Disclosure: I am following Emily Ley’s Simplicity Challenge from 2016. She is doing a new challenge that is slightly different but slightly the same (the end goal is the same no matter the route you take). I have only been able to follow her 2018 challenge via Instagram. For the sake of consistency – and because I already ranted and raved about the how I was doing the 2016 challenge – I’m going to stick with the older challenge. If you see her posting different information, it’s because I’m behind the times. Feel free to hop on board or jump ship. I’m moving onward regardless!
Before I get into next week’s objectives, I want to talk about why I’m interested in the idea of simplifying my life. The short and sweet answer is this:
I feel my heart being pulled into a direction that is unknown and exciting to me. I anticipate lots of work, some frustration, and sacrifices along the way. I am going to leave my home and my husband so that I can set aside time to learn and grow. Knowing this, I want every second to count. I want my time to be intentionally dedicated. We create organized budgets for our finances because we want to choose where our money goes. I want to do the same thing with my time. I don’t want it to feel wasted or wonder where it has gone. My goal is to reduce my life to a more simple beauty so that I can reclaim the time I’ve been wasting on other things. To me, a simplified life will encourage me to continue moving forward with my goals by reassuring me that the time I do spend at home is intentional and mindful. What about you? Why are you craving a simpler life?
Week One Review
I didn’t technically start on day one. I grew up in a southern home where we were taught not to clean on New Year’s Day lest you risk “sweeping” someone out of your life. Bradley was already fearful that I had cleaned too much as it was (we had just returned from being away from home and I had the day off from work – no way I’m going to pass up a chance to do a load of laundry in a calm manner!) so I dared not risk walking around the house with a garbage bag for fear he would have a come apart. Next best thing? Don’t sweat it and do days 1 and 2 the next day!
DAY 1: Roam the house with a trash bag
The garbage bag was therapeutic and terrifying. My personality is such that once I start cleaning, I want to finish ALL THE CLEANING. It’s hard for me to just tidy up without breaking out the glass cleaner and the Swiffer duster (second best invention ever, just behind the magic eraser). However, this task didn’t say anything about organizing belongings or cleaning baseboards. My only instruction was to throw away the trash. So, I went into our “catch all” room with blinders on. Threw away the trash, avoided eye-contact with all of the wedding gifts that still need a permanent home in our house, and delicately stepped over all of the luggage on the floor. This beast needs more than the 20 minutes I allowed myself for this task.
Two thoughts I had during this process:
- We trashy folk.
- I was incredibly efficient in 20 minutes when I focused on only throwing things away and didn’t allow myself to be distracted by other things. I might be on to something with this one…
DAY 2: Set your alarm so that you have an hour of time to yourself in the morning
I’ve already started working on this one! Having a puppy (or six!) in the house demanded morning routines. I figured out that two hours was enough time in the morning to feed the dogs while also giving them lots of time to run and play. Allowing them two hours in the morning reduced the guilt I felt at having to crate them again when I left for work. It also gave me plenty of opportunity to make breakfast and enjoy my coffee, take a shower and get dressed, and I usually still had a cushion in case of an emergency. I rarely felt rushed despite the small herd of animals I was caring for. Even with just one puppy in the house, I would like to keep the alarm set for 5:00 am. I enjoyed not feeling rushed and that can be time that I edit pictures. Depending on how active the dogs are, I might even be able to sneak in a photography video! There will still be an occasional morning where I pretend I don’t hear the dogs in the hopes that my husband will take care of it. And that’s ok too.
See this awesome picture of my hunky husband? Well, it didn’t look like this originally. It takes time to edit and the quiet morning hours may be a good time to sneak it in. (Who am I kidding? It is not quiet – at all! But the time is still there to make it happen!)
DAY 3: Do something with the pictures on your phone
I deleted most of them, honestly. Now that I’ve started taking pictures with my camera, I want to make an annual book at the end of each year with pictures that I’ve taken and edited. It is good motivation for me to keep my camera on me. There were about five pictures that I saved to my Google drive. The rest are GONE!
DAY 4: Clean out your phone
Today was more of a freebie, because I wiped my phone clean a few weeks ago. I deleted tons of time sucking apps (Buh Bye Snap Chat and Facebook), cut off ALL notifications so that I’m not distracted by those red bubbles, and set my “Do Not Disturb” setting to start at 7:30 pm until 8:00 am. After 7:30 pm, I am devoted to my home. If you need me, call me twice in a row for the call to go through. Otherwise, leave me be.
DAY 5: Only keep two items on your bedside table
I cleaned off the top of the bedside table and the drawer. (Did I mention my husband made these tables with some beautiful white oak that we were gifted during our marital celebrations?!) I kept a small jewelry dish that Katrina gifted me years ago – it is my favorite shade of blue and it is the perfect place for me to put my rings and earrings at night. (My fingers swell to the size of a German bratwurst at night – I have to take my rings off or I risk amputation.) I also have a beautiful leather bound notebook that Bradley gifted me for Christmas. The traditional part of my heart loves the old-fashioned technique used to craft this and the writer in me lusts after those thick pages. In the drawer, I have my fitbit charger. Everything else was designated a new home.
DAY 6: Clean out your refrigerator
I had already done this quite a bit while Bradley was away in December. There wasn’t much left to toss but I did allocate 20 minutes worth of time to wipe off the shelves and added baking soda to the grocery list to keep funky refrigerator odors at bay.
DAY 7: Restock the bathroom
We totally needed more toilet paper. We also had loads of eye solution but it was spread throughout various bathrooms, travel bags, and cabinets. I consolidated! I went ahead and added additional supplies (like Bradley’s very specific brand of body soap) to our weekly grocery list.
Below is what you can look forward to for week 2!
Day 8 of 30: Start the habit of throwing a small load of laundry in every morning.
Day 9 of 30: Go put gas in your car today. While you’re there, clean out your car. Throw trash away. Make this a habit.
Day 10 of 30: Buy a few birthday cards. Keep them on hand for birthdays that pop up that you’re not prepared for.
Day 11 of 30: Put your number on the Do Not Call list. Call 1.888.382.1222.
Day 12 of 30: Walk your house with a donate bag. Schedule a pick-up or drop it off as soon as the bag is full. Walk your house with your keys if you have to.
Day 13 of 30: Dump your purse out. Throw away trash and create a little bag of essentials: chapstick, kleenex, Shout wipes, gum, etc. Make your bag work for you.
Day 14 of 30: Pull out all the formal dresses in your closet that you’ll never wear again and choose a charity to donate them to. Put the bag in your car to deliver it.
How are you doing with the challenge? What is one thing you did this week that gave you a sense of relief?