Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Compact Part I

Over the last year or so I've been reading a lot about simplifying. I truly crave a more simplified life. What exactly do I mean by that? I want to get by with fewer things. I want my home to have a place for everything and have everything in its place. I want to spend more moments enjoying my family and less time searching for the paper that should have been signed and turned into preschool last week. I totally subscribe to the notion that I should "live simply, so that others may simply live." I've been meaning to do it, too. It's just eluded me on many levels. But no longer. After tackling 3 challenges in almost 6 weeks of blogging, I think I can safely say that I'm capable of making positive changes in my life (still working out 4x a week, still staying on top of the dishes/dishwasher situation for the most part, and sticking to the 1 treat rule on weekdays). Being accountable to you readers most definitely helps me stay on track. Again, thank you for keeping me honest.

Tuesday night Bert and I were talking about how we were sick of financial stress as well as stress that comes from living in a cluttered space. Yes we do live in a small space and that makes it a bit tricky to keep things under control. But other people manage it. And so will I. You may recall that a few weeks ago I worked on keeping my dishes and the top of the dishwasher in check. It was tough, and it's still a bit of a struggle, but it's so much better than it used to be. As I type this my sink is empty, my dishwasher is running, and the top is clutter-free. Things are much better on that front than they were a month ago. In that small way, I improved and I will continue to improve in other areas as well. Here's the problem with the clutter on the dishwasher scenario. Although it's a step in the right direction, it's not getting at the root of the problem.

Yesterday while checking out Mrs. Furious's blog, she linked to this and this and everything started coming together for me. I realized that I have way too much stuff in my home already and then compounding the problem is the fact that I'm bringing in too many items. Of course I've read about this (in the last year or so I've read all of the following books on this subject: Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping; Give It Up!: My Year of Learning to Live Better With Less; Affluenza; The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't Need), but I haven't done anything concrete about it. Mrs. F. and I spoke for a long time yesterday afternoon about ways in which we can commit to living more simply and consuming less. Last night I filled Bert in on what Mrs. F and I had been discussing and how it pertained to the conversation Bert and I were having about clutter and finance-related stress. Today I'm tackling the clutter problem at its root. Although I'm not following verbatim this compact, I will seriously be:
1. reassessing my needs and wants;
2. getting rid of things we do not need (in the process I hope to declutter the house);
3. limiting my purchases for the rest of 2008 (and possibly beyond) solely to consumable items (consumable items include diapers, toilet paper, food, etc. Consumable items do not include "good deals" or impulse buys at Target for me; new toys for the children; or new CDs for Bert).

You may ask, "But Mary Poppins, what are you going to do about the holidays?" I've already purchased most of our Christmas presents for our families (I will need to get 2 more and I will do that because I'm not going to give one sibling something spectacular while the other sibling gets a used book that I'm trying to clear out of my home. I am, however, going to stick with the budget that I've set for those presents.). Everyone else is getting non-consumable or homemade items from us. I know that at this moment you're all wishing that you were on my Christmas gift list.

The Poppins crew is going out of town for the weekend so I'll be posting again on Sunday evening upon our return. At that time I'll post The Compact Part II where I'll outline the specific ways in which I plan to accomplish the aforementioned goals. And I will tackle them one at a time, Mary Poppins-style. You can hardly wait.

sugar situation: yesterday I ate some one smores bar. Think Rice Krispy treats made out of Golden Grahams and then add some chocolate chips. Sickeningly sweet=delicious in my book.


katieo said...

oooo, I LOVE me some of those s'mores bars.

I'm very interested in you and Mrs F following the compact philosophy. And good for you for getting that Christmas shopping done this early! (My oldest son's Christmas list includes a Wii, a marble, and a piece of cake. What am I supposed to do with that? We can afford the Wii...and don't really want one..."here's your marble, now go eat your piece of cake!")

katieo said...

whoops. I meant to say, "CAN'T afford the Wii"

Mary Poppins said...

katieo--here's your marble, now go eat your piece of cake. Hilarious. My kids are too little to covet expensive items. I'm dreading the day when they start.

Liz said...

Mary, how do you know katieo? I know katieo! We lived at Y View together. Katieo if you read this hello and email me I need your home address for Christmas cards :
mary I will comment on your next post.

Mary Poppins said...

liz--i don't know her personally. she's a reader of my friend mrs furious's blog and found me that way. small world, huh?