Editor’s Note: The following is an interview with Courtney Carver of Be More With Less.
Courtney Carver is founder of Be More with Less and Project 333. She left a 15-year career in sales and marketing, September 2011, so that she could focus on fulfilling the goals and values of her simplicity journey. But these goals were not only beneficial to Courtney. Along the way, her personal discoveries have influenced thousands of others seeking new ways to change their life habits for the better. Courtney’s books, blog articles and educational courses have also inspired my journey in many ways. For these reasons, I’m excited to have her as my very first guest interview. I trust you find her perspectives helpful as you read.
Kelvin: What factors weighed into your decision to embark on the simplicity journey to Be More With Less?
Courtney: In 2006, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was my wake up call and it was loud and clear that I needed to make some changes in my life. I didn’t plan to completely overhaul my life, but one change led to the next and now my life is really different than it used to be.
Kelvin: What were some of the immediate changes you made in your life?
Courtney: The first thing I did was change my eating habits. With the research I did, I discovered that a vegetarian diet was best for me. From there I started to eliminate the things that created the greatest stress in my life. That included clutter, debt, shopping, and eventually my job.
Kelvin: What do you recommend for those wanting to simplify their lifestyle, particularly those struggling with letting go of sentimental things?
Courtney: Some things will be easier to eliminate than others, but by establishing why you want to simplify things, you can remind yourself along the way when tempted to keep items of sentimental value. I also think it’s important to note that less is not nothing. You don’t have to get rid of every single thing to experience the benefits of a simpler life. It really looks different for everyone.
Kelvin: When most people hear the term minimalism, they think of an ascetic life. What’s your definition?
Courtney: Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter so you can define and focus on what does matter most to you. And when I say things, that isn’t just physical clutter. It might include things on your to-do list that aren’t essential, toxic relationships, debt, trips to the mall and other things that can seem like a normal part of every day life.
Kelvin: Tell us a little about your other interests such as clothing (Project 333)?
Courtney: In 2010, I really got serious about letting go. I started in my closet because that was the place I visited on a daily basis. I had so much, but never had anything to wear. I also overspent in clothing and fashion. I knew I needed something besides another seasonal closet cleanout, so I challenged myself to dress with only 33 items for 3 months including clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. My first 3 months were October – December in Salt Lake City and we had temperatures ranging from 0-90 degrees.
I thought the experiment would be temporary, but by the end of the 3 months, I knew it would become part of my lifestyle. The best part is that hundreds of people joined in and started their own Project 333 and now thousands from different countries, climates and lifestyles are practicing Project 333.
Kelvin: You’re a vegetarian and have recently committed to take on Joel Fuhrman’s nutrition challenge. How does nutrition weigh into your values on simplicity?
Courtney: The healthier you are, the simpler your life will be. I believe that food is quite possibly the most important factor when it comes to feeling well and being healthy. As a vegetarian, I thought I was eating a healthy diet, but after three weeks of following the Eat to Live plan, it’s clear that there is room for improvement.
Kelvin: Recently you released your latest book, Mini-Missions for Simplicity. What can readers expect?
Courtney: I published my new book, Mini-Missions for Simplicity towards the end of last year and it’s a collection of great experiments you can try to simplify your life. Mini-missions are often one step actions that you can do to improve your health, relationships, bank account or wardrobe.
Courtney, thank you for your time and for sharing with the readers of Going Uncomplicated.