Kathleen Delaney with BooksKathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to share the pros and cons of cutting back on stuff.

Murder by Syllabub, fifth in the Ellen McKenzie series, is available in bookstores now. Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym will be out in April 2016.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about minimalizing. The latest discussion I heard was on NPR. Two young men who chose to minimalize described how they went about it. They differed a little on exactly what it meant, and how much downsizing you should do but I think they finally agreed it meant we all have too much stuff.

One of the men had really taken it to heart. He’d sold everything, house, truck, dining room set, and was traveling the country on his motorcycle. I’m not sure this is minimalizing, more like a grand adventure before going back to work, but still, I’m impressed. The other one kept the sofa but made a vow to get rid of one item in his house every day. Now that is a great way to clean out closets and I guess it worked. He ended up with not much. I didn’t hear how big his house or apartment is, but probably small. I didn’t hear how big his dog is, either. Probably not a Great Dane.

This seems to be a popular trend. I’ve seen a lot of articles and advertisements for small houses, really small, 300 sq. ft. small. One thing about something that small, you never have to host Thanksgiving dinner, an advantage, or disadvantage depending on your point of view. I’ve decided it’s an advantage. I have bequeathed my turkey roaster to my youngest daughter. The others already had one.

I liked the idea even before I heard these two discussing it on NPR. For years I’d lived in 2000-3000 sq. ft. houses. That was fine when all the kids were home but over the years it dwindled to just me, the dogs and the cat. Even when I left South Carolina and my 100+ year old 4 bedroom home, I ended up with another one equally as large in Georgia. There was a reason for that. My escrow was closing and I had to find a home on the school bus route my grandkids took and a house that would accommodate a wheelchair. I ended up with a lovely 4 bed home on a 1/3 of an acre. But the kids got bigger and didn’t need to come to me after school, and I got older and had no need for all that house, so…I minimalized.

It’s been great. I have two bedrooms and a loft. One bedroom is large enough for my desk and all the stuff that goes with a home office, and some of the bookcases. The closet is big enough for most of the boxes of books. The wheelchair fits through the door just fine. I thought I’d have a hard time giving up some of my things, like my dining Curtains for Miss Plymroom set, after all I’d had them for years, but when the time came, I parted from them without a pang. The sofa came with me, of course, and so did my big reading chair. The dogs claim the sofa until it’s time for the news in the evenings, and the cat claims the reading chair whenever she feels like it, so I could hardly leave them behind. I’ve found one set of dishes does me just fine, I only need the pots and pans that fit on the hanging rack, and if there are more than four of us for dinner, we’re going out.

There is one place minimizing wasn’t as successful. I actually brought all my bookcases and it seems most of the books. I gave some away, I know I did. Hardbacks to Friends of the Library, paperbacks to the Good Will, some to friends, but my bookcases seem as full as they ever were. Several of them have ended up in the loft and, as there is extra storage up there, some boxes that I haven’t yet opened, labeled “books, assorted”. I wasn’t sure I wanted a loft, but it’s a good thing I have one. I wonder …the wall next to the love seat is empty. Almost anyway. A bookcase would fit there, yes. That would work just fine.

You can only minimalize so much.

Publishers Weekly has issued a lovely review of
Curtains for Miss Plym, saying “an enjoyable sequel to
Purebred Dead, and “ Animal lovers will enjoy this dog-focused
cozy with its appealing characters, both two- and four-legged.”
Kirkus enjoyed spending time with Mary McGill and Millie
and Booklist recommended it to all fans of Laurien Berenson’s
works. All in all, high praise for Mary McGill and her
cocker spaniel, Millie, and their sleuthing skills. Read
excerpts from both books here:

The real-life Millie and her first book

The real-life Millie and her first book


8 thoughts on “Minimalizing

  1. Ms. Delaney, You sound and look like a charming yet witty lady; I actually believe in the notion of minimalizing, and try to make a conscious effort to cut down and cut out many things that have become cumbersome and expensive. Your series sound incredible, too. Thank you for coming onto Lelia’s blog.


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