This is Part 2 of Downsizing to A Right Size. This section discusses lifestyle issues – cooking and mealtime, hobbies, memberships and relationships.
Part 1 – ‘Right Sizing Stuff’ will be found at lovingsimpleliving.com as a guest post and also here at acabinbythelake.com. It explained WHY I needed to pare down my ‘stuff’ and then discussed HOW I did it utilizing a ‘3 pile method’ after formulating a guiding principle for purpose. This worked well for storage shelves, closets and other areas stuff had been stashed that not been used on a regular basis. Right sizing is NOT just downsizing but it is the amount of downsizing to a ‘right-size’ that was ‘right’ for me. Your right size may be very different from mine.
HARDER TO RIGHT SIZE LIFESTYLE ACTIVITIES
The right sizing of a Lifestyle can be even more difficult. I found it was harder to change habits (like not buying junk food) or pulling back on helping out worthwhile organizations and not seeing those friends on regular basis. Right sizing a lifestyle did not happen in a week or month. I need to evaluate each commitment. My guiding principle was a bit different for each area but held a common thread of Is this necessary and does it contribute to a simple lifestyle?
- GROCERY SHOPPING, COOKING AND EATING
I looked at our eating and cooking habits and found the cupboards and refrigerator contained many bags, boxes and bottles of unhealthy food. Some had ‘outdated’ or had become unusable due to opened containers. These were all thrown away and not replaced unless they were healthy foods. By reducing groceries to just meat, fruits, fresh and frozen vegetables, almonds and protein bars, there were only a few aisles to typically go down at the grocery store and meal planning was even easier. Beverages were reduced to black coffee and ice water.
I took a serious look at my hobbies and all of the ‘stuff’ that resulted from them. For the hobbies I currently enjoyed (and had worked on in the past 12 months), they were safe. However, the tub of cross stitching floss and books and incomplete projects that had been moved from house to house needed to be discarded. I knew my eyesight would not allow me to finish these and many were faded or had parts missing. I also went through the closet full of games that no longer were played and decided to either start a ‘game night’ or donate them, if they were in good shape.
- ORGANIZATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Involvement in organizations and memberships was another area I needed to right size. My guiding principle here was ‘is this important enough for me to be away from the house x number of hours each week’? Just as we had our children do when they were in high school, I needed to choose my activities as I couldn’t be in them all and keep up other things that were important to me. There also was a time commitment difference between just belonging to an organization and taking a leadership role. Sometimes I choose to continue to belong to an organization but stepped down from the leadership role. This resulted in fewer meetings and less ‘stuff’ that went with it. Even if meetings were ‘once a month’, four of those organizations had resulted in being gone one night each week. I did not purpose to stay home every night but I did need to take stock where I was spending my energy and time. Some of the organizations were very worthwhile and I truly enjoyed getting together with the other members. Some, however, were not. I do not subscribe to the idea of “I don’t have time¼.” Each person has the same 24 hours in a day and it depends on what they choose to have time for! It depends what they value in their day or evening at the time.Don’t forget about a gym membership. If you use it – great! Exercise is good but doesn’t have to cost a lot and cause hours away from home. If you don’t use it, be honest that maybe the time is not right now for a commitment to the gym, and cancel it. You will be less stressed about not going and still paying for it. Some have referred to an unused gym membership as a ‘fat tax’!
Every evening I was gone, I was not tending relationships at home. Important conversations were not held, time spent sharing about the day was not being shared. There were mis-communications as there were now only snippets of conversations, texts or voice mail between work and other commitments at night. Being gone 3-4 nights a week was not healthy for my body or my heart. There are seasons when we need to be super productive, juggling many balls in the air and setting the world on fire; this necessitates being away from home a lot. There are also seasons to rest, reflect and regroup. This was my season to rest, reflect and right size!Also, take a look at friendships or relationships you have tried to continue even though they may not be good for you. Is the other person encouraging and uplifting? Do they share your same core values and goals? Perhaps it is time to pare down ‘friendships’ to those that truly are your friends. You will expend less physical and emotional time by freeing yourself for those relationships you wish to tend to!
- PURCHASING of LIVING SPACE and CONTENTS
After the flood, we used the opportunity to only purchase the space we really needed and came up with a small condo. With more leisure time and less living expense, we also were able to choose a simple 3 room cabin on a lake, without running water or a septic system. We utilize the Incinolet toilet which is simple and cost effective in lieu of plumbing.
IN CONCLUSION… My purchasing choices for stuff or space are now very deliberate and simple. If I purchase an article of clothing or pair of shoes, likely a similar one is donated or tossed. New hobbies or ways to spend my time are evaluated more closely and choices are made. Once you find your guiding principle for a right size, you can be on your way to not only making more space in your home but also less clutter in your life. Remember, you DO have time to take on this challenge IF it is important to you. Anyone can right size any areas they wish to. We can let our stuff be a burden to us or we can enjoy each item knowing it has a proven right to be in our life! I hope with the examples above, you are now able to embark on your own right size!