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Living Simple, Free & Happy : How to Simplify, Declutter Your Home, Reduce Stress, Debt & Waste
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Actions Shares. Next, I reused a fitted sheet to make the laundry bags. This worked out great because I reused the fabric and elastic, plus the casing for the elastic was already sewn. Click here to get the sewing pattern for the laundry bags. The last detail was adding a bottom onto the sorters. I fully intended to cut up the original particle board bottom that came with the playpen, but the sorters left a very tiny ledge for them to rest on the inside and from underneath, I'd have to cut around the added front legs. I decided it would be easiest to simply use the remnants of the fitted bed sheet to tack down a fabric bottom.
The fabric was really easy to work with. If you like DIY projects that are easy, inexpensive, reduce waste and add beauty and function to your home, please check out Living Simple, Free and Happy on Amazon. It is also available at bookstores, home improvement stores and craft stores nation-wide. This book takes on decluttering and reduction of debt and waste.
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There are personal stories, exercises, as well as lots and lots of ideas on how to use what you have and upcycle discarded items. Admittedly, this was not the book that I need in my simplifying and minimizing journey but I would suggest it to someone getting their own place for the first time, maybe someone starting out and in need of a general guidebook. Today, however, is not that day. While the idea is nice, some of the author's suggestions are a little alarming.
She maintains that because she's a stay-at-home mom and they have a landline, and her husband is either at work or at home, they didn't really need a cell phone. They can just borrow someone else's phone if they really need help! It's similar to the assumption that everyone lives within bicycling distance of work or can take the bus, which as a native Houstonian, I can tell you is simply not true. In some cities, sure, but not here.
Additionally, she has an entire chapter on upcycling, which is a neat idea that has shot itself in the foot so many times by now that it seems to be limping along feebly. The definition of upcycling is taking old things and making them "new again" or better by decorating, reusing, repurposing, etc.
The reality is taking old things and making them uglier or cheap-looking. Half of the things she had were even more hideous than when they began or plain odd, like the coffee table door I will note, however, that some did look quite nice, such as the changing-table-turned-wine-caddy; one wonders why they didn't use only those pictures.
On a related note, the photos themselves are unattractive. I would have chalked it up to cheap publishing except she had an entire section on how she bought a camera and included tips on photography.
Then why am I giving this three stars instead of two? Because the ideas are sound. The concepts are sound. Why are we throwing up our hands and resigning ourselves to paying our student loans into our thirties or forties? Why are we okay with shoving our garages or closets full of junk and then going out and buying more?
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What I love about this book is that she focuses on the spiritual element as well as the physical, and I'm not talking about, "God is in the simple life! Instead, she urges people to find their passion and pursue it and to revel in the feeling of self-reliance and accomplishment.
Those are great messages that I will always support. There's also the fact that she uses this to create a holistic book that identifies the why's rather than the how's. So many of these books focus solely on decluttering and organizing, then give a chapter or two on maintenance. If I know human nature - mostly based on a close childhood study of my mother, who routinely did this - most people get fed up with their clutter, devote a weekend to clearing it out, then a week later slowly let it go until next year, when they get fed up again.