A Few Updates


Good morning, friends! (Or afternoon or evening, depending on when you read this.) I have had the most amazing week “off” from the blog, and am so grateful Shannon was able to write a guest post on a moment’s notice so I could take that time for myself. Normally, I can come up with a theme for these updates, based on one life event or situation I’ve found myself in, but so many things are happening right now that I thought I would share a few updates with you instead. :)

The Final Declutter

First of all, I have unpacked 5 of the 8 small boxes I moved to Victoria last month and discovered I actually need/want to keep most of their contents. Some of the boxes had larger kitchen items in them, like my slow cooker, which I just haven’t needed yet. I also found that one box was full of.. well, more boxes. Technically, they were the 4 wicker containers that used to sit on my shelves, but I decided to get rid of them (and get rid of the shelves – more on that later). Altogether, so far, I’ve tossed 25 items + sold some furniture for $70… and I still have 3 boxes left to unpack.

After going through those first few boxes, and reading some of the comments about your own decluttering challenges, I made a decision last week: this has to be my last declutter. As good as it can feel to get rid of things, decluttering is also a lot of work and this process has to end at some point! So, as I’m going through these boxes, I’m forcing myself to make long-term decisions about the items, because I want everything I keep to be stuff I use/hold onto for years to come. When the clock strikes midnight on September 1st, I’m officially done – once and for all.

Shopping Ban Community

Last month, when I announced I was going to do the shopping ban for a second year, I was blown away by how many of you said you were going to join me – so blown away that I honestly wasn’t prepared for the requests that came in after. I’ve promised to setup a free community where you can continue the conversations about your own shopping bans and decluttering adventures with one another, and am still committed to that… I’m just trying to research/test out/setup the best option.

So far, I’m seriously looking at Slack, as well as a forum-type tool that could potentially operate like Reddit… but I’m also open to suggestions. If you know of any forum-type tools, specifically, or can even share examples of online communities you love, please comment with suggestions/URLs! Your input is appreciated and could help me build a great new space for us. :)

Press / Podcasts / Speaking

Now, for some fun news! Since the end of the first year of my shopping ban, I have also received a lot of press inquiries, and have been invited to chat on a few new podcasts. Earlier this week, my story was published on the CBC website… and the traffic it brought over broke records. (It even beat out the Forbes and Yahoo pieces – go CBC!) After that, I got to spend one full morning this week chatting with a few different CBC radio stations, and recorded two podcasts with online friends.

As much as I enjoy writing, I like talking to people more – and I love recording podcasts. Every one I have done, so far, has been fun… but I think my chat with Brooke McAlary has been my all-time favourite. If you’re interested in minimalism/simple living – or, as Brooke calls it, slow living – you have to check out her podcast. When you listen, you’ll notice she does more than just ask questions; Brooke offers real insight, which is something I’ve appreciated about every episode so far. She titled our chat “Slow Money“, which I love, and I hope you enjoy listening to it. <3

And while we’re on the topic of how much I love talking to people, one of the other questions I’ve been asked a few times in the past month is whether or not I do any public speaking. The answer: I have many times, and I’d love to do more, but I don’t have a plan mapped out yet… again, it goes back to the fact that I just wasn’t prepared for the feedback I’ve gotten this summer! Since I work for myself now, though, I am in a position where I can think about this more and start to put something together. If that’s something you want to talk about, email me and we can start to work out the details. :)

Guest Posts

Like I said before, I am so grateful Shannon wrote a guest post and shared some of her thoughts here this week, so I could take a few extra days off… but I also want to thank you for being so welcoming and engaging with her. In the past, I didn’t think I would ever let anyone guest post here. I used to think, this is “my” blog in “my” voice – why would people want to hear from anyone else? But through blogs like Joshua’s, I’ve been able to see how letting other people share personal stories, lessons, and insights adds to the community we are all building.

Over the next few months, you’ll probably see one guest post/month here. As of right now, I’m only asking a few good friends of mine to help me out, while I try to get some other work done, but I may open it up to others in the future. So far, the friends who accepted have pitched ideas that have blown me away. Their passion for all things money/minimalism/mindfulness is contagious, and the vulnerability some are going to bring here will move you. I can’t wait for you to read their words, and I thank you for welcoming them to this space.

End of Summer Giveaway

And finally, I just wanted to give you the heads up that I’ll be hosting a giveaway next week! Three things are sitting on my desk right now, waiting to be packaged up and mailed to one of you. I’ll share more details on Monday.

How was your week? How are your shopping bans and decluttering projects going this month? Tell me everything!

  • Congrats on all your success this week. I admit, it has been too hot to do anything that looks like decluttering in our house this week. Heatwave and no a/c means sit in the dark and don’t move lol!

    As far as shopping goes, no temptations. We are in a questioning everything sort of phase. Every product – do we need it? can we get it cheaper somewhere else (without spending too much time loping for that as our time is valuable). We saved at least $60 on regular purchases that way. A second call to Bell got $30 taken off our services, add that to the $20 last month, we have the same services for $50 less per month. That made me happy, as we had different opinions about what to keep/cut if the price couldn’t come down!

    Have a great time at your friend’s wedding.

    • Ugh, yes… if you remember, my decluttering was actually sparked by having to spend a few days inside during a heatwave with no A/C, haha. I couldn’t help but look around and wonder why I had so much stuff and couldn’t find the things I really needed! Anyway, I can certainly relate to that.
      Also, that’s a huge savings on your Bell bill – congrats!
      Have a great weekend, Kristen. Hopefully it cools down for you :)

  • Congrats on all the success! We’ll continue decluttering until we move next month, but I think we’re starting to see the light at the end of tunnel. I think we’re at the point that if we pitch more stuff, we’ll end up replacing it. Ha! :)

    • Yes, that’s exactly where I’m at! I know I don’t want this stuff now, but I did wonder if a few of the things I tossed are items I’ll need to replace in a year or two? Oh well… it would be cheap to do so. But now that I’m at this place with it, I’d say I’m really, truly done!

  • I have the Calm app on my phone and absolutely love it. Trying to incorporate a meditation practice into my daily routine has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever tried, because I pride myself on always thinking ahead. Picking up this practice has helped me realize how much mental clutter I create for myself. Your hiking photos on Instagram are awesome! It’s amazing what fresh air does.

    • It’s interesting you said that, because I used to be a big planner, but I’ve slowly learned to let that go over the last year or two… it’s not easy, at first, but I promise it’s better when you find balance. Good luck with the app!

  • Thank you for the calm website. I put the app on my phone too. I’m also going to buy the book on meditating.

    • Wonderful, Helen. David is a great writer, and the book is full of takeaways you can digest and hold onto forever. :)

  • I’m not sure how much work it would be to set up, but I’ve heard good things about Proboards for forums. Its free! I’m going to start a major decluttering process in the next few months! Congratulations on all your media success!

    • Thank you so much for the suggestion! Forums do seem like the best option, so I will definitely check that out. :)

  • Cait,
    I came across your blog a couple weeks ago via a friend who liked it on facebook. I read how you completed your shopping ban and was starting a new one. I was hooked! I proceeded to the archives and started reading from the beginning to get the whole story. I LOVE your ‘voice’ that comes through in your writing. So relatable. I binge read your entire blog and can’t wait to read what’s next. Congrats on all your success!

    • This comment made me smile, Erin! I’m so glad you found me and are enjoying the blog. Have there been any parts of it that resonate the most? Feel free to email me :)

      • Hi. I just found you and binge read the whole blog too – it took 2 days and I feel a bit bereft now I’ve caught up! I found you through Brooke and did the 2014 challenge last year and been slowing down a bit since. I’m in a different place (empty nester) and hubby has always managed our finances totally reliably with only mortgage debt, but I do spend mindlessly sometimes and think I should take more responsibility. You’ve really made me think hard – thanks! (Are there any finance bloggers in my life-stage?).
        And I’m in awe of how far you’ve come over the last 4 years!! Now to help/inspire my own ‘kids’

  • Hi Cait,
    Loving these updates, I listened to your podcast episode with Brooke, it was so insightful, I actually listened to it while I was decluttering! Which is going well, I actually think I needed to hear that you’re going to stop decluttering because I have been decluttering for probably as long as you have, and it has kind of got addictive! And I really am running out of things to get rid of!! I think I really need to tell myself “okay that’s enough” otherwise I know I’ll end up obsessing over what else can be sold or donated, when in actuality the things I am considering throwing away are things I really use! Anyway have a wonderful time at your friends wedding. xx

    • Ha, addictive is another word for it, definitely. I will say, I think I’ll always be someone who assesses their stuff and gets rid of things before they become mental clutter… but after I unpack, I want my home to be a space where I don’t question anything anymore. If I keep it, I have to love it. Maybe that will help you too? :)

      • Oh that definitely helps, I love that-‘I don’t want to question anything’. Such a simple thing but so powerful, I think it will make for such a peaceful and calm home. Thank you <3

  • Other than groceries, the only thing I purchased is a package of mailing labels that I hope to use for artwork in my Fauxbonichi journal (there’s a FB group but I may have the spelling a tad off). I had to do some decluttering/organizing this week because I had a carpet cleaner scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. As I looked at one area of the house, the art room, I was almost sick to my stomach because it is such a mess and the long table is way too full of stuff. I’ve decided to start packing up more art supplies and will put them in the garage for the next yard sale. I’m planning on making my art life more simple and stick with one type of art journal for awhile. Same goes for the sewing room – stick to practicing the art of creating prayer flags and art quilting. Sometimes all this stuff makes me feel claustrophobic and that’s a good reason to make some changes.

    • That is a GREAT reason to make a change, Marrianna! I like the idea of choosing the few types of art you love to create the most and just sticking to them. Good luck with decluttering the rest :)

    • Marrianna, I know your struggle. I am a scrapbooker and have too much stuff. I love most of it and already donated a bunch but my goal is, as well, to make my creative live a lot simpler. Planning on using my stuff, not buying more things except the basics when I run out, and make a lot of beautiful albums :) Good luck with your decluttering!

  • So freaking proud of you. I was singing your praises to my husband last night about your shopping ban, your debt payoff, etc. You’ve been such an inspiration to me! And my own little shopping ban is progressing quite well. :) It’s so nice to see the money just keep piling up and no outflows except necessities.

    • Aww, thanks, girl! And that excites me to no end. Have you gotten to the point where you actually enjoy spending money on necessities? Sometimes I find myself taking an extra few minutes at the grocery store to choose the best pieces of produce, so I can go home and make the most delicious meal… and I’m always happy to hand over money to fill my belly with fresh blueberries (before the season ends!).

  • Great week Cait, I’ll have to look at the podcasts your on and listen, have you ever considered making your own podcast? That would fall on my listen list for sure.

    • Between us, I have, and it’s on the calendar. First episode will be recorded next week. :)

        • Awesome! So glad to hear that. It’s actually a project I’m taking on with my friend Carrie, so we will be co-hosting most episodes, doing some one-offs (just me or just her) and doing interviews too. We’ve been talking about it for months and are finally getting down to it! :)

  • Yay for a final declutter! And I’m loving all the pictures of your hikes – I wish I lived in a place that provided such a beautiful gym from nature itself! Thanks so much for letting me share my thoughts on your blog :).

    • You live in a place that has a different kind of beauty… a buzz and a feeling I haven’t found anywhere else! Miss you, friend. xoxo

  • I’m glad you set and end date for your de-cluttering. Not that it’s not a great idea, but it can really take over your life just like anything else and that’s another form of cutter, right? I thought about at one point doing the Minsgame. Just to get rid of those extra little “things” I don’t really need anymore…even though my places looks pretty clutter free. It can’t hurt…but I want to make sure I’m committed to the challenge first. Congrats on all your media opportunities!

    • Yea, the Minsgame sounds great! I hadn’t heard of it until a week or so ago, but it seems to be a great outline to get this stuff done. :)

  • Really interested that you are going to make this your final declutter. I will be interested to see how you feel six months or a year in; if you keep finding more that you could get rid of or if you’ve truly optimized your belongings and have exactly what you need.

    I still need to start my declutter… oops. As soon as I put everything way, I felt much less overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had and much less motivated to get rid of it.

    • I’m sure I’ll always be able to find 1-2 things here and there, and that’s ok… but I don’t want to keep digging through boxes, searching for stacks of things to remove. Marie Kondo says you should do ONE declutter and be done with it. I need to be done with it, haha.
      As for yours, is that “stuff” still sitting in the back of your mind? If so, well… I think you know what needs to be done. :)

  • First of all; Yay to the Diva Cup! Huge advocate; always happy to chat about those!

    Cait – I’m one of your newest followers thanks to that CBC article. Born and raised in Ottawa and about to embark on some big changes over the next year as I tackle my student/consumer debt and move away to pursue a Master’s degree somewhere in Ontario (likely TO).

    Your ideas about minimalism, and mindful spending have motivated me beyond words to take control of my finances before I scale back into “student life”. Your fresh perspective was exactly what I was searching for! Can I also say its super refreshing that your content is uniquely Canadian!? Best of luck with your newest media attention – how very exciting!

    I’ll be following along, and flirting with the idea of a shopping ban this year!

    • This comment made my whole morning, and I’m now waving at you from across the country, Caitlin! I’m so glad you’re here and can’t wait to hear more from you. :)

  • Congrats on everything! What an exciting time to be able to do exactly what you want to do. You’ve made it! Mr. T’s bike was stolen this week, which got us all crazy around here for a day, but then it led to a wonderful discussion about intentional spending and how we don’t spend on other stuff so that when the work commuter bike gets stolen, we can roll it off and move on without having to be all crazy about it. Intentional living/budgeting is so great, amiright?

    • Oh my gosh, that is so awful, Maggie! But yes, it sounds like you guys were in a great position to deal with it… it’s still unfortunate, though. Hope you have a better weekend. :)

  • Great thoughts/week review! It is nice to de-clutter and I agree, it does need to stop at some point. Great job btw.

    Last night, I got a good night’s sleep for the first time in months because I decided NOT to go on my laptop after dinner and I put my cell on Do Not Disturb from 9PM on. I think I really need to implement that as an everyday rule! Small steps….

    • That’s a small but huge step! I try not to check social media after 6pm, which was my first small step… now, I’m trying not to check email after I’m done work for the day (usually 4pm or s0). It can all wait. We need time to ourselves, too. :)

  • The photo doesn’t show up in the RSS feed or the mobile site, but it does show in the desktop site.

    Any hope of changing that so your mobile readers know what you’re referring to?

    • Huh, I didn’t realize that, Jeremy. I’m going to try something and email you, to see if you might be a test bunny for me. :)

  • It’s so wonderful that you’re getting so much positive recognition! You put an incredible amount of positivity and honesty out there, and it’s just good karma that you’re being rewarded for it. I’m sure your entry into the public speaking circuit will be a smashing success as well.

    On the decluttering front, THANK YOU for setting a positive example and demarcating an end to it. I read so many blogs where people lament all the decluttering that they need to do. I think on some level the move to declutter, as positive as it is, also puts a lot of pressure and stress on people. So it’s super healthy to think of it as something with a beginning and an end, and really appreciate that you’re serving as a great rolemodel for that.

    Have a great weekend, Cait! :-)

  • So incredibly exciting all of your articles & podcasts! I started listening to Slow Money yesterday in the morning, and will be finishing this afternoon. :) Decluttering has proven to be successful! This will be our first weekend in the new apartment with absolutely zero plans. When sitting in our living area I feel completely content & peaceful. I think those most be sure signs of success! I hope you have the absolute best weekend at your friends wedding!!

  • I find it hard to determine if I will need something in the future. I have tossed/donated things in the past only to replace them….can you say annoying lol! I think we are at a place where we have all he household items we “need” so the decluttering is mostly related to odds and ends you accumulate…especially when two people merge stuff you end up with duplicates….as in why do we have two staplers lol!

    I’m not on the point of 1 in 1 out rule for home things…and the same for clothes, it is so easy to pick up something you think you need but then don’t wear for months. I have started to make lists of things and then picking things up bit by bit, eventually some things are on the list for so long I forget why they are there so I remove them.

    Good luck with everything!!

  • I’ve been going through a massive declutter (mostly inspired by YOU!) and really analyzing the items in my life, their use and how it makes me feel having them around. I had a giant pile of things in my basement and I couldn’t decide if it was worth having a garage sale. Finally this week I just took it all to the Goodwill and it feels so good to have it out of my house! Although another “get rid of pile” has already started forming again…

  • Yay, way to go!
    As for myself, the shopping-ban is going great! I had a set back with take-out food 2 weeks ago (alone at home, bored, family away….. no excuses, but that’s what happened). Except that, right on track with my non-spending goals. Also, I started going for walks at 5h30 am and I really enjoy it. Still dark, not much noise yet, kids still in bed at home. Me time + frugal exercice. And while I am not decluttering at the moment (I don’t own much, personally, and my family is fond of their stuff), iI get the “high” of it and the necessity, at some point, of stopping the decluttering process if one want to keep some stuff in the house! Have a great weekend!

  • I just wanted to tell you that I just found your blog and have decided to stop making excuses for our messy apartment. I told the other half to bring home big boxes from his work because this weekend I’m donating selling and trashing anything we don’t love or need. Reading about your declutter is so inspiring. I live in a 650 sq ft apartment with my boyfriend, large dog and two cats so the idea of purging all the useless junk to make space and help live peacefully sounds amazing, so thank you! Oh and I’ve been meaning to try the divacup :) but I’m nervous so looking forward to the review!

  • Loved the Podcast. It’s so nice to hear your voice! I think it’s a great tool for connecting with your readers in another, different way.

    Your podcast comments reminded me of some studies I was reviewing about practice and repetition increasing willpower capacity, and the “spillover” effect. There was an old article in the New York Times (back in 2008) titled “Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind”, that reported that people who stuck with an exercise program for two months were also able to reduce impulse spending, junk food intake, alcohol use, smoking, television watching, etc. “Other forms of willpower training, like money-management classes, work as well.” You’re living proof!

  • The DivaCup is such a wise investment. I keep trying to convince all of my friends what a great item it is! No more monthly hassle, no health worries about length of use, and so much more environmentally friendly! Most of them are weirded out about the idea, as I was initially… because it’s different that what I was used to. But it’s really SO EASY. I have that and a cotton liner pad that I can wash and reuse. Easy peasy! Thanks for your commitment to this great blog… Very inspiring and helpful!

  • Hi Cait! I just discovered your blog, which I find rather surprising as we’ve been on a “Year of not Buying It” for 9 months now! We started on black Friday 2014 and have been going strong with only a few “slip-ups”; my husband, 18 month old son, our dog and 12 chickens live in Sooke and have been enjoying a year free from accumulating possessions, trading for goods we require (apparently babies grow into Toddlers fairly quickly!) and being able to TRAVEL and create meaningful memories and community instead of consuming <3
    I can't wait to follow your blog from this point on!

    PS. I read back over your first year and couldn't stop nodding my head, how has nine months passed already?! I don't think I can ever go back to mindlessly spending money again!

  • I love the idea of a final declutter! It seems to be a continual process for me and I’ve gotten used to that, but I love the idea of being “done”. Perhaps having 2 kids makes a difference to the process because they are continually growing out of things – clothes, toys etc

  • Cait! Another wonderful post. It’s amazing to hear about all your successes and media recognition. You definitely deserve it, girl. Keep up the good work! Calm.com is wonderful!!! I think I must have found it a few days before you did and it’s a lifesaver. As for the final declutter, doesn’t it feel a little strange? I’ve just started this declutter process about a month ago and I think I’m addicted lol I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see where life takes you! :)

  • Came across your blog on CBC and started a declutter and shopping ban of my own. It was an inspiration and I started questioning what I really need.

    Have fun at your friends wedding :)

  • I’m so excited for you on all your success. I need to go back and read all the posts about your spending freeze. I’m so interested in it.

  • You’re doing a great work with your decluttering and your shopping ban, I’m sure you’ll able to do whatever you want and is ok take some time for yourself only, it serves to recharge batteries:P… ps your pics from hiking are amazing!!!

  • Makes me so happy to hear all is going so well for you!! My clothes shopping ban continues (even into month 7 of pregnancy :) ) and I’m finally getting around to decluttering in preparation for Babywoods. We started setting up her nursery this weekend, which was a great motivator for clearing stuff out and giving it away. So liberating to free ourselves of stuff we don’t need!

  • I just wanted to chime in to say I got the Ruby cup based on your blog comments and today was day 1 and overall I would call it a huge success. I can’t believe it took me this long to jump on that bandwagon and so I’m glad your blog was the catalyst. Save me a lot of monthly money and save the environment!

  • Good morning, Cait. I’ve completed my goal for the week which was to tackle my desk drawers! Small steps in the journey. As of today, I’ve looked at every paper in each file folder in the bottom drawer, thrown out a 4″ high stack of papers, removed 4 files entirely to sit in my steel filing cabinet in another room.
    Which of course, made me look at that filing cabinet… So I threw out over a foot high stack of papers, and a dozen very old torn up folders. Wow. What a difference – both drawers look “almost” done de-cluttering.
    Since I do genealogy for both myself and others, teach genealogy classes, and also write romance stories, I generate quite a bit of paper, some of which needs to be saved for a few years. I’ve dated the folders so I know when to throw out past genealogy lients’ materials. And I’ve also put tags on those stories I want to get started on this fall. I threw out some old papers I’d already put into the computer – don’t need both, since my computer backs up daily to 2 places, and weekly to a 3rd place in the cloud. I’m covered.
    This coming week, the middle and top drawers of my desk are up for de-cluttering.
    So far, so good. Cheers from Vancouver,
    – Celia

  • Congrats on the stellar career moves/press! That reflects a lot of hard work – and high quality – on your part.

    My spending ban isn’t going well (hello, $150 on new bras). Still working on it. The decluttering is better, though. After a meeting today my colleague and I browsed a nearby home decor store. Not only did I not buy anything (yay!), but she looked at a set of mirrors very similar to one I have in basement storage and had decided to bid farewell. She’s taking them off my hands and we’re both delighted with how that worked out.

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