Reader Questions

One In, One Out vs. Purging for a Reason

Reader question… “A friend told me that I should always purge an item if I buy something similar, even if the item to be purged is still in good condition or if I am still using or wearing it. The example she gave was that if I buy a new shirt I need to get rid of a shirt I am currently wearing. She also said I should start purging one item every single day. I’ve done some searches and I see that this is common advice but the concept seems wasteful to me. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your take on this ‘one in / one out’ idea? Do you personally purge something if you buy something new, and do you personally purge one item every day?”

What Do Hostas Look Like When They First Come Up in the Spring?

Reader question… “Last year was the first time I have ever grown hostas and I’m afraid they might have died over the winter. I haven’t been able to find any of the three plants I had. My question — what should I be looking for? What do hostas look like when they first start to grow the second year?” –Karlie

What Do Hosta Flowers Look Like?

Reader question… “I am very interested in growing hostas from seeds and I found your posts about this very interesting. I see from your photos what the seed pods look like but where on the hosta are the seed pods located? Also do you have a photo of a hosta flower? Are the flowers or seed pods so small I might miss them? I have three hostas but I have never seen flowers or seed pods on any of them.”

Overcoming the Paralysis of Too Much Analysis

When you are faced with an important decision, it’s always a good idea to gather information about the possible options and to use that information to evaluate the possible consequences. Analysis paralysis happens when you spend too much time analyzing that information and second-guessing all those possibilities… when you literally can’t make a decision because that excess of information actually prevents you from moving forward.

Why Would Anyone Deliberately Choose a Simple Life?

First let me say that I agree… I wouldn’t be happy living a life of purging, scrimping, and deprivation either… but that’s purging, scrimping, and deprivation, NOT simple living. Done right, simple living should be a positive experience, not a negative one… with the emphasis on adding to your life, not taking away from it.

A Trip Around the World Quilt… x 2

Reader question… “I’ve been admiring your lovely afghans, cross-stitching and baskets. You mentioned sewing in your About This Blog and About Me page and I wondered if you also make quilts. I sew but have never done any quilting and I have become almost obsessed with the idea of making a quilt. I’m looking for an easy beginner’s quilt pattern. Any recommendation?”

Discovering Your “Enough”

There are indeed many good reasons to purge. It makes sense to purge when an item breaks and repairing it isn’t possible or feasible. It makes sense to purge when clothing becomes too worn or faded or no longer fits. It makes sense to purge as tastes and circumstances change. This “purging for a reason” involves only one… or a few… items at a time and is a gradual, almost automatic purge that happens naturally as your needs change or an item no longer fits your lifestyle.

The Biggest Obstacle to a Simpler, Truly Fulfilling Life

“From your experience, what would you say is the biggest obstacle that people have to living a simpler, truly fulfilling life?”

A reader asked me this question a few days ago, and I think my answer would have to be one word… “inertia.” The prospect of a lifestyle change is so overwhelming for most people, they are understandably afraid to take that first step. I hear from so many people who really want to live more simply, BUT… and I mean this seriously… they’re making “simple living” too complicated.

Keeping a Photograph… Purging the Item

Reader question… “I read in a book about decluttering and purging that a photograph of an item is a good substitute for actually having the item in your possession. Would you share your thoughts about purging sentimental items and and what you think about the idea of keeping only the photograph and not the item.” –Susannah H.

Is It Possible To Have a Soy-Free Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner?

Yes, it is possible to have most (if not all) of the typical Thanksgiving foods… and to have them be completely soy-free. The downside is that without access to the holiday sales and prepared items, your Thanksgiving meal is going to cost more money and take more time and work to get on the table. However, as long as you are willing to do mostly from-scratch preparation and a lot of conscientious label reading, you CAN come up with soy-free Thanksgiving alternatives. I do this every year for Thanksgiving and for any other special event. I wish I could tell you that after a while it gets easier, but they keep putting soy in more and more foods, so there is always something new to avoid.