Taking control of your space (tolerations)

This post was featured in a Simple Saturdays newsletter and I received so much feedback from it, that I felt it deserved to live on the blog as well. You can join Simple Saturdays here

I recently bought something simple that is bringing me a lot of joy…. spoons.

I know, it sounds so boring and basic…. But there has been some unexpected and paramount drama over the years for me and spoons.

We received cutlery for our wedding…16 years ago. And a strange thing happened. As the years passed, the number of spoons we had dwindled.

I couldn’t figure out where they were going (but of course made up some accusatory stories in my head that I won’t let go of #spoongrudge).

At one point, in response to my constant comments about the missing spoons, a loving family member bought me more spoons.

But they weren’t MY spoons! They were replacement spoons!

Every time I reached into the cutlery drawer and felt the curve and weight of the replacement spoons a part of me had Cutlery-Related Tantrum™️.

(Which is very similar to Someone Ate My Leftovers Tantrum™️, or a They Don’t Ship To My Postal Code Tantrum™️)

And this is what I would call a toleration

You may have heard me talk about it over the years.

Tolerations are those little things that wear us down but we don’t give them a ton of conscious attention and we carry on with our day.

Tolerations are the broken things, the unfinished things, the unresolved, the unhelpful things, the clutter, the distractions, the lack of boundaries, the lack of order, etc .

They may seem small – like how a work calendar is set up or a friend’s constant expectation that you will text them back right away – however, they do have an impact.

They make us a little edgy, add to our stress, and give us baseline discomfort.

Then….. naturally, we look for reasons to explain our vague sense of unease and might get blamey towards others or shamey towards ourselves 😬

We use this discomfort as more evidence that what story we have on this must be true. We add to our inner narratives about what it all means (about them, or ourselves, or our lives)

For example, every time I have to use this broken toaster I might reinforce my narrative that ‘we can’t have nice things’

Or when I look at all those notifications on my phone, I might feel this inflamed sense of busyness and overwhelm with my life

Tolerations are often things in our home, but they can be in relationships and systems and habits too.


  • Those pants in your closet you don’t wear but still keep, and every time you look at them you feel bad you aren’t wearing them
  • Not breaking for food throughout the workday.
  • The mere existence of the corner kitchen cupboard.
  • Unfinished projects and plans.

The spoons were a toleration for me.

I was fed up with it, I wanted to take back my power and enjoyment of my cutlery experience.
I used google lens to search for my spoons and found them on amazon for such a reasonable price that I muttered to myself how ridiculous I was to not buy them sooner.

Now, with my 8 new shiny spoons that match the rest of our cutlery, I open the drawer and smile.

So simple.

I KNOW spoons are a first-world problem.

That is a whole other conversation about the fact that many of our North American tolerations are first-world problems.

However, another side to this conversation is the notion of taking back control of your own experience, where you can and how you can.

Sometimes feeling empowered means getting resourceful, working on acceptance, getting scrappy, making due, changing your thoughts on it.

Sometimes feeling empowered means solving, repairing, finishing, delegating, stepping up, addressing the conflict.

What are some of your tolerations?
Where can you empower yourself to make changes?

👩🏻‍💻 READ MORE about tolerations: What Clutter Do You Tolerate?

📝 Get the free Bust Your Tolerations Workbook


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