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What LESS Isn't.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

What LESS Isn't.

So it's been close to a month since I was feeling inspired to make some changes with our lifestyle. Feeling like we just have too much stuff, too many choices, too much waste, too much distraction. Too much.

So, how's it going?

This is what is working and where I feel like we're really doing something:

-We've donated a TON of stuff. J & I literally did one of those "if we haven't worn it or used it since we've been married, why are we keeping it" sort of clean outs which resulted in bags and bags and bags of clothes. Would you believe he had even more clothes in his closet to donate than me?

-J & T pulled every single item out of T's bedroom last weekend and went through everything. First of all, T's room has never looked cleaner. Second of all, there was so much stuff that he didn't need, use or want that all can be used by others. {Though I am seriously questioning why he donated his alarm clock? Not a wise move, dear thirteen year old.}

Next up will be M's room, then H's, E's, the playroom, baby stuff we're keeping. There's still much that needs to go.

-Shopping with a list. I think one of my biggest issues in the past has been showing up at the store and randomly shopping for whatever strikes my mind in the hour I'm there. This doesn't work because many times I then forget what I actually did need prompting a second, third, sometimes fourth trip, each of which results in additional purchases that aren't necessary. It also causes me to do the "oh I'll just see what's on sale" walk through the store. I've been a lot better at making a list before we leave the house {not in the car in the parking lot and not in the Target Starbucks} and actually sticking to it and not grabbing a random 3T shirt for E since it's only $2.80.

-Speaking of shopping, literally a week after the initial LESS post I started feeling this overwhelming urge to SHOP. FOR MYSELF. Like I have no clothes, I need to get a whole new wardrobe sort of thing. I resisted thus far.

-Unplugging and Using Less Technology. I thought this would be a lot harder than it has been so far. But I am making choices each day to really "unplug". Monday, after having been unplugged all weekend at camp with M, I literally turned the ringer on my cell phone off for several hours to just get caught up on life without the distraction of a text or an email or even phone calls. Obviously for several reasons that doesn't work every day but making choices like do I need to answer the phone right now or do I need to finish helping H with his homework. At Hearts at Home this past November, one suggestion was to decide what's urgent and what's important. The important stuff should win. Working on this and trying to remember the balance component. Balance is still needed because on one hand technology is wonderful at keeping up with far away friends/family but it can also be a very large distraction.

Things that haven't worked:

-Completing cutting myself off from the option to get a coffee or grab the kids lunch if I needed to. I spent a week NOT getting coffee and not doing any fast food and that was good except I was obsessing about not getting a coffee or fast food. And then I hit my breaking point, furnace issues, sick kid, having to wait on an antibiotic at Target and I just threw in the towel bought a coffee and fed my kids lunch.

And that's when I decided that depriving myself of things I enjoy is not the way to do LESS.

My friend, Melissa, who's much more eloquent than me reminded me that I must couple LESS with grace. LESS isn't a laundry list of self inflicted rules everyone needs to follow, it's more about living intentionally with what we need, with awareness to what others need and realizing how much less that is.

So that's where I'm at with things, where are you at? What's working or not working? What are you doing or not doing to live a life towards LESS? Please share.



Blogger Heather said...

I've also started shopping with a list and this month, with CASH! That means I can only buy what I've budgeted for. It should be an interesting experiment, but I hope it works!

February 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

We are going through everything in our house too and donating. Five bags so far have been donated! Next step is to go through the kids toys. I am working with my son to teach him to make the decisions about what toys he really still plays with and what ones would be better to give to 'a boy who doesn't have toys'. Hes starting to say "mom, I really want to give this to someone who really needs it." Its great!

February 3, 2012 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Beth Kondrick said...

I think it is definitely about balance - easy to say, hard to put into practice!

Shopping with a list helps so much, we have found that if we plan out our meals for two weeks and make a list based on our meals and various needs, we're able to stick to a better budget when we go.

We're still working on going through things in our house, we're slowly getting there though!

February 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I have my grocery list when shopping. If it isn't on the list it isn't going in the cart. Also yesterday started a HUGE purging of clothes and extra sheets. I currently have 5 bags and I'm sure I will have 6-8 once it's all said and done.

February 3, 2012 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Ann-Marie said...

Looks like you're off to a great start. And I'm with Melissa. Especially as you've succeeded in living with less in so many other areas. You can't deprive yourself of everything all the time. We, too, are going through our closets and donating clothes or other items we find that we don't need/use. And we've been much better about making a menu for the week and shopping for what we need. (Our grocery bill has been so much less as a result, too, which is great.) Keep working on it!

February 5, 2012 at 8:18 AM  

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