© 2012 jen

Truthy Tuesday: Seeking the Simple Life

{We do this weekly feature over on The Maven Circle called Truthy Tuesday different topics each week. We’d love to have people post their experiences around those topics on their own blogs too, to encourage more truthiness around blogland and openly talk about some of these things!}

Psst- Jena and I are switching back and forth week to week posting Truthy Tuesdays on the Maven Circle blog and on our personal blogs. Here’s where you can find Jena’s post about simplicity and mine is below.

Life can be majorly un-simple and down-right complicated at times. You know how it goes, sometimes it’s all we can do to drop and run- you throw down the things in your arms, pack a bag and you’re off to the next engagement. I know my life gets that way, so finding ways to get back to a simpler way of life can help ease the stress in our lives.

When we’re really busy having too much stuff in our home- the junk mail, the clutter of things sitting out so that you don’t forget to do something with them, like: fix it, pack it, return it, embellish it- all that stuff can feel like it’s suffocating you sometimes. Some people opt to get rid of their stuff for a simpler life.

My friend Tammy Strobel is one of these people. She took the idea of “the simple life” to a really, really simple degree. She lives in a tiny house and bikes everywhere. She only owns 100 items and is pretty hardcore in the simplification of her life. She’s also really happy and to me, she seems to have more free time than the average person.

I know myself well enough to know that I couldn’t go as far as Tammy and her husband in my pursuit of simplifying, but I definitely want to do some streamlining around my house. Having a sense of order and keeping it simple can really make room for other, more important things than cleaning.

Here are the facts, you can have collections of things if you want to, but then you have to clean it, maintain it and if you move you have to pack it, haul it, and reset it up again. Some people are dedicated to their collections and if you’re one of those people, more power to you. I, for one, love to avoid cleaning whenever possible. There’s about 100 things I’d rather do besides cleaning so the less I own and more I can set up systems in my life, the less I have to clean it, haul it or worry about it.

There are a few areas of my home that are running great- like my menu/grocery shopping list. I have a weekly menu planning grocery shopping list that I use. It simplifies our eating plans every week.  We don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner or if we have the stuff we need. It’s all there because we planned it in advance. We go shopping one time per week and it’s very simple. The whole family likes and uses the system and when I was out of town at the coast without my guys, they did the grocery shopping and menu planning without me. That’s one way you know it’s a good system, other people in your life want to use it too.

I also have a donation station in my house. It’s a place where I put things that I plan to donate. For us, it’s just a place behind a door in our dining room where I put things that are on their way to the thrift store. When the donation area seems full, I take a load to the thrift store.

I recently purchased 4 small ottomans that have a removable lid for storage. I’ve put them in my living room in place of my coffee table because I was sick and tired of looking at all of my work papers and the mail that I haven’t opened yet (I typically work from my laptop in my living room).

I use one of the ottomans for lap blankets, one for mail, one for my work papers and I have one empty one that I can use whenever there is a time in the future that I need somewhere to store something that doesn’t have a place yet.

There are a few areas that I’d like to increase the streamlining and simplifying still, but I haven’t gotten there yet. One area is my closet. What a mess. I need a better system for organizing my clothes. It’s pretty much a free for all. I have piles of clothes that I haven’t hung up yet and next to that pile is the pile of dirty laundry. There are more clothes than hangers or space to hang things, so it’s my plan to downsize soon so that everything has a place again.

I also want to organize my pantry a bit better. I want to have all of the basics in my pantry so that I can make whatever I need to make and have it set up in an easy way- one where I can find and return things to their place easily.  I’m getting there, but it’s slow going. Next month when my son is back in school I’m planning to hit the decluttering/organization train hard again.

I think this fall I will try to go paperless as much as possible. We already pay our bills online, but we get waaaay too much mail. Here’s an article I found on ways to simplify the paper in your personal life.

Another thing I’d like to do this fall is to go through each room in the house and get rid of things that are adding to the clutter. I like the way my friend Tammy talks about focusing on on one room at a time. It feels more doable to focus on, say, the bedroom and get rid of all the extra clothes I don’t wear and other things I don’t need from that one space than to try to do that and the kitchen at the same time. One room at a time is much more achievable.

So that’s my plan for simplifying. Now I’m curious about you. What systems are working in your house? What do you do with the excess clutter in your life? Have you gone paperless at home? How did you get there? How about your closet? Is it a mess like mine? I’d love to hear about your experiences with simplifying and declutter? How far will you or have you gone with that?








  1. Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm | #

    I love Tammy’s blog & have been a reader for a few years now, but I know that there is no way we can get to their level. At first it made me feel like simplicity must not be possible for me, but then I realized that it means different things to every person. We each have our own level we want to reach.

    I’m trying to get my house in order too! One room that has been neglected for far too long is my craft room, but I’m hoping to work on that more soon. Shouldn’t be too hard now that the mister is in school. Homework time will be a great chance for me to head in there & do a little decluttering/organizing.

    I’d love to hear about your menu planning system! I’m trying to implement one in our house, but I just don’t know where to start. My mom never did one & I’m tired of those spur-of-the-moment trips to fast food that happen when we realize we forgot to go to the store.

    • Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm | #

      Hi Kelly,

      Yes, Tammy is so awesome. Her blog is great and she is even greater.

      I have a few craft rooms. Well, one yarn and other stuff room and one sewing room, well, and a cutting room too. Something I did to organize all of the little weird things you don’t know what to do with is I got a bunch of small containers with handles from the Dollar Tree and then I bought cup hooks and hung tons of these small containers on my wall. It’s a great space saver and a cheap way to have tons of storage for little things. If I am able to, I’ll take a picture of it. Might be helpful for you.

      The menu planning system is part of the course. :) I’ll poke around and find it and point you to it. It’s simple and really help keep things efficient.

One Trackback

  1. […] out Jen’s post about seeking the simple life and her plan to get […]