What are Your Biggest Questions about Clutter? (and why I’m asking)

 

Decluttering Questions Answered

The “Wrong” Way I Asked Questions

The desire to live in a tiny house has introduced me to several blogs and books about simplicity over the last year. I’ve found myself motivated like never before to actually do something about my clutter: get rid of it! Not all of it, but enough to make a difference in my life.

Paying off $25k in student loans has been easier for me than getting rid of clutter. Part of that was because of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and the mindset I’d been raised with. So, using what I’ve read about clutter as well as the discipline I learned from getting out of debt, I developed seven baby steps to a clutter-free life. This includes not only clearing the clutter in your home but also that in your schedule (and by default, your mind).

The reason decluttering never worked for me before is because I didn’t have a clear picture of where it would take me. I didn’t know where I would end up. Would the clutter just reappear? Would I end up with an empty room, wishing I hadn’t given away items that held precious memories of loved ones? Where’s the reward for all the hard work? These weren’t necessarily the wrong questions to ask, but I asked them in the wrong way. I asked these questions expecting the answers to be “Yes.”  “Yes.” and “Nowhere.”

I needed to realize that I may always battle clutter at some level, but it won’t always be as difficult, intense, or time-consuming once I develop good habits and finish one round of decluttering. Once I asked those three questions in the right way (out of hope rather than fear), I was able to find that the answers could be “No.” “No.” and “Everywhere.”

 

The Reward I Wanted to See

In the seven steps I created, the goal and result is to have more time and space for what I love. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • people (family, friends, strangers)
  • creative hobbies (painting, crocheting, quilting, building shelves out of pallets)
  • travel (adventures, relaxing vacations, mission trips)
  • gardening (planting and tending to trees, vegetables, and flowers)

If that’s the result of taking the time now to get rid of what I don’t use or love, then it is worth it! The rewards are everywhere: in my house, in my thoughts, in all the great things I’m able to do and see.

And so I’ve been following my baby steps for a few weeks and am on the second step. I’ve already donated four storage bins of stuff not to mention all the paper I’ve gotten rid of. My decluttering has never made a difference this noticeable.

Decluttering has brought me so much freedom, and having a plan and an end in mind keeps me from giving up.

So I want to share this freedom and clarity with others. But before I spend time making videos and blog posts about it (time I could spend meeting other goals), I want to know what you want to know.

 

What You Can Do to Help

I realize not everyone has time to read through a bunch of books and articles searching for brilliant ideas that apply to them. It’s fun for me, but even I get overwhelmed and distracted by all the information out there.

I know you barely have enough time to declutter much less figure out the best way to go about it. That’s why I want to save you precious time by doing the research for you.

I don’t want to waste my time answering questions no one wants to know about. So if you have a question about clutter or want to know more about the baby steps I’m developing, please take a couple of minutes to fill out this short survey. (All questions are optional except the first one.)

If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you’ll see when I answer your question or reveal the seven baby steps:

(Required)

 

5 Questions to Ask When Deciding What to Let Go

 

Why Ask These Questions

You know something’s gotta go. You’re too busy or your house is too cramped. Or both.

As much as we’ve been told that we can, we actually can’t keep everything we want or do everything we want. Especially not all at once. We’ve gotta be picky about what we allow in our lives or we’ll be living with regrets.

Not only will these questions make it much easier to get rid of what isn’t important, they will also help you see what matters most to you.

When trying to eliminate anything, even certain foods, it’s helpful to ask these questions:

 

  1. Does it make me feel imprisoned in anyway?
  2. Am I only keeping or doing this because I think (or have even been told) that others would want me to?
  3. Is there something better I could use this space or time for if I got rid of this item or obligation?
  4. Could someone else be happier with this item or task?
  5. What will my life be like without this?

Letting Go

How These Questions Have Helped Me

These questions have guided me in letting go of things I even thought were bringing me some sort of happiness, whether it was soda, clutter, or a job. Until I asked these questions, I didn’t realize these were only temporarily satisfying and were more often leaving me exhausted. I didn’t realize there was something better for me.

Being optimistic, I had focused on the good while ignoring the bad until it seemed almost normal but also unbearable. But these questions helped me see the truth.

 

Do you find these questions helpful?

What other questions help you make room in your life?

3 Ways to be like a Tree in Autumn: Beauty in Letting Go

Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.  -Bryant H. McGill (Click to Tweet)

 

Until recently, holding on to everything seemed like a great idea.

 

It seemed wise not to give up what I might need again someday. It seemed kind to keep gifts others had put thought and effort into giving me. It seemed logical to hold on to items I’d worked so hard for.

 

Then in order to remain debt-free, I decided I would live in a tiny house. This meant I would need to let go, not only of possessions but also of time-wasters and not only of bad things but also good.

 

Leaves

 

For me to make room for quality and freedom, a few things needed to change. Just like Autumn leaves must fall to make room for the new ones in Spring, I needed to willingly let go of some things that were once beautiful but had become obstacles to my progress. Here are the main ways I began to develop the habit of letting go and how they help:

 

  1. Try new things. This helps us discover what works and what doesn’t. When I had already tried the few ideas I knew, I looked up more. And then I tried them. I was open to creative ideas and challenges. Did I do them all perfectly? No. Did I keep trying anyway? Yes. These ideas kept me excited about the possibilities that open up when you’re free from clutter. They kept me motivated. They reminded me what my life could be like. And reading about de-cluttering helped me not only gain ideas to try, it provided me with new ways of thinking so that I could come up with my own ideas for getting rid of items that were holding me back.

 

  1. Change your mindset. When we change from thinking we need everything we have to realizing we have lots of stuff we could just borrow or rent, it’s easier to let go of those items. If we need the item again and can’t rent or borrow it, we buy it again. Goodwill and Amazon make it so easy for us to use them as cheap storage. Instead of keeping holiday decorations that get used once a year, we can sell them back or donate them. Then we get to have new decorations each year. It will also keep us in the habit of letting go. My old mindset would’ve said this system requires too much work, time, energy, and organization. My new mindset says it’s worth it to have the space and freedom from responsibility of the items. Yes, buying new items annually can be expensive, but so can owning a larger house. When we change from thinking we should keep every gift we’re given to instead reminding ourselves that the person who gave it to us wouldn’t want us to keep it if it isn’t improving our lives, then we will once again be able to let go of those items with little regret. We also may need to tell ourselves that we can still be reminded of that person in other ways.
  1. Remember why. Making a list of reasons for letting go will give us more confidence in our decisions. We are getting rid of clutter to make room for people and creativity. We can even use this method when deciding on a new purchase. We can ask ourselves: Will it add to my freedom, joy, and purpose? Or will it take away from it? This can help us develop the habit of letting go of things we don’t even own yet. Not only will this help us, it will help those who are inspired by our decisions or benefiting from our new-found freedom.

And these changes needed to be more than a one-time deal.

 

I found myself confused about having to repeat each process over and over. I was surprised that my hard work could so easily be reversed.

 

I noticed that I was beginning to sound like a person struggling with weight loss.

 

I’ve also seen this pattern in people trying to get rid of debt or to manage their time better. We all want our temporary change to have permanent effects even though we know habits are what lead to that permanence.

 

Each practice listed above can be applied to developing the habit of letting go of excess in those other areas as well.

We just have to apply them regularly rather than occasionally. We have to make a habit of letting go, just as a tree lets go of its leaves year after year after year.

 

What do you need to let go of? What has helped you develop the habit of letting go?

10 Powerful Quotes to Promote Simplicity

A good quote can make you laugh, take action, change your mind, shed a tear, or realize that someone understands.

Perhaps that’s why my quote board on Pinterest currently has 658 quotes. (For a point of reference, the board with the next highest pins has 152.) Yeah, I really love quotes. That’s why I’m so excited to share the following quotes, which I hope motivate you to let go of something that’s holding you back and choose to live a simple, positive life.

I’m also excited about it because I like to know the people behind the quote. I’ve included a short bio about each person quoted below. Be sure to check it out! You’ll see that they are doing great things.

 

Be positive! Online, in person, behind closed doors…be positive. Remember, even negative people dislike negative people, so be positive! -Ryan Eller  (Click to Tweet)

Ryan Eller is a dreamer of dreams and a music maker.  He is CEO and Founder of Paradigm Shift, a company that does leadership training across the world and has led workshops in over 30 states and 4 continents.

More importantly he has danced with Miss America, won a game show, got lost on the Great Wall of China, and broken a world record. He is always trying to Live Your List and wants you to do the same…

 

Yesterday’s challenge is today’s comfort zone. -Kara McDougall Author of Grace’s Gift (Click to Tweet)

Kara lives in New Zealand, where she drinks inordinate amounts of coffee and stays up late creating whatever happens to be wandering through her imagination. She suspects there could be a relationship between the coffee and the late nights but is having far too much fun to pay attention.

 

Living small and simply isn’t about the size of my house or whether I can tow it down the highway. It’s about making mindful choices that give me freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.  -Tammy Strobel
Tammy lives with her husband in a tiny house and blogs at Rowdy Kitten. She was also on the documentary Tiny.

 

Clutter

Organized clutter is still clutter. -Corie Clark (Click to Tweet)
Corie lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids. She’s author of The Simplicity Project and enjoys helping people find their purpose and live it to its fullest.

 

 

Excuses are just a product of a lack of discipline, and discipline is just remembering what it is that you really want.  -Adrienne Dorison (Click to Tweet)
Adrienne Dorison is a blogger, speaker, and coach. She’s passionate about helping others dream BIG and then providing the tools to actually MAKE IT HAPPEN. As a certified LEAN Manufacturing Excellence/Supply Chain practitioner and deliberate improvement expert, she equips and empowers clients to remove the wasted time, energy, and activities from their lives through practical strategies and processes.
 

Your life has worth because of who you are today, not because of what you hope to be tomorrow. -Kevin Buchanan

Kevin Buchanan lives in the great city of Nashville, Tennessee! He is a blogger, writer, speaker, and has a channel on YouTube. He loves Target, movies, and all things chocolate! You can follow him on TwitterYouTube, and Facebook.

 

The design is not to jump from blessing to blessing, but to continuously walk atop the little ones that are given to us each and every day. Contentment is born from this, peace is born from this. -Shannon Nichole

Shannon Nichole is an ordinary woman living an extraordinary life with her son in California. Jesus, hot chai lattes and cute winter boots a few of her favorite things #thesimplethingsarethebestthings

 

Sometimes, to run toward your dream, you have to leave behind what is.  -Mandi Harris (Click to Tweet)

Mandi is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to 4 kids, pursuing her dream of building a small farm on 30 acres. She spends her days doing math; chasing chickens, guineas, donkeys, horses, dogs, and a feisty cat; and trying to keep the house in some sort of order.  She is discovering that simplifying her life is her only hope for sanity.

 
I don’t celebrate my imperfections, but I’m also not letting the realization that I have them keep me bound. There’s freedom in confession. -Holly Hrywnak (Click to Tweet)
 
Holly Hrywnak is a 30ish-year-old writer who strives to share honestly and transparently in hopes that it will encourage others to be open about their own struggles and lessons learned. She’s been accused of being sassy, which she finds to be an admirable attribute. You can find her writing at The Common Queen.

 

 
Prepare yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally for the huge things God has in store for you. Don’t start when you think the time is right; instead, start right now because you never know when God will open the door that will change your life forever!                                                           -Isabel Hundt

Isabel Hundt is a professional coach, author, and speaker working with entrepreneurs worldwide helping them step into their inner power, to find their true identity so that they are able to embrace the journey of entrepreneurship and transform their businesses and lives toward outstanding success. Isabel is known for her revolutionary online coaching program, The Dare to Stand Out.

 

You may not have later, but you have now. Don’t wait. Go live your life now. –Camilla Kragius
 Camilla lives in Utah where she spends her time playing in the outdoors. She is a challenger of the status quo and wants others to leave their comfort zones and start living! She loves to travel, go on adventures, and inspire others toward their goals and dreams. On her blog, No More Hamster Wheel, she writes about life, productivity, finances, and ways to get off the traditional path. On her travel blog, The Traveling Swede, she shares her passion for travel through photography. She loves to connect with people and hear their stories. Camilla also has a passion for non-profit work and helping others.

——

 

This is the first of a series of what I call Quote to Promote. If you have an original quote about simplicity, gratitude, letting go, or staying motivated and would like to participate in a future post, please email me (mcstarbuck{at}gmail{dot}com) with the subject “Quote to Promote” for more details. I love promoting simplicity and people who are doing great things!

 

What’s your favorite quote?

If you have a quote board on Pinterest, share the link in the comments below so I can follow it. 🙂

 

 

How to Get Out of Debt Living Paycheck to Paycheck

9 Simple Steps

Camilla is a world traveler doing amazing things. Part of why she has the freedom to do that is because she is debt-free. Her book is only $0.99 on Amazon for a limited time (through Wednesday, January 14, 2015). That’s amazing! Let her guide you through your journey of getting rid of debt so that you can have the freedom she has to chase some pretty big dreams. Check it out. 🙂

20 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated

Knowing how to motivate yourself is great because you can repeat it. Just getting motivated at the beginning of the year is not enough if you want to follow-through with your goals.

 

20 ways to keep yourself motivated throughout the year

1. Read. It’s so easy to find a quote, blogpost, or book on any topic. You can even just search “How to Stay Motivated.”

2. Find someone else doing what you’re doing. Check in with each other daily or weekly. If you both lose motivation, find another person to help. You don’t have to only have one person to help motivate you.

3. Choose a reward. Give yourself something to look forward to. If you’re trying to lose weight, make the reward a new outfit or a day at the park. Don’t make it something that will mess up your goal (for instance, sugar).

4. Join a Facebook group with people who have similar goals and are active in the group. Be sure to participate yourself.

5. Lead a class. If others are depending on you, you’re more likely to lead by example. And in finding ways to motivate them, you’ll motivate yourself. It will keep the topic on your mind. This could be an online class, a video series, a small group at church, or a meetup.

6. Observe your actions in an area of life where you’ve been successful. Think about the steps you took to get there. Find a way to apply those habits to this area that you struggle with.

7. Give yourself reminders. Set up reminders to inspire you, whether it’s a quote on the mirror or a picture of what you want to make happen. Write down why you’re pursuing this goal and read it before you go to sleep and after you wake up. Sign up for email lists that will send encouragement on your topic throughout the year.

8. Measure your progress. Take a before picture. Don’t wait until after you’ve love ten pounds or cleaned half the room. Take it now so you’ll be able to see a bigger difference. Or print a chart and fill in a  section every time you meet a small goal that leads to your main one. View your loans frequently and watch the numbers drop.

9. Be specific. Have clear goals. Having a plan helps you stay focused and know when you’re actually doing what you set out to do.

10. Underestimate yourself. Don’t get me wrong. You’re awesome and capable of great things. I don’t want you to doubt that. But if I say I’ll read one book per week, then the first time I don’t do it, I feel like a failure. I feel like I need to catch up which leaves me feeling behind constantly. But if I say I’ll read three pages a day (possibly one from three different books), that’s more manageable. Even if I miss a day or two, it won’t be hard to catch up. In fact, I’ll probably exceed my goal frequently. This will leave me feeling good about it which will encourage me to continue with the goal.

11. Listen to the voices. Has someone told you that you won’t succeed? That you don’t have what it takes? Listen to that voice. Not in a self-defeating, “They’re right” way. Listen and prove them wrong. Think of their words as you exercise and let that push you further. Imagine the look on their face as you nonchalantly tell them what you’ve done, even if you never plan to actually tell them. And listen to those who believe in you. Prove them right. Believe in yourself as much as they do.

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

               -Shel Silverstein

12. Give yourself consequences. If I don’t do __________, I have to do _______. Or if I do ________, I get to do _______.

13. Have fun! Personally, I prefer backpacking over an exercise video. (I prefer backpacking over a lot of stuff, but in this case I’m talking about as a means of exercise.) But sometimes a video is all there’s time for if we want to get other goals done, too. Still, I notice a huge difference between me trying to do every exercise perfect like it’s for a grade and me exaggerating or modifying the exercise to make it more fun. You could do something as simple as putting together an unusual playlist to exercise to (songs that make you laugh, that others wouldn’t expect you to exercise to, in a language you don’t know, or something from your childhood).

14. Invest in your goal financially. Sometimes when we spend money on a program, we make it more of a priority so we get our money’s worth out of it. When I started paying for my blog and for writing courses, I became much more disciplined at writing consistently and practicing what I’d learned.

15. Ask others how they stay motivated. I decided to take my own advice, and here’s one of the answers I got:

16. Surround yourself with motivated people. The person who shared that is part of a group that has committed to waking up at 5am to work on their goals before the distractions of the day can get to them. (Big shout out to the 5am Club! You are making great things happen. I’m so grateful for and impressed by you!) I would also add that distancing oneself from unmotivated people makes a huge difference.

17. Give yourself a deadline. Make it sooner rather than later. If you’re working hard but don’t make your own deadline, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just keep working. At least having the deadline kept you on your toes.

18. Listen to other people’s stories of what they’ve accomplished. This is especially helpful if you hear stories about them succeeding at what you’re trying to do.

19. Spend time alone. It will give you time to think and rest. You can use this time to reevaluate what’s working and what isn’t. You can remind yourself why it’s important. Use this time to do something that inspires you or something you may not normally get to do.

20. Remember your own victories. Look back on the things you’ve done well in getting closer to reaching this goal. Think about other times you’ve succeeded in achieving a goal. Use what you did in those moments to push you forward now. Remind yourself that you are capable of doing what you’ve set out to do.

 

What quote helps keep you motivated?

The Secret to Letting Go

Letting go can be difficult.

We see it when a relationship ends. We see evidence of it because of all the things we hold onto. And most obviously, we see it in children.

I babysit a boy who has Angelman Syndrome.

He has a strong grip on his toys. He doesn’t communicate by talking, so it can be difficult to take away a toy since he doesn’t understand that I’m taking it to be washed. One technique the parents showed me was that if I wanted to take away a toy, I could simply put a clean toy in front of him. As he saw and reached for this new option, he loosened his grip from the messy toy.

 

You have a new option.

 

When given the choice between having debt or being debt-free, I’m pretty sure you’d usually choose debt-free.

Cluttered room or simplified? Simplified.

Out of shape or in shape? In shape.

 

But when the choice is between making an extra payment toward a loan or having cable, many people choose cable.

A month’s worth of clothes or a week? A month.

Jog a mile or eat a bag of chips while reading a good book? Chips, please!

 

A 13-year-old I babysit gets annoyed when asked to clean her room. Once it’s clean, though, she gets annoyed when anyone messes it up. She takes special care in preserving and enjoying its beautiful state.

See, my room isn’t a mess because I don’t want it to be clean. It isn’t even messy just because I don’t want to do the work. If I see something as worthwhile, I will put in the effort. My room is messy because for years I didn’t see how keeping it clean was an option. A simplified space didn’t seem practical or realistic for me.

I don’t have enough space for my stuff.
I don’t have time to get rid of what doesn’t fit.
I want to keep my stuff.
I have more important things to do than declutter and organize.

Those were my excuses. So every day, I accepted a cluttered room. I didn’t fight it, didn’t try to have a clean room.

Just like the 13-year-old, I get annoyed when thinking I have to declutter my room. But once I get a section simplified, I get annoyed when it starts getting crowded again.

 

Loosening My Grip

Still, for the most part my grip on clutter is tight…

until I see a picture of a room on Pinterest.

Then I want to throw everything out my window. Sadly, that’s also impractical.

But at least my grip is loosened. I’ve seen another option.

I read a few articles on regular people turning into minimalists. I start to believe it’s possible for me. As I reach for this new option, I loosen my grip on clutter a little more.

 

The Secret to Letting Go

Letting go of anything is a daily choice. There is always the option to pick up the old–the clutter, the credit card, the cupcakes.

The secret to letting go isn’t just seeing, wanting, and believing you can have a better option. It’s seeing and choosing that option over and over in the little things even when that choice means giving up something you love, something familiar, something safe.

That is sacrifice. And it’s the secret to the habit of letting go. It’s knowing you gave up something good for something better.

The more you do that, the easier it will become.

You won’t see sacrifice as a drudgery but a joy, an opportunity. You won’t focus on what you lost but on what you gained.

Sacrifice

Sometimes that messy thing you gave up will return to you clean. That money you kept choosing to put toward a loan can now be put toward cable or whatever you want. That almond milk is drinkable because you’ve gotten used to it. That 1-mile run is no harder than walking used to be.

What is it that you aren’t letting go?

I don’t want to tear it from your grasp.

I just want to tell you there’s another option. Freedom.

Freedom is real.

Forgiveness is real. Paying off debt is real. Getting in shape is real.

Real people do these things everyday.

Find their stories.

It really is amazing, but these aren’t exclusive clubs. It can be you.

It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Find the stories that make you believe it is possible for you. They took steps to letting go. Follow them. Make it happen. And, if you must…and I mean only if it really helps, sing that little song from Frozen while you do it.

 

What has helped you let go of things that hold you back?

Share your secrets to letting go in the comments below.

 

This is part of a series on developing 3 habits for living tiny. Read the previous post here. And be sure to sign up for the newsletter to enjoy some freebies and reminders to live tiny!



 

3 Reasons I’m Glad I was $25k in Debt

Yes, there are several reasons I’m not glad I’ve been in debt.

But I like to focus on the positive and help others do the same.

I like to learn from my struggles.

Debt

1. Accomplishment. The feeling of accomplishment is not enough to make the debt worth it. I could have also felt accomplished if I’d saved all of that money to buy land. But it is great being able to look back at how much you owed and measure how much of your goal you’ve reached. The thought of all that interest accumulating was really motivating. I paid over $2000 in interest in just 3 years…which would’ve been more like $7000 if I’d done the suggested 10 years to pay it off.

It’s a great confidence-booster and teacher of discipline. It has helped me develop good financial habits and minimize bad ones. This will help me in my future endeavors, which include saving up to buy that land I mentioned earlier. Now I know it’s possible not just for some people to save $25k in less than 3 years, but it is possible for me to do it.

As I said, though, that accomplishment alone is not enough to have made the debt worth it. So I shall continue.

After finding out how much I owed in student loans while in my last semester of college, I remember singing “Oh, praise the One Who paid my debt…”

I began to think about how I would treat someone if they paid that $25,000 debt for me.

I’d be so thankful and feel kind of guilty and embarrassed. I’d be amazed at their kindness. I would probably talk about it in whispered tones of wonder and almost disbelief.

My love of handwritten letters would cause me to write a thank-you note first.

Then I’d want to live my life in such a way that they wouldn’t regret paying the debt for me. This would mean working hard to take care of myself, not being wasteful, and paying it forward by helping others. I’d also want to stay in touch with that person to let them know what their sacrifice helped me do and become. Staying in touch would also allow me to know what ways I could be helpful to them in return even though it would be nowhere near what they did for me.

Realizing I’d do all that if someone had paid that debt made me re-examine what I’m doing for those who did help me pay it.

Which leads to my second reason for being glad I had that much debt.

2. Gratefulness. I’m grateful to all of the people who helped me along the way by giving me a place to live, a job (with free delicious and usually healthy food!), and encouragement and advice.

I’m also grateful for the friends I have who “confessed” that they continue to defer their loans. My boss has even told me most people never pay theirs back as if I shouldn’t either. Although I don’t agree, there is a debt that I can’t repay. As my friend said about her student loans, “I just keep hitting ‘defer, defer, defer.'” It seems like such a hopeless place to be. The debt always hanging over your head, lurking in the back of your mind as you try to enjoy your life. You’re just not really free. You’re trapped knowing there’s nothing you can do to pay it.

Then Someone pays it for you.

That sin I know I can never work hard enough to erase? Yeah, Someone paid that debt for me. That bigger debt. (Luke 7:41-43 & 47) That’s gratefulness. That’s freedom. And that’s what hit home when I was  $25k in debt. If I would do all of those things for someone if they had paid my financial debt, why not do them for the One Who paid my spiritual debt?

Maybe $25,000 doesn’t sound like much to you. Once mine got down to $5k, it didn’t seem like as much to me either, especially when I’d hear stories of people who paid off $250k.

I’m learning not to compare that way, though. They might make over 4 times more than I do. But that still doesn’t mean it’s easy for them. Or they could have 3 kids. But just because I don’t have any children doesn’t mean I didn’t have to sacrifice.
3. Inspiration. I’d been so caught up in the sacrifice, the giving-three-fourths-of-my-income-to-pay-off-student-loans that I didn’t even stop to think that this part of my life could inspire others. Maybe a little but not really. I was excited for myself to be out of debt, but I didn’t think I could help others until mine was completely paid off.

Then I shared the basics of my story with a group on Facebook last month. (*Cough, Cough* Jon Acuff’s 30 Days of Hustle *Cough*)

Their responses were all it took to change my outlook. It’s the reason I’ve written this post. I want to encourage you in practical ways as others have done for me.

No, paying debt isn’t all about sacrifice and discipline, hard work, and being deprived. I have gone on a trip out of the country every year since I began paying my debt! I would be without months of these amazing memories if I’d let my debt keep me back:

  • I spent Christmas (and 2 weeks!) in England with three lovely friends visiting Jane Austen & C. S. Lewis/J. R. R. Tolkien sights & so much more.
  • I went on my first road trip which was with my younger brother for 40 days! From Georgia to Alaska through Canada.
  • A few months later I was invited to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (which I had never seen) for 17 days. I actually considered not going because of finances. So glad I went anyway!
  • The next year I raised over $1,000 thanks to generous friends to go on a mission trip to Thailand where I had so much fun playing with children in an orphanage.

Having that to look forward to keeps me going when I have to give up smaller things or even other big things like having my own place to live (instead I live with family for now).

Don’t give up everything that’s important to you in order to pay your debt.

Some sacrifices aren’t worth making.

 

*Reprinted from my previous blog.

 

If you haven’t already, you can sign up below to join the 31-Day Challenge to get rid of debt, clutter, or weight in order to gain more joy, freedom, and purpose.



 

For more about my journey of getting out of debt, read about what I didn’t expect after paying off my debt.

 

Do you have any different reasons you’ve been glad you had your own debt?