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Simple Living Mamas Tribe! - Page 11

post #201 of 239
Thread Starter 
Bumping this tribe because me-oh-my I need to!

I have really become laxed on this. I have been very depressed and accordingly have had no energy to do anything but be half-assed. It's gotten worse, I am ashamed to admit. So I am bumping this for inspiration and community. It can be discouraging when IRL everyone thinks you're just crazy and that one day you'll "grow up" and be "normal"
post #202 of 239
mag, i hope you feel better soon. i have been feeling similarly, there's been a lot of stress around here.

now we've decided to reinvent our lives. we're selling our apartment, and lot of the contents. my projects for the next two weeks are to ruthlessly declutter, pack up things we'd like to keep but won't be using for some time while we're living in different places, and seriously prune all of our possessions. i admit i'm inspired to get rid of a lot of things i don't like that much because someday i will probably have a little home with things i DO love...that feels good. i don't know when that will be, so it is nice to just release a lot of stuff. i'm looking forward to living with a LOT less...i hope that's what my life looks like for a while.

off to get started already!

*
post #203 of 239
OOOHhhh, i'm in. I've been decluttering like a madwoman for the past year, and still have a long ways to go til i'm happy with what we have left. We live in a tiny house, and it's full of too much stuff we don't need/use.
I think family is starting to get that we don't want "Stuff" though
post #204 of 239
I want to join!

We're striving to de-clutter and simplify our lives. We moved into our first house last October and are still finding the "right" places for everything. I have three boxes waiting for the local ARC thrift store to come and get them...
I'm working on only keeping items that have significant meaning to our family. DH is on board, but he fights between his consumer cultured side and living simply. Sometimes we have to discuss between a "green"-simple purchase and a frugal one, for example: putting carpet into our basement - wool carpet or Low-VOC recycled carpet squares vs. traditional carpet ($8.00 sq ft compared to $2-4.00)
I would rather put in the wool or Low-VOC squares while he would rather put in "cheaper" carpet and save the money.

For me to live simply is to have less stuff, enjoy more time with family and do work that I really love, make conscious puchases, support local, sustainable businesses and eco-friendly organizations. It means spending time with my DD and it doesn't matter what we're doing because she's learning something.
It's about avoiding big box stores, at least ones that have un-ethical practices and making smart decisions/choices about purchases we do make.

Conversely since starting this journey, about the time DD was born, I've found that I don't shop mindlessly as often as I did before. I'll go to a store and find that I wander around and don't buy anything, because I'd rather not spend the money on it.
post #205 of 239
glad to see this getting back here!
post #206 of 239
I feel like I'm stalling. Like, we've done so much (cut back shopping, buy used, gone to one car, bike) that I feel like....well, what else can I do?
post #207 of 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post
I feel like I'm stalling. Like, we've done so much (cut back shopping, buy used, gone to one car, bike) that I feel like....well, what else can I do?


I have this same problem. I try to cut back more, but I think I've left most of the difficult stuff for last. Now, we'd have to turn our home solar or buy a hybrid or start homesteading or something. Seems like we've done most all of the little things.
post #208 of 239
Bump and subbing
post #209 of 239
post #210 of 239
Thread Starter 
Shamelessly bumping this again!

We have been getting rid of a lot of stuff to make us 5 living in our 2 bedroom apartment easier and more tidy. We don't really plan on getting anything much bigger so we are settling into small and simple living.

I have derived a simple meal plan. Basically I focus on a few simple ingredients for each day (like Wednesday is beans and rice) and then each week I make a variation of that (like one week refried beans with spanish rice then the next week kidney beans in brown rice with veggies and spices).

I'm trying really hard to work with what I've got too. I am making a picnic blanket out of all the acrylic yarn I was just going to get rid of (I hate acrylic yarn!) I had a trashbag full of it and decided to use it up instead.

How is everyone else doing?
post #211 of 239
Can I join?! I've been striving towards simple living my whole adult life. When I first set out on my own, my goal was to be able to put everything I owned into one vehicle. I’ve strayed quite a bit from that initial goal in the last few years – mostly because of “nesting”. I don’t think I could ever keep things that simple anymore, especially now with a kid.

But I do strive to be simple in other ways. Since we moved into our first, small house, I’ve been ruthlessly decluttering. I’m a proud to say that I’ve finally let go of lots of childhood mementos. DH has pitched in a little, since our goal is to declutter the basement to make a woodworking shop for him. We also rarely buy things and so we are not really adding new clutter to the house (if I could only get my inlaws to go along with this .

I also try to simplify our lives by meal planning. Lately, I can make 3-4 meals out of one chicken. I cook a whole chicken on Sunday. We eat chicken and potatoes and carrots Sunday night. I use the left-over meat for Chinese stir-fry or for burritos later in the week. I also save the broth and use it for the base in lentil soup, chilly or whatever soup I have planned for the week.

I am planning a simple Christmas holiday season. Everyone is getting homemade gifts. We are hosting Christmas for the extended family this year. I hope that everyone will enjoy all the love that goes into my home-cooked meals and hand-made Christmas decorations.
post #212 of 239
ok, I need some ideas on how to simplify my paperwork stuff. I am completley overwhelmed filling out papers for the gov't assistance, getting documents to them for foodstamps, trying to get my state ID which has been a nightmare, paying bills, making phone calls (That end up taking an hour when I feel like they should take 5 min) etc.

How do you limit the amount of clerical work in your home? This is freaking rediculous, I am doing probably 10-15 hours a week of this. I'd like to have a tent in the woods and not do any of it.

I hate that I have to deal with this stuff.
post #213 of 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
ok, I need some ideas on how to simplify my paperwork stuff. I am completley overwhelmed filling out papers for the gov't assistance, getting documents to them for foodstamps, trying to get my state ID which has been a nightmare, paying bills, making phone calls (That end up taking an hour when I feel like they should take 5 min) etc.

How do you limit the amount of clerical work in your home? This is freaking rediculous, I am doing probably 10-15 hours a week of this.
I have a plastic (s filing box with appropriately labeled folders for all important papers. I keep a "permanent" box with government documents in folders labeled for each family member and then I have a "yearly" box for all applicable tax info and bill stubs. As soon as we get a bill in the mail I put it in a special place and once a week write out checks and immediately file all the bill stubs in their appropriate places. I also sort the mail the minute I bring it in the house and recycle all junk mail and open all "real" mail and organize it. Bills in one pile and important things in another. (Designating this spot has made it possible for DP to help with bills too.)
I probably spend about 1 hour a week on clerical items. I find that if I attend to them on a weekly basis it makes it easier to write the bills, keep track of when they're due and pay them on time. Plus my checkbook balancing is easier as well.
post #214 of 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
I'd like to have a tent in the woods and not do any of it.

I hate that I have to deal with this stuff.
Me too! I especially hate tax time. DH and I always end of getting so tense about everything!

My system for dealing with important financial records has changed over the years. I used to keep everything in the home office, but now that my office is upstairs, I keep things in the kitchen. I have several places or ways of keeping all the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual paperwork.

For the daily/weekly stuffy like bills, I have a "home" binder with pocket folders for each month. As bills come in, I put them in the appropriate folder. Once or twice a week, after DS is in bed, I sit down at the dining table and write out the bills and balance my books. I keep the checkbook, pen, extra envelops, stamps, and calculator, in a decorative planter on my kitchen counter. This way it’s all together and I don’t have to hunt for what I need to take care of the bills. After I write the bill, I record the check number and amount on the bill stub as well as my checkbook. I keep the stubs in the home binder under the appropriate month.

I have a small wire hanging file box/basket for important files (daycare receipts, coupons and rebates, medical receipts, tax-related files, or whatever you need to keep available) that need to be maintained throughout the year. I like the hanging file, because it’s easier to keep organized and find what I need over a flat/stacking file system. I try to make a point of putting important documents in the right file folders as I get them. At minimum, I file things that pile up on the kitchen counter once a week. I keep the file basket and the binder in a kitchen cabinet, out of sight, but convenient enough that I will keep up with it.

In the basement I have a large 4-drawer file cabinet where I store old paper work. All our financial documents are in one drawer. I keep old checkbooks and ledgers in there too. The other three drawers have professional work-related documents. At the end of each year, I move all the year’s documents from the "home" binder and kitchen file to the basement, in order to make space for the new year in the binder and basket file.

Just last Sunday I spent two hours purging old financial documents from 2000 and older out of the file cabinet in the basement. I did this because I was starting to run out of storage space in my file cabinet and I wanted there to be room for this year’s stuff at the end of December. I kept all our tax documents, but I didn’t think there was a need to keep things like my electric bills from 2000.

To make an organization system I recommend purchasing: file folders, a binder with pocket folders, a small hanging file box/basket, and some file-system for "deep storage" of documents from past years (such as a small file cabinet). Look for file folders and binders cheap at the dollar store. You might find sales for file boxes, binders, and folders this time of year at office stores. File cabinets can be purchased used at thrift stores or at university salvage.
Good luck!
post #215 of 239
On simplifying: This semester I finished a phd I've been working on for years. It is so freeing to not have that hanging over my head. On the other hand it's opened a new can of worms: what do I do for work?I can no longer pretend like I'm deciding what to do. I'm back to work full time and it is surely making life a bit trickier. BUT paying off debt with each paycheck lets me know that down the rooad it could get easier.

This semester has been totally nuts (job, kids, life, degree), so I aspire to spend the first of the new year deep cleaning a room per day. We live in a 3 bedroom house, but I feel like stuff gets everyplace and honestly the less stuff the less hassle. My dh isn't as good at putting away the kids stuff, so it ends up a jumbled mess.

Paying off debt is not only freeing because now I can choose how to spend my money (not shovel off money for something I chose a long time ago) but its also freeing because its one less envelope to open and deal with each month.

My paperwork system:
  • binder for important stuff like doctor's records, vet stuff, phone lists, etc.
  • box for "Deal with this week" paper
  • notebook (composition style) for all notes pertaining to finances -- if I call to check balances at the bank, I write it down there. If I plan out how much something is going to cost, I write it there.
  • file bin for folders of old records (7 years of taxes, old cc statements, etc).
  • For other stuff: warrantees, etc. I have a box above my desk that it gets shoved into.
post #216 of 239
Thread Starter 
I find voluntary simplicity is about doing without so this year we are doing something craaaazy for Christmas- we are doing only one family gift.

See I feel guilty about it because I believe you have to wake up to a room full of presents but I am trying to get over that. The family gift is a family pass to The Living Desert. I will be stuffing the girl's stockings with little things (and may find some kids books about desert life as I want to get back to the nature around us) like goodies and maybe knitting needles for my 5 year old and something small like that for my 2 others.

All I can think is what if they grow up and hate me?
post #217 of 239

Simple simple

Ive joined a voluntary simplicity group and Ive been really enjoying myself. I've also been going back and forth like a few other posters of if I should return to a paying job. As of now,I am a SAHM to a 4 yr old. Although we have a good amount of debt,I feel that its more important to be at home with my ds. I'll wait until he starts school to pursue a job.These are precious years. Until then, I am purging,trying to make a few of my gifts this holiday season,and trying to keep myself out of the stores. I do love Etsy though

For Christmas,Ive been adopting the model of the 4 somethings. It was posted on here a few yrs ago:

Something you want
Something you need
Something to wear
Something to read

I'll continue with the model since it fits in perfectly for what I believe in.

Sometimes I even double the item. For example this year I'm getting my dh a shirt with words on it so he can read it and wear it.

Still trying to get more organized.
I need to pack away the summer clothes and go through the winter ones.

I try to sell clothes to a kids consignment place to pick up new things or I will give clothes to children I know.

Right now, we are planning on giving my son a " big boy bed" and decorating his room in a Spider Man theme. My husband is a cartoonist so he's going to draw on the walls. I'm going to make the curtains and probably sell a bunch of things on eBay to pay for sheets and a blanket.


Glad to read everyone's tips and how they are practicing reducing,reusing etc.
post #218 of 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerc View Post
On simplifying: This semester I finished a phd I've been working on for years. [/LIST]
Congratulations!

I'm trying to get that loose end tied up next semester.
post #219 of 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by slsurface View Post
I'm trying to get that loose end tied up next semester.
LOL that "loose end" took me 8 years (+ 2 for my m.s.).

On gifts: my kids (6 and 3) don't know the "giant christmas pile o crap" that was my christmas as a child. But they do know that on Christmas we have loads of fun together as a family -- we usually do a craft/project of some kind, we play a game, we spend time making something for each person. It's a good time, truly without the gifts. And it is so freeing to be able to wrap christmas gifts in 10 minutes
post #220 of 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerc View Post
LOL that "loose end" took me 8 years (+ 2 for my m.s.).
Don't worry...it's been, 9 years in progress for me :. The first four were spent on my MS and the last five have been solely the PhD. It seems like an eternity sometimes! Especially since I was able to earn two BA's in only four years. But then again, I wasn't married and didn't have any kids when I was working on my BA's .
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