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Blogger In San Diego To Talk About Living Without Excess

September 29, 2016 2:13 p.m.

Blogger In San Diego To Talk About Minimalism, Simplifying

GUEST:

Courtney Carver, blogger, Be More with Less

Related Story: Blogger In San Diego To Talk About Living Without Excess

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

If you are anything like me you make an effort to keep on top of clutter. To avoid those piles of paper building up on your desk and the close you have not one for years lurking in the back of the closet. It is hard work. There is a more proactive approach for keeping your life clean and clear. Our guest Courtney Carver has found the neck. She's full of great ideas and advice on how to live a minimal life. She has a blog called be more with less and she's on a national tour. Her tiny wardrobe tort. Think you for joining us Courtney.
Thank you.
Tell us what got you started on this minimal style.
In the beginning I did not start out by simplifying my life. That was not the word I was using. I was trying to eliminate stress. In 2006 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After months of fatigue and vertigo and I think it was my body's way of saying enough is enough. Enough craziness and chaos. Enough stress. Very slowly over the course of many years I started to eliminate the things that caused stress. Those things that I could control.
How is your help now?
I was diagnosed 10 years ago and it's been nine years since I had a relapse. My health is better than before I was diagnosed. I work closely with the great neurological team and they believe a lot of the lifestyle changes I've made made a big difference.
You are a minimalist. Is that the word you used to describe yourself?
I don't use that word myself but I guess I am eight minimalist. I try to steer away from clutter now that I finally got rid of it. I look for more of the simple are joys in life.
How would you describe minimalism that has not heard before.
Minimalism as a life that looks different for everyone. Sometimes it to be a misconception that it looks one certain way. Like zero things, white walls and start. In reality it's getting rid of the things that you do not care about so you can make room for the things that you do care about. Again it looks different for everyone. There are different levels of it. Just eliminating the stuff that is in the way that matters to you is what minimalism means to me.
Tell us some of the biggest things you've done to simplify your life.
It all started with diet. I eliminated some of the things that stressed my body out. Also using the momentum from that one change I looked at that next stressful thing which was debt. Our family had a lot of debt. I had been in debt since I was 18 years old. It never occurred to me that I could live debt-free until I did. That was a big moment for me. By taking a few years to pay all of our debt off that reduced a lot of stress. Of course because we were trying to pay down debt we were not shopping as much and bringing clutter in. It was a perfect time to get rid of the clutter we had. Clutter caught dead, diet and then we sold our big house and downsized. I left the job that was stressful. You just keep looking at those pockets of things that are bugging and stressful and do my best to get rid of it.
When did you decide this could be more than a personal lifestyle and that you could take it to others.
It was about four years after I started to dig into these changes and I began to see the benefits that they were making in my own life and saw how I was learning from other people and sharing their lives and changes on the Internet. I thought I could start a blog and share some of these ideas and connect with like-minded people and inspire and be inspired.
You are in San Diego because you are on a national tour. It's a tour in which you challenge people to dress for three months with 33 items or less. It doesn't sound like too many. Give us a clue -- does that include underwear?
I will answer that in a second. This whole tiny wardrobe tort is based on project 333. This was to end closet chaos. I challenge myself to dress with 33 items or less for three months. Including clothing, jewelry and shoes. It does not include underwear, sleepwear, loungewear or workout gear. Your workout clothes have to work out. If you're wearing your yoga pants to the grocery store instead of yoga class you count them toward your 33 items. That's where the tour came from to bring this idea that I implemented in my own life and shared online into the real world and to be able to talk to people face-to-face about.
People may think 33 items for three months.you get bored putting on the same things every few days.
I do not get bored. If I think about it when I had all the close I probably wore 33 items anyway. I gravitate towards my favorite pieces. Now I do not have to look at all the bad purchase decision in the close that don't fit me anymore. I can look at my favorite rings every day.
One of the things I find challenging is how to avoid paper clutter.
You have many good tips. What would you advise on the first step?
Paper is a challenge. I think it is important to consider we do not need to save all the paper we do. We save a lot of paper just in case. A lot of items just in case we need them. Typically we do not. If you have a filing cabinet and I used to and I filed paper upon paper and I found I never went back to any of those papers. I considered what I needed legally may be for tax purposes and things that I needed to keep. What could I scan and then the rest I knew I never revisited.
Photographs are like that. A lot of us have boxes of old friends and some of us have folders of friends on our desktop.
We have to with photographs that holds special memories we should be displaying them and it -- enjoying them.
What would you say is the biggest benefit that someone could remind themselves when they are going through a painful process of letting go of things.
The thing that keeps me motivated and focused on letting go and making it easier for me it -- is simplicity is the way to love. You're letting go of things that happen in your way and connecting with love today in the moment whether that's people or work or projects or your life. That's the heart of it.
Courtney that is an inspiring message. Thank you for coming in and sharing.
That's Courtney Kolber. She will be speaking at 6:30 tonight.