Following on from my last post Balance is a Unicorn this week I’m talking about simplifying.
I couldn’t tell you when it started, I don’t even know why it did but lately all I can think about is simplifying this little life of ours. I think having a child has played a big part in this sudden need for simplicity. Seeing the world through Augie’s eyes has allowed me to really open my own. The joy she gets from such simple things inspires me to find joy in those things too. But I think fundamentally, that desire for the simple life has always been inside me. I’ve always wanted to live a little off the grid, on a nice piece of land, being self-sufficient … to a point (think River Cottage and you’ve pretty much nailed my idea of living the dream).
A simple life has a different meaning for every person. For me, it's about purging out the unnecessary, keeping organised in all facets of life, living more, buying less and finding happiness in the simple things in life. I am a total novice when it comes to simplifying, so if the plans I’ve put in place for my family don’t work for you and yours please be sure to share some that do in the comments below!
Live more freely by living with less. Say whaaaat? This is simply the idea of getting rid of what really isn't necessary in life in order not to feel overwhelmed. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a hoarder, but we somehow have a whole lot of ‘stuff’. And it’s really just that, stuff. It’s not special, it’s not priceless, it’s just unnecessary. So, step one for me is a MAHOOOOSIVE PURGE! This will obviously be a process, but decluttering and ensuring that we have no junk drawers/cupboards/garage (that last one particularly I know is the bane of my hubbie’s existence) is numero uno on the list!
Evaluate your time. What do you actually do with your time? I personally have no idea what I do with mine. It just seems to disappear into some mysterious black hole, along with my money (and that Karen Walker ring I somehow only just realised I lost years ago) … Step two is to make a list of how I spend my time, then evaluate it and redesign my day. What can I cut out, what do I want to spend more time doing (spending time with my family for one)! Time is precious and I want to spend more of it living my life instead of just wading through it.
Learn to say NO. I touched on this in my last post, but saying NO has definitely freed up my time. Saying NO to Clients has been the easy part, it’s saying NO to life that is the hard one. I am a people pleaser by nature, I don’t like declining invitations, it doesn’t make me feel good but this is absolutely one of the BIGGEST stresses in my life. With so little time as it is, giving so much of it to others is a real struggle for me. Learning how to balance the YES’S with the NO’s is definitely a learning process and one that I absolutely have not mastered yet!
Establish routines. I am a very routine based person (something I’ve struggled with since becoming a mama, you can read more about that here) so in theory this one should be easy for me to accomplish BUT having said that, routines tend to go out the door when you throw a child in the mix and so this step actually becomes a massive hurdle! It may sound easy enough to establish a routine, but it’s even easier to fall out of them. I have a fairly good morning routine in place, I wake before sunrise just to give myself some peace and quiet to get ready for my day, have breakfast in peace and watch some trashy TV. I know were not all morning people, so create your own routine, one that makes you happy. Anytime that works for you is a good time!
We also have a solid night time routine in place. At 5:30 pm we eat dinner and start our nightly bedtime routine with August. At 7 pm she is in bed and I get to work. It’s that part of the night that needs some more refining and it’s something I am working on - set work hours, but more about that another time!
Knowing when you have enough. This is a tricky one because I know hands down that we absolutely have enough. I struggle with this – having enough / having pretty things (But they’re saaaaa pretty)! The thing is, in our materialistic society we are always wanting more and more - I am a walking contradiction.
At the moment, for example, I am on the hunt for a new bag, not just any bag, an “investment” piece. Do I need this bag, NO; Do I want this bag, HECK YES! It’s a tough one and I could justify it a million ways (I probably will), but it is all part of the learning process … right? I will get rid of 5 other bags, to buy one new one but does that really even things out and fit in with my plan to simplify? Who knows, but for now … the bag is happening.
Meal Plan and Make Grocery Lists. This one is SO simple. Sit down on pay day and write out your Meal Plan. We have multiples and I recycle the same meals each month and throw in a bit of a statement meal here and there to jazz things up! Obviously we don’t always stick to this plan, but it really helps me keep things simple and organised when it comes to meal prep/time. It also means I have all the ingredients I need and there are no hectic 5 pm drive bye’s at Coles. We have been meal planning since little Miss arrived and it has made such a difference, with very little effort!
Budget. I cannot recommend this enough! Years ago I really got into Extreme Cheapskates and it CHANGED.MY.LIFE you guys! Something just clicked for me and I think that’s when we really sat down and thought ‘what are we doing here …’ we we’re living pay cheque to pay cheque and it was miserable. We’re not made of money now, but we certainly work better with what we have and we have Extreme Cheapskates and our budget to thank for that! Sitting down and creating a Budget can be hard – I used a free template and just tweaked it to work for us as we went along. You can download my Budget Template here.
Minimise your screen time. I completely admit that my favourite past time is sitting/lying in front of the TV whilst scrolling on my phone … double up (be honest, I’m not the only one)! I’m not really paying all of my attention to either, I’m really just zoning out. I love this, it’s my ‘off’ time. I get to zone out and not think about anything … but is it really healthy? At the moment, media is definitely dominating my life and it has a profound impact on my attitude and outlook (helllllur, Instagram anyone!? It definitely makes me feel ‘less than’ in most areas of my life)!
So, I am going to switch off! Oh my goodness, did I really just say that!? I think that the only way to appreciate the full influence it has on my life is turn off. BUT baby steps … Tonight I plan on reading a book before bed, rather than binging on TV … I used to love reading, but can’t remember the last time I picked up a book, it’s time to go back to basics.
Simplifying isn’t an easy process. It’s a journey and it’s one that I’m really only just starting. Wish me luck!
What do you do to live simply? Tips please!
Yours in simplicity,