Tag Archives: simplify

Simplifying the Laundry Closet

Our “Laundry Room” is more of a hallway closet than it is a room, but it does have some nice storage space. Life has a habit of getting busier and busier (thus “Project Simplify” for the month of August). One thing that happens with a busy schedule is a directly correlating increase in clutter…and laundry.

This past weekend was the first real weekend I’ve had off in about 6 weeks (more like a year and a half for my husband). So, we did some little organization things that we’ve been meaning to do for some time. The first thing I tackled was the laundry closet. It’s where we keep many of our frequently used tools and less frequently used kitchen items (like the large crockpots, coffee urns for parties, etc.), and laundry supplies, of course.

I couldn’t bring myself to take a BEFORE picture, but here’s the AFTER:

Pegboards are a wonderful thing. And I started using my old compost bin for lint trash.

Shelves for Laundry and Party Supplies. Green bag for giveaway items. Note: a towel rack hung above the drier works perfectly for a drying rack (thank you to the previous homeowners for installing that). 

I still want to add an extra shelf above the back of the washer and dryer, so things can’t fall back there. And that will give more space for work shoes, laundry detergent supplies, etc. It just looks so much nicer now!

Advertisements

Celebrating “National Simplify Your Life Week” All Month Long!

August 1st through August 7th is “National Simplify Your Life Week!” And with as busy as our lives have been, I’ve decided to celebrate this concept during the entire month of August. My goal is to get back to the essentials and simplify things – this will likely include posts on meditating, learning to be still, organizing various rooms of the house, and more. So stay tuned!

For this first celebration post, I thought I’d share some of my favorite organization pictures that I’ve found on Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I love having a place for everything and everything in its place!

I love window seats! Several ideas turn bookshelves on their sides and add cushions to the tops. I’d recommend checking out end of summer clearance sales for outdoor furniture cushions. You can always recover with different fabric if you don’t like the clearance options.

I love the idea of turning a bench into a filing cabinet – thought I wouldn’t file confidential documents here unless it’s able to lock. And I love the push pin board. I think I’d use the top box to organize jewelry, personally.

Step 1 for me is to reorganize my linen closet to look more like this. I need it to hold linens for both queen and king size beds, towels, plunger and cleaning supplies, and little extras for guests like mini shampoos, lotions, extra toothbrushes,  etc.

What’s your first step to Simplify Your Life this week?

 

Updates to the Blog…

I’ve recently updated a few things on the blog.

First, the “Blogs I Follow” RSS Feeds and “Other Links” sections that were on the sidebar are now in a list on my “Resources” page.

Second, I moved the “Archives” and “Categories” sections from the sidebar to the footer, with the “Blog Stats” above the “Archives” and a second “Search” toolbar above the “Categories” section. I hope this makes things easier for you to search, while cleaning up the sidebar. (Command + Down Arrow on Mac or Ctrl + End on PC should take you to the bottom of the page.)

I’m still looking for a way to shorten the initial text for each post on the main page to a preview with a link for “the rest of the story,” but haven’t figured it out yet on this particular WordPress theme/template. So, if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me.

As always, thanks for following and enjoy the journey! ~Melissa

The Inspiration Behind the New Banner

In celebration of reaching 10,000 hits on the blog, and in a continued effort to simplify, I decided to create a new banner and change the background of my blog to white. Here’s the banner I designed and a little insight into each image it contains:

1. Rest.

  • We all know how important rest is. If we don’t have it, our bodies and brains don’t function properly. Each of us requires a slightly different amount of rest each night. For me, that means a minimum of 7 hours. 8 hours is preferable, and I love Saturday mornings, when I can soak in 9 or 10 hours in one night! Too bad America doesn’t instate siestas for people past the age of 5.
  • Sleep deprivation is a real and rapidly spreading problem in our impulsive, instant-gratification society. So many of us come home and run straight for entertainment to “detox” from the demands of the day: TV, Facebook, video games, and the list goes on. We live in a digital age. It’s not all bad, but throwing quickly moving images in front of our eyes doesn’t help us rest; it just adds more “noise” to our lives. Know when to unplug. Plan to turn off electronics a good hour before bedtime, so your brain has time to decompress from the day.

2. Good Nutrition.

  • “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right?! Healthy eating is a necessity to live a balanced, whole life. Food is fuel, and if we want to “live long and prosper,” we need to be conscious of what enters our systems. But who says healthful food has to taste bad?! Think about this: God wants the best for our lives. Meanwhile, God created us to need food to survive. Every good gift is from God, food being one of those gifts. He’s given us creative minds and tons of different flavors. So, let’s praise God by creating delicious, beautiful meals that are full of nutritional value, and then use the energy from those foods to bring Him glory.

3. Fellowship, Support, Communication.

  • What is fellowship? If you’re not familiar with the Christian term, you may be familiar with the classic trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. Part I is The Fellowship of the Ring. The Fellowship was a group of people who joined together over a common goal. In the Christian worldview, the one thing that binds us together is Jesus Christ. So, when we fellowship, we are joining together over the union we find in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • God knew what He was doing when He put more than one person on this earth. We need each other. We need support; we need love; we often need correction. We need each other. It’s important to have a support circle, a small list of close friends and family you know you can count on if your car breaks down a thousand miles from home, if you need a shoulder to cry on or a solid kick in the pants, or if you need to ramble at 2AM. Most of us won’t have more than 5 of these in our lives, so when you find them, hold them dear and be mutually supportive.
  • It’s also a reminder to practice communication, just like any other skill in which we want to excel. We need to communicate with each other, always remembering the perfect balance of truth and love. And we need to communicate with God through prayer and Bible reading. God created us to be dependent on Him. But it’s more than a dependence; it’s a personal relationship that He desires to have with each one of us. And it’s amazing!

4. Environment of Growth.

  • I liked this picture because it’s in an office setting, which encompasses things like working (and blogging: see the computer in the background), but it also contains new life being nurtured. Create an environment, at home, in the office, in your car, wherever you are, that is an environment of growth. Eliminate things that hold you back or distract you, and encourage things that push you to be the person God wants you to be.

5. Exercise and Hydrate. Two more vital necessities in life.

  • It’s a constant battle to get off the couch or out of the house and just move, but we all know it’s important. Not only does it help us burn calories, it releases endorphins which lift our moods and help us keep a balanced perspective on life. You don’t have to join a gym or spend lots of money on fancy equipment. Just be endeavor to live a healthy lifestyle.
  • For years, doctors and educators recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day. Today, they’ve increased the recommendation to 9-13 glasses per day! The majority of our bodies is comprised of water; it’s essential for every function of our bodies. It’s important! It’s really important! So, hydrate! And when you’re exercising, remember the trifecto: prehydrate, hydrate, and rehydrate.

6. Refresh.

  • Carve out a block of time each day, even if it’s only 15 minutes, that’s set aside to reboot. Soak up the word of God and give yourself time to meditate, pray, and apply what you’ve just read. Go on a short walk, listen to music, read, practice some yoga, or just sit still. Your body and mind will thank you.

This is My Journey to Lean. And it can be yours too. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the journey! ~Melissa

Living Simply

I’ve recently been seeing a theme in some of the blog posts I’ve been reading.

The Zen Habits Blog is one I’ve been following a lot. One of the author’s sold all their possessions, including cars, and moved to an apartment in SanFrancisco, where they ride bikes or walk everywhere. Here’s a bit from a recent post:

“I’ve been finding that simplifying things means I can savor life more fully.

“Savoring life starts with a mindset. It’s a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness, isn’t ideal. It’s a mindset that tries instead to:

    • simplify
    • do & consume less
    • slow down
    • be mindful & present
    • savor things fully

“It’s the little things that make life enjoyable: a walk with a loved one, a delicious book, a chilled plum, a newly blooming tree.

“And by simplifying, we can savor life to the fullest.”

Another blog I found through the Zen Habits blog is the Smaller Living Blog. Check out her Beginner’s Guide to Decluttering here for some great tips.

I also ran across an article about what The American Dream really means (hint: it’s not about huge houses and fancy cars – it’s about owning a small piece of the world that’s paid for and enjoying life to its fullest). It’s an interesting little PDF that doesn’t take long to peruse.

All this combined with my regular Scripture reading has added up to us deciding to sell a bunch of our stuff and live more simply. Our goal is to be able to pick up and move wherever and whenever God would have us to. So, I’ve posted a new page on this blog: the “For Sale!” page. Post a comment on the “For Sale!” page if you’re interested in anything. If you live near Taylors, SC, just pay and come pick it up, or I can meet you. If you live further away, I am willing to ship items at the purchaser’s expense.

Thanks for helping us on the journey to a simpler life!

How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff, from Zen Habits Blog

How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

“Simplifying is liberating and beautiful.

“It all depends on whether you have things, or they have you.” ~Robert A. Cook

“Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom.

“Simplicity. It is a lovely ancient spiritual tradition that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.  As we try to make sense of our erratic economy and the accompanying financial anxiety, it is natural to leap to a less risky lifestyle extreme — stop spending, scale back, live lean.

“If you are a regular reader of Zen Habits, you are probably intrigued by the idea of simplifying. In fact, you may have even given up many material things and actively live a very simple life. People who have adopted this level of  simplicity, especially in the land of consumerism, are incredibly inspiring and fascinating.

“But let’s be real here. In spite of embracing the concept of simplicity, most people really love their stuff, and they love acquiring more stuff. Like our attitudes about a healthy diet, our feelings about material things are complicated. We know what’s good for us, but we just don’t want to give up what we like. Our stuff makes us feel good.

“Is it possible to live a simple life and still love stuff? How much letting go of stuff really counts toward simplifying anyway?

“Living simply and detaching from material things will make you happier. There is real research and lots of anecdotal evidence to support the truth of this. But is it possible that some material things can add to our happiness, sense of contentment and joy in life? If so, how do you go about deciding what’s good stuff and what’s bad?

“Perhaps the deciding factor is motivation. Do the things that you own or wish to buy support your ego, or do they enliven your soul? Some material things can afford you a sense of warmth, coziness, beauty, fond memories, or comfort. There are other things that offer only that fleeting rush of acquisition.

“If you infuse mindfulness into your ideas and actions around material things, you can create a gentle balance between loving stuff and living simply.

“Here are some thoughts that might be useful.

“1. Look around your house now.

“Walk from room to room. Do you see things that you never use and don’t really care about? Why not give them away or sell them? Clear physical and psychic space by removing the “dead wood” in your environment. Someone else might really need these things.

“2. Examine why you are hanging on to something.

“Is it truly useful or meaningful, or does it feed your ego in some way? Are you holding on to it just to impress others or to make yourself feel better or more important?

“3. Look at how you spend your time.

“Do you have things you own for hobbies that you never pursue? Do you have a kitchen full of gadgets but you rarely cook? If you truly think you will come back to a hobby or activity, box things up and put them out of sight until you do. Be realistic about how much time you have to use your extraneous stuff.

“4. Are you in a career that is thing-focused?

“Decorators, car dealers, retailers and others involved in creating, buying, selling and marketing merchandise, can have a hard time detaching from material things because they are always surrounded by the newest and best. There is beauty and art in many things, but consider this: you don’t have to own them all to appreciate them. Eckhart Tolle once suggested to Oprah Winfrey that she not buy everything she likes or wants — just savor it for the moment in the store.

“5. Consider experiences rather than things.

“On the whole, experiential purchases provide far more pleasure than material purchases. The memory of experiences improves with time, but material purchases are harder to think about abstractly. Experiences also encourage social relationships which provide long-lasting happiness. If you are itching to spend, spend on a great experience with someone you enjoy.

“6. When you think about your things or want to purchase something new, consider these parameters:

  • It brings beauty into your life and stirs your soul.
  • It supports a passion or hobby.
  • It helps bring family and friends together in a creative, meaningful way.
  • It educates and enlightens.
  • It makes life profoundly simpler so that you can pursue more meaningful things.
  • It helps someone who is sick or incapacitated.
  • It is useful and necessary for day-to-day life.
  • It’s part of a meaningful tradition or a reminder of a special event.

“7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:

  • Buy on a whim.
  • Buy to impress others.
  • Buy because you feel you deserve it.
  • Buy when you can’t afford it.
  • Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
  • Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
  • Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
  • Buy because you are bored.
  • It’s purchased because buying soothes you.

“It is possible to balance a simpler life with owning and acquiring material things. You can enjoy stuff without living the life of an aesthetic. The exact balance you create is a matter of personal preference. But realize there is a diminishing point of return with accumulation and materialism that undermines authentic joy and fulfillment in life.

“Apply mindful purging to your current lifestyle and belongings, as well as thoughtful consideration to your future purchases. Carefully examine your motivations for keeping possessions or buying new things. Once you allow things serve your soul, rather than you being a slave to your things, your life will evolve into an artful harmony between what you have and who you are.”