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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life in 2010 - Page 4

post #61 of 230
Can I join please? This year I'm really striving for and craving a simpler life. I've been decluttering and have already sent off a few boxes and bags to the Salvation Army. Seriously, why do we have 30 dinner plates when there is only 7 of us and we never entertain? LOL I've pared down my kitchen a bit but there is more to do. I've been staring at my appliance cupboard but haven't been able to part with any of it yet. One day....

My goals are:

1. Less stuff. Less stuff to move around from place to place. Less stuff to clean. I love walking into a room and seeing a clean and clear space.

2. Clear out the toxic people in our lives. They create a ton of emotional clutter. Most of them are now gone but there are a couple of dh's family members left that I am trying to get dh to let go of. They cause him a lot of stress and pain for him.

3. Declutter our financial life. Dh hasn't been working for the past two years for medical reasons and we are in a massive amount of debt right now. We are hoping that once his knee surgery/recovery and back treatments are finished this spring he will be back to work and we can get back to a somewhat normal life. I want to start paying down our debt and I never want to have it again. We don't need to keep up with the Jones' and we'd come to that realization. Never again will we buy furniture, electronics, etc. on credit. If it needs to be replaced it will be cash only or do without.

I'm also looking forward to finishing with the decorating in the house. We've been here a year and we still have a ton of painting to do. Every room in the house was painted a generic taupe colour and it's very drab and so not us. Our old house had a ton of colour and I loved it. It was so cozy and so comforting. This house just feels cold when you walk in. We've painted all the bedrooms and the main bath so far. They next task is the ensuite and then to tackle the main living area, which is a huge job that I'm not looking forward to but will feel a lot better when it's done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
Thanks but the junk mail here doesn't come addressed to us. I'm in Canada and the junk mail I am talking about is flyers, a stack 3" thick is delivered to my door every week! Then we get 3-4 different phone books every year. 3 Sears catalogs. None of these things are addressed to us they give them to everyone.

I got sick of handling the piles 3-4 times before they ended up in the recycle bin. Now we just get bills!
I know someone who is a mail carrier and she told me that if you put a red dot on your mail box that tells the carrier not to leave any junk mail in your box. Apparently they don't advertise it though because Canada Post gets paid for every piece of junk delivered so the more they stick in your mail box, the more money for them. I haven't tried it myself yet.
post #62 of 230
I just painted the inside of my laundry and linen closets and they look so beautiful and clean and neat. I've spent two days carefully arranging the contents in harmonious and pleasing vignettes.

I have always wondered something though, I wonder if anyone can explain for me. I read lots of homesteading blogs, and they often describe their life as simple, when it's full of labor and/or equipment intensive options. One lady had her washing machine hooked up to a bike, for example. Or making your own pasta or tortillas. It's interesting and healthy to do this, and I understand why people do it (because I do myself) but compare taking out all the 3 or 4 ingredients, measuring utensils and mixing apparatus (even if it's just a fork for pasta), then the kneading, rolling, cutting, drying to opening a single box or bag. I know which one looks more simple to me!

So, my question: what does simplicity mean to you, and can you offer insight into why some people call mixing their own detergent more simple than using a single container from the supermarket?
post #63 of 230
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
So, my question: what does simplicity mean to you, and can you offer insight into why some people call mixing their own detergent more simple than using a single container from the supermarket?
To give an example, we cook from scratch 99% of our food. We do buy bags of pasta but do occasionally make it as well. We make all our own sauces, use fresh veggies/fruits and make dough for pizza and bread. I find my pizza dough is tastier as well as my pizza creations and healthier as well.

for example, our school had a cookie dough fundraiser. For $14 a batch, I could have ready made cookies and just put in over and viola! cookies home made (NOT!!!) Our school would get a cut. I first, would rather just write a check for $14 and they keep the entire amount than give them $2 for every batch they sold. Also, got a load of the ingredients in these "gourmet" cookies and the list was an inch thick. Many of the ingredients I cannot pronounce and the words had many constants LOL. One of the ingredients listed at the beginning I did recognize, sodium and wow there was a lot.

OTH, I make home made bake from scratch cookie dough out of local organic flour, lot less salt, organic choco chips, butter, sugar, organic fair trade vanilla, and they are mighty tasty. I can also pre make cookies and freeze them to bake another time.

To make up a batch of cookie dough, it take about 5 minutes and then oven time. The clean up is pretty fast as well. They are fresh, I know exactly what is in them because I made them and its a fraction of the cost (with the better ingredients I bought) than the cookie dough. Never mind the cost of all that garbage ingredients going into my family's belly.

For me, the planning, organizing, and cooking our meals is wonderful and chopping food is a therapy for me. Also eating healthy and seeing what goes into my family's mouth is important. That is more simple than running around and buying take out, ready made etc. For me, simple is taking what you have at home and working with it. Much more creative but better.

A lot of people think my planning takes time, but in reality it frees up so much more to do things I would rather be doing and I am not ever rushing.
post #64 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
I have always wondered something though, I wonder if anyone can explain for me. I read lots of homesteading blogs, and they often describe their life as simple, when it's full of labor and/or equipment intensive options. One lady had her washing machine hooked up to a bike, for example. Or making your own pasta or tortillas. It's interesting and healthy to do this, and I understand why people do it (because I do myself) but compare taking out all the 3 or 4 ingredients, measuring utensils and mixing apparatus (even if it's just a fork for pasta), then the kneading, rolling, cutting, drying to opening a single box or bag. I know which one looks more simple to me!

So, my question: what does simplicity mean to you, and can you offer insight into why some people call mixing their own detergent more simple than using a single container from the supermarket?
I just wrote this paragraph as my first paragraph for a guest post on someone's blog.

"Simplicity is a misnomer. There’s not much simple about living simply. Rather, it is a conscious ordering of priorities. It may be a slowing down which feels simpler or like a return to “simpler times”. But it ultimately is a recognition of the important things in your life, your priorities. And just because you have ordered your priorities and try to live your life within that order doesn’t mean that your life will all of a sudden be simple one."

We just started making our own detergent for cost reasons and wanting to use less chemicals. We also make most of our own food from scratch for most of the same reasons that the pp mentioned. It really is more about priorities, what you value. This comes out loud and clear in the book Your Money and Your Life.
post #65 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by enfpintj View Post
It may be a slowing down which feels simpler or like a return to “simpler times”.
But, none of the examples I gave as being touted as simple allow you to slow down. They require more time, and more effort, more organisation and more stuff.
post #66 of 230
Maybe it just comes down to "simplifying your mind". Mixing your own laundry detergent may be more effort than buying it at a store, but for that period of time your mind is engaged only in measuring and mixing (pretty simple). If you "saved" that 10 minutes (for example), you'd have 10 minutes to spend thinking about money or corrupt politics or pollution (you know, stressful stuff). Just a theory.

I actually have no idea. I just wanted to start posting on this thread, but I didn't want to ignore your question or interrupt the discussion.
post #67 of 230
Quote:
So, my question: what does simplicity mean to you, and can you offer insight into why some people call mixing their own detergent more simple than using a single container from the supermarket?
Perhaps it is the return to simpler times, you know, the days where everything DIDN'T come out of a box . We make our own everything because of my ds's allergies, it is a necessity. It isn't all that hard (especially with my Kitchen Aide-chosen because it replaces several other appliances and therefore takes up less space).

To me simple living is about slowing down and enjoying the every day routines. It isn't about doing things as quickly as possible with the least amount of effort. Having less STUFF to clean and rearrange, less places to hurry off too, less unnecessary distractions (tv, internet, time wasters like that). This leaves me more time for the things I enjoy, time to linger over coffee while talking with my dh in the morning. Time for us to prepare a family meal together (often with lots of help from the kids) from scratch using REAL ingredients. Time to walk to the bookstore on a weekend afternoon instead of rushing to some obligation that is unnecessary and unnurturing.

Simple isn't necessarily about using less utensils or ingredients. Just about life's simple pleasures.
post #68 of 230
I am on a quest for simplicity. It has not been a linear, perfect quest by any stretch of the imagination. More like a journey. In recent years, my house is a constant cluttered mess and I find it messes with my mind/clarity of thinking/ability to relax.

I want my home to be more comfortable than it is, and part of the reason it is not is that we have too much stuff. That said, a lot of it is paper and I have had a problem getting a grip on it. I am an information junkie I guess, and I love to have the resource I need at hand. Other paper just needs to be gone through and tossed or filed. I'm working on that.

DH is currently laid off and some of the decluttering I have been doing has brought in some money for me to get the kids clothes and shoes in the next size that they need (high water pants just don't do it for me!). I am "with" a PP who mentioned needing to reduce the supply of clothes once the kids get a bit older and are well-potty trained. I am working on that with the sizes I am buying now for the kids. I got caught off guard too with the size they are now growing out of and I had way more than I needed.

We are DIY renovating our basement and will be purchasing furniture and shelving once our finances improve. I am trying to make sure each purchase will be well-thought out before we buy. DH is not fully on board and wants a lot of stuff that I would be happy to do without (mostly related to a big TV/entertainment system - ugh - thousands of dollars I'd rather spend differently. What is the appeal for men with all that crap?)

My big goal is to pay off our mortgage within the next 10 years. That would buy us a lot of freedom, without that huge monthly expense in our budget. My DH would like to in principle, but in actuality, he does not think we can do it.

I also agree with the PP who mentions when you have no money you want to hang onto more stuff. I think that DH, who came from an extremely low income family, wants to buy a lot because it makes him feel safe. And he also wants high-end things because it makes him feel like he "escaped". I hang onto stuff to hang onto people - I have a lot of inherited stuff and it is very hard for me to part with it - which is another thing I am working on for myself. In addition, with DH's layoff, it is harder to get rid of things that might have a use someday. Once the dust settles it will be easier for me to part with certain things.

I've enjoyed reading this thread and hope to be able to combine what I read here with the decluttering I'm doing with the 2010 challenge.
post #69 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
But, none of the examples I gave as being touted as simple allow you to slow down. They require more time, and more effort, more organisation and more stuff.
I pasted in the paragraph from something else I had just written. It was not a direct response to what you said, but an idea that the word simple is a misnomer.

Speaking only from our experience, living a frugal simple life has allowed us to slow down. We don't have to work full time outside the home to pay for the convenience things that are full of chemicals and preservatives, etc. Part of the way we got to this point of not needing to work is by cutting out almost all of that stuff. When you don't have to earn money to pay for things you don't need, life slows down if you let it. We focus on our family and not many other things that seem to be part of this fast paced culture.

As I said previously, I believe it really is a matter of spending the time you want on your priorities, your values. In the examples you gave, that would be using less energy by getting exercise or making your own food for health and enjoyment. Simplicity allows you the space to spend your time and your money where you choose. It brings a sense of control and freedom. So while the act may not appear simple compared to purchasing something off the shelf, it finds its place in a life that overall is living by its' priorities. After 12 years of studying and living this way, I believe this is the basis for the voluntary simplicity movement.
post #70 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmansions View Post

My big goal is to pay off our mortgage within the next 10 years. That would buy us a lot of freedom, without that huge monthly expense in our budget. My DH would like to in principle, but in actuality, he does not think we can do it.

I also agree with the PP who mentions when you have no money you want to hang onto more stuff. I think that DH, who came from an extremely low income family, wants to buy a lot because it makes him feel safe. And he also wants high-end things because it makes him feel like he "escaped". I hang onto stuff to hang onto people - I have a lot of inherited stuff and it is very hard for me to part with it - which is another thing I am working on for myself. In addition, with DH's layoff, it is harder to get rid of things that might have a use someday. Once the dust settles it will be easier for me to part with certain things.
Yes, paying off the mortgage does give you lots of freedom. Will he read stuff about simplicity and personal finance? I firmly believe that seeing what other people have done motivates us to believe it is possible for ourselves.

I, too, came from a low income family and promptly spent whatever money came my way. It is so freeing not to be that way anymore which came about through simplicity and frugality. Having money in the bank and no bills is the best way to get that feeling of safety. And not having to work full time for pay is the best escape; not only from a past with little money, but also from what everyone else is doing 40+ hours and week and so many hate and dread.

Good luck with his layoff and the decluttering. Decluttering is my hardest thing to deal with.
post #71 of 230
right, i would say it's about what makes life simple for you.

for example, for a lot of people EC seems like a lot of extra work--and for a lot of people it IS a lot of extra work. but for me, it makes my life simpler because i don't have to wash as many diapers. but for other people, the process of learning signals and such is a great, difficult task, and so washing diapers is simpler for them!

it's really about what you want to do and how you prioritize.

----

as an aside, we are in NZ now and looking at an unfurnished apartment. i think we are going to buy a bed and a table/chair set.

i found the bed we want on clearance. it's has 6 big drawers as the base, and so we won't need a dresser. DS and I need one drawer for clothing (i think DH needs two), and then the remaining two will be for linen storage (sheets, towels, blankets, etc).

the table that i want is a saarinen. oh do i love the tulip table! i have longed for one. i am talking with the seller now to determine if it is a real saarinen or just a knock off. hopefully, it is real. i would love a saarinen.

so, that will get us settled.
post #72 of 230
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosmomma View Post
Maybe it just comes down to "simplifying your mind". Mixing your own laundry detergent may be more effort than buying it at a store, but for that period of time your mind is engaged only in measuring and mixing (pretty simple). If you "saved" that 10 minutes (for example), you'd have 10 minutes to spend thinking about money or corrupt politics or pollution (you know, stressful stuff). Just a theory.

I actually have no idea. I just wanted to start posting on this thread, but I didn't want to ignore your question or interrupt the discussion.
Welcome! I agree and its a great idea. I feel much better when my mind is decuttered. Sometimes that means just talking something out with my DH or letting him do the same to clear things up. Sometimes it takes going to confession (part of my religion) that also clears things up. Sometimes its going for a run or exercise.


OTH, I think everyone has a different need or idea of what is simple. We are going out to a nice place for dinner. We received a gift certificate to go for xmas. Its nice because we might not be able to go otherwise since its $$. We will enjoy ourselves and we will not go out to a place like this for a while but because, it will be wonderful. While someone else might do this weekly or more and prefer a night at home cooking with their kids.

In our city is a restrnt called Frontiera Grill/Toplambamba. They are Rick Bayless's places. Right now, since he won Top Chef Master, its impossible to get into the place and will be for a while. We were watching his show the other day and I said to my DH, I would rather go into his kitchen and learn how to cook what he was making besides him and do that than go, sit down and eat there. It would be more rewarding to watch, learn and do myself. Plus learning. DH replied to me, "Its because you enjoy the ride, not pulling into the station. You always have." Thus the reason I have it in my siggy!
post #73 of 230
i love Bayless's work! I haven't gotten one of his books yet, but i would SO go there as well! He's awesome! Do enjoy when you get to go!


----


saw an apt today; too dingy for our tastes right now. a lot of nice space and a good location, but actually leaking while we were there. yeah, so not a good sign. and the nearest laundry is across town! across *town*. LOL

back to the drawing board!
post #74 of 230
I would love this for our family. We are moving soon and are trying to do a huge purge before then. So, I have a few questions. If these have been asked already, please forgive me.

How many shirts, pants, socks, shoes, etc for each family member?

How many toys for each child?

How many sets of dishes or towels or sheets?

I'm trying to set more specific goals so I can make better choices for what I am keeping. We have been blessed with so much but we really don't need all of it and it's becoming impossible to contain everything. I want our new home to be clean and clear so we have room to live and play.
post #75 of 230
I'd love to join this thread if that's okay.

This year I want to work on two issues - The first being decluttering our home physically and the second issue being simplifying and organizing our life as a family.

Right now I am working on decluttering our home. We are un-organized in general and it always gets in the way and seems to cause much frustration (e.g not being able to find something when you need to). Having less possessions would make the house easier to keep clean and I have noticed that when our home is clean, everyone is much calmer and happier in general.

One of the biggest things for me in initiating this change is finally accepting that I can only do so much and working within that. Also trying to let go of my perfectionism as it's really becoming debilitating.
post #76 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymommy View Post
How many shirts, pants, socks, shoes, etc for each family member?

How many toys for each child?

How many sets of dishes or towels or sheets?
It really depends on your life and the way you do things. Mostly how often you do laundry and how you sort your loads. My son has about eight pairs of pants, but they all go in the dark load, and he's always running out. If more went in with the colored or white loads he wouldn't run out. I know some people have one plate, bowl, cup knife fork spoon for each family member, but we mostly use the dishwasher, and that's not a load, so we'd keep running out of things. I say whatever fits in your space and is used frequently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
saw an apt today; too dingy for our tastes right now. a lot of nice space and a good location, but actually leaking while we were there. yeah, so not a good sign. and the nearest laundry is across town! across *town*. LOL

back to the drawing board!
I thought you'd bought one? Did that fall through?
post #77 of 230
we opted not to buy right away, because DH got a bit nervous about it. he wasn't really getting the space changes.

it's hard to describe how his mind works. but essentially he agrees to be agreeable, and then gets scared and a bit angry if it's not what he expected. so, the apt that we were looking at is great--it is actually quite comfortable in size--but he felt that it was "way too small!" and so we backed away.

of course, nearly every apartment that we are looking at renting is about the same size as the one we could purchase, but he seems happier with that for right now, so that's what we are doing.

-----

in so far as moving goes, you really just have to decide how you want to live to determine what the right amount is. you don't want to feel as if you aren't living abundantly, you know?
post #78 of 230
Our life right now is making me feel like I can't move, everywhere I look I see stuff. I want to look around and see empty surfaces where one can sit, prepare food, eat a meal, etc without first having to move stuff out of the way.

For example, I counted my youngest daughter's clothes. She has 10 pairs of pj's, 25 shirts, 20 pants, 15 dresses, 5 jackets, 7 sweaters, and 3 winter coats not counting what's overflowing in her hamper. That's just her winter clothing, she has about the same amount of stuff for summer. That's just too much and it's all over the place!

I am great at washing, drying and folding but not good at all when it comes to putting away. I guess I thought that if we had less it would be easier to put away. I wouldn't mind doing more loads if they were more manageable.

So maybe if I had the goal of cutting each of our wardrobes by half and see how that goes? I could always put things in bins in the garage until the move and if we don't miss it then I can just take them to Goodwill.
post #79 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
So, my question: what does simplicity mean to you, and can you offer insight into why some people call mixing their own detergent more simple than using a single container from the supermarket?
For me, simplicity is living in a way that promotes a deep sense of well-being and inner peace, with a bigger goal of "less is more" (however that is defined for you). If mixing up detergent achieves this, then great! For me, I'd rather conscientiously buy my detergent, thus freeing up more time and energy to go play in the park with dd or read a book!

I, too, really wonder if homesteading-style simple living is 'simple' at all ... but we are all on our individual journeys. We had a old house and property that was taking up our time and money and energy, and was not brining us any sense of well-being and inner peace, so we sold it and bought a newer condo. That simplified our housing situation immensely! But if different people found deep fulfillment dealing with a crumbling property, it would be a very different experience for them.

To each their own simplicity!
post #80 of 230
what i like about homesteading is the self sufficiency. that said, i am not a homesteader myself. i am inspired by Path to Freedom, though. (pathtofreedom.com)

---

i think that your daughter has more clothing than the three of us combined. lol!

the best way to purge is to begin to ask yourself why the situation is as it is now. how did your daughter come by so much clothing? emotionally, what is going on in regards to that? gifts from others? hand me downs? you buy it? each of these may be creating an emotional response in you that allows it to be and to continue.

the reason that this aspect is important is because if you don't know what that is, even if or when you purge, it will just recollect right back up. it takes *diligence* to purge and then continue to live with less.

right now, we are in a situation where we are purged of nearly everything that we once owned. we have very little with us. we will begin to again collect possessions: bed and linens, kitchen goods, furnishings for our home--sofas, chairs, office furnishings, etc.

all of it seems like *a lot* of stuff to me right now. it may be that we have empty rooms for a while (we will get a bed and linens right away), and that the kitchen is at a very basic state for just the three of us (i keep 6 place settings now so that we can invite guests, have a bit left over for us, and so on).

it will be ok. i will be ok if i do buy stuff. but i will be conscious to buy only what we will use and need, and not be too frivolous!
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