Living Simply 2013: Update 2

I've been incorporating the ideas of living simply into my daily life and honestly it makes me smile when I have a moment to sit back and reflect on how my day has been going.  I mena really, they are no longer ideas, ideas are things we think about doing when these ideas are put into motion they are now a part of your lifestyle.  This is the lifestyle I have fantasized about over the last couple of years and it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy seeing, no living it.  Making it my reality.  

As I've covered the first five points covered in Zen Habits I wanted to talk about how I've worked on the next five, points 6-10.  These points are:

  1. Learn to say no
  2. Limit your communications
  3. Limit your media consumption
  4. Purge your stuff
  5. Get rid of your big items
These points totally make sense to me and are areas of my life that I had been working on for a while, especially when I took the opportunity to really shake off the dead weight when my family made the move form Portland, OR to Seattle, WA.  But I'll touch on each item individually.

Learning to say no is huge.  I feel like so many people, myself included feel an obligation to satisfy everyone around us.  It's as though we are afraid that saying "no" will disappoint our friends, coworkers, neighbors etc.  So we say "yes" and then dread every second of our decision.  Okay, so maybe that's not everyone but i'll be honest here and say I have on many occasions and I get so angry at myself for saying "yes" and making a commitment I really did not want in the first place.  Sure we don't want to disappoint others, or even come off flakey or an uncommitted friend or employee but shouldn't we care about our own happiness and well being first?  When I started realizing where my priorities should be and making time for me ad what is important to me saying "no" was no longer hard.  I don't make hard and fast commitments unless its something I truly want to do or something I am truly interested in doing.  I'd much rather say "no" now then saying "yes" only to back out later with some lame excess.  So really learn to say "no" and you'll be amazed by the amount of time you gain back in your life to do the things that are important to you.Limiting my communications and media consumption was pretty tough.  I sort of lump the two together.  After much streamlining of my online activities and the bold decision to cancel Direct TV after years of subscribing I have severely curbed my online media consumption and tv viewing.  About a year after losing my job my obsession for tech news and gossip disappeared; I just didn't care anymore because there was no relevance for it in my life.  The next hurdle was my love of celebrity-centric blogs like Perez.  I had to ween myself off of that but now I'm happy to say that I have done well.  I occasionally catch up on my celebrity gossip via my Pop Sugar app on my iPad or through my weekly delivery of US Weekly, I spend maybe an hour per week on this stuff and this is usually at bed time or during one of those instances that my kids are all playing civilly together.  When I knew I was moving I made the big decision to git rid of Direct TV and to streaming TV.  This has really affected my families television consumption, in a good way.  I try to get in my tv time when I'm working out on the elliptical, especially since the kids don't like being in the room with me while i'm working out, when i'm folding laundry or in the evenings when the kids go to bed.  Getting rid of cable has been one of the best decisions I've made for my family.  I won't get into it but you can read about it here.  The beast that I've been struggling with is the limiting of my communication.  I've been really conscious about the amount of time I spend on my computer and iPhone while my kids are around.  There are a few things they do understand that my iPhone functions as my camera (when I don't have my Nikon at my side) and my calendar, shopping lists, and recipes live online and I will leave my computer open to my "to do" list daily.  As for personal things like email, blogging, facebook and instagram  I try not to get to sucked in while i'm spending time with my kids.  I do carve out time to do these things and I make it known to them so they are aware and understand how long i'll be on the computer.  This system works for now but the phone is still an issue because it is always with me and its almost like an obsession, having to check it.  Talking on it is another story.  I rarely talk on the phone and normally when I do its with my mom.  Time spent talking with friends is normally planned in advance (you know, because we all have kids) and I can make sure that my little Crash is occupied during that time.

I'm a big advocate for twice yearly purging.  Clothes, tchotchkes, furniture whatever.  If we haven't used it I don't want it cluttering my life.  The less clutter in my life the lighter I feel.  This is a no brainer.  When my family made the move to Seattle I seized the opportunity to purge the small stuff and the big stuff.  It felt so good.  I always start with the mantra "if it hasn't been used/worn in the last 6mo-12mo it goes," this is always a great starting point and of course seasonal items are omitted from this principle.  Then I move down the list to "is it broken? if so get rid of it," then finally "do I love it? if no get rid of it."  I used to be a collector.  I collected lots of things: snowglobes, paint by numbers, head vases, vintage stationary, vintage hand beaded sweaters, vintage dresses tons of things.  Then one day I looked at all my stuff and realized it was all clutter.  I decluttered big time and I gave away many of my treasures to others who would love them or I sold them on ebay.  Sure there are things I have that could be seen as clutter but I love them.  I no longer horder because its vintage or cute or old.  I don't understand the thinking of "keep it, its worth a lot," because if I don't love it why am I going to keep it in my home and in my life if I don't truly love it.  Keep what you love, everything else is just stuff.  Stuff you probably don't even need.

Like I said putting my ducks in a row has been a journey.  A journey I am truly loving and living the effects it is having on my life has been wonderful.  The things in my life that I have made a priority are now starting to shine and I am able to devote my time to it.  

Living life on my terms is the only way to go!

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