Meals to cook, schedules to check, places to be, papers to sign, appointments to book, commitments to follow up on. Goals to meet, staying healthy (physically and mentally), time with friends, time with each other.
These are things that run through my mind and greet me each afternoon as I return home from work. I knew starting back to work in an office would be a big change and it has certainly held true to that expectation.
Over the course of our lives, its normal to go through various life transitions. These are changes that are so big that they tend to upend our normal mode of life. Family and occupational changes account for the majority of these.
Take these transitions and add in all that life throws at us on a daily basis and it can be a stressful time. Embracing a simple life helps. It is not a cure-all but in the two months that I transitioned from a stay-at-home mom and blogger to a full time working mom, the benefits have really shined through.
Ease of cleaning our home.
Because we have drastically reduced the number of items in our home, its easier to clean. Piles and areas of clutter also don’t pile up and accumulate as quickly as in our pre-minimalist life. With being out of the house so many hours and, I confess, the exhaustion of having this new job, I’m really appreciating this one!
Smaller work wardrobe.
Before I would probably want to get a lot of new work clothes. Now that I take a capsule wardrobe mentality, I need much less because it mostly works together. There’s less laundry, less decision making and general frustration when it comes to clothes. It has also meant spending less.
Quality time together as a family
Since our home takes less time to care for and manage and we no longer are obsessed with stuff, we have more quality time together. We’re now doing the things, like hiking, that we used to only talk about, or playing basketball in the street when I come home. Also, even our evening time is better because I have stopped saying “yes” to every invitation and to every committee, etc that would require more time away.
Time to pursue things we care about.
Since starting to work out of the home, the time and energy that I have for additional projects and tasks has decreased. But given the simplified lifestyle, I am still able to write and work on some passion projects with out feeling overly committed or stressed.
So these benefits during this transition have been made possible because we have remained committed and convinced of the need to live simply. With the first loads of clutter removed from our home years ago, we knew that there was no going back to excessive consumption and accumulation of material goods. Our peace of mind, ease in daily living, and benefits for ourselves, our family, and our world far outweighed anything that those excess goods were giving us.
A few ways that we have been able to or aspects that have greatly aided in this big transition to continue to live simply have been:
I had to purchase a few items because I had all but cut out business attire in my wardrobe. I’ve been very mindful and strategic with the items I bought (and borrowed long term) and it has made getting ready in the morning easy. I enjoy everything I’m wearing and it all goes together for the most part.
Currently our kids are not in an activity, though one is on the horizon. Any additional activities or even one time events, we are very careful about committing to, because we know that our time and (my) energy is even more limited. I’ve heard of many ways to slow down and simplify scheduling kids – whether its limiting activities to one season, choosing one sport or activity, etc. There’s also lots of evidence that point to kids needing unscheduled time to just play. So saying no to an activity is not necessarily a bad thing, even if they bemoan your decision at first.
Major kudos to my husband for pitching in SO much during the past few weeks. I’m coming out of the fog of new job overhwelm, and getting in a routine for cleaning. We’re sticking to our routines of evening cleanups, clear surfaces, and cleaning as we go and putting away something when we’re finished. I’m not the neatest person in the world, but I have learned that life, especially “a new normal” is so much easier when I take the time to put my things away as soon as I come home. The minute or two it takes for me to clear something away or put something up is SO worth not letting it pile up for me to do on the weekend.
I’ve seen this quote a few times lately and I keep thinking about it
“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” -Annie Dillard
I want to keep the clothes, the cleaning, the house and stuff simple. I want to focus on the important things, my husband and our kids and our relationships with one another. I want to teach them about things that matter in life. I want to make awesome memories with our friends. I want to build a beautiful community with our neighbors so that we care and trust one another. I want to love and care for others in this world and make an impact for good.
So whether you’re going through a transition or just looking to start this journey of living more simply. What matters most to you? What gets your blood pumping? What do you dream of making more time for?
Living simply is not a magic pill and it isn’t an easy road, but it creates space and time and energy for going hard after a life you can be proud of.