Clutter Love from Fay Wolf / New Order.
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Uncertainty...
 
It's one of the only things we can count on in this life.  At the end of the day, that's a good thing. If we always knew the ending of the story, it'd be a lot less fun to play the game. But uncertainty can also make us uneasy, anxious, or downright terrified -- about work, money, relationships, health, legal matters, presidential elections...or all that clutter staring us in the face, day in and day out. Spoiler alert: the clutter isn’t helping. 

So here's where my uncertain self is at: I don't know what's going to happen. But I always have the power to simplify. To be able to see just a little bit clearer. To make choices that feel like they're truly my own. To stay sane in a world full of chaos. (Sometimes great chaos, sometimes not so great.) Below are some ways I'm simplifying -- in order to feel calmer, stronger, and freer. And to orchestrate a life that allows me to take clear action on my desires and beliefs, in the quickest ways possible.

But before we go further: Thanks for your newsletter patience as I recalibrate + refocus (and, of course, attempt to simplify) after such an incredible book launch this year. I semi-succeeded on my Slow Summer and I'm now working to find a new baseline for the Speed of Life. What I learned from such a huge firing-on-all-cylinders project was that my normal speed (pre-book launch) was much faster than I'd like it to be. So I'm working -- kinda desperately -- to find a new speed where career + health + simplicity always feel manageable. Sounds pretty luxurious, doesn't it? But it shouldn't. This work-in-progress means fewer posts and shares and more uninterrupted creative projects -- while finding new ways to help declutter and simplify your lives, too. Right now, that’s happening in this here newsletter. What up, inner circle. 

Okay, back to the main event.  In our current climate, digital clutter has been the biggest culprit in driving me totally and completely batty. So here are some ways I've been simplifying that part of my life:

--Disabling my Facebook personal account. I did this a few years back for about two years. And as you #NewOrderBook readers may remember from Chapter 4: Less Digital, I felt as though I didn't miss a thing... Quite the contrary, it was heavenly. So I've just disabled it once again. And I'm scared, nervous, (two emotions we shouldn't be feeling when we decide to leave a website, by the way -- which is partly why I did!)...and so very excited.

--Welp, I'm actually taking a social media break altogether! When I first started writing this particular newsletter, about a week after the election, I knew that Facebook had to go. Was I seeing a few incredible and inspiring posts? Of course. But for me, the bad strongly outweighs the good. I don't just mean in post content, but in the time it sucks from me + the clutter it leaves in my brain after it's had its way with me. Furthermore, I've been reading more and more about how social media networks are purposely programmed to feel like casinos. (Keep scrolling through the slot machine, and you just might win!) So this past week, I took action on a Social Media Hiatus -- across all networks. (Cue: terror, morphing slowly into an intense sigh of relief.)

Caveat: I have a separate Facebook personal account, where I'm "friends" only with myself, so that I can keep my FB business pages alive (even while not posting) AND so I can still have access to the very few FB groups right now that I find useful. This is all about choices and what feels right for your own personal freedom.

Some of you creative folk + small biz owners may be wondering, "But don't you need to be on social for your business?" And while I'll save the bulk of that answer for another post, I think the short answer is a clear "Nope." Or at least: "Not always." (If you need a few examples to tide you over, check out Alexandra Franzen and Cal Newport. They have no social media accounts and thriving businesses.) And of course, every business is different and has different needs. Just don't ignore your gut. 

This all said, I'll likely return to social media at some point. (And I'm grateful for the good it has brought.) But I don't have to know if or when. That's the beauty of being a free human! That's the beauty of uncertainty. Of trusting self. Of taking action + leaps and not quite knowing where you might land. Of reminding myself that I'm allowed. (And if any of you are thinking, "Well, she can afford to take those leaps -- she's got gobs of money." ....Nope! No gobs. Not even mini-gobs. Just a choice toward simplicity, which is a choice toward deep breaths of contentment.)


For those who aren't ready to go all-in (or all-out, as it were), or simply have no desire to, here's what I was working on before I started my social media hiatus:

--Setting a timer every time I'm on social networks. You know that dark black hole you slip into within seconds of opening your favorite social media app? ("What did I come here to look for, again?") Every time I snap out of it, I feel like I don't own my soul. (Or lately, like I'm a programmed Westworld robot host who isn't in control of my own thoughts and actions! Eeeeeerie.) So I would simply tell Siri to "set a timer for 60 seconds". Then open Instagram. And then the timer reminds me that my soul is my own. I can choose what I'm there for and quickly escape. (Or, sure, once in a while set a longer timer.)


--Changing the smartphone to grayscale (black/white instead of color -- AKA the colorful slot machine shouting at me to play). Here's my post with step-by-step iPhone directions for how I created a shortcut to easily change it back and forth. And I'm still doing this, because social media is not the only group of apps I get stuck in on my phone.

And what about physical clutter? Oh yeah, that still matters a whole lot, too. 

If I’m feeling the strong arm of digital clutter this much lately, chances are that many of you are, too. Sure, I’m also bursting at the seams to share my own home decluttering projects, but I like to keep these emails easily digestible and this one is already a mouthful. So check out Chapters 1-3 of #NewOrderBook for everything you need to know to jump right into your physical decluttering projects, and I’ll meet you back here next time.


Everything is an experiment -- and gosh, who knows what will come next. But I'm pretty excited to take uncertain action and find out. In the meantime, I hope you'll join me in my pledge to simplify. In whatever ways are calling to you.

Thanks a whole lot for reading -- and here's to a restful holiday season to you + yours.
xFW



“Well gosh, I just think this should be EVERYONE'S holiday gift!”My Mom

Give folks a head start on those resolutions...


 
Watch a short clip from my keynote at the inaugural Etsy Up conference in NYC.
(What a freakin' blast I had there. If you'd like to watch the whole talk, that's here.) 
And to catch you up...

New Order: A Decluttering Handbook For Creative Folks (And Everyone Else) got itself a 3rd Printing! Yeehaw. Thanks for buying + glad it's working on ya!

Better Homes & Gardens magazine featured my mug (and a fancy dress) on the cover of their Stylemaker issue a few months back.
Lookie here.

BONES fan? Brennan + Booth used #NewOrderBook to declutter their house in a recent episode of the hit FOX show. Check out the mention in the first scene of
"The Head in the Abutment". 
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