Simplifying has been weighing on my mind lately. We purchased this home nearly 4 years ago and I haven’t really been able to take all of the things that we have and turn it into a home. Shifting and shuffling seem to be an every day part of life, that is when the stuff doesn’t overwhelm me into a complete lack of motivation. I stumbled upon the blog The Minimalists and was entranced. Afterwards I felt a voracious appetite to read more and more about tiny homes and minimalism. Then suddenly I looked at all of the things cluttering our space and thought “why?”. Why do I need all of this? Why do I have to clean all of this? It just felt like too much.
Now I’m on a mission to simplify my life. And I’m telling you right now that with a family FULL of people that truly adore having mountains of things this will look a lot different than some of my very favorite minimalist bloggers. But it will be ours and I am excited to get on with this adventure. I really think that my frugal nature will embrace this process and I am not going to rush it. I want this to be an ongoing process that involves my whole family in whatever capacity they choose to participate. A journey, not a destination. From baby steps to larger goals and, eventually, hopefully, it will become a way of life for us.
Here is a list of some of the things I have decided to focus on over the next year or so. Hopefully you can find a few things here that will help you simplify.
- Simplify Your Wardrobe – I decided to go for a 40 hanger closet and a small drawer to hold my unmentionables and jewelry. I did this about 6 months ago and it is heaven for me and I intend to write a post in the future about this. Truly life changing. I also went through my 5 & 6 year olds’ closet/drawers with them and we got rid of everything that was ill fitting and not loved. They still have scads of clothes but we pared down probably by half. My 16 year old is also going through her clothing right now and removing everything that she doesn’t feel she will wear again. This is a big step for her because she is a saver.
- Simplify Your Decorations – I have a goal of having a lot of empty space. Not sure how that is going to look in the end but I’m envisioning surfaces with little to nothing cluttering them.
- Simplify Your Food – I’m looking into eating more single ingredient food and fewer processed foods. Buying actual fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy and planning around what is seasonal and what I can get at a price that I like. I want to make sure that I always have a variety of easy to prepare simple foods for those nights where time has slipped away from me and the urge to grab something fast steps in.
- Simplify Your Money – I want to think carefully before spending.
- Simplify Online – Clean it up, unsubscribe, or just start fresh. Then I want to think about the things I do online that are necessary for work or that I find enjoyable and the time I’m willing to spend on any of it and think about reducing screen time.
- Simplify Television – We used to have cable with dvr and thought of it as a necessary bill. We really spent much of our family time and down time in front of the tv and children’s shows were on whether they were watching them or not… usually not. We decided a while back to cut back to Netflix only and we really only miss a couple shows that we plan to rent when they come out on DVD. We also shut the tv off unless we actually decide to watch something. It isn’t the first thing we do when we walk into a room. I rarely watch and neither do the children. Hubby watches in the evening before bed to unwind.
- Tidy as You Go – this is something the entire family needs to work on. We leave things behind. I have 2 coffee cups on my desk right now. Nothing is simple in a mess and we all need to work on tidying ours!
- Something In/Something Out – You’ve all probably heard of this one, lol. But I don’t intend to continue adding to the clutter. We already don’t buy much new but I have a fondness for yard sales, estate sales….. and don’t forget the holidays coming up.
- Simplify Kitchen Appliances – This is a tough one for me because a good gadget can save money… but too many take up space. I wound up getting rid of almost everything that had made it’s way to the back of the “gadget cupboard” including my ice cream maker and my mini deep fryer. I cringed at those because I want to make crispy sweet potato fries and ice cream…. I DON’T. And that is the key for me. I also parted with my second bread machine. I only used it when we were having pizza that night so I could make all the dough at one time. But it sat on my counter full time because they are too large to fit in my cabinets. I thought I would miss it. I don’t.
- Simplify Debt – we have only our house payment and an old student loan but it’s my goal to get on with just paying them. I also want to make sure to keep on time with financial responsibilities and put more away in savings for the future, for an emergency fund, and to spread out some of the expenses that come up throughout the year.
- Simplify Realtionships – when it’s time to spend time I want to be there. Phone away, problems set aside, and BE there. I have also been thinking about some important relationships that I’ve been too “busy” for and some time spent out obligation that could/should be said no to.
- Me Time – Time to just do what I want shouldn’t be something I feel guilty about or like I’m being lazy or should be doing something else. Honestly I’ve always had me time…. I just haven’t always been intentional about choosing what I do with it and haven’t always just enjoyed it guilt free. I want to be more intentional with my me time. If I decide to watch tv, read blogs, visit with my gals on CafeMom, or spend time reading or on a hobby. Then that is what I will do without guilt.
- Simplify Calendar – I have always gone through bouts of detailed to-do lists down to the minute to flying by the seat of my pants….. My next attempt is going to be something in between. I use this free printable from a blog I love to visit Just a Girl and Her Blog. I’m going to write down anything necessary and leave lots of open space if possible.
- Simplify the Bag – Since my first tiny 18 years ago my bags have gotten bigger and bigger and really were a suitable substitute for a diaper bag, and needed to be because I disliked carrying a diaper bag and as a cloth diapering mama always had plenty of bulk to add to any trip. Now that my youngest is 5 I have no need to carry a huge bag. So now I am on the lookout for something quite small that I love. I’ve gotten rid of all of my bags except the one I am currently using and have downsized the contents already to what will fit in a small bag. LOVE being able to find things easier and am looking forward to finding the perfect new bag.
- Simplify Errands – I’m going to try to dedicate Friday morning as errand time. I do shop for groceries 5 days a week but all other errands I’m hoping to be able to do in one shot directly after dropping the kids off at school on Fridays.
- Love it, Use it, or Lose it – this is the stuff purging. I’ve been at this but have a long way to go. It’s a slow process because I am trying to sell things as I go. If you have no desire to do this I applaud you. It’s been a tedious process so far. But I do have some money coming in and am excited to be putting more into savings and more towards my student loan so I am going to keep plugging away at it.
- Simplify Activites & Commitments – I’m all for helping but not at the expense of simplicity. Think of the commitments that speak to your heart and fit in well with your life and don’t be afraid to cut some things out. Allow kids free time. And don’t be scared to say no. Time for nothing or anything is so important to me. I’m unwilling to fill time just because there is time that hasn’t been filled by something else.
- GRATITUDE! I feel like this is far and away the most important. One lesson I would love to pass on to my children is to be grateful and not to live in a state of perpetual desire for more.