Monday, March 5, 2012

Goals for living simply, spring 2012

One of my major objectives is to simplify my life so that I have more time to enjoy with loved ones and doing activities I care most about.

I wouldn't exactly describe my current lifestyle as extravagant. As a 'recovering' grad student, shopping sprees and a big houseful of expensive gadgets aren't really part of the picture.

But over the past few years I still accumulated a lot of stuff (thank you Goodwill) and bought things 'just because I could'. I would forgo valuable and fun experiences like spiritual retreats and dance classes because 'I couldn't afford it', yet still buy stuff. 

It took some time to evolve, but I finally became aware of how stuff was becoming a problem. Just like the "donate, shop, donate" cycle they joke about on the signs around their store, I donated at least two carloads of stuff to Goodwill. I organized my personal paperwork and got rid of most of it. I sold some books and downsized my wardrobe.

But, after having a fantastically difficult time moving followed by an interesting period of my husband and I trying to 'merge' our stuff, I've realized that this simplifying thing is still a work in progress. Moreover, once my love of freedom became greater than my attachment to possessions, I also wanted to simplify other aspects of my life, such as the commitments I have and my online presence. 

My long-term goals are to:
only own items that I need, cherish, and enjoy
spend a minimum amount of time cleaning and taking care of items
have more cash for savings, travel, and experiences
have more time for doing the things I love
have more time for the people I love.

My short-term goals are to:
downsize my wardrobe to quality, wearable items
use the cosmetics, lotions, and creams I own, and replace most of them with homemade treatments
downsize kitchenware to things I actually use
continue organizing kitchen, especially utensils
sell books and antiques to local dealers and shops
go through paperwork once again, organize what I need and shred what I don't
reduce number of friends on facebook to the people I am closest to (this will be in phases)
spend less time on facebook and checking email
text less
take a trip and pack light.

My progress since moving to the east coast:
Downsized my wardrobe, kitchenware, books, and miscellaneous items
Decluttered the master bedroom, with the help of my amazing husband
Decluttered and organized the pantry and kitchen cupboards, also with the help of my husband :)
Two phases of facebook reducing (and adding appropriate contacts to linked in)
Slowly getting through excess cosmetics and toiletries 
Eliminated cell phone data and texting plans

And last but not least: Shopping only when I actually need something, not when I am bored or stressed.

Granted, there are two things that have made progress toward a simpler life easier 1) our apartment is small and 2) money is tight. But money was tight before, so this progress does reflect a change in mindset, both in my husband and myself. I should print out this post and keep this part in my wallet as a reminder to save and simplify, in case there is ever anything in it to spend :) 

In the meantime, I will try to post additional progress when I can. 

Has living a simpler life become important to you? What strategies do you use to live a simpler life? What are your goals?

May all beings be happy!


  1. Thanks for the thoughtful post. I'm glad you also discussed how it is easy to get bogged down in commitments as easily as possessions, e.g. Facebook, email etc. This ties in well with your previous post concerning attachments to situations. Our emotion baggage limits us much more thoroughly than all the physical clutter in our lives. Ultimately, I find my greatest challenge is become free from my stale ideas, perspectives, and worry. (But I still need to work on the physical clutter, too.)

  2. Hello Dan, thanks so much, I am glad you enjoyed this post. When we allow ourselves to pay attention and realize how much physical and mental clutter we have, it can be astonishing- and overwhelming. Sometimes the response is to take extreme measures to root it all out, but I am trying to pace myself on each front. This can be difficult to do once we realize that greater freedom is the reward, but like all things worth doing, 'decluttering' the mind and surroundings takes time.

    May you be well- I hope you have a great day!


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