Things are just easier now.

Having been sick since April 13th, I haven’t done much/any housekeeping.  Sure the dishes were put in the dishwasher; laundry was done when we ran out of undies; and the sheets were washed multiple times because when you have a fever, you sweat like crazy.

Know what else??  The house is still tidy!  Sure, the carpet needs vacuuming and furniture could use dusting.  BUT the house generally looks fine.  The “old” house would have had stuff piling up everywhere.  This is the first time I’ve been sick since we removed 14,680 items from the house (since we began counting).  With less clutter, even being out of commission for 4 weeks, everything looks fine.

Other household chores like going through the mail is easier.  We have gone electronic for most things.  We now get very little physical mail and it is very easy to go through standing at the recycle box.  We also stopped all magazine subscriptions and newspaper delivery.  Today the only mail was a Mother’s Day card from kiddo #1.

Paying bills has been simplified – I have a list in the bill/paper box so I know what needs to be paid and the due dates.  I’m still hesitant to do automatic payment.  We have streamlined so much of this that it takes about an hour to get everything done.  It used to take all day – literally – to get every check written, address envelopes, put all the info into the budget book.  The other thing that weirdly helps is getting paid just once a month.  I get paid the last work day of the month, John gets paid the first work day of the month.  Bills get paid and we know exactly how much we have left for the month.

I’m so thankful we started thinking about simplifying our lives a few years ago and that decluttering and minimalism are aspects that are working for us.

 

Lights

We are finally getting around to putting out the Christmas stuff.  We have so much excess!  It is kind of weird looking at it with our new outlook of living with less stuff.

Why do we have so many UNOPENED boxes of lights?  I’m sure we had a grand plan years ago!  The box is full of used lights for the outside.  How long would it take to untangle them?

Less lights on the house:

  1. less lights to store the other 50 weeks of the year – deluttering win
  2. less electricity used during these 2 weeks – environmental win
  3. less time prepping/decorating for the holiday – less stress win

These all sound like a win-win-win situation for us. Off to the donation center!

 

Back to Work

Vacation is officially over. Both of us are back to work and exhausted!  We need a vacation to recoup from vacation!

It’s amazing to us how you can be busy all day long while on vacation but a week of work leaves you so tired.

Our stress levels were definitely reduced for an extended period giving our bodies time to mend what needed mending.  Do our brains mend while we are destressing?  Seems like we werent’t as forgetful during vacation.

Guess the days of simple living while on vacation help more than we realize.

Decluttering one email Account

I made a realization – you can turn off the notifications for WordPress!  I was receiving an email every time someone we follow posted or commented.  It was driving me crazy!  This specific email is only associated with this WordPress account.  I had to check it each day due to the volume.  This account has been averaging about 150 emails a day.

How easy was it to stop the emails??  Just go to manage the followed sites, click the > to the left of each site, and move the notification button to OFF.

Life just got a little less crazy in our household!!

 

Weird Shopping Realization Today

Several years ago:  I have an hour before the hair salon opens while out doing errands.  It is in Target shopping center.  No worries – I’ll spend an hour in Target.  I’ll have to limit how much time I spend hahaha right!

Today:  I have an hour before the hair salon opens.  Silly me thought they opened at 9 but it is actually 10.  It is in Target shopping center.  No worries – I’ll spend an hour in Target – but it was!  I had a few things to pick up at Target (laundry detergent and dental floss)  Picked up what was needed, looked at my phone clock and it was 9:10.  So now what do I do for 45 minutes???  I wandered around for about 15 minutes, didn’t see anything that “sparked joy” in my loop around the store and said to myself “I’m going to pay and go outside and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.”  By the way, it was in the mid 80’s here today.

I didn’t realize how much my shopping habits have changed until today.  I knew I wasn’t shopping as often, but this was a really weird experience!  Instead of wandering longer in the store (and spending on unnecessary items), I went outside and enjoyed the sun and warmth!  And “reduced” the amount entering our home!

 

January Challenge update #3

So here we are – January 23!  We have been decluttering fools!  We find it hard to believe we are still finding stuff to declutter.

Grand total so far in 2016 – 563 items!

Here are the pictures for the items decluttered for the Decluttering Challenge to remove the number of items corresponding to the date.

The tile for day 16 doesn’t exist in the house any longer – why keep it??  We are also finally to the point we can clear out the excess from the garage after the Great Flood of 2015.  Boxes that weren’t picked up by others are being cut to be recycled.

for blog 16-19 PhototasticCollage-2016-01-23-17-46-48
days 16 and 18: Misc from garage.  Try not to judge!  We should do a before/after pic!  day 17: stuff from around the house.  day 19:  John cleaned his desktop!

 

for blog days 20-23 PhototasticCollage-2016-01-23-17-53-27
day 20: Liqueur John made in 1989!  days 21 and 22: flatware mostly from the RV.  How many people were we thinking would stay in RV with us???  day 23: 23 cd’s from kiddo #2 bedroom.

Declutter Recap of 2015

So here we are – the end of 2015.  We have decluttered so much from our lives!  We are feeling lighter every day with our attitude changes toward stuff,  less commercialization in our daily lives, and simplicity/minimalism.

Some of the biggies:

  • 11,827 items were removed from our house/garage.  And to think, we thought the removal of 2015 would be difficult!  Our modified goal of 10,000 was reached (thanks in part to our house flooding) and surpassed.
  • IMG_2498[1]
    Our 6 counting sheets for the 2015 in 2015 Challenge.  We were tempted to go on a decluttering spree to fill the last page but decided against it tonight.  Party with friends won!
  • 44 donation trips – we averaged one every 8.3 days!  It has been so helpful having a donation box by the front door.  When it fills, out it goes.  We even had the Salvation Army do a pickup of large furniture items.  So easy to do!
  • We are afraid with the number of donations that the IRS will audit us!  Thankfully we took pictures of every item donated!
  • Documenting the number of items, while difficult, was really eye-opening.  Who knew that we had over 400 unworking pens in the pen drawer??  I guess if you have a pen drawer, that should say something!
  • Our closets and drawers open and close without fear of something falling on you!
  • We decided to purchase just one item for each other for Christmas and stick to a $250 budget per person – this was a new concept for us.  John asked for a fitbit surge (and it is a small item to have enter the house!)  Barb asked for a kindle voyage.  She has figured out how to borrow e-books from the library and it is small.  Win Win!  Now to finish going through the boxes of books in the garage!

We have decided to continue the challenge for 2016.  As of today, we aren’t sure we will count for the entire year, but who knows.  We were really surprised at the number of items in 2015.

Thank you Nourishing Minimalism for the push we needed to make this happen!

Our Annual Black Friday “Boycott”

While in college, both of us had to work the day after Thanksgiving – John at a bank and Barb in retail.  The busyness then was nothing compared to current madness.  Stores remained closed on Thanksgiving and opened at 7 or 8 am on Black Friday. 

When we finally got jobs that gave us the day after Thanksgiving off, we avoided shopping. Now, 30 years later, we still avoid shopping this day, even online. 

Our original reasons for boycotting purchasing today stem from having experienced it from the other side with crazy customers on the busiest day of the year. We really didn’t want to experience it from the consumer side!  Now our minimalist, anti-consumerism, simplifying outlook on life influences this decision even further.

Is the “really great deal” of stuff worth it?  Do you really save money when you buy random stuff in the hopes you can give it up someone?   Was the time and stress worth the savings?  Will the recipient enjoy the random stuff?  Do you really need to add more clutter to someone’s life?  Did you enjoy the experience of Black Friday shopping?   

Grandma took the girls one year Black Friday shopping while they were in high school (because Mommy wanted nothing to do with shopping at 6 am)  Both had never experienced the madness of Black Friday. They came home physically and emotionally exhausted, understanding why we avoided the madness.   Neither of the kiddos are shopped today!  

So to those of you Black Friday shoppers, enjoy the crowds!  We are going to be doing something else!  

Does it really need to be connected to the Internet??

We recently read an article in the New York Times (Sep 6, 2015) by Allison Arieff titled “The Not Very Smart Home”.  (Online the title appears to be “The Internet of Way Too Many Things” – not sure why the difference)

Here’s the link.

She seems to hit certain dilemmas in our minimalist/simplification/environmentally-friendly quest right on the head.  We often comment about some of the same things she mentions in her article.

“…a night light that “listens” for your smoke detector to go off and then calls your smartphone to let you know your house might be on fire.”

“Technology is integrated not because it is necessary, but because the technology exists to integrate it.”

Wouldn’t it be better if the night light called the fire department??? Continue reading

Our Day of Rest!

We are declaring today a day of rest, relaxation, and no chores!

We have been decluttering the stuff for 8 months on almost every weekend (wedding and short trip to visit kiddos excluded!)  We’ve eliminated over 10,000 items from our house and garage!  We need a physical and maybe even psychological break.

Today John watched Maryland football win!  Go Terps!  Barb chatted with daughter #2 for over an hour this morning and got the “honor” of relaying info about the game to her (it’s her alma mater!)

We are now off to do something else!  Enjoy your day!