Happy New Year!
I can't believe it's 2015! When I was a child, I remember thinking the year 2000 was soooo far in the future that either I'd be dead or very old. Haha! I would have never imagined ringing in 2015.
I'm still working on specific goals for the year and for the first quarter. However, I know they will include the perennial New Year's resolution twins: simplification and decluttering. These are a few of the ways I can improve in those areas.
Menu planning. This past year I've found myself scrambling every day to come up with some type of homemade dinner, preferably with all the ingredients coming from our farm. This has put a great deal of stress on me and, with some inspiration from the basic meal plan in Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home, I've categorized my recipes, assigned a day of the week for each of these categories, chosen a few standards that have worked for us and that I can rotate to give us enough variety, and even built in days for leftovers and trying new dishes. I've planned the types of meals to work around my delivery schedule and the farmers' market when it's open, as those are the days when I feel the biggest time crunch.
Wardrobe. Although I'm not a shopper, I do need new clothes occasionally. The problem is I tend to buy what I feel is the best of whatever happens to be available at the time I need something. Often, I make a purchase and realize either it's not really *me* or it can't be worn with other items I already own. Enter the idea of the capsule wardrobe. (If you're not familiar with the term, do an internet search on it.) There are a large number of versions of it but the premise is to have a few articles of main clothing that 1) fit well; 2) feel good; and 3) work with everything else. With this system, you can make a plan, slowly acquire the basics, and eliminate the clothes that are worn out, no longer fit, or don't go with anything else. The Pareto principle (or the 80/20 rule) extends to your clothes - you tend to wear 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time. So if you set aside a few items of clothing for special occasions (weddings, funerals, other important events), you can essentially eliminate 80 percent of the clothing you own and not miss it. Even though I don't really own a lot of clothing (compared to the average American woman), I do find I have more than I need and the clothes I do wear are buried among those that I don't. I'm going to be working on that over the next few months.
Time. I'm trying to reclaim my time. While I have a good handle on my time, especially when it comes to organizing my errands, I still have a few more areas I can work on. Except for using social media for our business needs, I've pretty much opted out of it because it's a huge time vampire with it's endless stream of announcements to read, articles to click on, and memes to chuckle over, with very little benefit. In fact, it often brings out the worst in people, with ugly posts or rants that end up spoiling my day or changing my view of some people in my life. I recently read this article which has helped me put my time in perspective. Among other things, I'm trying to streamline my shopping even more (mainly food and household products), so I can buy in bulk and spend even less time in stores.
Bullet journaling. I've already blogged about my change to the bullet journal. I've used this system for about a month and it's a keeper. I'm a paper kind of person - I love to make lists - and bullet journaling helps me keep it all in one place.
Material possessions. Now is a good time to get rid of what I don't need or want, or to simplify an area where clutter has caused me frustration. I've been reflecting on this past year, trying to remember when or if I've even used certain items or if they just get in my way. I've already cleaned out some drawers and cabinets in my kitchen, eliminating some things altogether, while storing some seldom used items in upper cabinet space.
Computer files and phone apps. I've extended decluttering to my digital possessions and have spent a good amount of time cleaning up documents and folders on my computer and apps on my smart phone. I need to work on my photos, deleting duplicates, out of focus photos, and those that have no meaning to me.
Unsubscribing to email newsletters. This is a major part of digital decluttering. As much as I intend to read some of them - and they're all good and/or for good causes - I find that I save newsletters for a later that never comes, clog up my inbox to the point that I sometimes miss important emails, and make me feel guilty. As I've received newsletters over the past few weeks, I've thought about whether or not I actually read them and/or act on the content on a regular basis. I've unsubscribed to most. (And year end is a good time to unsubscribe because that's when you get the most newsletters, mainly asking for donations to close out the year.)
Blogs. I've been cleaning up my blog subscriptions on The Old Reader. I had subscribed to so many that they overwhelmed me, especially during busy times on the farm, and I didn't read the ones that I really wanted to read. As my tastes and interests evolve, I've found that some blogs no longer resonate and crowd out the ones that do. I'll also be more selective with future subscriptions. Should I decide to give someone's blog another look, I can always add a new subscription.
Social media. As I pointed out earlier, I've dramatically reduced my social media participation, although I haven't stopped altogether. To make it a better experience when I do participate, I'm going to eliminate *friends* to whom I have no connection, hiding those with whom I have connections but have radically different points of view that I find offensive or whose posts tend to spoil my day. I'll be *un-liking* pages that I'm not interested in and that clutter my feed, burying things I really care about. Social medial also gives an unrealistic version of others' lives. This blogger writes about the *comparison trap* that social media creates. If we let it, social media can either feed or destroy our ego - and neither is good. Our self-esteem shouldn't depend on how others are or are not living.
How are you planning to make 2015 your best year?