Episodes

  • We want new stuff and we want it now. The possessions we buy often make us happy, at least for a little while (hello, dopamine!). But before we know it, today's 'it' item becomes tomorrow's clutter.

    On today's show we are examining the psychology behind quick fix thinking. Why do humans tend to prioritize instant gratification over long-term goals such as having a decluttered, minimalist home and obtaining financial security? The good news is we aren't slaves to our DNA, and in the second part of today's episode I'm offering my best thoughts for stepping away from quick fixes - which, by the way, are also almost always to our detriment - and toward intentional but distant priorities.

    Here's a preview:

    [5:45] The psychology behind instant gratification: how quick fix thinking changes our brains

    [9:50] Why it's so hard to make new, positive habits stick (and why it's so easy to pick up bad habits)

    [13:00] 4 reasons why humans tend to prioritize quick fixes over long-term goals

    [19:00] 5 action steps for stepping away from quick fixes and towards what's best for us in the future

    Further reading/Resources mentioned:

    Spying a product and unsure if it's as good as the marketing makes it sound? Send me the product name and I'll do the research for you!10 Reasons We Rush for Immediate Gratification (via Psychology Today)The Real Issue With Instant Gratification (via Psychology Today)

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  • Cooking at home is generally cheaper, healthier, and better for the planet than relying on takeout and meal subscriptions. Still, our busy lives crave convenience: cooking, then, is a self-sufficient skill our culture is in danger of losing.

    Today I speak with blogger Rachael McKennon about cooking at home and cooking from scratch. Rachael understands that feeding a family is hard work, so she's here to offer her best tips, tricks, and hacks to take the overwhelm out of the task.

    Here's a preview:

    [6:30] Convenience versus whole foods: The benefits of home cooked meals

    [11:00] How to fully stock your pantry before cooking a single thing

    [15:00] Kitchen appliances that are actually worth the money (and ones that aren't)

    [21:00] 4 desperation dinners for those nights when you're hangry and unprepared

    * Watch the extended version of this interview on Youtube.

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  • If you are fortunate to embark on vacation with your family this summer, your children will undoubtedly benefit from the experience. There's the need for them to practice flexibility and problem-solving in real-time; there's also the fact that seeing more of the planet will encourage your children to care for its future.

    Yet there's an elephant in the room, and it's this: vacations often come with a hefty carbon cost.

    On today's show - and just in time for summer! - we discuss tangible ways to make your summer holiday more sustainable. Today I speak with travel blogger Samantha Runkel. Samantha has been to a whopping 80 countries and counting and so she's on the show to offer the knowledge she's gained from boots-on-the-ground experience as to how we can be responsible travelers this vacation season and beyond (while also infusing a heavy dose of memory-making!).

    Here's a preview:

    [4:00] Put your money where your (suitcase) is: Reframing the assumption that long-distance is always eco-unfriendly

    [8:00] Carbon offsets: Yay or nay?

    [10:15] Where to find green booking options for your next getaway

    [11:45] What participating in active regeneration looks like for families with children

    [14:30] How and why you should intentionally spread your dollars around on your next holiday

    [17:45] Family road trips that aren't completely wasteful

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    * Watch the extended version of this interview on Youtube.

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  • Many of us signed up for entertainment (streaming television! date night in a box!) and regular home delivery of essentials (toothbrushes! groceries! toilet paper!) at the start of the pandemic. If you’re like me, these days you may find yourself signed up for 10 or more subscription services. Subscriptions can be time-saving and convenient, and specialty ones make great gifts. But if you aren’t receiving the value you expect from the subscription in question, it’s simply a colossal waste of...

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  • Home decor is a lot like fashion: the second we invest in a new piece of furniture or a new decor item, the catalogs and showrooms push a new trend. The items we just bought, then? They’re suddenly out of style. Today I speak with interior designer Jessica Velazquez about curating rooms that are timeless. Jessica believes that style must always support lifestyle: when we play it right, we can design spaces that won’t expire when stores usher in a new...

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  • We want new things and we want them now. Our spending habits put brands on perpetual searches for ways to shorten the time between design, manufacturing, and distribution, and China has stepped up with the technology and the supply chains to meet our needs. Our consumption habits, then, can only be satisfied by purchasing from China. Today’s show analyzes the ethical and environmental implications associated with excessive reliance on the “World’s Factory”, as China has affectionately been dubbed. What does manufacturing...

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  • While minimalism may sometimes seem trendy, the reality is that the lifestyle has been around for centuries. Indeed, ancient philosophies touted the importance of Less Is More living as a means of finding inner peace amidst frenetic daily life. Today I speak with author Jessie Kanzer about first steps toward mental minimalism. Jessie argues that you don’t have to be a Zen master to simplify your cognitions and reduce unnecessary internal chatter; she argues too that enlightenment is about first...

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  • When carbon and fluorine fuse together they create a virtually unbreakable compound. These days, such per- and polyfluoroalkyl (or PFAS) substances are widely used in thousands of products from food packaging to clothing, carpets, and more. And because these chemicals are designed to be unbreakable, “forever chemicals” are adding up in our bodies and in the environment. On today’s episode I’m answering a listener’s question about the group of chemicals known as PFAS by bringing you an interview with Kevin Loria....

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  • It’s no secret that plastic razors are meant to be used a handful of times and then thrown in the garbage. As with any disposable product, if we continue buying them, companies will continue making them. Enter the alternative: safety razors. A safety razor is a steel razor with replacement blades: while you replace the blade (and recycle it!) once it’s dull, the razor itself is made to last a lifetime. On today’s show I speak with Tung Do, co-founder of WLDOHO....

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  • In my corner of the world trees are budding and flowers are blooming. But leaf blowers are also blowing, and it’s nearly time for that first grass cutting. Enter No Mow May. Lawns that aren’t exactly pristine may indeed get your neighbors’ side-eyes, as intentionally not mowing your lawn here in the US is a quietly revolutionary act. But environmental advocates argue that there are many benefits to stepping away from overzealous lawn maintenance, at least for one month. On...

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  • Our master bedrooms *should* be our sanctuaries. While they’re the singular space we retreat to for rest, relaxation, and recharging, all too often our master bedrooms become like any other room in our homes: havens for clutter. Today I speak with professional organizer Amy Mayorga about all-things minimalist master bedroom design. Amy argues that Step One is honoring the purpose of the room: to honor its purpose, we must first ruthlessly declutter. Amy also offers her best organizing tips for...

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  • Lithium is so much more than the name of a (very) famous Nirvana song. Lithium is a metal affectionately known as white gold, and it’s having a moment. On today’s show we are examining the environmental implications associated with our growing lithium needs for batteries in electric vehicles, laptops, cell phones, and more. Here’s a preview: [3:00] Everything you need to know about lithium: its benefits, its drawbacks, how it’s extracted [8:45] The white gold race and the political/economic forces...

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  • What’s better than deep and meaningful connections with those we love? Join me today for this third and final episode in our What’s Best In Life Is Free series as we discuss this importance of rich conversations. Research finds that rich talk is the antidote to the stress we experience in our daily lives, and Dr. Rebecca Rolland offers practical ideas for shifting conversations with your children toward what’s meaningful for the long haul. Here’s a preview: [5:45] The many benefits of...

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  • “I’m stuck between trying to spend as little money as possible while also buying sustainable, timeless items from eco-conscious companies (which often inherently cost more). Even though I’m buying fewer items and using my money more intentionally, I don’t find that I’m saving much. What tips do you have for conscious spending, i.e. spending less without sacrificing quality or values?” Ethical items, quality garments and organic food, oh my: Because eco-friendly purchases are often more expensive than their conventional counterparts, eco-minimalism...

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  • The origins of spring cleaning date back to times when homes were heated by fires: spring, then, offered an opportunity to sweep out the soot and grime that accumulated throughout the long winter. These days, the tradition of deep cleaning in spring rejuvenates our spaces, increases productivity, and clears out dust and other allergens. On today’s miniature episode we apply the principles of spring cleaning to all important areas of our lives for greater clarity and well-being as we welcome...

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  • People who get great sleep get sick less often. They also think more clearly and are better able to maintain a healthy weight. Still, approximately 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today we continue our limited podcast series into how to make the best (free) things in life even better. I have a content-rich conversation with chief mattress maker at My Green Mattress Tim Masters about the fundamental differences between...

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  • The best things in life are free, or so they say. And for moms and dads everywhere, one of the most enjoyable (and free!) aspects of parenting is story time. With this episode the podcast kicks off a new, limited series that dives deeper into the best free things in life. In honor of World Storytelling Day on March 20, I speak with co-founder of Once Upon A PJ Britt Gage about practical ways we can get the most out of...

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  • We all do it: We keep items around “just in case” we need them in the future. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with holding onto things you’ll definitely use again, there’s a threshold in which just in case clutter gets to be too much and goes too far. Today I speak with Krista Lockwood, host of the Motherhood Simplified podcast. Krista argues that there’s a difference between being adequately prepared versus impractically prepared, and impractical preparedness often comes at...

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  • Want to throw a birthday party for your child that’s light on waste but heavy on fun? Does a present-light party intrigue you but you aren’t sure how to pull it off? Today I’m answering listener Gretchen’s question about how eco-minimalists do kids’ birthday parties. I’m first describing how such celebrations look in my house; I also offer practical alternatives for goody bags, single-use decorations, and more. Here’s a preview: [5:00] 5 reasons why you may want to consider...

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  • Despite all the advances in modern medicine and despite all the good advice (ahem … diet and exercise), chronic disease and obesity rates are rising. While there are indeed many reasons, two of them include the reality that products of convenience have engineered out the need for exercise and higher standards of living prevent us from abiding by tried-and-true simple living principles. Today I speak with Dr. Vimal George about the ways in which overconsumption affects our health and happiness....

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