I'm discovering that El Hubster and I spend more time with our computers and phones than we do with each other. I'm convinced that I would be happier, more fulfilled and possibly improve my spiritual life just by going back to basics.
Today I searched Amazon.com for a place to start. I came across a book by Lorilee Lippincott called Simple Living: 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life. It's only $2.99 on Kindle so I'll probably take the plunge and get it. After my Amazon trip, I decided to search the web for a blog or site that would help me start immediately. What can I say? I love instant gratification. I came across a great one called Becoming Minimalist. You can check it out here: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/
El Hubster and I are gearing up to get a new apartment in the next few months (I can't believe a year has gone by so quickly!) and I thought this would be the perfect time to purge myself of the things I no longer need and think about the benefits of living with less.
The key word there is living. I started wondering if I was really living or just going through the motions of a life.
Would El Hubster and I spend more valuable time together if we didn't use the internet after a certain time?
Would we be healthier if we could walk after dinner instead of feeling compelled to watch television for three or four hours before bed?
Would I take more joy in cooking if my kitchen were less of a mess?
Would I write in my prayer journal or read my Bible a little more?
Would I enrich my life by having friends over and being less isolated?
The answer to all of these questions was a resounding YES!
So, I'm making small steps starting today to make life simpler and I'm going to blog about it along the way. Here are the areas I'm going to get started on...
1. Twitter. I love social media, especially twitter. I love that I can get information in short bursts and I don't have to read any more than those 140 characters. I rarely post because (a) I can't be that clever and (b) I truly am a voyeur when it comes to social media.
I looked at my twitter feed today and realized I was following 60+ people, some of whom never posted anything that even remotely improved my life. I cut that number down to 30 and I already feel better. I'm making a commitment to check twitter once in the morning and once at night before bed. I may get rid of it altogether in the coming months.
2. Facebook. I admit it. I've been afraid to get rid of Facebook. El Hubster did away with it two years ago because he was convinced the government was using it to monitor the public. That may or may not be true, lol! Nevertheless, I was impressed with his courage. How would you know what's going on in your friends' lives? How would you know about family events?
His reply? If I need to know about it, they'll call me.
I've largely stopped posting anything to Facebook but I do keep my account open so that I can get an idea of what's going on with my extended family. But get this? The only people I regularly hear from in my family are my dad and one of my brothers. Why do I feel the need to be tethered to an extended family that his largely disconnected from me and I from them? I'm still working on that one.
Nowadays, I use Facebook to keep a pulse on two group Boards I joined during our struggle to conceive. They kept me sane on the journey and I dutifully check in just once a day to give encouragement and help others. That's all I need to do on Facebook really.
3. Kitchen. Today, I cleaned off my kitchen counter. All that's left is a large wooden bowl where I keep onions, garlic and fruit on occasion and a basket filled with our vitamins. You will not believe how much of a difference this made. The kitchen instantly became a more inviting place. I've had the same set of pots and utensils for several years so I don't need anything new in that department. I've added a large cast iron pot in the last few years. I'd like to get a grill top for the stove and then I'll probably be done.
More recently, I've cut down on the amount of utensils I keep out. I found that the more silverware/dishes we kept out, the more likely we were to use it and not clean it; which leads to more dishes piled in the sink. I don't know about you but dishes in the sink are a real pain in the ass to me. There are days I won't even cook dinner because the sink is piled high with dishes that El Hubster hasn't washed (we split the chores in our home; I cook, he washes the dishes). This causes a lot of strife between us.
Now we're down to two large plates, four forks, four spoons, two butter knives, two coffee mugs and one sharp knife. We still have way too many glasses out. I'll be doing more kitchen decluttering in the coming weeks.
4. Bedroom. Last week, I got rid of most of the useless beauty products I keep on my bedroom dresser. I use to be a lotion addict. I'm that girl who walks the lotion aisle of Duane Reade/CVS/Target/Rite Aid just looking for some new lotion to try. It was a sickness. Yes, I was a lotionaholic!
About six months ago, I found a recipe for DIY deodorant that used extra virgin coconut oil and baking soda. I bought the oil to use in the recipe and I haven't had store bought deodorant in our house since then. We mix up a batch and keep it in a glass container. It lasts us about 4-6 months every time. As a bonus, I also found that the coconut oil did double duty as a lotion and a hair styling aid so I started using it to re-twist my locs as well. As a result, coconut oil is one of the only beauty products I own.
The rest are: four bottles of nail polish(which I'll probably throw out after I publish this post. If I'm honest with myself, I haven't worn nail polish in months and months), a dwindling bottle of nail polish remover that I've had for about two years (shows how much I polish my nails!), small bottle of liquid foundation(which is still pretty full as I only wear makeup on special occasions; not because I'm above makeup but because I'm lazy and don't want to spend the time to apply it), two shades of lip stick (one neutral, one red) and a bottle of Gucci Flora, the perfume I wore on my wedding day. That's it!
5. Linen Closet. In reading these simplicity blogs, I was surprised to find that linen closet decluttering was such a big deal! Then I checked out my linen closet! Currently I have three large winter comforters and two summer comforters. Two of these are in my bedroom just laying around. The others are in the living room for when I can't stand El Hubster's snoring and he's banished to the living room. I really don't need all these comforters. We clearly don't have the space to store them. So, I'll be donating at least one of them. I'll keep two comforters for winter and two for summer, that's it.
A few months ago I got rid of all my flat sheets. I found that it was easier for me to make my bed everyday if It wasn't an ordeal of fitted sheet, flat sheet, comforter...each time. Now, I have 2-3 basic fitted sheets and my bed is complete with a fitted sheet and whatever we're covering with at the moment. It has made life much simpler. I'd like to graduate to just buying some duvet covers eventually but I'm in no rush. Duvet covers are expensive!! I may just buy myself a sewing machine and sew some myself.
My pillow situation is manageable...four pillows--two for El Hubster, two for me--and one body pillow. My pillowcase situation, however, is critical. I need to downsize. If we do laundry every two weeks, there's no need for me to have 10 sets of pillowcases.
6. Bathroom. We keep one large storage box in the bathroom as our medical catchall. This needs to be purged. There's some medication in there that I know is years old. We don't have much storage in this apartment so we were forced to downsize but there's still more that can go. I've got one blow dryer (for when I need to dry my locs quickly). We keep one large bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a first aid kit. I'll be purging the medicine cabinet soon.
My bathroom linens are a problem. I have a weakness for bath mats and towels that must be controlled.
Less laundry = less money spent on laundry.
Stay tuned for more on my quest to Simplify!