly large home- we have four bedrooms and three living areas. The kids each have their own bedrooms and we have an average sized yard for them to run around in. We also have an outdoor entertaining area (that we hardly use).

We have been happily living here for the past 9 years, but it’s only now that I have focused on living an unbusy life, that I must confess that our home is probably a little too big for us.

Is Your Home Too Big For You?

This is a strange thing to confess- many people in our local community are building new homes for their ever-growing families as their current home is deemed too small. By our local community’s standards, our house is of “average” size, in fact some may think our family will outgrow our house once our kids hit their teens.

We recently spent some time holidaying in Europe where I quickly learnt that people can happily live in smaller spaces! My kids were shocked to see how tiny some of the apartments we stayed in were, and that it was perfectly normal for siblings to share a bedroom. It was normal to see a washing machine in the kitchen. Our house in the Netherlands was very compact but had three floors. Our London apartment had a sofa lounge in the living room.


living in smaller spaces


Benefits Of Living In Smaller Spaces

Believe it or not, there are many benefits to living in smaller spaces even if you do have a family! Some of these benefits come from our recent travel experiences, while others come from the experience of owning a larger home.

I’d like to share these benefits with you:

1. Less stuff: Living in smaller spaces means that you have less room to store your stuff. This provides a great opportunity to learn to live with less stuff (rather than rent storage space) and to make a conscious effort when deciding on what things you need to live with. To read about why I decided to live with less stuff, READ THIS.

2. Strengthened relationships: Going back to my childhood, my sister and I shared a bedroom for many years. Sometimes we craved our own space, but there were so many great benefits that my own children miss out on having their own rooms. Sharing a room meant learning to negotiate space, learning to be more considerate of the needs of others and learning to be more accepting of others. It’s great preparation for when your child moves out of home and into a shared apartment or dorm room at college!

3. Smaller running costs: The cost to run a home is much smaller when you are living in smaller spaces. Living in a large home that has an open-plan design like ours means that gas and electricity bills can be quite high.

4.  More time: Living in smaller spaces with less stuff means spending less time cleaning and stressing about stuff. When you live in a larger home with a larger mortgage and higher running costs, it means having to earn enough income to sustain such a lifestyle. For some people, this may mean working longer hours or in a stressful job. For others it may mean having to work a second or third job. Would you be willing to downsize your lifestyle to create more time for yourself to focus on living a more meaningful, less busy life- maybe spending more time with loved ones? For more inspiration on valuable time you can spend with your loved ones, READ THIS.

5. Valuable lessons: We are our children’s greatest teachers- are you teaching them the best lessons? Living in smaller spaces teaches your children the importance of being able to adapt to one’s environment. When I was growing up, we lived in a really small home but as a kid this never bothered me. We learnt to make do with what we had.  I never once thought “gee this house is way to small for me to play in”. When we say that our kids need more space- do they really need more space or is this something we think they need?


Having a large home makes us feel that we need to fill it up with things- bookshelves filled with books (that we may never read), shelves filled with dust-collecting ornaments, living spaces filled with furniture that isn’t really necessary. Stuff, stuff and more stuff!

Not to mention the mortgage that comes with owning such a large house, and the cost of gas, electricity and taxes!

We live in interesting times here in Australia- our population is growing a lot more quickly than we can keep up with. It is becoming more common to see high rise buildings, and if you are wanting to purchase a vacant block of land, the size of vacant land is much smaller than it was 10 years ago.  Growing up in Australia, nearly everyone had a yard large enough to play backyard cricket in!

Although I don’t regret building the house that we did, and at this point in time I don’t want to sell our home and downsize, I do have some advice for people looking to buy their first home (or those thinking of upsizing).

Ask yourself, what is most important to you? Do you wish to chain yourself to an extremely high mortgage that you will work so hard to (hopefully) pay off and in the meantime sacrifice time and money you could have spent enjoying life with your loved ones? Do you really need all that space? Picture yourself living in a smaller space- could you make it work? Are you buying a large house because that is what is expected of you?

Do you live in a home that you think is too big for your family? Do you happily live in a small space with your kids? Did you grow up sharing a bed or bedroom with a sibling? Let me know below!

If you would like more inspiration to live a less busy, more meaningful life, then subscribe HERE to get my posts and occasional newsletter emailed to you.

Linking with:

I Must Confess


7 Mistakes People Make When Decluttering


So you’ve made the decision to declutter your living space- that’s fantastic! Finding the motivation is the hardest step, but there are still mistakes many people make when decluttering.

I’ve created a list of 7 mistakes people make when decluttering- these are mistakes that I made in the past, and ones that I hope you won’t make.


  1. Decluttering when the kids are home

Decluttering when the kids are home is counterproductive- not only will they constantly distract you from your task, but if they see you trying to discard their items, they may try to stop you.  Do not declutter while the kids are home. Wait until they are at school, or send them to a friend’s house for a few hours.


  1. Holding onto something that should be decluttered

You need to be completely honest with yourself while decluttering. People often make the mistake of holding onto something that they think they need, when in fact they don’t. As a general rule, if it’s something that can easily be replaced should you end up needing it (it won’t cost you too much and is easy to find), then discard it.


  1. Trying to declutter too much at once

Start off small- don’t try to declutter the entire home in one day. Focus on one area or space at a time. Decluttering your home could take several weeks or months, and that’s ok. If you try to do too much in one day, you will tire yourself out and give up completely.


  1. Buying and acquiring more things after decluttering

The process of decluttering also involves changing your mindset. There is no point in decluttering your things if you are going to replace those discarded things with new things. It’s so common for people to want to fill up the empty spaces in their homes with new things. And so the vicious cycle of owning stuff continues…



Image via Flickr


  1. Finding storage solutions is not the same as decluttering

There are so many handy and attractive storage solutions out there- it’s easy to get caught up in buying these storage items, thinking that this will solve the problem of too much stuff in your home. Storage neatly hides everything. The underlying problem is still there- you own too much stuff!


  1. Spending too long trying to sell items

Some items are worth trying to sell, but you must set a time limit for yourself. It’s easy to hold onto something, try to sell it and end up keeping the item. Give yourself a week or two depending on what it is you are trying to sell, then either donate or discard it.



Image: Laia Ros via Flickr


  1. Focusing on physical clutter only

These days, clutter isn’t just the physical items that you have in your home. Clutter is also the emails and text messages that you receive on a daily basis on your laptop or phone. Set aside some time to go through your email inbox and delete emails that you don’t need, and unsubscribe from anything that no longer serves you.


I congratulate you on deciding to declutter- it is worth the time and effort. Focus not only on the clutter that you see, but also the clutter that you don’t see, and try not to revert back to your old habits of buying stuff that you don’t really need.

Are there any mistakes you’ve made while decluttering? Are there any other tips you would add to my list? I’d love to hear from you!

This post is linking up with:


With Some Grace


How To Keep Your Kids Rooms Clean

Keep your kids rooms clean

“How do you keep your kids rooms clean?”

This is a question I often hear parents asking, and it’s one of the biggest causes of arguments in my household.

My kids hate cleaning their rooms. Not that this is anything shocking or new, because I haven’t met a kid who enjoys doing so.

Miss 5 has the messiest bedroom in the house, without fail.

There are clothes all over the floor- she loves to take out at least 3 or 4 items before finally deciding which outfit she will wear. She will also pull out all the summer clothing in the middle of winter to try on for fun.

There are also the dreaded “bits and pieces” scattered on the floor- an Uno card, a Domino piece, one Barbie shoe, one Barbie broken arm, a pen lid, an odd sock, a chocolate wrapper (!). “Bits and pieces” make me cringe- they are a minimalists worst nightmare.

But one of the best ways to introduce minimalism and the concept of living with less is by encouraging your kids to keep their rooms clean. Here I share with you 5 tips to help keep your kids rooms clean, and your lives less busy.


5 Tips To Keep Your Kids Rooms Clean:

  1. Keep your own room clean: Actions speak louder than words. If you are constantly nagging your kids to clean their rooms but your own bedroom looks like a dump, guess what’s going to happen? They aren’t going to clean their rooms! Lead by example, and you will more likely see results.


  1. Teach your kids that things don’t hold value: This one is helpful for kids who like to hold onto everything. Remember that to live an unbusy life, we must learn to place less value on our material possessions, otherwise these possessions take hold of us. If we start teaching our kids the same principle from an early age, they will learn that it’s ok to get rid of stuff and not to hold onto everything. This will make it easier for your child to clean his/her room and keep it clean.


  1. Don’t bring it home: If you can stop items being brought into the home in the first place, there is less chance it will end up on your child’s bedroom floor. When your child comes home from school, have him/her empty his/her school bag straight away- lunch boxes to be put in the kitchen, dirty clothes in the laundry and collect any school notices. Read through the notices straight away and either file for later or place in the recycling bin.


  1. No food: We have a blanket rule of no food or drink in bedrooms (except for a glass of water on the bedside table at night). I was brought up this way, and now that I am a parent I see why it is an excellent rule. It reduces mess on the floors, prevents mice from visiting and allows the family to eat together (or at least in the same room!).


  1. Look for hiding spots: I’m not talking about finding a hiding spot for yourself once things get too tough- I’m referring to hiding spots that kids find to dump their clothes and toys. Miss 10 loves to stuff her clothes down the side of the bed, against the wall. She sometimes shoves all her clothes into the one drawer rather than putting them in the correct drawers or hanging them in the wardrobe. The sooner you discover the hiding spots, the sooner you can get your child out of this habit!


Yes there will probably always be arguments about cleaning rooms, but the more we put the above lessons into practice, the more likely there will be a change in attitude.

We don’t expect our kids to clean the entire house and perform all the chores (as much as it would be wonderful) but we have set an expectation that they must help pull their weight. They must at least keep their own spaces and things tidy, and put away the things that they have used. This is a common sense approach and should be non-negotiable.

Do you have trouble getting your kids to keep their rooms clean? What are some approaches you have taken that have worked? Would you add any tips to my list above?

A Child’s Life Teacher

Walk with child


Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it can also be like a chain connecting us to feelings of guilt.

Oh, if I only knew about minimalism five years ago!

What do you wish you could go back and change?

I hope nothing. Every experience in our lives contains a lesson to be learnt, and sometimes these lessons repeat themselves until we finally “get it”.

Recently, I had a conversation with Miss 10 about some issues at school, namely friendships. She has had a bit of a rough time with friends at school, and hasn’t found that one true friend. She is usually the third wheel in a group of girls who have already built a solid friendship, so she tends to feel a little left out.

We spoke for a long time, and it was during this conversation that I was able to see another side to her situation. My heart ached for her, and I really felt sorry for what she was experiencing. I was also angry with some of the other kids at school and the way they had been behaving towards her.

I wished I could take back all her pain and the crap she had experienced over the past few years.

But then I had a light bulb moment.

Whenever I am experiencing something difficult in my life, I try to remind myself that there is a lesson to be learnt in this experience. Rather than feeling sorry for my daughter, and wishing I could protect her from these friendship problems, I decided to view her situation through different glasses.

I realised that these experiences were her “lessons to be learnt” and maybe they were repeating themselves because she had not yet learnt the lesson.

When I brought this up with her, it helped her make sense of what she had been going through. We even agreed that in a way, it was good that she was experiencing these issues now while still young, so that she could get a good understanding of what a true friend really is, and what behaviour is unacceptable. She could learn these lessons in a supportive environment, having her parents and her teacher to lean on. Then once she begins high school, she will have the opportunity to make new friends and will be a better judge of character.

But in this experience of listening to Miss 10, I also realised that a lesson had been presenting itself to me for a very long time but I was not “getting it”: I don’t think I was truly listening to the issues my daughter was coming to me with.

Each day she would come home and tell me about some of the arguments she was having with other girls, or incidents that I simply dismissed as petty arguments. You know how it is, one day girls argue then the next day they are best of friends.

But there was more to the story, and there was a lesson for me to learn: not to take my children’s issues lightly. Now, we cannot be problem solvers for every single thing that happens to our children, and we have to teach our children to be resilient, but I believe we also have to accept our children for who they are. Some are more sensitive than others, and that’s wonderful, because this world needs more sensitive people.

And what I may think is only petty or minor, could mean the world to my child. I can sit and listen to my child’s retelling of her day, or I could really listen to what she is saying and try to help her uncover what lesson she could learn.

I feel for those children who do not have the opportunity to spend quality time with their parents, or do not have anyone who can guide them through life’s tough moments, and help them uncover what lesson life is trying to teach them.

As parents, we can be our children’s “life teachers”, we can guide them on their journeys and help them uncover the lessons hiding behind every experience, no matter how small or insignificant we think an experience is.
And that’s where it helps to live a less busy life. We need to create more time for ourselves to spend with our children, to listen to their concerns and really be there for them. It’s not enough to listen with our ears, but keep our hearts and minds closed (or thinking about other things, such as what to cook for dinner or an upcoming client meeting).

Living an unbusy life also helps us to see things more clearly in our own lives- it helps us notice the things that we might normally think are small and trivial, when in fact they could be life changers in disguise!

7 Habits For Living A More Simplified Life

Living a more simplified life


One of the beautiful aspects of living a more simplified life, is that you get to define and create your own version of an unbusy lifestyle.

My own definition of an unbusy life is constantly being tweaked and refined, as I learn more about myself and what makes me and my family happy.

What I consider to be living a more simplified life would be different to what, for example, my sister or my mother would consider. And I’m sure my version of unbusy is slightly different to your version of unbusy.

I have a friend who loves fashion and shopping for clothes, but does so with intention and purpose, rather than going on a random crazy shopping spree. She has culled her wardrobe and adopted a more minimalist approach to what she wears.  This has resulted in spending less money and reducing her credit card debt. She now feels more freedom from not owning so many clothes and from not having as much debt. This is her version of a simplified life.

But whether we own 375 items or only 55, or we spend our spare time reading or hiking, there are certain similarities we all share when we live a less busy and more meaningful life.


7 Habits of People Living A More Simplified Life

The following is a list of 7 habits of people living a more simplified, and less busy life. These habits form the foundation of a minimalist lifestyle, regardless of what you build upon this foundation. I have gleaned these habits from spending time with friends who have embraced minimalism, as well as bloggers I follow and look to for inspiration, and what I have found out while on my own journey.

1. Letting go of perfectionism

Embracing a less-than-perfect life is a great way to slow down the pace a little. Imagine how different your life could be if you stopped trying to make everything perfect. This can be difficult at first, but it doesn’t have to involve dramatic changes overnight. It could be as simple as accepting the less-than-perfect moments- a pile of dishes or washing not yet completed, or not being as organised as you previously would be. Letting go of perfectionism creates a less busy life- it frees up time and money and reduces stress. We are already perfect in our own way, the good bits and the not-so-good bits!

2. Accepting the things we cannot control

I have to admit that this was one area of my life that completely changed once I started living a more simplfied life. Previously, there was so much in my life that I wanted to control: the way my children behaved, my employment situation, the direction of my life. While it is true that we can steer our lives to a certain extent, there is still a lot that is determined by what is going on around us. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! By letting go of control, we are not allowing our lives to spiral out of control. Rather, we are not fighting what is a natural occurrence! If we let life just “be”, and let the universe work its magic, life becomes quite amazing.

3. Quality over quantity

Contrary to popular belief, living a minimalistic lifestyle does not involve sticking to a certain number of items. Or even counting items, for that matter! It doesn’t matter if you own 50 things or 500 things, what matters is your connection to the things you own. It is true that the fewer things you own, the less stress and busyness creeps into your life. However, we are all at different stages of our simplistic lifestyle, and we all let go of “stuff” when the time is right- when we are ready to learn a new lesson.

4. Practice, don’t preach

I learnt this lesson the hard way, but can you really blame someone for wanting to share something exciting with as many people as possible? But sometimes being the sharing and caring type can really put other people off. The best way to get your message about minimalism across to the people you care most about, is to live an unbusy and simplified life. The benefits will be obvious to everyone around you, and will speak more loudly than words ever could. My husband still doesn’t really “get” what minimalism is all about, but he sees the change in me and the change in our family.

5. Swimming the other way

As you begin to change your way of living and adopt a more simplified lifestyle, you will notice that some of your choices and decisions will not be considered “the norm”. In fact, you might find that you start swimming away from the rest of the crowd.

As Maya Angelou once said, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Consider your new direction to a less busy life as the beginning of something amazing. Ignore any negative comments from others, and stay strong and true to your word. I promise you, that by living a less busy life, your perception of the world will change. Your perception of your own life will change. This can open up some amazing opportunities for you.

6. Starting on the right foot

Do you feel stressed and in a rush as soon as you get out of bed each morning? I remember waking up and the first thing I would do is run a list in my head of all the things I thought I had to achieve and complete that very day. This was before I had even had a chance to wish my family good morning, or even have a cup of coffee. People who live a less busy and minimalist lifestyle value morning time. Making the time to eat a nutritious breakfast. Making the time to perhaps meditate, or do some yoga. Making the time to wish the family a good morning, and to ask how they slept the night before. I now make sure I wake up an hour earlier than I used to, before the kids wake up. I spend about an hour in my lounge room drinking a cup of coffee or peppermint tea, and eating breakfast. If I still have time, I might read for about 10 minutes. Spending this time on myself means I don’t feel so stressed for the rest of the day, and I feel that I have honoured the importance of looking after myself. Which leads to the final habit…

7. Honouring yourself

One of the biggest flaws in our society is believing that thinking about ourselves, or doing things for ourselves is selfish. This is not to say that we abandon our responsibilities and run away with the circus. But rather, doing small things on a regular basis that makes us feel happy and healthy is vital. We need to put more value and emphasis on the “small things”, and realise that they are actually “big things”. A couple of examples that spring to mind is spending the time enjoying our meal rather than scoffing down a quick lunch because we are too busy (and possibly ending up with indigestion!). Or taking a longer bath or shower because the warmth of the water feels so relaxing and soothing after a hectic day. For me, I love sitting down with a good book and reading, uninterrupted, for about half an hour. We need to learn not to feel guilty for enjoying these simple pleasures. We deserve to be looked after. We deserve to be happy and healthy.

I hope that this list of habits helps you live a more simplified life.  It might take some of the confusion or guilt out of changing your lifestyle, or it might make you feel that you belong to a community of other like-minded people. Because there are many of us out there- more people are opting for a simplified lifestyle. We may have lives that appear very different from the outside, but beneath all that, we are minimalists at heart.

I would love to hear whether you have adopted some of the above habits, or whether there are other habits that you have adopted since living an unbusy life.

9 Signs You’re Doing Ok! (Even If You Feel Like You’re Not)


Today, I almost decided to stop writing Unbusy Me.

While I was flipping pancakes for my kids at breakfast time, I made a decision that it was time to move on from writing and sharing stories about living a less busy life. It was time to find something else to write about and share.

These feelings stemmed from the writer’s block that I have been experiencing since before Christmas. In fact, I could probably call it “life block”- feeling unsure of what to do next in my life, while watching everyone else create wonderful businesses and achieve their dreams and goals.

But then I received an email from a friend and follower of Unbusy Me, an email relating to what I write about which got me all excited and inspired.

And I listened to a talk by best-selling author and cancer survivor Kris Carr, who talked about embracing the different seasons of one’s life. My life is currently in a “winter” phase, however there are a few blossoms starting to show up. Not much is going on at the moment, and it’s not a time for me to jump into a new job or career. However, I am planting a few seeds which will hopefully grow in the coming months.

I always tell my kids not to give up when things get a little tough. Just last week, my 10 year old daughter was complaining that she hates her ballet class this year, because the steps are getting more difficult. Then I reminded her that she says this at the start of every year, and to persevere because by the end of the year when she dances in her concert, she is so happy and loves what she is doing.

So I have decided to take my own advice!

I have reversed my decision to stop Unbusy Me. I’m not going anywhere just yet!
It’s okay if you ever feel tempted to return to the life you used to live. If you feel tempted to join your friends on a spur of the moment shopping trip. If you find yourself starting to fill up your calendar or forget to say no when someone asks you to do something for them. If your kids start complaining that you aren’t spending enough time with them.

If you decide to quit your business, or stop writing your blog.

When we feel tempted to leave our unbusy journey and return to the lives we once led, let’s embrace these feelings of temptation and uncomfortable confusion. Let’s try to find the lesson in such thoughts and emotions rather than just walk away.

To help you through these “winter” moments of your life, when things aren’t really moving and you just feel like hibernating or chilling out, I have created a list of signs that tell you that you’re doing okay (even when you feel like you’re not!).

Print the list up and stick it on your fridge and read through it whenever you feel lost or confused about the changes you are making to your life.

1. You know who you can count on during tough times.
You choose to spend your time with those you love and you have built solid friendships with those who will celebrate the good times but also help you get through the bad times.

2. You know when your body is tired.
You listen to your body when it’s telling you that you need to rest and are maybe taking on too much. You don’t feel guilty for choosing to rest- maybe not taking your work home with you, or deciding to go to bed an hour earlier than usual. And you’re ok with it!

3. You appreciate material possessions but don’t feel the need to own them.
You browse and admire things when you are out shopping, but you don’t feel the pull of having to own the item. You are happy to borrow a book from the library rather than buy it, and you admire a gorgeous dress but realise that you don’t really need it.

4. Your definition of success does not include the words “power” or “money”.
Your definition includes words such as balanced, fulfilment, happiness and giving.

5. You embrace the negatives as well as the positives.
Rather than viewing yourself as a failure, you embrace the not-so-good experiences and view them as lessons. You appreciate such experiences and know that they are stepping stones to your growth and enlightenment.

6. You make the time to look after yourself.
You no longer feel guilty about deciding to sit in a relaxing bath once a week, or finding the time to moisturise your feet, or reading that book you’ve been meaning to read.

7. You find joy and fulfilment in helping others.
You realise that one of the quickest ways to experience happiness is to help someone in need.

8. You own less stuff than you did when you began your journey.
You have been decluttering your home and getting rid of stuff that is cramping your life. You might have more you want to get rid of, but you have come a long way since you began.

9. Your calendar has more free days than previously.
You don’t feel the need to cram your calendar full of events. You no longer mind having a weekend with nothing on, or an afternoon without any plans. In fact, you look forward to having a lull in your week or month.

Is there anything you would add to this list that helps you realise you are doing ok? Or are you embracing a season- maybe it’s the summertime of your life and you are out there creating a wonderful life and living big, or maybe life’s a bit more chilled out like wintertime? I’d love to hear from you- please leave a comment!