Where has the summer gone? I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of August – but there’s something about this month – the month when the pool closes, the month when kids head back to school – that makes the end of the season loom.
Page and I are both keeping busy with work (as always) but are a bit less crazed than in previous weeks. He made time for an annual guys’ long weekend in South Carolina, and I’m getting ready to spend one in Philly with my best friend come Labor Day weekend. Both much-needed breaks!
A couple of people have asked how the house search is going…um, what house search? There’s been literally no time! We both have pointed out that if it was a really urgent need, we’d have made or found the time to go hunt a bit…and the fact that we just can’t get super stoked about searching is a sign that it’s just not a top priority. The time will come – probably sooner than later – but for now, that item is down the list a bit.
What IS at the top of the list is organization, purging, and zen-seeking. It’s crazy times like these recent weeks that force me to re-focus on our balance of schedules, finances, workloads, social commitments, time for R&R, etc. (And to think – we don’t even have kids to add to that equation!)
I started with a book – Organized Simplicity, that was recommended by a fellow blogger. The author’s narratives on overscheduling, overbuying, and oversizing all resonated with me. I don’t know that I picked up a lot of brand new information, but it was rather an enforcement to some things I already knew – even if I’m bad about putting those things into practice. I did learn some new tips and tricks, but the real value for me was the motivation to jumpstart some purging, and reevaluate all of the stuff I’m bringing IN to my house. The author is certainly living the extreme side of simple, but reiterates time and again that it’s about finding what is simple for YOU – not meeting some standard.
For us, simple living won’t mean growing all our own produce or sharing one vehicle, or living in a 600 square foot apartment. None of that is realistic and would add stress rather than minimize it. For us, living simply is about less stuff to sort through to find what we’re looking for, not amassing more things because they’re on sale (this one is specifically for me), having an appropriate amount of stuff for the amount of space we live in, not needing to clean around a zillion knick knacks and piles of stuff, and overall feeling the zen of some time balance between work and play. In short, the ideal – for us – would be to only have the things we LOVE around us, and have the time to enjoy them.
The book is split into many chapters that touch on organizing (and paring down on) schedules/activities, spending (getting finances in order), home making tips, and finally a room-by-room instructional guide for cleaning/clearing/organizing all of the main areas in the home. The latter section was more than I needed – to me the idea of making keep, donate, sell, and toss piles is second nature. I purge way more often than the average person, I’m sure. But for those who really want a cheerleader or who have so many rooms in their house that the project seems like Mt. Everest, this part of the book could be extremely helpful. It is written with the intention that you, the reader, will spend ten days “simplifying” your life…I say use this as a tool to motivate yourself, then take as little or as much time as you need, then check back in with the book every year or so to be sure you’re still on track.
With a pending move (at some point in the near future), I am all about not moving a single thing we don’t have to – another motivator to get purging. I have an appointment scheduled at my favorite consignment shop, Crazy Daisy, in Cedar Rapids, for some of my clothes and housewares. The plan for the rest of it is to store for a garage sale. There’s enough stuff, of a nice enough quality, that just dropping it at Goodwill seems like a waste. I’m still just getting started, but depending on the size of the pile, we may have a sale yet this fall. If it’s a manageable (storable) amount, I’d like to hold out until Spring when our book club is coming together to do a joint sale. For now, it looks like this…
And just in case you thought blogging less was part of my simplifying plan, don’t worry – it’s not! 🙂 I will get back here more often now that the craziness has calmed a tad. One thing I HAVE been keeping up with is my Pinterest pinning! You can follow my boards (including one on simple living!) here. Are you a pinner? Send me a link, I love following new people!
Back soon with more stories – and not just ramblings of purging, I promise. 🙂