This year, I wanted to start off simple. I wanted to enter a new chapter with a cleaner slate with less of so many things in my life. Last year it was stoked by reading Marie Kondo's books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, and this year it is because of Emily Ley's book When Less Becomes More. I noticed that reading inspired me to cut out more and have less so that I could make space for more of what I love. So, for 2020, my mantra is simply to "simplify" and reap the benefits of less.
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In 2020, I am creating more with less in a few areas of my life where I feel like I need less. There are so many things that bombard me with information, visual eyesores, and stress that I cannot wait to be rid of so that what surrounds me (for most of the time) are what I voluntarily invite in. Our world is full of so much noise now to watch more! like more! buy more! more! more! more! and honestly, I am sick of it.
Now is the era for being more conscientious about what I allow in based on what brings joy to my life. I am trying to be more intentional with how I live my life, conduct myself, and what I "ingest." I already have abundance, why do I need even more when it doesn't necessarily make me happy?
To show you how I am simplifying in 2020, I have made a list of the things I am doing as well as what my family and I are doing to get more out of less, while being better off because of it.
The pictures you see throughout this post are from some of my travels that I really enjoy because they remind me that beauty can be so simple. I will note where each photo was taken as well, in case you want to go to those locations now!
A huge time suck is watching shows and movies. We love Netflix and have gotten sucked into a few shows as well as the movies, but watching something every night has not benefitted us. Usually after Lydia goes to bed we might quick do some chores, but soon after we are on the couch and watching something mindlessly. Not only has this caused us to not get certain projects done (hem hem, the KonMari project, sadly), but it doesn't do anything to build our relationship.
This year, we decided to stop watching stuff during the week. During the week, we are committing ourselves to completing projects, doing chores, reading, playing games, or just enjoying each other's company with a mug of tea. We always find that when we don't watch tv that we feel better and less like zombies. Our motivation is higher to do things around the house and just to do something more involved, like playing a game.
A surefire way for Aaron and I to lose motivation for a night is to have a drink or two. If we have a glass of wine or beer at dinner, we are much more likely to end up on the couch watching something instead of folding laundry. We no longer buy boxed wine because it tempts us on the counter, and we don't buy alcohol during the week unless we are having guests.
Like I said, this goal is directly correlated to us watching tv, so we figured if we cut both tv and booze out during the week we would have a lot more time to do what we need to do and therefore, have a lot more time to do what we want on the weekends.
Social media is a black hole. Unfortunately, it is also part of my job being a blogger and photographer. I go on social media to post for the blog and work, but then I sometimes find that I have been sucked into a vortex of pictures of Pinterest worthy homes in the White Mountains, cute babies, and bookshelves that I drool over. I waste so much time "liking" and being involved in someone else's life that I am not involved in mine.
Lately, when I feel like I am about to go down a social media black hole, I try to put down my phone as soon as I can (preferably not right next to me) and instead pick up a book. When I am with Lydia, I keep my phone on our counter where our charger is so that it is nowhere near me in my living room. I will keep it with me sometimes to take pictures or videos of her, but even that I have tried to cut back on so that she does not feel like everything she does is for a picture.
I have found that by putting the phone down and reading or doing something else that is better for me, I feel much better about myself and accomplish my goals. This has been especially great since starting my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge of reading 45 books, because wasting time on social media means less time completing that goal. When Lydia is playing independently, I would much rather have her look over and see me reading than being on my phone.
Alright, confession time: As a new blogger, I got a little trigger happy with following people. With my business account I recently noticed that I was following almost 1.4K accounts on Instagram. I was embarrassed. That was such a high number and I knew that so many of the accounts I was following I was not engaging with. So many of them I did not even remember following or even felt like they related to any of my interests.
I am still going through all of these accounts and unfollowing the ones that I feel are not for me because Instagram keep throwing an error after I unfollowed so many people. Maybe they think I was hacked, but it was just little ol' me with a social machete cutting through the bush. I am at the point where I only want to follow accounts that align with what I love and are interesting to me. Gone are the days of following willy nilly!
With Facebook, I felt the same pains. I was friends with over 700 people and it felt like my newsfeed was full of people I did not have much of a relationship with, if any. I was inspired by Emily Ley from her book When Less Becomes More because she wrote that the only people she is friends with on Facebook are people she sends a Christmas card. Dang. I did not parse down that much (I still have over 500 friends), but I unfriended around 200 people in one fell swoop. And if I am honest, I want to do it more!
I was friends with old colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances whom I have not spoken to in years. So, why was I still trying to be involved in their lives? With a newsfeed full of posts by people I don't have a relationship with, I felt like I was missing the people I do care about. And it was not a personal thing, I just don't want to clog my newsfeed with what is not serving me. My guess is that many of the people I unfriended will probably not even notice. I wish them no ill, I just needed less social clutter.
A huge reason I feel scared to unfriend someone, especially on Facebook is that fear of possibly seeing that person again and then them finding out that I unfriended them. I fear that they would be upset with me, but I am at a point where I realize I need to let that go. If (and that's a big if!) I see some of these people again, I can always re-friend them again if we hit it off and stay in touch. Guilt is not a good reason to do anything, and social guilt is something I want a lot less of!
I think we can all agree that we have too much stuff. Last year, Aaron and I started the KonMari process, but due to some of the above reasons, we have not truly finished this in our home. However, the KonMari principles have definitely helped us with organizing, but also with buying.
When I am at a store now, I am much less likely to impulse buy something. I hold the item and I take a few moments to think if this item sparks joy as well as if I truly need this item in my home or my life. There are many things I have passed on that I might have bought before, but I know it will just end up in our yard sale pile in a few months and I will never miss it again.
This year I want to "consume" much less. I want to be intentional with my purchases and be aware of what I am spending my money on, as well as why. Why am I spending money on this particular thing? Does it spark joy? Do I need this? Is this within our budget? Those questions have made me feel like I am getting much better about not buying for the sake of buying and lowering the amount of stuff that comes into my small home. Now when we do buy something, it adds to our lives because it was purchased with intention.
In the same vein as buying less, I am striving for less clutter. Now that Aaron and I have some goals set for ourselves, we are confident that we can complete the KonMari process. Going through our house with the KonMari process has greatly benefitted us and the areas of our home where we have tidied have stayed tidy. The less clutter and stuff we have around, the less of a mess we make on a daily basis, and the less time we spend cleaning, all of which equates to more time spent doing what we enjoy.
Having less stuff has only improved our lives and everything we have gotten rid of has not been missed. With less around, cleanup has gotten easier and we get to spend more time with each other. Since we did the KonMari process early on with Lydia, she will grow up learning how to tidy and find joy with less stuff. I will not surprised but also surprised with how good it felt to have less in our home because it really has made a huge difference.
Are you working on having less to get more? What are some ways that you are creating more space for the goodies of life? How are you doing/buying/keeping/etc. less? Comment below with how you are doing this!