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Simplifying my simplifying

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I don't know if I'm going to be able to articulate this well. I've come to realize that I have WAY too many plans under the general category "simple living." I want to make all kinds of decluttering changes, implement all kinds of traditional activities and rituals for my family, become greener and greener, etc. etc. etc. I know that part of my problem is that I love systems more than details and so I'm prone to scribbling some mad plan in my journal about creating the perfectly streamlined kitchen--while meanwhile the dishes pile up.

Am I making any sense? If so, has anyone had success in dealing with this issue? All of these goals seem so worthy, but I'm letting them distract me from my daily obligations.
post #2 of 41
That is why I joined Flylady.net-- she has a system too, but is constantly reminding us to not get caught up in "creating" our routines/journal- but to focus on one small thing at a time and build it into a habit.
post #3 of 41
I am trying to really declutter, simplify, and organize. And the only way I can manage is to do things in that order. I think having one set goal is great so you are constantly striving for it. Focus on one thing at a time and finish a project before you start another.
post #4 of 41
I have the same problem. I'm great at the planning and envisioning and not so great on the implementing. Joining the decluttering and 1 room challenge has helped me as I feel more accountable that way. I like what the pp said about not starting a new project untill finishing the first. That would probably help me too.

-Pam
post #5 of 41
This is the point where you stop and put your feet up and read a book. Any book. And then remind yourself that your simplified life is going to give you more freedom to attend to yourself and your genuine needs, vs. maintaining all your stuff. Regroup, is my suggestion.
post #6 of 41
I know exactly what you mean, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I'm going to do, almost more than I actually DO.
post #7 of 41
I am the same way. I think part of it has to do with thinking tasks are bigger than they actually are. For instance, our garage is a mess, such a mess. Boxes we never unpacked (we've lived in our house for over a year!), stuff that actually should live in the garage totally disorganized, you know, the usual garage mess. I spent only one hour in there last Friday, and made a HUGE dent - got a load ready for the dump, a box ready for Goodwill, and unpacked several boxes. It made me realize that finishing the whole project would probably only take 2 hours if my husband and I got in there together. I had been thinking it would be at least a 2 day project before that!

So, sometimes it's easier to just dive in and it's not as overwhelming as we think it will be.
post #8 of 41
I do the exact same thing
post #9 of 41
oh yeah....i can tell you anything about anything because i've read all the books about it, but when it comes to actually doing stuff.......no time when you're reading about the next thing!

it doesn't help that i work in a library. perhaps, this is why i work in a library. they say librarians are good on Jeopardy!

i just am, and stumble around all day long. for the most part, as Cartman says, i do what i want!

seems simple enough. doesn't seem like i get much "done" though....is it ever done?
post #10 of 41
I found flylady helpful too although a bit slow for me energy level and current need for less chaos. I keep a notebook with several categories in it with lists of stuff to do. I have House which is broken up into rooms, Garden, Farm, Outside, Projects (fibre and craft related), household sewing mending and household projects. That is as simple as I can get it at the moment but I find as I get the house more and more organized that instead of spending 15 minutes decluttering a room I can use my 15 minutes in that room to do something fun like hang a picture or rearrange a display or do something nonessential or crafty.

I know what you mean. I have a complex thought process and I find it hard to focus on one thing without diverging off on a tangent. This has been useful to me creatively and in my work and as a parent, but not as a housekeeper!
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by phroggies View Post
has anyone had success in dealing with this issue? All of these goals seem so worthy, but I'm letting them distract me from my daily obligations.
I think you just have to start somewhere, with one thing. In hindsight, declutterring might be the best place to begin. Also, take a look at what you REALLY do get done in a day. You might be surprised that it is more than you think. If you are concerned, make a list of your daily obligations, and make that list a priority every day. Then use the plans in your journal as a guide for what to take on next.

On a personal note, I can relate to what you are aspiring to do. We are a homeschooling, traditional-foods, trying-to-be-green family. I too have been trying to create meaningful rituals and celebrations for our family, as well as spend more quality time doing quality things. Sometimes it all falls apart, but more often than not, it is coming together.

For me, I have to take care of myself first. Sounds selfish, but without eating healthy and getting some excercise, I just don't have the energy to do the rest of it. If I take care of myself, everything else falls into place. You can choose what seems most important to you right now, and start there. If you are planning to do traditional foods, decluttering your kitchen and making a meal plan might be the right place to begin.
post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
So many good ideas here that I'm tempted to quote the whole thread in my reply. . .

For those who recommended focus, I agree with you, and that works well for my daily goals--like getting the dishes done. But it doesn't seem to give me a way to make progress on the larger goals, and I'm not quite ready to surrender those. I sometimes feel (from where, I do not know) a pressure to have *all* of my daily obligations completed before I even start thinking about the fun stuff--but the fun stuff is really closer to the root of what I want to be doing. I think that's the heart of my problem.

So I really liked Penelope's suggestion (thinking about how my "simplified life is going to give you more freedom to attend to yourself and your genuine needs, vs. maintaining all your stuff.") because it gives me a bit of a way to sort out which of my activities is most important.

Hibou, I also like what you say about noticing what I actually have done. I actually do have a meal plan in place, and a fairly decluttered kitchen--but (and you'll recognize this from a TF perspective) I end up feeling like I'm not doing enough of all those yogurt, stock, bread, ferment tasks. So I'm washing my dishes and nagging myself for making more headway on the TF front. And we haven't even started homeschooling yet. . . and spring is coming and I need to get ready to garden. . . . aaagh!

I notice that a lot of you who have this problem read a lot or are otherwise interested in ideas and creativity. Perhaps I should just try to turn this into an asset--I'm like this because I like to play with ideas, right? It's a good thing, right?

Lots of food for thought. I'm going to mull it over while doing. . . the dishes!
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by phroggies View Post
--but (and you'll recognize this from a TF perspective) I end up feeling like I'm not doing enough of all those yogurt, stock, bread, ferment tasks. So I'm washing my dishes and nagging myself for making more headway on the TF front. And we haven't even started homeschooling yet. . . and spring is coming and I need to get ready to garden. . . . aaagh!

I can totally relate to that feeling! I think someone in TF needs to start a thread on simplifying! We have been doing this for a couple years now, and it has finally become just part of our natural rhythm. I remember when we started though, it felt all-consuming, and I had to put SO much energy into it! It does get easier tho.

Quote:
I notice that a lot of you who have this problem read a lot or are otherwise interested in ideas and creativity. Perhaps I should just try to turn this into an asset--I'm like this because I like to play with ideas, right? It's a good thing, right?
Yes! You hit the nail on the head there! The idea is not to abandon those ideas and projects, but to make more time and space for them!
post #14 of 41
THIS IS ME!!!!

It feels so good to be not alone in my thinking and planning vs. doing.
post #15 of 41
I can relate-We are starting our homestead, started tradtional foods a year ago, I am always looking for less chemicals/more frugal ways, plus I am trying to beat chronic Lyme disease! For a while I felt like all I was doing is reading, taking notes, and feeling overwhelmed!!!

This is how I am looking at it now. Last year was the year of changing our diet to NT and learning new ways to cook, transitioning to cast iron, making kefir, buying local meat ect. (Of course I am still learning, but I kind of have the hang of things now) We also bought our land/home and moved.

This year I am phasing out chemicals in our body care, home, ect. Notice I am saying YEAR. In the homestead area we are making a chicken coop/buying chicks and working on a garden/orchard area this year. But, my main goal this year is to beat chronic Lyme and then get the metals out so that comes before the other projects in terms of time/money/energy. Then next year we would like to have another baby and farm animals. The next year will be homeschooling. It really helps me to have a year to year timeline because now I don't have to think about homeschooling for 2 more years and can focus on the tasks at hand!

I feel like making major changes can take a long time because we still have all of our normal life responsibilities. I used to feel bad, like I need to get all the chemicals replaced TODAY. Now I just phase stuff out and then replace it with the better thing, kwim? I hope this helps or at least makes sense:

Jen
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by phroggies View Post
I sometimes feel (from where, I do not know) a pressure to have *all* of my daily obligations completed before I even start thinking about the fun stuff--but the fun stuff is really closer to the root of what I want to be doing. I think that's the heart of my problem.
Quote:
I notice that a lot of you who have this problem read a lot or are otherwise interested in ideas and creativity. Perhaps I should just try to turn this into an asset--I'm like this because I like to play with ideas, right? It's a good thing, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by phroggies View Post
I don't know if I'm going to be able to articulate this well. I've come to realize that I have WAY too many plans under the general category "simple living." I want to make all kinds of decluttering changes, implement all kinds of traditional activities and rituals for my family, become greener and greener, etc. etc. etc. I know that part of my problem is that I love systems more than details and so I'm prone to scribbling some mad plan in my journal about creating the perfectly streamlined kitchen--while meanwhile the dishes pile up.
This thread is freaking me out because this is me exactly, especially the first one. I mean, seriously, you need to get out of my head. I feel compelled to always be learning something new or having a new experience, but I have to be in complete, OCD control of it. So, um....do you ever make a list of lists that you need to make?

I am just beginning to make progress with this aspect of my personality, but a big thing for me is to tell myself, "It's progress." The kitchen is cleaner than it was yestereday, the closet is more organized than it was yesterday, the pile of paperwork is smaller than it was yesterday. I have a tendency to obsess over the fact that it's not DONE yet, but I try to remind myself that it's better than if I had done nothing at all.
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
I know exactly what you mean, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I'm going to do, almost more than I actually DO.
This is sooo me, too!

Okay, so I am guessing the way to get around this is do one thing at a time. Pick ONE project/room/area and just DO IT!

One.



Good luck!
post #18 of 41


I finished reading the whole thread. I am a reader. I am embarrassed to tell you how many books I have read on simple living/simplifying...not to mention all the other books I read, many of which I still haven't finished, because I started another book on something else!

I was an art major...

Maybe we need a support group?

Right now there is a PILE of stuff from ds#2's room in the middle of my living room. I figured by putting it all THERE, I'd be more likely to get the job done.Nope.

I still need to damp mop his floors while it is so clean in his room, THEN we can start bringing stuff back in and sorting and dumping.

The pile has been out there for WEEKS.

Sigh.

:
post #19 of 41
I LOVE to plan to organize but almost NEVER actually do anything.
post #20 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennisee View Post
So, um....do you ever make a list of lists that you need to make?
Okay, now who needs to get out of whose head? I do this All. The. Time.

I also feel like newcastlemama is in my head, or at least a somewhat more together version of my head. . . .

One thing I've been doing for about a week that seems to be helping is I drew up a list (of course) of what would constitute being done with the daily chores for the day. I tried to make it as short as possible. My thinking was that I would do that list and then be free to work on other things. As it happens, I work on other things even when the list isn't done. But I make *more* progress on the daily stuff this way, and have done *more* of my fun projects. Why? I have no clue.

Of course, this has only been going on for a week. Give me another week and I'll probably design myself into some horribly complicated version of the above that will jettison the whole thing.

Also, though, I'm trying to let myself take some pride in what I actually have done--this thread has been useful for that.
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