Lightening up our minds and our closets

“Focusing on fewer, yet intentional choices, simplifies life, producing a clearer and less cluttered mind–much like the ways we gain more time and freedom after downsizing a home.”

~ Gail Kauranen Jones

Many of us are feeling saturated these days, between the pandemic, the election, and the influx of information we are receiving about all of it.

There are too many voices asking for our attention. Yet, no one is truly the expert on moving through these unprecedented, historical times. We are all learning together, moment by moment, what new steps to take (or not take).

Plus, we will soon be inundated with holiday messages, suggesting we cram even more into our busy minds and schedules.

To ease the feelings of overwhelm, I continue to simplify my life.

Here are a few changes I (and many others I know) have made:

  1. Reducing the size of my wardrobe dramatically, enjoying having only a few pieces of clothing to choose from—ZOOM gear for video meetings (pretty top with yoga pants), hiking clothes, and the occasional pick-me-up outfit that makes me feel feminine, playful or fun.
  2. Ordering groceries online and having them delivered—particularly those heavy cases of my favorite natural artesian water—helps me feel pampered, supported, and even renewed. The hours not spent shopping free me to spend more time writing or hiking, which are activities I love.
  3. Choosing to offset social isolation by becoming more richly connected, I spend less time on social media (except mainly for business postings or special events like my children’s birthdays). Instead, I now talk weekly with close friends. These relationships have deepened, and we really know what is going on in each other’s lives—from health woes to job challenges, like working remotely or a hybrid of some time virtually at home, and other times onsite at the place of employment.
  4. Spending as much time as possible in nature, which is calming and centering.
  5. Cooking more, appreciating home-cooked meals—especially when I can enjoy them socially distanced on a deck at a friend’s house.
  6. Releasing negativity and toxicity by avoiding the mainstream news media and people who complain versus contribute in a positive way.

I intend to maintain these changes going forward, along with consistently finding ways to feel or express gratitude daily.
In the comments section below, I would love to hear ways you have simplified or improved your life since the pandemic first arrived earlier this year.

In the wise words of Leo Tolstoy: “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”

To inspiring one another forth,


I took the above photo of the open path on the bridge while hiking this week, to clear my head, at Medoc Mountain State Park, Hollister, North Carolina.

CHECK OUT MY RECENT INTERVIEW with Sara Schutling-Kranz by listening to her LIVE BOLDLY podcast  here. We share a powerfully engaging, deep conversation about love, forgiveness and worthiness, with tips for enriching our lives. The podcast includes a segment with some unique insights for preventing breast cancer, or healing faster from it.  You also will learn more about “my four Cs” for moving beyond a life challenge.



Share this post

  • Diane says:

    I too enjoy my time outside. Since working from home due to the pandemic, I ramped up my gardenng, basically doubled the size of my vegetable garden. I have not bought a tomato or pepper in 3 months, rather, can eat them directly from my yard, plus will be able to pull some from my freezer and enjoy them in soups and stir fries over the winter! I love the simple process of nurturing the soil, planting, weeding, tending and harvesting. Very relaxing and wholesome.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks for sharing, Diane: I love the ways you find simplicity in growing your own food and tending to the soil. And, that you get to reap the rewards all winter long with those soups and stir fries! Blessings, Gail

  • Tom Ogren says:

    I usually travel most of the time, but have been COVID stuck since early March. I too, doubled down on my gardening & had great crops of grapes, fruit, tomatoes, peppers & cucumbers. I got ambitious and started, wrote & finished a new novel, ‘Braggin’ Rights. I started walking every morning, and now walk for an hour plus every day on the hills around here. I dropped a dozen pounds I didn’t need.
    But, as far as cleaning things up, reducing clutter, clearing out my closets & attics….well, no progress there at all, alas. Lots of fine advice in your column, Gail.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Tom: You inspire me with your gardening and writing, and losing weight at the same time:). I can’t wait to read your new novel! Thanks for your share. Blessings, Gail

  • Lynn Marn says:

    I absolutely love being out in nature- walking, hiking, sitting, or reading! I cherish hiking with myself or with friends, such as yourself Gail! I love supporting my local florist, The Flower Cupboard, Cary, NC (John and David are the best) with weekly visits to purchase flowers and plants. Of course an occasional caramel latte at La Farm while sitting outside in the sun and journaling is pure heaven. Simple is total joy for me. Life is full of miracles when we stop and smell the roses.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Lynn: It’s so wonderful how in your simple moments you cherish supporting local businesses, in addition to being out in nature and reading. I also like your idea of journaling, which declutters the mind. Blessings, Gail

      PS–I love hiking with you as well, and capturing some great nature photos along the way.

  • Doug Campbell says:

    Great advice, and timely as well!

    For years we have been told that we need bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger wardrobes, more shoes! Ha ha!
    The truth is, the more you have, the more you have to take care of.

    What we neglect to take care of (while in pursuit of material goods) is ourselves. Too much time spent collecting, and not enough time selecting what is really important to us as human beings, which is self-love and nurturing.

    Great blog as always! Looking forward to next week after this election!


    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Doug: I love that line of yours about “too much spent collecting, and not enough time selecting.” Time is such a valuable commodity, and we often don’t realize that until we settle into quiet reflection, and get clear on our key priorities. Blessings, Gail

  • >