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You can do hard things | Inspiration to try something new, start small, and make major life progress, one small act at a time | How I Sustain Blog

Do something small every day

My husband (Chris) and I have been renovating our 110-year old house since we first bought it almost two years ago. Slowly and steadily we are literally spending dozens of hours in every room, every section, of our large, historic home and income property. It’s a labor of love (most of the time). At any given time I could list off the half-dozen projects Chris is working on at once. Right now, that includes repainting the exterior of the house, yard and tree work, putting up (and taking down) a fence, installing our front door, installing interior trim in our dining room, and – oh – raising a beam in our basement. When I list off all of those projects, it can seem hopelessly overwhelming. And, truly, it is A LOT of work. But Chris doesn’t see it that way. You see, Chris has this amazing ability to look at a bunch of “things that need to get done”, prioritize which one needs his attention the most, and spends an hour or two each day …

The one thing you need to know before repainting your old house

Around Here | Repainting our Old House

Friends, owning a 110-year old house is not always as glamorous as it seems. I know, I know. It’s awesome to own a home and to have the chance to make design decisions and create your best space, blah, blah. But if you’ve ever been to my old house, “glamor” is probably not the first word you think of. Sure, there are awesome corners and nooks that look fantastic. And, yes, the pictures are accurate: we have done some pretty spectacular transformations in this space. But there is still a lot to do. And today, I thought I would share one of our current projects. We’re repainting our house. The outside part. Last year, Chris took on this MAJOR project to scrape, sand, prime, and paint the exterior of our house. He started in the spring, worked like crazy all summer, and managed to get half of it done before frost hit last fall and it became too cold to continue. It was a major project. Almost every day – for MONTHS – he worked …

Cold Weather Winter Capsule Wardobe

My Winter Capsule Wardrobe

This post miniseries on Cleaning out your Closet is part of my project #minimize: the the project where I get rid of all the things. It’s an awesome project. And it comes from a deep-rooted place in my soul – which is why you should check back on Thursdays to see all of the small yet awesome ways you can downsize clutter and live like a minimalist. If you want to know more about why I’m doing this project, read the first post. — In my last #minimize post I rounded out my Closet Clean Out miniseries with some discussion on my approach to managing my seasonal capsule wardrobes. This week I wanted to share my full round-up on the winter capsule wardrobe. First, let me share two points that will help to clarify this project and why this post is coming out in mid-April. One. I didn’t set out to develop a “capsule” wardrobe this winter. Changing my wardrobe over with the seasons is something I do quarterly, as the weather dictates. Now that …

Minimize Closet Clean Out_Final Results

Minimize Your Wardrobe – Tour My Minimized Closet

This post miniseries on Cleaning out your Closet is part of my project #minimize: the the project where I get rid of all the things. It’s an awesome project. And it comes from a deep-rooted place in my soul – which is why you should check back on Thursdays to see all of the small yet awesome ways you can downsize clutter and live like a minimalist. If you want to know more about why I’m doing this project, read the first post. — In my last #minimize wardrobe post I rounded out the Closet Clean Out challenge with some discussion on my approach to managing my seasonal capsule wardrobes. This week I was inspired – yet again – to switch up the originally scheduled post because I want to have a little more fun with the capsule concept and incorporate it with the self-portrait challenge #myselfiescrapbook. That means ONE final week of the wardrobe challenge before we move on. I’ve been wanting an excuse to spruce up my closet a bit, so when the …

the mind can be just as cluttered as the home 2

Clutter Comes in All Forms: Sifting through Mental Clutter

I embarked on the #minimize challenge earlier this year with a distinct purpose: to minimize the extra “stuff” in my life, and to allow room for us to grow into and with our new space. And, as you can see from the closet clean out challenges and the previous #minimize projects, I’ve done a lot of work to slowly but surely increase efficiency and decrease all of the “extra” in our home. But as I worked to finalize the last “minimize your wardrobe” post (which will release next week instead), I found myself totally paralyzed and unable to finish it. And after some reflection, I had a mini-epiphany about clutter and decided to write this post instead. Clutter comes in all forms. It’s not just in our closets, or in the corners of our homes. And it’s not just that one table that never seems to be clean. And it’s not just the never-ending laundry pile. And it’s not that bag of baby clothes you need to sort and store. There are two other forms …

If You Want to Build a Business, Get to Know Who You Are

This title sincerely sums up the last few months of my life. I’ve been asking the same questions over and over and over again: Who am I? What do I want to do with my career? Who do I want to work with? And how do I make that happen? Every time I think I get close to an answer, I head down the decision tree. Let me give you an example: I am someone who is passionate about crafting and teaching others how to craft. Therefore, I want to build a business around handmade things. I would start with DIY tutorials, crochet patterns, and sewing projects on small handmade items that have purpose and meaning, that are simple but beautiful. That would eventually build into a monthly kit subscription which would teach people who don’t craft how to make beautiful handmade things. I would almost love that. But I know it wouldn’t be fulfilling enough. So I moved towards this: I am someone who is passionate about memory keeping. Therefore, I want to build …

Friday Photo & Words: On Seeking my Through Line and Learning to Pivot

Every Friday I share a photo and a story. A lighter touch. An easier read for the end of the week. Friday Photo + Words is my best way to end the work week. — Last week I had the privilege of coaching a friend who is in the process of developing a blog to expand her existing business. It was one of those conversations where we both had lots of “ah-ha!” moments and it was exactly what I needed to start the next stage of this career that I’m slowly building for myself. You see, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. To be honest, it feels like I’ve been in this “what do I want to be when I grow up?” line of thinking for just about ever. And with each opportunity and project that I take on, I feel like I get closer to it – but never quite there. For a long time I was limited by financial obligations. I financed my own undergraduate education and, even with grants, …

Minimize | A Project focused on cleaning out every corner where we collect clutter. For more on this series visit How I Sustain Blog (howisustain.com)

Minimize Your Wardrobe – Challenge #5: Clean out the Corners

This post miniseries on Cleaning out your Closet is part of my project #minimize: the the project where I get rid of all the things. It’s an awesome project. And it comes from a deep-rooted place in my soul – which is why you should check back on Thursdays to see all of the small yet awesome ways you can downsize clutter and live like a minimalist. If you want to know more about why I’m doing this project, read the first post. — I know, you’re wondering how I jumped from Challenge #3 last week to Challenge #5 this week?! Well, that’s the beauty of blogging – it reflects life. And sometimes life inspires you to clean out ALL OF THE CLUTTER to avoid a meltdown about all of the stuff that your husband doesn’t (have time to) take care of himself. It’s okay. He does SO many other wonderful things around our house and for my family, that I suppose it’s only fair that I do this “for him” (ok, fine, it’s 80% …

Minimize | A Project focused on cleaning out every corner where we collect clutter. For more on this series visit How I Sustain Blog (howisustain.com)

Minimize Your Wardrobe – Challenge #3: If it you don’t wear it, don’t spare it

This post miniseries on Cleaning out your Closet is part of my project #minimize: the the project where I get rid of all the things. It’s an awesome project. And it comes from a deep-rooted place in my soul – which is why you should check back on Thursdays to see all of the small yet awesome ways you can downsize clutter and live like a minimalist. If you want to know more about why I’m doing this project, read the first post. — Last week I continued Closet Clean Out/ Minimize miniseries with a simple, but challenging message: don’t keep what you don’t like. Today is the third part of that miniseries. After you get rid of the clothes that don’t fit, and the things you wear but don’t like, it’s easier to spot another set of things you don’t need: the clothes you never wear. I know exactly what this set of clothes is for me: things I’ve been given, things I bought more for the deal than the function, things that don’t …

Friday Photo & Words | I melted a ton of snow in one afternoon (literally 2,000 punds)

Friday Photo & Words: I melted a TON of ice today (literally, 2,000 lbs)

Every Friday I share a photo and a story. A lighter touch. An easier read for the end of the week. Friday Photo + Words is my best way to end the work week. — This week’s Friday Photo & Words is coming to you on a Saturday. It’s partially a test on optimizing blog traffic and partially because my wrists were sore from all of the work that went into the production of this story. Snow. It’s beautiful. It’s sparkly. It makes a beautiful backdrop for photography. It’s a natural part of life in New England. And, after it falls, we shovel it and snowblow it and move it out of our driveways, roadways, and sidewalks as best we can. And, where we live, it’s usually a manageable task to keep our driveways clear of ice and snow – even in the heart of winter. Just not this year. So when the sun gets stronger, and the ice and snow soften, we have an opportunity to clear it out. Now I would never describe …