Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weeks Ten and Eleven : Keeping on keeping on

Weeks Ten and Eleven: July 18th and 25th, 2015: Keeping on keeping on

The last two weeks were busy with summer activities, work, and maintenance. we didn't do any big new projects. Instead, we maintained. We had friends and family over for lunch and dinner without panic cleaning, allowing s to relax and enjoy having guests over (well, I did make a LOT of salads, but besides that, we didn't do a lot to get ready for company). We did not look at the simplification books at all. Instead, we sat down as a family and discussed how we can keep our home organized and clean.

Looking through chapter 4 from Organizing Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin, we realized that we were already doing a lot of the things the expert simplicitarians recommend! A few of her recommended habits are...

  • Don't put it down, put it away.
  • Clean it up - now, not later.
  • Each person is responsible for his/her own mess.
  • Leave to trace when you use a space (or better yet, leave it looking better).

These are the things we are working on daily. Doing so has freed up our days to cook, garden, read, paint, ride bikes, and simply to breathe.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week Nine: Digital Housekeeping

Week Nine: July 11th, 2015: Digital Housekeeping

Now that we are in the daily and weekly habits of simplifying, cleaning, and leaving no trace in our home, my attention has turned to the digital landscape. I started playing with Social Life Management ( in an effort to limit my social media footprint a bit. I've been minimal on Twitter (but had two accounts), YouTube, Pinterest, etc. but my Facebook footprint is so big I'm surprised a sasquatch hunter hasn't cast it in plaster.

Additionally, I have growing concerns about sharing pictures online to too broad an audience. Not just for security for my family, but more the ego driven part of selfy culture and a tendency to vomit 'look what I can do!' Stuart moments out into the digital ether versus being really present in that actual moment. I say this not with criticism of others, but of absolute admission that I have been doing this for YEARS. Time to stop. We have claimed some simplicity - time to reclaim our privacy and set a better example for our daughters that life is beautiful, moments are precious, and experiences are fleeting. Be in it instead of tweeting it.

So, last night I started cataloging how many pictures I had on Facebook (>5,000 - yup), how many Google+ profiles I had out there (at least three), and all the others. I'm still going to keep a few photos on Facebook, but will try to keep it to <200, and half of them will only be viewable by family members. I already deleted all my Google+ profiles (which I never used - and then had to add one back just so I can use Blogger), my extra Twitter account, and am trying to figure out how to download my Instagram photos and then that may go away too. This is not an effort to cut social media out completely - but to SIMPLIFY what feeds I feed into, what I share and with whom, and to reclaim privacy and the ability to fully enjoy moments without the needs to over share. 

Here's another perspective on why to be in the moment instead of on Instagram or Facebook.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week Eight: Freedom from clutter!

Week Eight: Saturday, July 4th : Freedom from clutter!

As we celebrated our 4th of July, we had the time to relax, swim, grill, and have friends over...all without panic cleaning before hand. In fact, we are finding we have so much extra TIME now, that I was able to take on a couple larger projects over the three day weekend (painting the upstairs bathroom, fixing the downstairs toilet, cleaning and organizing my art room/art studio/woman cave),  sort and organize our filing cabinet, the girls school pictures, yearbooks, and school work from elementary school (they will both be in jr. high or high school next year!)...and STILL have time to chill out outside, watch the new Hobbit movie, and sleep in a little.

We didn't add any new concept or method to the simplification madness this past week, but kept on organizing drawer by drawer, room by room. Our pile for Goodwill keeps getting smaller and smaller each week, and now we'll have an even bigger stack of storage containers to donate. Joe finished up going through his 'memory' boxes so now those can also be stored away.

This week we are doing one thing from Kondo's book: unpacking and repacking our bags each day. We both bike commute, so who needs the extra weight of extra stuff? In my case, I had about 1,000 lip balms, about 2 lbs of loose change, and several pairs of headphones. WHY? So, I cleared out my bag, repacked with just what I needed for the day, and it is a bit lighter and more organized for the effort. And with to work I go!