Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Friday, May 10, 2013

Simple Living

Housekeeping does not always fall on the top of my to-do list. After a full day of crafting with friends and their kids I sometimes have no desire to pick up a trashed house so I just go to bed; sometimes it's my schedule that keeps me hopping so housework has to wait. Mostly it's my desire for fun over work.
Either way when all our stuff is out it can drive me nuts!
I can feel overwhelmed and cluttered.
Like the Wallflowers song One Headlight, I look at my house and think "sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn".

I like things to be simple.
Recipes, relationships, my day.
While not all things can be and are simple there are some things that I have control over that can be simple. While I don't think I've ever lived a super complicated life I have lived a cluttered life, things, over-committed calendar, jam packed full pantry and closet, I've been there and have been slowly working on simple.

Here are a few ways I've cut back.

I've always been a simple party girl. Using household items on hand for decor and keeping presents to one, maybe two. OK, so there was that one Christmas where we bought WAY too many gifts, what a learning experience that was; but for birthdays I've never been a huge, rent a circus, feed the town kind of party thrower. Simple, meaningful, fun.

Our books.
A few years ago I really weeded out our books.
We love books but as I looked around my house I realized some books were better off in circulation where others could read them. I kept a few favorites, the classics and reference books. This freed up not only shelves but pieces of furniture was left empty and given away making our space simpler.

Our checkbook.
By refusing to buy things that serve no purpose or refusing to buy something new that I could get used or on the side of the road it simplified balancing our checkbook. Spending only cash helps with this too but I found that not spending makes things simple.

More recently I've started to simplify our food and meals.
Instead of grocery shopping weekly I look to my pantry and just shop when I really need to. Couponing has allowed me to build up a stockpile but I've found it's simpler to begin eating down on that stockpile as soon as it created. Some weeks I don't even look to sale fliers and saving websites because I'd rather not buy it than to buy it on sale. This does bug me when I wonder if I'm missing out on a really, really good deal or a free deal, but I'd rather have the simpler schedule and simpler pantry.

Most recently I've been working on my closet. Over 20 years ago I heard of a 10 item wardrobe and I've dreamed of it ever since. Each time I thought I was ready to go there I looked at my closet and just couldn't get rid of everything but 10 items. Last week I decided to go for it, kind of.
I packed up the majority of my clothes into the suitcase in the picture above and kept out the essentials. By packing them p and not giving all those extra clothes away I have a sense of security.
Did I just type that?
Did I just put my security in my pile of clothes? I think I did.
Oh no, perhaps I really do need to give those clothes away.

Currently my closet consists of:
2 pair jeans
2 pair shorts
2 pair of jean capris
2 pair of work jeans (mission trip staple)
10 tank tops (my main staple, need to thin this number)
5 t-shirts (traditional kind, wear these on mission trips)
5 nicer t-shirts (my other staple)
2 dresses (rarely wear)
2 skirts
1 button down shirt
1 cardigan
1 black blazer
1 brown blazer
1 white blazer
1 navy blazer
2 dress shirts
1 pair black dress pants
shoes-- lets not address that right now
jewelry -- I have far too much for someone who hasn't changed her earrings since 1999
6 hats
scarves (didn't count, they take up very little space)

I know, far from 10 items and making this list has inspired me to slim down my closet even more.

Wondering what I can do next to live simpler.
Instead of going all out simple I am finding it easier to make one small change at a time.

So I wonder, how do you live simple? 
What idea do you have to share with me?


Missy said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, too. I've got a yard sale pile of clothes growing in the storage room. But your list is very inspiring! I hate to part with books, but when I realize that I haven't cracked so many open in years, I just need to get rid of some. With food, I buy in bulk once a month from Azure Standard. That makes a huge difference - no coupon clipping needed and my pantry is full of unprocessed food. More work to cook with, but it really reduces grocery store time in a big way.

Doris said...

I love that living simply idea!! We have definitely always overbought/overspent for Christmas, but last year I had a different perspective. I don't want to send the wrong message to my grandsons that more stuff is better. Not sure I did a great job of that with my kids growing up. Another really good point you made was regarding buying things just because it's a good deal. I try to stay away from that too unless I need it. Now I must get motivated to simplify my closet too :) Thanks for a great and inspiring post!


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