I have written a bit about simplification and minimizing on Pecked To Death By Chickens before, including de-cluttering toys and closets as well as holiday simplification. We have had so much fun throwing things away and increasing our crap-free zones, that we are taking it to the next level. Our decision to go further with the downsizing/simplifying/minimizing is mostly centered around our realization that we were working too hard to keep up with the Joneses when what we really wanted to do was Mellow Out with the Maccarellis. Simplifying means different things to different people and for us it is about just letting go of useless stuff that weighs us down, no matter the size or whether it is tangible 'stuff' or not. It is about freeing up space and time and clutter including the mental clutter that stems from having more than you need or know what to do with. There are some added financial benefits too of course.
So feel free to Comment, Facebook, Tweet and G+ me with all your warnings that I have gone off the deep end. Tell me that I will want that third rolling pin I gave to Good Will or that if I give up my DVR I will be an outcast in society. I'm not entirely sure that I haven't gone off the deep end, but it it makes sense to us now. I will report back in a year from now, potentially living as a nudist with no furniture, and only a Pez dispenser for storage. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out our plan...
1. Bye Bye Cable! - Our plan is to give up the $80/month DIRECTV and switch to $7.99 Netflix streaming. We'll also keep our antennae for the network channels. The majority of our viewing is kids crap (sigh). Sheriff Callie, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Octonauts etc. and there is plenty of that on Netflix. Hey, I could probably even put the kids in their plastic bubbles and let them play outside! The only grown up shows we watch are either on network channels (Amazing Race, Castle, Elementary) or can be streamed (QVC). While there will be a few misses (my Fashion Police on E! for example), it isn't enough of a reason to keep it and we;ll probably watch less crap if we have to think through what we watch instead of channel surfing. The other benefit is that I have missed so much good tv in my baby fog of the last 4 years, that the husband and I will have plenty of good TV to catch up on through Netflix streaming (Breaking Bad is on my list!).
2. Cars - The plan is to have 1 car instead of 2 and will depend on my husbands commute. The one car will NOT be a another BMW (see photo), but something less egregious. This one I could care less about, but when it actually comes time for this, I may find my husband hanging onto the dual exhaust pipes of the M3 in fetal position begging to go back to our consuming greedy lifestyle.
3. Land - This one might make me breathe the biggest sigh of relief. I grew up on 2 partially forested acres in the country and loved playing outside and exploring. My husband always had a big yard too, so when we bought our current house on 2 acres we were pretty impressed with ourselves and felt it was necessary for the kids to have space. Our kids are the tiniest children around and can barely hold down a movie seat. They certainly don't need 2 acres on which to frolic. 2 acres is just more space that needs to be mowed, shoveled, aerated and seeded (whatever that is or does). It is also more area for trees to fall in that need to be cleared etc. We are in the process of selling our house (see #4) and the next house will be in a town setting among other small lots. We'd like a bit of a yard big enough to kick a ball in, but that's it.
4. House - The house is exciting. Unfortunately, the housing market where we live is sluggish right now, but we are hopeful for spring to mean finally selling the house and moving back to my hometown of Warrenton, VA. We are going from what we thought was our dream house at close to 3,000 square feet to ideally something in the 1800-2400 sq ft. range. We were both in the 'every time we move it has to be bigger' mindset until last year when we really looked at what we wanted vs. what we thought we were supposed to want. We care about the town we live in, having kids nearby for our kids to play with, being able to walk to Old Town and feeling a part of a community. We don't care about granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, 2 story foyers and finished basements.
5. Everything Else - From switching my $53/month Sprint phone to a Tracfone to chopping my hair short, I am all about things that give me more time, more money and less anxiety and weight. Note: Check with your husband before you chop the hair -- I happen to have a husband who likes me enough to lie and say he likes short hair, yours may not. I could go on and on about all the stuff we have given away, sold or minimized (CD and DVD cases trashed and media put into small binders for instance). I am always thinking about what value things have and what drain having them without using or needing them has. I also have to question why I want things - is it because of some happiness it brings me or my family, or because of how my shallow alter ego wants people to view me. It is something I have to consciously think about because I am not
I'll be reporting back in a few months to let you know how things are going. I'd love to hear from readers who have simplified and minimized areas of your life (small or big) and see how it has gone.
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