Simplify. Seems simple. It isn’t really…

What’s the big deal about simplifying your life and home?  Why is there an increasing interest in this?  Why is it so doggone hard?  Well, it’s not thaaaat bad.  Unless you live with other folks that aren’t on the same page as you, the same thought process, the same goals.

I’m at that stage in life where I want to start downsizing.  Have you seen all the shows and articles and web sites related to tiny housing?  When my hubby and I (we just had our 16th anniversary, by the way–woohoo!!!) first got married, I moved into his 680 square foot house.  Tiny.  We were there before tiny was cool!  I wasn’t sure how to combine our two households effectively and beautifully, but persevered.  By the time we hit our first anniversary, I loved our little house.  It was cozy. It was complete.  It was welcoming.  It was adorable.  But then we found out a wee one was on his way!  No place to put a crib, another dresser/changing table, toys, etc.  So we thought.  We moved into a house nearly twice the size–1200 square feet.  Whew.  Room to breathe.  We were no longer always together no matter what room we were in, including when one was in the bathroom.  (We had plenty of conversations through the door.)  But I found that it wasn’t as convenient when I had a question or needed something.  And there was always something that needed cleaning.  And we bought a lot more stuff, which required maintenance.  Or additional stuff.  But then we wanted to move to a better school district.

Next house–1,964 square feet, plus footage that’s not included.  We’re always hollering from one end of the house to the other, for stoopid things, like where is…, do you want…, when is…, are you ready?  Bothers me.  I don’t like that we yell, but what’s worse is not understanding what the other person said.  Then you have to get clarification, either by moving to where they are, or yelling, “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”  “I DIDN’T HEAR YOU–WHAT??”  “SAY AGAIN??”  We usually don’t hang out in the same room either, which saddens me immensely.  This is something we’re working on as we slowly simplify and get back to what is important. We’ve got a finished basement, which isn’t part of that square footage because there isn’t an egress window (a window big enough to get out through if there’s an emergency.)  Enormous family room (which is hubby’s favorite room,) a guest bedroom, and a half bath with sink and toilet.  There are also two BIG spaces that are storage space.  You know what that means?  We’ve gotten more STUFF; it all needs weeding out.  Last week I went through a container looking for our wedding books and pictures.  Found a bunch of newspapers in there that had no purpose that I could see. Recycle!!  Felt so good!  Made me want to discard more.  But I didn’t as I had other things to clean, maintain, buy, plan for, plan around…

When I talk with hubby and son about moving, there’s always a disconnect.  They sure don’t want smaller.  But they don’t get frustrated when looking for something.  They just ask me.  I’ll find it if I don’t already know where the item is.  And they don’t clean, much.  Or do the little maintenance, much.  Staying home with my synthetic fragrance sensitivity, I have become the cleaning lady.  And fixer.  In fact, just this morning, my dearest hubby asked why the living room touch up paint was on the counter with spackle and a brush.  Well, hmmm.  There are touch-ups to do.  Ah.

Yes.  I want to down size.  I love cozy.  Hubby loves space.  Lots and lots of space.  My favorite room in the house is the smallest at 10′ by 10′.  He gets claustrophobic in there.  It’s wonderfully cozy with a comfy couch (guest bed,) open bookshelf, small desk, small printer cabinet, a skinny wire and basket chest, and a tiny wrought iron garden table by the couch to set your beverage on. Very cozy, but not crowded.

Here’s a funny–hubby wants a smaller yard, as he dislikes yard work.  And I want more garden space to grow our own food.  I’d love to have chickens and goats too.  (Not possible in our current neighborhood.  We can’t even put up a clothesline or basketball hoop!)  We’ve currently got two pear trees, two apple trees, and a concord grape arbor that the previous owners put in.  We’ve added two blueberry bushes and a good sized raised bed for vegetables.  All of this on 1/3 of an acre!  I see room for more raised beds, but my guys want to be able to throw the football or baseball around a few times a year. We have a HUGE park a few miles from here. Their very valid point is when the urge strikes, they don’t want to have to drive.  Ok.

My biggest challenge with simplification is the part about getting rid of the stuff.  It amazes me how things become valuable when I’m purging.  We’re gathering garage sale goodies together, and have a good amount.  But there could be more!!!  And the whole recycling thing is hard–do we REALLY need this?  Can’t I just take a picture?  Can’t we make a copy and put it in our cloud?  One friend tells me I should just do it.  But that’s a violation of their opinion, isn’t it?  Guilt prevails.  But so shall I.  I WILL prevail at simplifying our lives and home.  I do want to say that all three of us are getting better at making do with what we’ve got.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.   And upcycling by reusing something in a different way than what it was originally intended for.  Yep–getting there.  It certainly is a process, and we Know that happiness is the journey, not the destination.  So, as I go down memory lane with the items that have accumulated over the years, I send you

Warm wishes on Your journey!
Nance

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Simple Pleasures + 100 Happy Days = Making lists

A recent blogging “assignment” I had was to write my blog as a list. That was something different; self brainstorming, no grammar worries, a different kind of writing. Not bloggish as we think of a blog, but a list. As I wrote on May 22nd, I also recently signed up to do the 100 Days of Happy, where I take a photo of something that made me happy during my day. Every day, for 100 days! That’s a lotta happy. A fellow blogger wrote a post about 50 simple pleasures in her life. http://lyrallya.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/50-simple-pleasures-of-life/#more-3401 All of a sudden, I’m seeing a theme going on in my world.

It seems like people are trying to find the good stuff, the stuff that makes us happy, the positive influences, figuring out what’s real and important to us individually as well as universally. This is really incredible! Those moments that matter so much, and help us be genuine and true to ourselves. Wow–it’s the reason why I’m focusing on this blog; it’s really a purpose for my life. I’ve been teased my entire life for being a Pollyanna, seeing through rose colored glasses, being too happy. That IS who I am, and I’ve tried to understand why people aren’t always comfortable with me being like that. Hope those folks get over it!!! And if they can’t, it’s a true shame.

So far in my 100 days of happy, I have seen the absolute joy and love in my dog’s eyes, Gracie Jane. Next, I was awed by a big urn of pansies with their petals turned towards the sun. It was followed by my other dog laying down on the other side of the urn. A moment later, my son came over to lay down next to Spencer and laid his head on him. My heart just about overflowed with the happiness I experienced in a matter of a moment.
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The next day, my son took pictures of the young apples on the trees in our yard for me. This was so I could see the progression since I can’t get out there myself with my foot in the big old “non” walking boot and crutches. I got so excited to realize that I’d be getting to make apple pies, apple bread, apple sauce, apple crisp, apple butter… and more, come fall! We thought we might have to move for my hubby’s job, but he was offered a great position locally. We get to stay and enjoy the food our little 1/3 acre lot will produce. WOOHOO happy!!
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Another food related moment of happy was when Hubby was making dinner last night of grilled Vidalia doused in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, perfectly grilled chicken and grilled sweet corn. Yep, my honey knows how to make some wonderfully tasty stuff.
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And today had several moments of happy for me; my hubby installing a new bunny proof (HA!) fence around the garden today, as well as going to lunch and sitting in the sun with a dear friend, finally getting out of the house!

This activity of acknowledging things that make me happy has really opened my eyes to the frequency of my happy moments. Once again, I feel so lucky, even with the fragrance and chemical sensitivities, the broken foot, leaving my teaching career of 10 years, and not knowing what the future has planned for me. Last night I was seriously freaking out due to the unknown. Tonight, I’m happy with my simple pleasures, and recognizing that even though it’s not what I had planned, everything will be good as long as I treasure the moments I’m given. Same goes for you, you know!!

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance