So here is my full list of 7 Days and Ways of simplifying. Over on instagram I've been sharing how we have been simplifying and many of you have joined me to take on the challenge.
1. airplane mode
I have been more conscious about closing the computer when I'm hanging out with Vigo, writing or working in my studio. I turn the phone and computer on airplane mode. Just to not feel the pressure to be connected. (When dom and vigo are not around, I do not go on airplane mode.)
I only check email once a day, if I do at all that day. Thankfully currently I don't work for an employer that expects me to be on email every day, multiple times a day. I may have important emails about sales, or shows to answer but, I am currently free to check my messages when I like. Whether it be a text message, email, Facebook messenger or what's app. I don't check it every day. When I am focusing on the life in front of me, my family and friends, my space and surroundings, I usually feel best.. It's way better than using more time than is needed responding right way, or being in constant contact. Yikes when did this expectation from others and our own immense fomo take over our lives and the ability to be present.
Take an hour today to be on airplane mode then go and do something that you love. Sit on the floor and play with your child, take a bath, go for a walk, whatever it is enjoy it. If you do this frequently you will start to crave Airplane mode.
We did the minimalist challenge, which is a month long challenge of throwing one thing out on the first day of the month, two the second day and so on. It's amazing how great it feels to continuously be slimming down your life. It honestly feels so good. I think we have become a bit addicted to throwing stuff out. I still want to do it now. It's probably a nice dopamine fix. Getting rid of furniture that we don't love
We just remove things that we don't really want in our lives. The TV we have loaned a friend, the cupboard under the sink is gone now. It just wasn't doing it for me. It didn't bring me joy, I went Kon Mari on it's ass! So we condensed and de-cluttered again when we cleared out that cupboard and gave it away. I can pass it on happily because it is not what I want in my space. It could work for someone else. We also just have too much storage space. If I have the space I fill it. I'm learning not to fill everything, but it's easiest if I can just not have the space to fill.
Go into one room today and put on a timer for 5 minutes. Try to find as many things as you can that you wouldn't mind living without.
3.Don't go shopping.
One thing I haven't been doing much of these days is shopping. When de-cluttering our lives, my desire to shop has diminished immensely. I don't really want to bring things into my home, unless I really love them or they are things I will use, like groceries.
It's impossible to avoid shopping all together, unless you have someone doing this for you, making all your decisions. Everyone needs to go shopping, you need to buy something to replace something that has worn out, or will bring you real joy, like a fine art painting. haha. We haven't been buying things that we don't have a budget for. We have in turn been able to save up money for this year to survive living on 1/6th of our previous income. We have savings supplementing our income at the time being. But I'll be selling enough work soon to live on it. If we do have the budget for it and we know it will make our lives better we buy it. If you don't have the budget for it, BUDGET FOR IT. Save up. If you save up a few months of a 50€ shopping budget, you can buy yourself something nice every two or four months. Yes I shop this infrequently. It saves a lot of money and keeps my home from getting cluttered with things that don't bring me joy.
You probably weren't planning on going on a shopping spree today, but one way to do less shopping is to unsubscribe from any email subscriptions to shops that tempt you.
4.When grocery shopping, buy from the list only
We buy only what we need. Dom plans out our meals and collects recipes for the next few days and goes to the store with the recipes. Buys only what is on the recipe cards and our shopping list. We have been grocery shopping on a weekly basis. Usually twice a week. We live very close to grocery stores and weekly markets. Most Germans shop this way, They buy tiny amounts of things and buy a few things every week, when they have run out in their pantry.
What is our strange fear about running out? We are not living in war times, supplies are close by and available. If you do run out buy some more tomorrow. No worries. I did not shop like a German. I am American. And Americans do not shop this way!!! Most people from the US have space for all kinds of shit. Most Germans don't. It's normal in Germany to have a tiny cupboard as a pantry. We just have a huge (for german standards) space so we have been filling all the space, Since simplifying, we have removed multiple cabinets in our kitchen to force us to eat fresher, and waste less food, and use less packaging. Preserved things are usually have a lot of packaging. I must admit that chips are usually on my list. They are usually pumped with preservatives and packaging. But, they are important to me. They bring me joy. So I put chips on the list. If it's on the list, we buy it. hehe
Write a shopping list for your next trip to the store, shop specifically for certain meals and only buy what is on the list.
5. Take back some of that precious time
We've taken breaks from our day jobs and turning down work and money for a while. It's a privilege to be doing this right now and it wouldn't be possible if we were in debt. People in debt have to be making a steady, good income. But we have recently become out of debt and we have the freedom to live on very little money. If we were making school loan payments, house payments, car payments, or credit card payments it would not be possible at all. But we have lived within our means the past 7 years of marriage, we have been spending within our means and putting money away to save for things we value like... traveling across the world multiple times, and buying and renovating a camper van. How can you buy yourself some more time? Can you work less hours and gain more time? Can you move closer to your job, so that your commute is not such a time-suck?
I'm not saying that you should quit your day job. But maybe there is something that you can quit, or remove from your schedule. Is it that book group that you just don't really get along with anymore, is it the TV? Take the TV out of your evening routine and choose to do something that you have been wanting to do more of, like reading or working on your correspondence like writing emails or letters to your friends from college.
6.Focus on the family and friends
Seeing less people in general is honestly really refreshing. We have taken a break from our day jobs as teachers. We don't go to a big workplace daily. Seeing less people in general is honestly really energy giving. We currently see as many or few people as we like/need to. It's a balance we have music and art shows that have lots of people. Which are really fun and both energy giving and taking. I am an introvert so taking quality time with those that are most important to me is very important to me. I love sharing life with others. I am happy to love and be loved by others. But some times and seasons are important to just focus on the most important humans in your life! What a pleasure.
Plan a date with a close family member or friend. Go on a little adventure with just that person.
7. We have few of most things.
This goes along with De-Cluttering. Many things we only have one of. We have few of most things. If we aren't using them daily, or weekly, or monthly, then we usually get rid of it. There are a few things that we hold on to. Like the accordion that Dominik wants to really learn sometime. And my vintage clothes collection that I just can't give up, because I love the pieces too much. Or things that I love, like my grandmother's 50s dress. I think I am going to frame it. or use it in a piece of work. I want it to stay in my story a little bit longer.
We have JUST ONE of many things. One teapot, one toy basket, (let's hope it stays to just a few), one hand soap. Unless it's something I really enjoy the variety in, we buy one of them and use it up. I have a huge box of varying teas, but a slim "baking" section of a drawer. I have so many colors and types of paint for my art, but I have one shampoo.
I want to love even the most functional things in life. like our noodle strainer, or baby carrier. Love the things I use everyday. The smell of my shampoo, the feel of my paint, and the shirt on my back. If I don't love the things that I use and don't want to use them, then I shouldn't feel guilt about not using it, and giving it away or tossing it.
Today, choose a thing that you will just have one of. Is it just one pair of jeans, one color of nail polish, you do you. What is something that you would like just one of?
Congratulations! You have been simplifying with me for the past 6 days! Now go back through the past 6 challenges and choose one that you want to focus on for the next week. Brainstorm some ways you can expand on this area of simplification. Can you take some more of that time back? Who can you call to set up another date with? What's another room you could de-clutter for 5 minutes today, then tomorrow, for the rest of the week?
Thank you lovelies for reading and taking the time to simplify with me!