Whenever my life feels chaotic (which is often), I begin to turn toward minimalism. Right now, I am in a very busy season at work, and so in my limited spare time I have been bingeing on simple living and minimalism blogs and podcasts. The more complicated my work life, the more I yearn for a simple home life.
As those messages have begun to permeate my subconscious, I’ve decided it’s time to really jump in and start my journey toward a slower, simpler life. I’ve tried this before, but as I am sure you can relate, stuff has seeped back in. I declutter, but then we get new stuff, and things start to feel cluttery again. I try to scale back on my calendar, but events creep in and suddenly we’re triple booked. I quiet those voices in my head, the ones that tell me I need to consume more, to buy the right things in order to measure up to friends, colleagues, strangers on the Internet. But if I’m not careful, the voices are screaming again and I’m feeling inadequate because I don’t have the “right” house with the “right” things in it.
I am fully sold on the benefits of a simpler life. With fewer material things, I will have more time to spend on the things that matter, my friends and family. With more margin in my schedule, I will feel happier and more content, and have more time to be fully present with my family instead of just rushing around from event to event. And if I am more mindful in what I purchase and consume, I will be able to save more money.
I know these benefits, and yet, it is still hard! With two kids living in a small space, it’s really hard to keep the clutter at bay. And I find it extremely difficult to keep my schedule open. School, activities, and social events just seem to keep coming, and I honestly have a very hard time saying “no” to these things.
I really want to reap the benefits of a simpler life, and I’ve read LOTS of materials about how to achieve it, and yet, I still find myself procrastinating on taking the next steps to actually getting us there. That’s why I ultimately decided to start blogging again. I want to see what I can accomplish if I actively work toward simplifying my life. And I want to keep myself accountable and document what it takes to get there.
So, what do I plan to work on over the next few months?
Decluttering: Yeah, I know that everyone in the world and their sister is KonMari-ing their way to joy and happiness. We’re honestly not doing that badly by typical American standards, but there’s always stuff to get rid of. I’ve culled just a few things from my kids’ bookshelf and playroom, and miraculously, they started reading more books and playing with more toys when some of the excess was removed. And they still haven’t noticed what I put away. I need to do this again, as well as go through some of my own junk.
Our Schedule: You can see how packed my calendar for October was above. Looking at my calendar for November makes me want to cry a little. I really want a simpler schedule, and I think this is the part of simple living I will be able to get my family on board with the most. But I don’t know exactly how to achieve this. We have a 6.5-year-old first grader. He’s only in one activity at the moment, Scouts, but man, it’s taking up a lot of our time! And he wanted to join one additional activity that starts next month as well. Our 2.5-year-old doesn’t have any activities yet, but I can only imagine how it will be when he does. Our other issue is that we have a lot of friends (not to sound braggy or anything!), and those friends want to see us. We want to see them, too. So we make time and plan outings, but then we end up overbooked. I am going to take a critical look at November, and maybe even put “do nothing” on the schedule, just so we can protect those few empty days!
Our Finances: My husband started using You Need a Budget and it has been going well. It’s making us both more mindful and intentional about our spending. I hope to improve on this as we go along, and funnel our money toward our goals. I hope that by really making an effort to consume less, we will spend less.
Overall, I want to better live my life according to my values. I value people over things, experiences over stuff, and free time over busyness. But I’m honestly not really living my life in accordance with those values. So my job over the next few months is to really work toward living with those values in mind. I hope this blog will help me make this a reality!