Friday, January 4, 2013

10 Small Ways to Live Simpler in 2013

Many New Year's resolution lists I've read so far in 2013 have included the concept of living a simpler life. I really like this idea and think it could be applied to a lot of different aspects of my life. I've read many tips on ways to cut back on clutter, streamline your day, and enjoy your free time.

However, a lot of these lists include pretty dramatic ways to revamp your life; month, or even year long, shopping embargoes; complete house overhauls; starting your wardrobe from a 100% clean slate; buying gadgets, apps, or electronics to help you become more organized. I'll be honest and say that many of these ideas probably wouldn't work the best in my life. The idea of overwhelming myself with total change doesn't sync up with a calmer existence.

I took a look around at the most common activities in my life: cooking and cleaning, running errands, working, crafting. getting dressed, and looking around online. I thought of what I didn't like about these tasks or hobbies and what could make them better. Here are ten LITTLE things that I have decided to do in 2013 that will help me become more relaxed and productive.

It's like my purse is barfing. Barfing a lot of paper that I don't need in there. 

Keep My Purse Clean: Big or small, it doesn't matter - my purse is always packed with stuff I just don't need. My bag is full of so much crap: old receipts, candy wrappers, three different shades of lipstick, used up gift cards, movie ticket stubs, Japanese coins, shopping lists, bobby pins, and seriously so on. I should save the sentimental stuff in a shoe box (I can't throw away all those five yen coins!), but just trash the rest. What good will that old Caribou gift card do, anyway? I need to learn to keep the essentials, (wallet, phone, chap stick, keys, sunglasses), and nothing else. It'll save me time digging through the junk and will be nice on my shoulder, too.

Balance My Checkbook Daily: Online banking and smart phones have been the death of a well-kept checkbook register. I used to be fairly decent at saving my receipts, logging them at least every other day, and being on top of my daily balance. However, now I can just log on to my bank's website and check a total and go on my way. Money comes and goes without a thought. When I physically go through each receipt and write down and subtract all that I've spent, it hits a little harder, right? I need to be in more control of my finances in 2013 and balancing my checkbook the old fashioned way is the way to go. Which leads to:

Weekly App Clear Out: I hope I'm not alone, but I have downloaded so many productivity apps to help keep my life in order and have only ended up with an iPhone low on storage. Budget apps, schedulers and to-do list organizers, even a yarn database app so I know just what's in my stash without looking. The time it takes to keep all of these applications up to date really negates the time they are supposed to save me. Not to mention all the games I have sitting in multiple folders. Every week I want to lay in bed and, instead of playing just more round of Bubble Blitz Mania, delete any apps I haven't used in ages.

Too many! This isn't even my "main app" screen with the ones I actually use!

Organize and Utilize My Garment Rack: My wardrobe is a hot mess right now. Each hanger has at least three different items of clothing hanging off of it and there is absolutely zero sense of organization. 2013 is when I will finally just get rid of what I don't wear, box up the items I want to keep but won't be wearing anytime soon (high school shirts, Halloween costumes, old formal dresses), and create a cohesive closet. I want to pull out all my favorite items for the season and hang THOSE pieces on my garment rack in order to keep my style in line. This will also help with pairing items that I never would think of wearing together! Mix and match.

I'm embarrassed to show this! But it'll be so nice when it's nice, RIGHT?

Tidy Up My Blog Subscriptions: At the time I was writing this entry, my Bloglovin feed had over 800 unread blog posts. Does that make you want to dive in and start reading some entries? Uh, no. That's called I'm going to check out two or three of my friend's blogs and call it a day, ignoring any and all things marked unread. Browsing blogs shouldn't be a chore and it shouldn't take hours out of my day. I need to cut down drastically and unsubscribe to all sites that I usually skip past when I check for updates. Easy.

Get Back into the Planner Habit: After graduating school, my weekly planner became a lot more empty. When I started my M-F 9-5 office job, the poor thing got even more sad. I used to love writing all my to-dos, plans, work schedules, and deadlines in my moleskine; a different highlighter for each aspect of my life, checking the little boxes when I was finished with my tasks. In 2013, I want to get back into that habit - not just for my work schedule, but for reminders to set up appointments, when my automatic bills get paid, and so on. Especially with my wedding coming up in a year (!!), I'll need as much written organization and to-do lists as possible.

My awesome new 2013 Laputa planner! Thanks Markie!

Grocery Shop Once a Week: This is going to be a big one, but a hard one, too. I'm so guilty of just buying what I need for supper that night and that's it. I want to do one big trip to the market to get food for the whole week. This will save time, money, and will make meal planning (and eating healthy!) a lot easier. After I get into this habit, I want to try to push it to every two weeks, and eventually just once a month.

Finish All My Crochet Projects & Use What I Have: I have the yarn disease. I think of a new projects and buy new yarn. I start a new project and get halfway through and want to start another new project. Which I need new yarn for. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This leads to a serious overabundance of yarn and more unfinished pieces than I care to admit. I've already started this to some success, but I'm going to try to go as long as possible without buying new yarn. I seriously have plenty. I'm also going to find all my projects that I haven't completed and either get them over with OR frog them and use that yarn for something else.

Uh, seriously, this is ALL. YARN. :/

Get Rid of What I Won't Ever Use: Old movies I haven't watched in years, impulse clothing buys, shoes I've forgotten after I bought a cuter pair, MAGAZINES MAGAZINES MAGAZINES. I'm a pack rat by nature, and I have a high level of sentimentality for many things, so I can't see myself just trashing everything I don't use daily, but really, I have a lot of magazines. Oh, and throw away my old makeup, too.

Don't Guilt Myself into Productivity: When I have a night off, don't beat myself up for just sitting on the couch watching TV for a while. As long as I have my important stuff done, I can afford to just relax and enjoy doing nothing. So many times I come home from work and feel like I have to read, write, play something, crochet something, start a new project - really "take advantage of my free time" - which leads to resenting something I'm doing because I'm too tired and not in the mood, or half-assing it. I gotta learn to let myself take it easy!

What do you think? What are your goals for 2013?


  1. suuuuuch a good idea. big 'overhaul' resolutions never stick, and to make a difference you have to start small!

  2. I. Love. This. I'm gonna shoot for the grocery shopping once a week goal and maybe the planner idea. When I moved I got rid of a ton of stuff I didn't need, but I'm already accumulating crap again. It's hard to keep up!

  3. I love this blog post! I definitely have the yarn habit bad and this year I'm trying to not buy anything I don't need. I already grocery shop every two weeks, but I'd love to get it down to once a month! I also think I need to unsubscribe from some blogs since I follow way too many I never read. Thanks for the tips!

  4. I started doing something similar in my closet - but I grab pieces and hang them together in outfit format (using those combo hangers that have a pants/skirt clippy on them). It's almost kind of fun putting the outfits together in advance because you come up with so many other combos you wouldn't necessarily come up with on the fly. It also dramatically shows you what you don't ever wear. It's painful, but I'm realizing half of my wardrobe is trash!

  5. ugg i need to do about half these things too! Organization just makes me so happy and calm. Now I just need my room to double in size..!

  6. This is a great list!! All things that are totally do-able and practical too. I'm due for a wardrobe clean out/overhaul too, but that'll have to be when I get back from NY. I actually think living out of suitcases for 6 weeks will help me learn how to live with a smaller wardrobe to choose from. :)


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