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This whole mess started with a book. I was reading Year of Less, curled up in my bed during a pretty low point in my life, which also happened to be last week.
I was a mess, surrounded by a mess. I was barely skating through my days, half awake, not self-caring, not fitting in any of my clothes, tripping over the piles of things around my house during a “purge”.
I want less. But I have SO MUCH it seems overwhelming to even try, so I just haven’t.
So I messaged my friend Carol this morning with my crisis of conscience. Carol has been one of my most patient friends, even from Portland (300 miles away from here). She hardly ever hesitates to stop what she’s doing and listen to me cry, even while juggling her blog, her Poshmark business (use CAROLSELLS for $10 off your first purchase), twin 10 year old children, 2 dogs and a husband. (I am pretty sure I am forgetting something she does, she’s amazing.)
Me: I am reading this book called Year of Less in a possibly misguided attempt to shove myself into a more simple life and I made the mistake of going to the author’s blog and reading her last post. She stopped blogging and now I feel like I should stop blogging.
Carol: Stop it.
Me: Yes, I want to live a simpler life. Yes, I still love social media. But I need to limit things, because I’ve been living this life of excess and I need to define the line. My issue is that I have not been good in the past with following through or completing things. So here’s what I want to do: I want to do a year of purge. I want to do videos and/or posts about how I’m purging things out of my life and resources on how anybody who is reading can do it too. I want to make room in my life for good things and not just Old Navy clothes and tchotchkes.
Me: I’m going to call it “Living Less of a Sh!tshow”. And I’m starting today.
Carol: Do it.
So let’s talk about this whole thing for a second. We are definitely naming it “Living Less of a Sh!tshow”.
WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING THIS?
- I want less stuff in my life so I don’t feel so heavy all the time.
- I want to make more room for Duke to possibly live here. (Don’t get excited, there’s no plans for that quite yet. But he deserves to not have to cram his belongings in an already packed house, should he choose to be here.)
- I want to make room in my budget for travel, and less room for worry.
- I want less anger and less darkness in my life.
- I want to spend less time with my face in my phone/tablet/laptop.
- I want to spend more time doing things with my family/friends/Duke.
- I want to feel better in my body.
- Less stuff
- Spend less
- Less social media & screen time
- Less negative self-talk and actions
- More free time to spend with people IRL and read books and cook and do things that don’t require a screen
- Less garbage food in my body.
So welcome to the Thunderdome, people.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PULL THIS ONE OFF?
(This is just to start. I know these 6 things aren’t going to take so long, but I need a place to start.)
- I am going to pare down my stuff already in my house. (Possibly sell it, but the goal is to just get it OUT.)
- I am going to stem the seemingly endless flow of new things into my house.
- I am going to cut back on expenses, pay off my debts, make a budget I have to look at and start socking away money.
- I am going to start limiting television and social media time.
- I am going to put a hard limit on negative things in my life.
- I am going to stop eating fast food 4-5 times a week, and stop drinking soda.
It’s a lot, I know. But I have to eat the elephant, and I’d rather do it one bite at a time than let the elephant get any bigger. (And sorry to my vegan/vegetarian friends for that analogy. I do not actually eat elephants.)
WHAT’S GOING TO TRY AND STOP YOU?
- I have a history of not finishing things. (I also have finished many really big things.)
- I have not had the best spending habits.
- I binge watch Netflix and Hulu like it’s my job. (It is not, in fact, my job.)
- Christmas is coming.
- I have some people in my life who are going to say “You can’t do this” or “it’s too much” or feel uncomfortable with what I’m trying to do.
- I have dug myself some financial “holes” I am not sure how to get out of. (No credit cards, no mortgage, no car loans. Just stupid spending)
- I have so much stuff, it packs the shed in our backyard, the storage room downstairs, one of the bedrooms, a corner of the downstairs hallway and scattered throughout the house. It’s OVERWHELMING at best.
- I tend to fold like a house of cards when the pressure gets to be too much, even though I know I can push through that feeling. I just….don’t.
- I have in the past turned to food and spending to soothe my broken soul.
- I tend to go onto social media to hide from my normal life, and I’m pretty addicted. I hit up Facebook to send a message to a friend and all of a sudden, I am giving advice to a perfect stranger having issues with their boyfriend and arguing about the latest political garbage.
So to start out, I am going to need some rules.
These are self-imposed, might not work for everyone and are pretty harsh because I need to stop some seriously bad habits and if I don’t make these things an option, that works for me.
I stopped smoking this way, by just telling myself repeatedly “you are not allowed to purchase cigarettes anymore” and then told all my friends that they were not to give me cigarettes. I just passed my “seven years with only one cigarette (and it was gross)” anniversary last week, so I know this is something that works for me.
The rules are semi-non-negotiable. They might change; some of them are starting low, so I don’t overexert to begin with and flame out too quickly.
- No “want” purchases. Must be an actual immediate need, no stocking up on things.
- At least 2 boxes from storage cleaned out every week.
- Two hours of television a day on weekdays.
- 90 minutes of social media per day (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest AND Instagram).
- Laptop does not come into the bedroom.
- One screen at a time (not playing on the phone while the TV is running, or on the laptop and the phone simultaneously, etc. Exception made only for video chatting with Duke while watching television “together”).
- The kitchen sink is cleaned out every night before bed.
- No soda (La Croix ok) and no fast food.
I am a little worried about how stringent these rules are, but I know I can muscle through until they’re habit. After all, I’ve run half marathons and completed Whole30s and given birth to babies.
I can do this. I am capable and I am willing.
For those of you who want to follow my journey through this, I’ll be starting with updates here and on Instagram. I’m hoping to upload a vlog every week, but to be perfectly honest, I might not. I’ll share resources and information I gathered while trying to grow my way through this journey, and I hope sharing my stumbling blocks and shortcomings will help you too.