Happy New Year, everyone! It’s that time again.
If you’ve been with us for a while, you may know that last year was a bit of a transformative process for us, our home and our lifestyle. It basically started with a true desire for change; a craving for it. Now that the lights are starting to come down and the Christmas trees are gone (yeah, we still haven’t done that – happy new year, little dead tree!) it’s time. Fresh starts and renewal.
For lots of people, it’s time for a change.
A year-long process for us last year, we’re now reflecting on what that change has done for us, and our family. Here’s a fast-forward of our story in a nutshell:
We decided we were tired and craved a change. We were spending too much time feeling overwhelmed, and out of control. Our home needed to work for us, not the other way around, after all. Last year was the great purge. I started out on metaphorical horseback, mounted with sword and I was all, “For Narnia!” As we headed into the battlefield of a lifestyle change. We began by simplifying, and I almost died. Just kidding. We all learned a lot about ourselves. (After I almost died.)
(quite possibly the nerdiest photo we’ve ever taken.)
While we donated most of the stuff-carnage, we even ended with a big fat yard sale + some funds to a good cause. Then, we implemented systems to make that change stick. 10 years of marriage + a growing a family + nary a real purge = embarrassing. I mean, it is what it is. C’est la vie.
We accomplished a lot. It’s not perfect. But a lot.
I think that now, a year later, it’s time to reflect and break that process down again.
This series has only scratched the surface of ways we’ve simplified, changed, and even failed. From a reflective aspect, on what we’ve learned, what we still struggle with, and what works for us. Good places to begin. The process. A lifestyle change.
I figured it was time to revisit it again, because it’s a transformative, ever-evolving process. And no matter where we are in that process, we all need that reminder.
So today, we start the lazy gal’s guide 2014: One year later. We’re rebooting. We’ve received a few questions about it lately, and we thought we’d cover a few things to consider before making a change. To ensure a successful ‘reboot’ of your own, if you will.
• Everyone’s journey is different.
1. Your goals + your ideal timeline: What’s your overall vision for you or your family? What is your timeline? The big picture or ‘the plan’? These questions may seem overwhelming at first, but its good to have an idea.
2. The makeup of your home life + life stages. Does your partner help? Or are you on your own? Is your family on board, or do they disagree? Do you want your kids involved? Are you an empty nester, maybe holding on to memories?
For instance, it’s probably a little easier if your children aren’t rabid fit-pitching toddlers that pick up everything you put into the donate pile, and you aren’t smothered in giant toys and baby stuff that you kinda need to survive. Or maybe not, depending on how attached your teenagers are. We hear it’s a tradeoff. (Yay.)
Because we’re all in different situations… The key is to remember those that are unique to you, so be patient with yourself.
3. Know thy weaknesses. Do you tend to do the whole retail therapy thing? Do you have a shoe problem? (Guilty) Fabrics your thing? (Yep) Some people buy too much food for their pantry (Hello) Identify your weaknesses and devise a plan. I honestly believe shoes make the world happier. It’s when they become a problem that it’s good to keep it in check. You won’t be cured overnight, but they say the first step is admitting you have a problem… This is kind of a big deal when it comes to simplifying your life.
It’s different for everyone. The key is finding a process that works for you.
• Your success depends on your definition of it.
Let go of perfection now, because you won’t attain it. The perfect home doesn’t exist. It’s actually easier once you accept that. I’m still working on it from the whole letting-things-go-that-aren’t-up-to-par, angle.
Ahem… I just might always work on this.
I have a freak personality likened to that of a chihuahua on rhoids. Some days, it’s my best super power. Other days… I struggle with my own expectations vs reality. The key is finding a system that works for your home, getting up when you fail, and sticking with it.
This time last year, I pictured myself living in an all white, minimalist home in Sweden with a few sparse Ikea furnishings. Okay. Really it was Hawaii, but Sweden sounds more dedicated. I was ready to go extreme. Then I realized… that’s probably not a part of our family vision. Maybe it should be… Not everyone is called to donate all of their things and live in 100 square feet. Not everyone is called to live in a McMansion. (I mean, you can just hand over the money for said McMansion, and we’ll call it a day.) There are spectrums. Decide on what you want that vision for your family to be, and work toward it. It’s the very best you can do in the beginning. And it’s a lot to tackle.
• Stay flexible
Most of this is about the process. We work so hard, hoping to accomplish the goal, but the process… this is where the transformation occurs.
For us, it’s time to purge. Again. Our home is on a schedule. We do it twice a year. Don’t get me wrong. We aren’t just mindlessly bringing things into our home. It’s a part of life and living. We’ve become earnest in our efforts. But we have three young children who love tiny toys, and ultimately dash my swedish minimalist/mod lifestyle dreams. We intend to let them enjoy their childhood, while infusing a world-awareness of those around them. There’s a balance there. Would I like for all of the Legos to die? Yes, yes I would. But I love my boys, and to a healthy degree, they are allowed to love their Legos. Thus the flexible part.
There are definitely preventative measures we can take to stop more things from coming in. For instance, we put a big emphasis on experiences rather than actual physical gifts this year for Christmas. It was a relief. They still received toys, because we want our children to enjoy. But I think there’s a lot to be said for consumerism and what we allow into our homes. We’re still working on it. There’s a balancing act we all do, based on our own family’s goals and needs. Just remember to stay flexible.
• Each year means something new for your family.
The challenges will be different. Every year. For instance: Home schooling for us this year = A whole new ballgame. Curriculum. Paper. Supplies. Hole punchers that leave tiny confetti a-la our four year old. Books.
Oh the books. Love-hate.
But guess what? We were able to put a space together quickly (in a weekend) because we had the room for all those books. I had empty cabinets waiting to hold the dishes we chose to keep that had to leave their home in the dining room, and that was because we’d purged all those other spaces earlier in the year.
I think that ultimately, I’ve been seeking a nice balance with the concept of simplification in all the elements of our life. Being able to do something good for our family – This was a rewarding part of that.
So if you’re ready to make a change, roll those sleeves up and get ready…we’re with you. Just remember it’s more about the process, and extend yourself a little grace. Because we can all use a little grace. Who’s ready for a new start?
Will you humor me? I’m wrapping this up with a few questions for you guys, because I really want your input with this series again. It’s not successful without you! Share as much or as little as you like!
1. What’s something you’d really like to see tackled as a topic this time around?
2. What’s your greatest struggle?
3. The biggest lesson you’ve learned if you’re simplifying your life?
Thanks guys! Have an inspired day!