Thursday, February 5, 2015

Monthly Experiment Update

January was over before I knew it.  My simplicity experiment for January was to use a regular meal schedule.  It was to go like this:

Monday: Crockpot meat
Tuesday: Pasta
Wednesday: Soup
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Baked potatoes/toppings
Saturday: Homemade Pizza
Sunday: Tuna casserole/Salmon cakes

The idea was that I would not have to invest a ton of time in making a grocery list and shopping.  It hopefully would cut down on the amount of dinner-prep time as well.  So, did it work?  Did it even happen?

Yes and no.

On the yes side, we only bought out one night.  I did make pasta each week, and that was a nice, simple meal.  We had more leftovers than I though, so that covered us for more than one day.  My grocery budget was $50 under budget, and I ended the month with meat in the freezer for future meals.  I also bought a little $18 toaster oven and it has really been put to use!  Baked potatoes turned out great in it.  Soup was the big winner for January, along with a beef roast that lasted a week in various dishes.

On the no side, I did not make pizza from scratch or open one can on tuna or salmon.  We did have some frozen pizzas that were happily ingested.

Final conclusions?  I don't like being tied to a regimented schedule.  I do like planning for a week, especially when I review what we have on hand and try to keep buying to a minimum or what's on sale that week. I like stretching a big hunk of meat through several meals.  I can't wait for winter to be over and fresh produce to be in season locally!  It's good to have one or two "easy" nights during the week;  every night doesn't need to be a major production.  Dave and I are happiest with "bowl food."  This month has also made me curious about things like home canning and homemade pasta.  I'm dreaming of a pantry filled with homemade goodness.

February experiment:
This is a little one for a little month.  I use my iphone as my nightstand clock, but also do a final check of everything and a game or two before bed.  When I wake up it's the same.  I lay in bed for a good 20 minuets, checking facebook, previewing email, and playing something.  I've started keeping my current phone in my purse overnight and am using an old one with no service as my clock.  It's only been two days, but I've been up earlier and had a less hectic morning.  Of course, things are a bit stressful at work, so that may account for the getting up early.  We shall see as the month progresses!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I've been on a decluttering kick since late fall, and it's really jumped into high gear with all the hype over the KonMari method.  I read the book and loved it, and it's changed my approach in any number of ways.  But I'm still struggling with the fear that I'm going to get rid of something that I'll regret.  Of course, I've had no serious regrets so far.  Yes, sometimes I wish I had kept a little wool for spinning when I get the urge, but I also realize that spinning is more of a whim than a true desire.

One of the questions that always makes the rounds is "If I were moving, would I pack this and take this with me?"  I struggle with this.  For instance, I have a box of gift bags and boxes.  If we were moving, I'd probably pitch all of them.  But for now, they're neatly contained, out of the way yet accessible, and are being used.

Strategy is another issue.  I feel like right now my things are too many and too scattered to be able to gather each "category" of item and sort through at one time.  So I've been doing rooms and regions, thinning stuff out and aiming for a complete gather-assess-purge in the future.  Perhaps this is adding another step to the process, but it also makes it easier to deal with decision fatigue.  Things that made the first cut may not make the second when I have less to deal with and am able to weigh it against other keepers.  What I need to start doing is making a list of what I have where, so I don't forget about this box or that cubby when I do round two.  I also need to plan where I will be keeping things, because having items scattered about does mean I have unnecessary duplicates. (Not going to talk about the two sets of 6 yards of blue linen that is completely not my color!)

I did do my planned 45 minutes after work yesterday. While it was mostly tidying and organizing, I did pare things down a bit.  I want to do more!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Talk about listless.  I'm in that spinning my wheels mode where I feel like I can get nothing done, which leads me to not wanting to do do anything at all.  It's time to mediatate on my little poster at work:

When I'm at work, all I can think about are projects I want to be working on at home.  But by the time I get home, do supper, dishes, other little chores, I'm absolutely ready to curl up with Dave and just be together and cozy some.  And that is more important than decluttering, I know, but I feel like I can't start a new project until I declutter and get organized.  And January is practically over already!

So my experiment for today is this:  Work like crazy at work so I don't have things hanging over my head and see how I feel tonight.  I've already planned to just make soup for supper, so that should not be too labor intensive.  If I can get myself out the door at work at 4:00 maybe I can have a speed cleaning session before starting supper.

Huh.  #LittleHouse2015 was supposed to be about calm simplicity.  This isn't quite what I had intended.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The return to work from the holiday break was not the smoothest, so there was not much time to think about posting and not much time for home activity unfortunately.  One thing that has been on my mind though are things that I love.  Today I wandered around the house and selected a few of my most favorite things.  In no particular order:

I bought this mug when I first moved out on my own.  Just some cheap mug, but it's a great size, it's yellow, and I always end up contemplatively running my lower lip over those ridges and the chip.

Everything about this pitcher just feels right.

I use my little rabbit tea bowl for everything from ice cream to blending spices.

Billy has always been my favorite, and as a child I once drew blood while defending his honor.

The earrings have a lovely weight and are just lovely.  My grandmother received the locket for her 25th wedding anniversary.

I love this wee wooden calf with his broken horn.

Monday, January 5, 2015

I really debated doing this.  Does the internet need to house another little blog about a journey toward simplicity, decluttering, experiments in cooking and gardening, home repair, etc?    Won't I just abandon this project the way I've let so many other things drift to the side?  Maybe so.  But what inspired this is different from past attempts.  In the past, I wanted to prove something.  I wanted to do a project and have people read it and admire my progress.  This time, no so much.

I've been reading so many people's 2014 year in reviews, and tried to do one for myself.  And....I could remember very little.  Oh, there were definite highlights.  Starting to fish. Joining a decluttering group on Facebook.  Reading Marie Kondo.  Procrastinating yet again on some major house updates.  But really, most of those things happened in the past few months.  Spring, last winter...all a blank (except for the frigid temps.  But that's something I don't want to remember.)

So this will be more of a journal, a collection of things to remember.  Maybe I should do it on paper.  Maybe I will move to paper.  Who knows.  All I can say is that I'm trying to keep track, to be more mindful, and will hopefully find the best way for me to do that.

Oh, the title.  While I was contemplating a word or phrase for 2015, I went through several, but none seemed to encompass what I was going for.  Simplicity?  Yes, but some of my major goals are house projects that aren't really in line with simplicity per se.  #LetItGo?  Great for decluttering, but after reading Marie Kondo I'm more focused on keeping only what I love versus forcing myself to get rid of things.  Plus I'm not reusing my sister's tag from last year!  So I thought, what really inspired me the most recently?  The answer: Reading the Little House books.  The feelings in the book are  what I want to strive towards.

A little home that is warm and cozy and filled with only the things I love.
Summer days spent outdoors.
Attention to the seasons.
Real and nourishing food.
A sense of contentment.