Archive for the ‘Minimalism & Simple Living’ Category
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When I started back to work, I took a good look in my closet, and tried to determine exactly what I needed and what I didn’t. It really was a bit of a challenge — I’d been doing a part-time gig as a kinesiologist for several months, but now I was doing a receptionist position as well, which meant I needed to dress more dressy and professional. Don’t get me wrong, I was professional when I worked as a kinesiologist, but because the job is a fairly active one, I wore sneakers, long sleeve t-shirts, and cotton slacks. Now I was the face of the clinic — I needed to make a good impression on our clients.
But I wanted to have as little in my closet as possible. So I took a good look, gave some things a toss, and filled in the holes. In the end, I have a complete rotation of outfits using exactly 10 pieces.
1 and 2: Long sleeve black t-shirts. These are a staple in my wardrobe. I wear them with sweaters, jeans, dresses, other shirts, whatever I happen to be putting on. So I bought two basic ones to cover my wardrobe and have found them to be invaluable. I also love the ones with gorgeous bell sleeves. You can’t go wrong with elegant bell sleeves.
3, 4, 5: Three sleeveless dresses. These are great, because they can be worn with or without your long sleeve t-shirts. They’re also quite flattering on most figures, and if you get them in solid or simple colors, you can mix and match your accessories with them as you like.
6, 7, 8: Three pairs of dressy slacks. Stick to solids or very small prints. It’s easy to toss these on with your long sleeve t-shirts when you’re in a rush or not feeling your best.
9: A plain black skirt. Another easy wardrobe staple. You just have to toss it on, and boom! You’re done.
10: A beautiful sweater. I’d go with a basic color like black, grey or white, because then it will go with your dresses, slacks or skirt. You can wear it with or without your long sleeve t-shirts too, if it’s not too revealing.
And that’s it! Just add a great pair of flats, a great pair of heels, some black leggings, and a few necklaces to give your wardrobe some sparkle and you’re done!
Photo Credit: GetFitorBust.tumblr.com
What I did do, however, was write a general list of things I’d like to achieve this year. I have several ambitious objectives that I planned out specifically one day just before the new year.
If you’re looking to write up your own list of goals for the year, there are some great resources to look into.
First and foremost, I would go to Amy Lynn Andrews‘ simple, straight-forward eBook, Tell Your Time. I did a review of it not long ago, and I found to give very clear, easy to follow directions to help you figure out the path you want to take. It’s an excellent guide to follow when you’re looking to plan almost anything.
There is also a wonderful article written by Erin O of The Humbled Homemaker on Keeper of the Home just before Christmas. She lists some great ways to find ways to organize and plan for the next twelve months. I found a lot of great inspiration from this article.
Also, there is an excellent talk that Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church did called “Reverse Engineering Your Life“, about how to plan your life out. It’s rather lengthy and it is directed moreso towards men, as he talks about being the provider for your home and other topics. He also has a more general sermon discussed as well, and a series of questions and information to fill in. But I found it amazingly helpful and really enjoyed the thoughts and discussions that cropped up from it
So, with those pieces of information in mind, this is the rough guideline that I used to plan out my 2012.
- Find out your priorities. I listed the top 5 roles that God has given me, and then I put them in order. For me, that’s includes:
- Child of God
- Think about what the different categories that branch off from these priorities. For me, this includes:
- Write down a theme for 2012. This can be a quote from a famous person, a special saying that you come up with, a line of poetry or a song, or whatever else you choose. My theme for 2012 came from Proverbs 31:10. “An excellent wife, who can find? She is more precious than jewels.” My main goal for 2012 is to be a better wife to my husband, and find ways to celebrate my femininity and my marriage.
- With each different categories, create another theme for that category. Afterwards, you can begin listing your different goals for each category. These do not have to be extensive, time consuming, nor brilliant. One of my homemaking goals for 2012 is to do one load of laundry per day, no more and no less. Simple! Don’t give yourself some rediculously complicated goal, like “Memorize Leviticus.” You won’t succeed in that. Likewise, don’t set a rediculously general goal, like, “Lose weight.” Again, you won’t succeed in that.
- Break your goal down into smaller steps. So using my examples above, my simple goal of one load of laundry per day is simple: get the clothes, wash the clothes, dry the clothes, fold the clothes, put away the clothes. Done! Simplify your complicated goals, and complicate your simple goals, to make them more managable. It will improve your chances of completing them.
- Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete them. This doesn’t mean 12 months. Maybe it’s only 3 months, or six weeks. Give yourself a set amount of time to work on your goals. Then, take some time, review your goals, and move forward from there.
Hopefully you find this method helpful! My little notebook with all my notes in it stays tucked in my purse, ready for me to sift through and figure out where to go next!
What are your goals in 2012? Share them with us!
Disclaimer: Yes, I am compensated for some (but not all) of the purchases made via the referral links in this post. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.
Christmas this year will be celebrated with family in the traditional way of celebrating on Dec.25th. Michael and I hope to begin a new tradition of celebrating presents and stockings on St. Nicholas Day next year, when we can celebrate in our own home. However this year, I am on the hunt for frugal, handmade Christmas stockings for Naomi. Last year for Christmas, I knitted her a lovely stocking. I’m excited to fill it with some delicious treats and trinkets for little hands.
I likely won’t be getting to my sewing machine before Christmas, but I would like for Naomi to have a pretty little girl’s apron to use in our kitchen. So if I find the right t-shirt, I might try out this tutorial for making one out of an old t-shirt. I save all my old stained t-shirts for just such occasions! I have an idea for a waterproof (read: mess-proof) apron as well, so stay tuned for that!
Cookies are a sweet, homemade treat that can be specialized to meet her dietary needs. We are a real food, whole food, nourshing type of family, but Naomi seems to have an unpleasant reaction to cinnamon. So I can avoid that by simply baking her some delicious treats for her stockings. A simple shortbread or chocolate chip cookie recipe would do the trick nicely. I just have to be sure they don’t become breakfast!
Another interesting little toy would be several pretty felted wool balls in different colors and sizes. Next time I am at my favorite secondhand store I will pick up some wool and make some. These are great for little hands, for tossing around (without damaging anything), could be strung on a string for necklaces, etc. Oh! And I found this great idea from Meg at Mega•Crafty on how to make them without getting your hands dirty!
Little feet get cold quickly. So a comfy pair of knitted slippers are great, especially ones that are easy to put on and off. These pocketbook slippers are a favorite I’ve knitted several times. Just be careful to put some puff paint on the very bottoms to prevent slipping and sliding! Tumbles are no fun at Christmas.
To make bathtime more fun, homemade soap crayons are a great idea too. I like the idea that I can use a natural soap on Naomi, as well as use natural food colorings, rather than anything with ingredients I cannot pronounce. I like this technique because it’s pretty simple.
If my mess-proof apron is a success, I might venture into the realm of homemade finger paints. Poor Michael might have a stroke, but I know Naomi would absolutely love to try finger painting (though this might be restricted to the walls of the tub before bath time). This recipe from Tiffany at Easie Peasie seems to be really popular!
Do you have any suggestions for frugal, homemade stocking stuffers? If so, please share! I’d love to hear about them!
Our diaper bags can sometimes seem like a black hole. Everything you can possibly imagine gets stuffed in there, “just in case”. Naomi and I have lugged around three bags at one time just for a simple 15 minute appointment. With babies, you need snacks, drinks, toys, books, diapers, clothes, change, your wallet, the baby’s health cards, nail clippers, bath soap, towels, bibs… I’m getting sore just thinking of it.
Not long ago, I gave up on the diaper bag. We had two, and I was sick of lugging the bloody things around all the time. So I emptied both of them, got a simple cotton tote bag, and used that to put in exactly what I felt I needed. My regular diaper bag consists of:
• A few changes of cloth diapers
• A plastic bag for the dirties
• A half dozen clean baby wash cloths
• A spray bottle of soapy water
That’s it! Nothing else. It’s so simple to toss that over my shoulder and head on out. Whenever we get home, I grab my dirty diaper bag, and in everything goes into the washer. Clean, simple, easy.
When we require a little more, I add one change of clothes, two books, and a couple toys. These are toys and books I keep especially for trips outside the house. Naomi and I read (and reread) the books, which seem new to her because she hasn’t read them in awhile, and we play with the simple toys. These are always things that could easily be replaced should they get left behind, like bottle lids, newspaper flyers, and plastic containers we are given from relatives.
As well, there are certain things that are left in the car at all times. We have a small back-up pile of disposable diapers, a sweater that is a wee bit big, so she’ll grow into it, an extra pair of socks, some suntan lotion, and some plastic bags for garbage. We also keep a box of organic cookies and crackers in there for long trips. But these are not regular parts of our adventure and so aren’t used often. We keep these in a small plastic tub on the floor in the back seat, where they are out of sight and out of mind, but always only an arm’s reach away.
Of course, overnight trips require much more. But as a general rule, when Naomi and I go out for simple errands and adventures, we take one bag of a few things and go. It makes organizing ourselves so much easier!