On Friday I shared my goals and resolutions for the new year but you’ll notice that they were little things. Manageable things that I hope to do because I enjoy doing them and want to accomplish more of them this year. Instead of new year resolutions for my big things that I want to achieve in 2014, I’m going to try something different. When Andrew and I were in Florida in November, we spent Thanksgiving with his family friends who moved down there just a little over a year ago. As we got a tour of their house, I noticed one thing. There weren’t any piles. No piles of paper, laundry, dishes. No stack of books or notebooks or things. I knew she wasn’t hiding them either (like I would normally do) because she was opening closet doors and drawers and such throughout the night. I finally asked her where all of her piles were. She looked at me like I was nuts and responded I don’t have any. I just get rid of if we don’t use it. I’m sorry, you do what? This is foreign to me. I save EVERYTHING. I worry that if I get rid of, I will eventually want back or regret throwing out so I don’t get rid of things. Now granted, when I first found out we were pregnant, nesting kicked in and I was really getting good at throwing things out and taking weekly trips to Goodwill but after the first few weeks, the process slowly diminished.
Afterwards Andrew and I couldn’t stop talking about how they didn’t have any “stuff” and how it was making us want to go through our entire house and start fresh. When we got home he wrote this on our chalkboard in the kitchen and it has been there ever since.
While I saw it every day and it would have been nice to start right away, it just wasn’t in the cards for us. Andrew traveled a lot for work the first half of December and between getting ready for the holidays and seeing friends and family, I didn’t have time to rip every room apart and eliminate before Christmas came. On Cyber Monday I was surfing the web trying to find the perfect planner for the new year when I stumbled on Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner. It was honestly fate and I didn’t even think twice before I ordered it.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m picking a word to live by for the year.
My word for 2014 is Simplify.
With a baby on the way and other major changes that I’ll eventually talk about coming up this year, the best way for me to handle things is going to be to keep it simple. I know that I just can’t say I’m going to live simple though without having a plan. With the help of Emily’s awesome blog posts about the three steps on how to simplify, I have created my own plan on how I’m going to accomplish this daunting but desired skill.
Here’s the thing. I get really overwhelmed with clutter. I keep thinking back to the Florida home we were in and how it just felt so relaxing because there weren’t piles and there wasn’t any extra stuff lingering. I kept telling Andrew that I really didn’t have that much stuff; we just live in a small house so it seems like a lot. That’s not the case though. We may live in an older house with tiny closets but it’s a two story house with three bedrooms and a really good size basement. Honestly as I walked around from room to room when we got back from our vacation, I felt anxiety building. Our basement is FILLED to the brim with boxes of things from home decor to clothes to everything in between. My craft section has every drawer absolutely packed. The spare bedroom is used for my dresser and computer room and that seems to have more stuff in it than it can hold too. It obnoxious and completely overwhelming.
What a sick and sad waste of money. If I wouldn’t have bought half these things in the first place, my paycheck wouldn’t have disappeared before my very eyes like it tends to do. Don’t get me wrong; I am incredibly grateful that we have the luxury of buying and being able to live this life of ours but do you know how many things we have hiding in bins and drawers and closets? I would much rather be able to give them to someone who can use and benefit from them. I mean, it is everything. Home decor, clothes, shoes, kitchen supplies, holiday decor, pillows. Ugh. It’s a heavy weight that I don’t wish to carry into the new year.
The first part to this simplifying process is naming my priorities. I need to understand what I want to accomplish in simplifying my life. Why do I want to simplify? What benefits will it have on my well-being, my family, my home? My priorities are:
1. My family. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be looking around at our house and thinking of all the things I need to do for tomorrow and worrying about them. I want to be able to have dinner with Andrew and our baby and give both of them my undivided attention. I don’t want to just hear Andrew talking but I want to listen to what he has to say. I want my family to know that they are the most important things to me at the end of the day.
2. My relationship with God. I feel like my relationship changed with God in 2013. I opened the bible and prayed when I needed Him but when things were going well, He was put on the back burner. I didn’t visit His house as much as I should have and I want to feel a stronger connection to Him moving forward. Reading His word and opening the bible shouldn’t be something that I check off my to-do list but rather something that becomes a daily habit of mine and is built into my schedule like eating or sleeping.
3. My well-being. This year was a wonderful year and we were blessed in many ways but there were also times that were filled with stress, tears, anxiety, and many other unstable emotions. Even though we can’t eliminate these emotions all together because they are a part of life, I can eliminate some of the causes of these emotions. Not only that but I want to take better care of myself this new year. Eat food that nourishes me instead of satisfying a craving. Listen to my body and understand what it needs instead of what I want it to need. #1 and #2 will help tremendously in this but it something I know I need to focus on in order to make a happy and more stable self.
The second part is to shrink the time suckers. Often times I make lists of things I want to accomplish over the weekend or on a weeknight and I make my list so long because I think I can accomplish more than I physically can. When I get home from work on a weeknight, I look at my list, get overwhelmed, maybe cross off one or two things from it and then I just shut down for the night. It’s no wonder why I get so stressed. Here is a quote from one of Emily’s posts that I couldn’t have said better myself. Distractions are the number one reason why we don’t not have enough time during our day. Distractions are why we end the day feeling frazzled and exhausted. Time suckers are the things (big, small, obvious and not-so-obvious) that creep in and waste our time. They keep us from spending time on the priorities we care so deeply about.
We’ve all got time suckers. Mine are:
2. Physical clutter
3. Feeling overwhelmed because I once again made my to-do list impossibly long for one night/weekend
Yep, that is a bit embarrassing to put out here but there they are. Now what am I going to do about these?
1. Instagram/Facebook/Bloglovin: I love all three of these but sometimes I feel like some of the content on them is not relevant to me and it’s not needed in my life. If I am too far behind on reading my Bloglovin feed, I feel a little anxious because I see that number of unread posts increasing. I feel like people are constantly trying to compete or take the prettiest picture/update the funniest status on Facebook and Instagram and sometimes I feel like I’m behind my game in those two social media areas. I will commit to clearing out those Facebook and Instagram feeds that I don’t feel are needed. No offense to anyone reading this if I unfollow you, I’m just trying to simplify! I will also commit to unfollowing any of the blogs that I don’t feel inspired by or don’t love to read in my Bloglovin feed. This should free up a lot of room and give me more time to read the blogs I fully enjoy.
2. Physical clutter: This was mentioned in the beginning of this post but I am completely purging our house. I started the day after Christmas and have been taking trips to Goodwill every day since then. There are piles of bags and boxes that still need to be donated. Not only will I clean out my house of junk but I WILL NOT BUY useless things anymore. I will think twice before I put another trinket or notepad or makeup product into my Target cart. I will stop donating my entire paycheck to stores I love for clothes/shoes/stuff I love at the moment. I will buy more meaningful instead of just more.
3. Feeling overwhelmed because I once again made my to-do list impossibly long for one night/weekend: Ugh. This one is going to be hard for me. I’ve always been a list maker and have struggled with putting too much on my plate and not letting people help me because I think I can do it all. This is where the home organization binder is going to come in handy. I will only put three things on my to-do list every night. I will set more realistic goals for myself so I don’t feel like I’ve failed to achieve what I wanted to when I go to bed at night. Anything more will be just a bonus. I will take care of my mind and body better so that I can achieve more instead of just quitting because of feeling overwhelmed.
Boom. I said it all. Now I’m just waiting for Lara Casey’s PowerSheets to get here so I can really tackle this head on!
What is your word or phrase you want to live by for 2014? I’d love for you to leave a link to your blog so I can read all about yours too!