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From USA Today, a write-up on the book, The Heart of Simple Living. Former journalist/ Harvard alum Wanda Urbanska fled NYC and LA 20+ years ago to take over the family orchard in Virginia. “That was the defining moment,” she says. “I embraced the simple lifestyle.” 

More at http://bit.ly/bJJLQh

Here are Ms. Urbanska’s 12 tips for a simpler life.  (#3, 8, 9 and 12 are my favs…what are yours?)

1. Pay bills immediately. As long as a bill is hanging out there in the unpaid category, it occupies mental space.
2. Bring a mug to work. Instead of going through stacks of single-use disposable cups at work, bring your own ceramic mug. Same goes for a water bottle, plate, silverware and any other frequently used items.
3. Spend time outdoors. Whether it’s sunny or overcast, step outside every day to reconnect with nature.
4. Celebrate your victories. In the rush of our lives, too often we allow our “mountaintop moments” to pass unnoticed.
5. Pay in cash. Identify a personal spending trouble spot and shift to a cash-only policy.
6. Save your “petty” change. If you buy a bottle of wine for $9.19, pay with a $10 bill, then put the 81 cents change directly into your piggy bank or an old glass jar.
7. Empty your trash. Staring into an overflowing waste basket makes you feel bloated, while an empty receptacle signals that your slate has been cleared, and you’re ready to move forward.
8. Turn on the ceiling fan. They provide a soothing, low-level whir (the white noise can help you sleep) and reduce cooling bills in the summer and heating bills in the winter.
9. Hang clothes outside. I was overjoyed to rediscover in middle age that my childhood chore of hanging clothes on the line was actually pleasurable.
10. Buy used. It costs less and cuts down on packaging waste, thus reducing your carbon footprint. Second-hand or consignment shops are great places to find clothes, kitchen equipment and even furniture.
11. Disconnect and reconnect. Take time every day to disconnect from electronics. This will open the way for eye-to-eye contact and genuine engagement.
12. Stop and chat. When you’re out for a walk in the neighborhood, or in a supermarket line, make small talk. You will find that “small talk” isn’t small, but big and meaningful.

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