Simplify Sunday- A More Streamlined Life

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” Lin Yutang 

I was going through an old book where I have written down quotes over the years that have touched me. A friend wanted some quotes, so naturally I flipped through my book. I selfishly kept this one for myself, and for you.

As much as I am a doer, someone who must accomplish and be on top of everything, someone who will never forget your birthday… I am also a firm believer in keeping life simple and trying to let things go.

Don’t misunderstand- I often SUCK at letting things go. However, I have made a large effort over the last year or so to do just that. Love and let live. Say no more to things that I just don’t want to do. Stop creating ridiculous tasks for myself that just don’t need to be done. I do still have a running to do list, but I don’t force myself to not relax until everything is done. Sometimes (okay, often) I just sit at home and enjoy the company of my Shibas.

A critical part of my success is minimalism. I have never been able to relax in a messy environment. I’m sure anyone who is into minimalism already knows about Marie Kondo’s book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In the spirit of minimalism, I put it on hold at the library (I almost never buy books. I read very quickly, and just don’t like having things sitting around that I no longer need. I always end up donating them, so I try to not waste my money.) and waited for a few months. This week, it was my turn and I was excited to pick it up. I haven’t finished it yet. I got too excited about going through stuff, and went and did that instead!

Really, her philosophy is very similar to what mine has been for a while- get rid of as much as possible. You don’t need it, you won’t miss it. If it doesn’t give you pleasure, get rid of it. In the YEARS I have been doing this, I know there have been one or two things I have missed, but I literally cannot think of what they have been.

I consider my “things” to be pretty parred down. Still, I regularly go through them and almost always have a bag in my closet where I place things to be donated. This time, I filled six bags. Four will go to Teen Challenge and two will go to a women’s shelter. I noticed I was getting rid of several pieces of warm clothing and a blanket. Honestly, I’m lazy, but my conscience won’t let me out of making that extra stop in the dead of winter. It makes me sad to think of others being cold and wet. So, there were a few items that I was on the fence about getting rid of; but once I realized I would be making the trip to to shelter it was easy. I may get pleasure from looking at this scarf, but I have worn it once. It can make someone else warm, so let’s get rid of it! This post on reallifeofanmsw.com inspired me to try to make better use of the things that I’m donating.

I want to live in a cozy, peaceful environment, and for me I can do that best with no clutter. Then I can cuddle my dogs and be happy with all of the warmth and love in my life.

Jillian

Simplify Sunday- Minimizing the Apartment 

gorgeous kuma For some reason, I’ve been feeling a little more anxiety lately. When I saw this picture of Kuma the Shiba, I instantly felt more calm. He’s just so fluffy, happy, and relaxed. He’s literally laying in a field! What’s more relaxing than that?

A weird thing that calms me down is purging my stuff. I read a post this week by Anne this week that really resonated with me. She touched on how getting rid of physical things can help clear emotional space. That is so true for me. I think some of it probably is based on my anxiety, because I get over the top and sit around thinking about things like “there are too many unorganized pictures in my photo albums. They need to be in order. I’m sure there are even duplicates.”

I know these thoughts are a bit irrational (maybe “a bit” is generous?). However, there is definitely truth to the idea that physical things can hold me back. I love to know exactly what I have and where it is. If I need something, I have it instantly because I know how to find it. If I need to move, I can do so pretty easily because I don’t have a lot of stuff holding me back. I love that concept, I don’t know why. I just know that it gives me peace.

All of this to say- I went through most of my stuff last night. I did everything except my pictures (and, of course, that’s why they’re mentioned above. I’m still thinking about it.) and my one under the bed storage box that I allow myself for sentimental things. Cards, journals, the corsage my great grandmother made me for my prom- that’s all in there.

I found four bags of things to donate. Some highlights include extra throw pillows that are always on the floor instead of my bed and seriously who needs that?!, clothes that will never ever fit again, a tennis racquet I’ve literally used once (and I was so bad that my partner almost strangled me), and a record that I have never heard of and don’t even remember owning. I have a bag of papers to shred from my safe, and threw away a few things.

What’s amazing to me is that I always find clutter that I don’t need. How does it find its way in, and why is it so hard to let go? I’ve talked myself out of getting rid of that d*mn tennis racquet so many times, thinking I might play again. Really?! It’s not.going.to.happen. I love sitting on the couch, and I have the hand eye coordination and attention span of a drunk, blind, one armed squirrel.

I tend to make goals for far longer amounts of time then are manageable. For me, for this week, my goal is to feel peaceful- whatever that may require.

❤ Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- Moving 

  

sleepy shibs Moving is very interesting when you’ve been operating as a minimalist. The last two times I’ve moved it has been pretty spur of the moment, but since I don’t have a lot of stuff; it has been fairly manageable. 

For my latest move, I literally called my sister at 11am and told her I was going to move and she should come help me. I had found seven boxes a few days earlier. I had those and some packing tape, nothing else and nothing packed. I started packing, using the boxes and any kind of container I already owned (luggage, storage totes, reusable shopping bags, drawers, laundry baskets, anything and everything!). 

I had borrowed a mini van, and I packed everything and took over the first load to my new place, which was about 25 minutes away. I unloaded the van, then went to buy a bed. About this time, my sister got to town and met me back at the old place. We easily loaded everything else into the mini van and her SUV. Most of the room in the van was filled with Riley’s kennel 🙂 

We drove back to the new place and unloaded. We were done at 4pm! Packed, loaded, unloaded, and bought a bed in five hours! 

I know it’s silly, but I’ve never loved minimalism more. I felt so proud of myself for getting it done so fast and easily! I also think that my efforts to get rid of everything unnecessary this year really paid off, because I have only found three items to give away in the last two months at the new place. 

Next week’s Simplify Sunday is going to be about how I furnished my apartment, and how much I worried about not buying too much stuff… I like how it turned out. Stayed tuned! 

Jillian 

Simplify Sunday-Yoga Edition

work out areaWhen I look at My 35 Project, I see one area where I need a lot of improvement. I haven’t done yoga even once! Yikes.

Obviously, I had to look at why. Doing something once a week should not be hard. What is standing in my way?

It’s hard for me to work out at home, and it’s hard for me to spend $15 on one yoga class. That’s what it is. It’s also hard for me to spend time doing yoga, when I have a mind block that says it’s more important to do weights or cardio.

My actual belief is that all three are important. Yoga helps me with balance, physically and mentally. It helps me connect my mind to my body.

So, here’s what I did! I made a space where I have a reminder every day to just think about it, if not to try a few poses.

yoga posesI don’t know yoga well enough to make it up as I go along, so I got this cool poster off Amazon!

I just used it, and while the pictures are small (this was the best one I could find), it was really helpful! I’m excited about this new idea, and that I got my first yoga session in.

Silly as the small victory may sound… It’s a big deal for me to pinpoint what’s standing in my way and then actually do something about it. 

Have you had any small victories lately?

💛 Jillian 

Sinplify Sunday- Packing Party

 sunshine and my princessAnne is having a packing party, and I’m kind of jealous. I don’t really want to go to all the trouble, but I love getting rid of things! 

So, instead… What would I do if I were completely starting over? What things would I actually need? Here’s what I got rid of:

  • Two pairs of tights 
  • Three pairs of socks
  • One shirt
  • A Packers foam finger that is just always in the way (sorry, Packers, I still love you very much!)
  • Two pairs of too small leggings
  • Three books
  • An old messenger bag 
  • Small decorative dish 

That’s it. I lost steam. Still, I think that’s pretty good (for someone that recently went through the entire house, and has been doing constant stalking of anything that might be useless!). 

On a related note, while thinking about starting over- how much do we really need, space wise? We are two people and two dogs, and we live in a four bedroom house. Kind of crazy, right? 

A few years ago I lived in a studio, and I loved it. Everything was super organized, and I hardly had to buy anything. Sure, I would have loved to have a closet (there wasn’t even one) for storage, but it made life feel so simple. I know that’s extreme and not for everyone, but it’s something to think about. How much do I really need? How much is just excess? How much good could these things I don’t even use be doing for someone in need? 

Just more of my ramblings 🙂 Happy Sunday, friends!

Jillian  

Simplify Sunday- Gimme Five! 

I am kind of a recycling nerd. I hate that I can’t recycle everything, because I get super freaked out by the idea of piles of garbage sitting around for hundreds of years.

Don’t even get me started on the huge pile of plastic in the middle of the ocean. It’s terrifying. It’s going to take over the world!

Anyway, I read a great book (The Zero-Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst- affiliate link) about living a trash free lifestyle. I don’t think that is particularly achievable for most people- I just have other things that I want to focus on. However, I am incredibly impressed by her.

I did take several things away from it, and one was the Gimme 5 program. Number 5 plastics aren’t recyclable curbside in most communities, but the Gimme 5 program makes it possible. You can either drop your plastics off at a location or mail them in. Whole Foods is one of the participants. So, not fully knowing what to do, I washed and saved all of my number 5 plastics until I had a paper bag full. J was not super impressed with my plastic hoarding, so it was time to take it in.

I’m not great with new things. I like to know exactly what to do, what the rules are, how things are going to play out. This includes something as ridiculous as dropping off a paper bag of plastic.

In my defense… I mean, you guys have been to Whole Foods, right? It’s not really the kind of place where it seems cool to walk in with your bag of garbage and wander around with it. I don’t even really feel that comfortable walking into Whole Foods in the first place. I didn’t even have yoga pants on, and aren’t they required?!

I pulled some nerve out of nowhere and walked in with the bag. I looked for a bin for the plastics, but didn’t see anything. Decided to wander casually around the store. Oh, la la la, I always walk around Whole Foods with my bag of garbage… Of course, in the process, I end up buying $36.06 worth of stuff. None of which was on my grocery list.

Moving on. I realize I am being a psychopath, and go up to customer service and ask the clerk if they participate in the Gimme 5 program. He says yes and takes my stuff. Gives me back my paper bag. That’s it. End of story.

So… In order to simplify my trash output, I nearly gave myself a stroke and spent $36.06. Go me.

However, I now know exactly what to do, and so do you!! All you have to do is save up your number 5 plastics, then take them in to Whole Foods to customer service 🙂 I do feel really good about the fact that those plastics won’t go to a landfill. Obviously the better option would be to not buy them, but we’re talking prescription bottles, peanut butter lids, stuff I need in my life!

You can go to this website to look for a drop off location near you. Does anyone have any other cool recycling tips for me?

Jillian