Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TAKE THE Simple Living PLEDGE with Sonya Kanelstrand

 Happy February friends! I'm so excited to be participating in Sonya Kanelstrands simple living PLEDGE. Sonya reached out to me all the way from Norway to invite me to take the pledge and here I am! I know many of you have signed the pledge too so we'll be going on this journey together which I am grateful for! I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead in the coming weeks and I can't wait to see what we all learn and how we grow as a result of taking the simple living PLEDGE!

What is simple living?
  • Identifying what is most important for you and eliminating everything else.
  • Freeing up time for doing what inspires you and being with the people you love.
  • Decluttering your mind, your everyday life and your virtual life.
  • Single-tasking and learning to diminish stress.
  • Striving to live frugally by wanting less and buying only what is necessary.
  • Slowing down and being actively present in the moment.
  • Living a healthy life, including cleaning your home and your body, eating, exercising and thinking.
  • Striving to be green and sustainable as much as your surroundings allow.
  • Enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
  • Simplifying your goals, tasks and expectations.

She's given us a lot to think about hasn't she? 

The image above is a reproduction of the inside of Henry David Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond in Massachusetts. I had the pleasure of visiting there last fall and snapped a few photos! He wrote the book on simplicity  ( Walden ) and is one of the most beloved and influential writers of the 19th century yet he stands in contrast to his time, like many of us do today. He was at the head of the conservation movement and an eloquent voice advocating simple living, often expressing skepticism toward changes in life almost everyone else accepted as welcome progress. I wonder what he would think of  today's electronic world? I like to think he would embrace it for all the good it can do when it's used for a positive purpose.

Starting today I pledge to deepen my commitment towards a more simple, organized, Eco friendly and BEAUTIFUL life. Yes, BEAUTIFUL. I'm all for making my footprint smaller and my daily rounds as a creative homemaker easier but I'm not about to sacrifice beauty over function. Simple Living doesn't mean PLAIN LIVING!

De cluttering your mind, your everyday life and your virtual life. ( from Sonya's bullet point list above ) 

How does one DE-clutter your mind? I imagine it's different for all of us, but for me there are four simple things I do that can help.
1. Plan an hour or so in every day for quiet time to read, daydream, write, and organize.
2. Get outside and BREATH... whether it's your daily trip to the chicken coop or a short walk around the block. Exercise and fresh air work wonders for clearing your mind. It's FREE AND ORGANIC!
3. Set a schedule for blogging, writing and answering emails. I plan how long I will spend on the computer each day so that my time is balanced with my family and my homemaking daily rounds. 
4. My cell phone doesn't have a data package but I do have texting. I have teenagers so I learned to text   !Nuf said? 

As a homemaker/ home-school mom and writer I prefer not to be connected 24//7. Instead, I include facebook notifications, emails etc. into my daily screen time.

 Many of you know, we have been on an organizing kick here at Dandelion House! One of my " realistic " goals is to have a more efficient way to store dry goods, linens, serving trays, etc.The Larder project is on the top of my list for paint. I've been gathering glass storage containers and chalkboard labels. I want to open my larder and * LOVE * what I see and be able to see it clearly! Simple and Beautiful!

My inspiration photo!
In the meantime I've been picking away at smaller project's. Last week I tackled the kitchen island and our mail center.
This space is the catchall for everything. It's right next to the kitchen door and the first surface handy to drop the mail, my purse, hubby's incidentals, school books; I've even seen the occasional basketball and football sitting on top of it, none of which adds to the beauty or functionality of my kitchen. I'm not a perfectionist ( I'm more of a romantic idealist ) but I do like to try and keep things somewhat neat so I can think daydream better! We had a family chat about all of us making a conscious effort to  bring * less * into our home to begin with, then I went to work on our mail center.
My Simple Mail Center Solution
I've had this caddy for a few years but I just figured out that the slots on either end aren't for just stuffing things into with random abandon! I developed a simple system to eliminate having several small piles on my kitchen island.

 I purchased 4 folders with closing flaps to house incoming mail, out going mail, pending items and household receipts. I labeled each one so the handsome Yankee can find things too!This keeps my counter clear of clutter and me more on track! 

 The caddy also has a couple of small drawers for go to items, a slot for small note cards and two large envelope slots. I use for my glasses. It's much easier to find them there than at the bottom of that black hole I call my purse! One thing at a time!

I still use a print based day-timer which I keep tucked right inside the nearest slot by the phone!

You'll get a kick out of this. I'm not a rabid coupon user. I actually pretty terrible at it. Oh, I do file them in this little accordion file that I keep in my purse at all times, I just don't always remember to take them out and actually use them! Notice the date on this outdated coupon??? 1-27-12  Clearly I'm much more tuned in to other things like blogging about organizing, or trying to at least!
I believe we can all make a difference and have fun in the doing if we keep our sense of humor!
Sometimes I wonder if the journey to Simple Living is really all that simple!

Before I close this very long post I want to remind all of you about  

 Did you know that by becoming a member you can earn merit badges for many for the simple ( and not so simple ) things you already do around your home, garden and community? There's even a Farmerette program for your young'uns under the age of 13 where they can earn badges too! 
While there may by harsh consequences to our selves and our planet for not living more mindfully, that's no reason not to be rewarded for your efforts, not matter how small or big!

Tell us how you corral your daily mail!



Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

I really, really appreciate that Sonya includes in her post mental decluttering! When we hear the word "declutter" I think everyone automatically thinks of getting rid of "things" in their house--completely forgetting about decluttering their lives! Sooo important! In fact, I think when you go through a "mental" declutter, the "physical" automatically follows; I also don't think you can adhere to simple living physically if you don't do the mental FIRST. Great post today. :o)

Kanelstrand said...

Wow. Thank you for your commitment, Deb. You are a real inspiration, have I told you that? You have taken so many steps to achieving simplicity, and have put so much thought in the little things! Sharing what you have done is so important because it can inspire other people, even ones who think that they have simplified enough! The best way to teach is by example, I am sure you know that!

Cheree @ The Morning Latte, thanks for your nice words. I believe that mental decluttering is the first step to all organization or any decluttering process. In fact they are interconnected - the inner and the outer - but the initial push has to come from inside!

Candy C. said...

I have been working on "straightening up" the kitchen counter too. It can certainly become a catch-all very easily! I was even in the midst of decluttering my desk when I looked at your post! :)

Unknown said...

Thank you Cheree and Sonya! I'm loving this * conversation *!

Unknown said...

Candy, don't let me stop you from " straightening up " ya hear? I never let blogging interfere with my " work " . HA! :)

Unknown said...

Joining you in taking the Simple Living Pledge :) ! Perfect timing ...

Unknown said...

Hi Catherine!
Long time no see :) I saw you on girlgab this week! Don't you love it?
Thanks for stopping by today...!

Melinda said...

Hi, I'm now a new follower. :) I love the concept of simple living and am so happy that Sonya is tackling it this month. :) I had to laugh when I read your profile because just yesterday I was flipping through a friend's Mary Jane magazine and wondering why I don't have a subscription yet... ;)

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