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Laundry: #mintip Photo Example

Laundry #mintip Photo

Laundry: #mintip Photo Example

I’ve written a number of times already about how to simplify your laundry process. This is a topic on which I still get questions about, so today I’m sharing a photo of how I tackled this chore this week. Sometimes a picture is truly worth many words!

Chris and I had one load of clothing laundry this week, and I hung most of our shirts to dry. The pajamas, underclothes, and pants all went into the dryer. When I close the utility room door while the dryer’s running, the hanging clothes usually dry quickly due to the warmth. (Note: We’ll have an additional load of laundry for towels and bed sheets, and our kids run their clothing separately. That’s an average of 3-4 loads a week.)

The most important part? Folding and putting the clothes away ASAP.

There’s a more detailed visual of how I keep it simple, friends. :)

If you’re looking for more suggestions on this topic, check out these posts:

Minimalist Kids: Clothes & Laundry

Green Tips for the Minimalist Home

Laundry, Sorted

Low-Stress Travel

The Minimalist Closet

ABOUT: Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold nearly all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally. She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and lives in Oklahoma as the Community Pastor for Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

I Have More Than Enough _____________ !

Jeff Shinabarger author of "More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity"

Jeff Shinabarger author of “More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity”. Do you have more than enough?

Jeff Shinabarger just released a fantastic book called “More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity”. I liked reading this book because it made me think. I had to put it down and process Jeff’s suggestions and observations more than once. Identifying what is more than enough is not an easy task.

Having lived both with very little at times and with plenty at other times in life, I appreciate the real-life examples provided in Jeff’s book to identify what living generously truly looks like.

Perhaps the most profound exercise in the book (besides reading the dozens of inspiring and creative approaches to generosity Jeff shares) was asking myself to complete the simple statement Jeff challenges the reader to face: “I have more than enough ________________ !”

You know me by now. You know that our family has been blessed to give nearly all we’ve had over the years to causes like adoption, Church Online, and more. You know that we value cutting out excess in our lives. But I confess I could fill in this blank identifying excess in my life in a number of areas.

Read this book (affiliate link). I want you to experience the discomfort of being rattled by it while at the same time being inspired to act. It’s time to take the excess in your life and use it for good.

Love Isn’t Simple

Love Isn't Simple

Love Isn’t Simple

As much as I like to cut away unnecessary things and simplify a lot in my life, I don’ t think I could say love is simple or even meant to be simplified. Love is complicated, in a very good way. Like you, I’ve experienced both great love and painful rejection. So much pain exists in our world today because none of us is perfect a loving.

The good news is there is an approach to love that – when made with the best of intentions – helps us take steps in the right relational direction every time. I believe that God, Himself, is Love. The example Christ gave on earth from the moment He was born to the moment He died provides us a path to follow in loving others. This path isn’t simple, but it is rewarding.

Jesus was not cautious about love, but He was extravagant. How do you define love?

Dana ByersDana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold nearly all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally. She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and lives in Oklahoma as the Community Pastor for Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.

Simple Living Tips I Learned Overseas

Simple Life: Wimbledon Common, London - a family walk (2007)

Simple Life: Wimbledon Common, London – a family walk (2007)

Our family has traveled to more than a dozen countries together, and we lived a rather simple life for a few years in England and a few months in Poland. During that simple season, many of the existing preferences for simpler living that I already had truly took root. Like any passion, my desire to live a minimalist lifestyle flourished when my personality type met with the opportunities our new circumstances provided.

I do my best not to complain about it :) but there are some wonderful minimalist lifestyle habits we needed to abandon when we returned to America. The good news is a number of them were able to remain intact. Here are some of the best simple life habits I stumbled upon and embraced in Europe:

  1. Walk to the market to pick fresh produce for dinner.
  2. Make a simple picnic and eat outdoors.
  3. Walk everywhere (living car-free).
  4. Read instead of watch television.
  5. Pay cash for things and don’t take on debt.
  6. Use few toiletries and makeup (video example).
  7. Have a minimal wardrobe of clothing items to mix and match.
  8. Hang laundry out to dry.
I’m no longer car-free or walking to the market to select fresh produce, but many other routines have remained. What simple living habits do you embrace?

15 Ways to Give Yourself Energy

15 Ways to Give Yourself Energy

15 Ways to Give Yourself Energy

Are you out of energy? Recognize that sometimes sitting still restores energy, and yet sometimes getting annoying tasks out of the way can multiply energy, too.

Recently I noticed my energy was crashing around 3pm and seriously considered having a cup of coffee. I love coffee, but I had to admit it wasn’t a good idea at that time of day. So I took a moment and wrote out a list of things that – when I do them – give me energy. Doing any of these things opens up the rest of my day to more goodness. I’m encouraged to have done any of these list items because I know I’m stewarding time well and creating more space in my life for what I most want to do. Each of these ideas requires creativity, brings me joy, or saves me time in the long run – that’s probably why I chose them and value doing them regularly.

If having more time and energy for what you love is of interest to you, try some of these to see if you don’t wind up feeling refreshed and energized, too!  (The links will give you specific ideas on how to get the items done in minimal time, productively.)

  1. Use the food in the fridge & pantry to create a fun meal before you buy more.
  2. Identify outgrown kids’ clothes to donate.
  3. Create a bi weekly grocery list to cut back on time & money invested in this part of your life.
  4. Give yourself a block of time to read.
  5. Don’t read your work email on your days off.
  6. Do laundry once & don’t let it linger. Put it away. Be done with it.
  7. Volunteer to help others.
  8. Go for a walk.
  9. Exercise.
  10. Make something.
  11. Give someone you love an extra-long hug.
  12. Call a loved one just to chat.
  13. Look at next week’s calendar to avoid surprises then put it out of your mind to enjoy the present moment.
  14. Prepare some simple weekday lunches on Sunday night.
  15. Take time to remember your “why” and focus on those people and causes.

You Need Help (12 Ways to Find It)

People love to help you if you give them the chance.

People love to help you if you give them the chance.

You need help, leader. No one’s an expert in everything. Actually, no one’s an expert in most things. A few things might come naturally to you and me, but we won’t get as far as we dream without the input of others.

Good news! Help comes in all shapes in sizes. I’ve brainstormed a lot of ways help is available in the hopes of giving you a few ideas to get you out of today’s rut (or any future rut).

1) Call up a mentor to get some advice. 

2) Teach your child a household chore to lighten your load.

3) Ask a friend to swap out childcare with you so you can have some time off.

4) Schedule time with a co-worker or friend to get a fresh perspective on an issue you’re trying to solve.

5) Seek the help of a professional counselor.

6) Go to your social media tribe for suggestions on anything from where to have dinner to locating a specific resource you need.

7) Share your craft with an industry expert to gain valuable feedback on how to improve it.

8) Ask for support by raising funds for a cause that’s important to you.

9) Block time off from work on your calendar and ask team members not to contact you during that time.

10) Read a book on the topic on which you need assistance. 

11) See your doctor.

12) Hire a trainer.

I’ve personally done each of these suggestions, and some of them weren’t easy. But I must admit seeking others’ input meant I saw growth, opportunities, and progress in areas I’m sure would not have come without help.

I encourage you to give some of these ideas a try! Are you willing to ask for help?

Take Care of Yourself

Take Care of Yourself

Take Care of Yourself

Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. – Ecclesiastes 10:10 NLT

I write a lot about how to simplify, create processes, be productive, and cut things out that are unnecessary. But none of these ideas matters much for any of us in the long run if we are running on empty. Life spins out of control when we don’t take care of ourselves.

Have you ever run on empty while trying to lead something? Some of you might immediately recall a time you took poor care of yourself in life, while others you can can’t honestly remember a time when you have ever truly taken time for yourself.

What are some common reasons we don’t stop and take care of ourselves?

1) Pride: We don’t want others knowing we need a break.
2) Fear: If we pull back on the reins at all, we’re worried productivity or relationships will go downhill.
3) Poor Self-Awareness: We don’t recognize we’re overdoing it, so the opportunity to rest only comes when we fall apart.
4) Dependency: We don’t create a system to help our team or family members keep going even when we can’t.

Some of you need to admit that striving’s overrated and take care already. If you’re like me, you’ve used some of those excuses to run yourself ragged. (If this has never happened to you, let me just say it never ends well.)

Even the best systems or software need downtime and updates, and you’re no exception. One way to prevent a breakdown in leadership at home or work is to pace yourself.

Here are a few ways I recharge:

* Attend a conference to learn something new
* Have a date night with my husband
* Write
* Make something – a meal, a journal entry, a sketch
* Review my bucket list for inspiration
* Go for coffee with a friend
* Play a Q&A game over dinner with my kids to help them dream big
* Read a non-fiction book

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to take care of yourself these days?

Can A Commercial Change Your Life?

(Please refresh your screen if you’re unable to see this video.)

No matter what you believe, I’m personally inviting you to watch some thought-provoking commercials with us at Church Online. This commercial series is available to watch 51 different times tonight through next Saturday morning, February 9. We’ll be exploring how simple commercials can change the way we see things and how we act. Feel free to hang out in the chat room with the community or double click the video for a full-screen experience.


Hi, Friends! I don’t know how it happened, but comments have been automatically turned off on my posts two weeks after they go live. As a result, I’ve missed out on having back and forth conversations with so many of you in the past few months. Please accept my apology. The comments have all been opened up on my site again.

Let the chatting…recommence!


6 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

6 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

6 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

The way to keep social media simple is to be selective. (You can honestly stop reading here unless you’d like some specific ideas and examples on how do to this, friends.)

By the end of 2012 I was overwhelmed by social media. (Don’t get me wrong: I love social media.) I believe social media exists for three core reasons:

  1. to connect with people
  2. to share with others
  3. to learn from others

These are three of my favorite things to do, so social media is a natural fit for me! But I’d begun noticing that I felt I had to check social media messages in case I missed getting back to someone who had a question or wanted help. The feeling of obligation took some of the wind out of my social media sails, and I decided to take a month to assess what I could change to remain active without feeling overwhelmed.

Note: I didn’t stop engaging in social media during this month, but I did remove all social media apps from my smart phone. Any interaction I had on social media the past month has been on a laptop in between projects and meetings or at home in the evenings or on the weekend. This created an environment where I was able to notice how many time a day I’d go to my phone in between tasks to check in on the latest. This observation period revealed to me that in many cases I’d open an app out of boredom then suddenly lose time doing something I don’t want to invest too much time doing.

I asked myself these questions throughout the month:

  1. Why do I want to go to this social media site?
  2. Is this site more conducive to broadcasting or engaging in a network of people?
  3. What’s the benefit of this social media site to me?
  4. Now that I’ve identified I’m looking to pass the time using a social media app, how will I use this time instead?

After a month of targeted observation, here are the solutions I came up with:

1. Goodbye, Instagram. I won’t be putting this app back on my phone but will click on a friend’s link to see their Instagram photo if I’m so inclined. I love this app but believe I was getting caught in the net of checking it for updates without really building any type of community.

2. I use Buffer App to schedule the sharing of things I think are important during those times I’m unable to change focus from reading to getting on social media and responding to waiting @’s or DMs. (Most often I schedule buffered tweets and Facebook updates while going through my Read & Review folder. Details here.)

3. We put out a phone bowl at home. This has helped us make eye contact more at home. The true beauty of this new habit is that once I’ve put the phone down, I rarely return to it until I go to charge it at bedtime.

4. I used the free manageflitter service to unfollow some people on Twitter whom I had no idea why I was following. I don’t auto follow back so I was truly surprised by some of the people on the list! A cleaner twitter stream means I’m less likely to miss out on what my friends have to say when I log in to join the conversation.

5. I enjoy being involved in chats, and answering and asking questions online.  I respond to nearly everything…just not necessarily the very second you contact me. My goal is to check in on Twitter and Facebook at least twice a day to keep the conversation going. Even after this experiment, Hootsuite remains my favorite way to connect with friends online.

6. I’ve never liked talking on the phone much. My experiment revealed to me that this strong preference of mine means I’ve naturally created a habit of using DM’s, Facebook messages, email, and Twitter @’s to ask questions or get information. Seeing the app-free screen on my iPhone when I needed help this past month meant I learned to lean more into making a call…and more often than not this made for a quicker result and a more enjoyable interaction overall.

I’ve never allowed email or social media notifications on my phone, and now having these social media apps off my iPhone means I’m fully present locally but able to connect without distraction online when I do log in each day.

Tell me…How do you keep social media simple?

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