Wednesday, August 1, 2012

on less, goals + a mid-year progress update

Less. It seems I've been doing less posting about less lately. Fallen off the less list wagon, if you will. Again. Not because my word hasn't been on my mind though. Maybe it's because it's summer and I'm feeling more relaxed. Or maybe it's because I don't like the struggle / stress that comes with making up a weekly less list. And sharing it. Sometimes it just isn't worthy of sharing. Truth be told, I don't always feel like sharing everything.

I've had this post stewing in my head for a good six weeks. The past week or so I've had this crazy urge to read. And write. Writing when I have a good thought in my head is very difficult for me when I've got a couple of loud happy children running around the house. Or the TV is on. Or someone needs me for something. Life can get quite demanding + exhausting but I still want to get the words out. Even if it is a month late.

August is here and I feel good about what I've accomplished with less so far this year. My less lists will show that, but I wanted to share some other things, perhaps tips for some of you, that I've been doing in my pursuit of less. My weekly posts have kind of faded away but I'm still chipping away at my master list, little by little. This is a little bit of what's been going on here :
  • Fresh fruit is always abundant in our house during the summer months. With two growing children who can't seem to get enough bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe + watermelon (and I love love love fresh cherries), we always have plenty to choose from in our house. Some weeks, maybe too much. If I find the fruit is starting to get too ripe, I cut it and freeze it for smoothies - another summertime treat we enjoy several times a week. Less waste.
  • These days, I never make an online purchase without doing a Google search for a coupon code. Free shipping or % off always make me feel good about saving some money. Example : I purchased one of Kal Barteski's iPhone cases from Uncommon a couple months ago. It's not a cheap case (and the quality shows that) but after a little hunting around, I found a coupon code for 40% off! That's a pretty big discount. One that I would have been kicking myself over had I found it after the fact. Spending less money.
  • After a year long hiatus, I decided to put Parker back in cloth diapers this summer. He fits in the diapers he wore last summer, so there was nothing new to purchase. I still use disposables too but it's nice not having to lug a big box of diapers around ever other trip to Target. Less spending. Less waste. Less chemicals.
  • Once summer hit, I told myself that we'd make fewer errands, especially on days that boredom struck. This was actually a bullet point in my summer manifesto. I only have one errand day a week now. On Tuesday mornings, we take shop packages to the post office, exchange books + movies at the library, and an occasional Target or grocery store run. That's it. Well, other than the main grocery trip I make on the weekend. Less shopping. Less errands. Less temptation to buy.
  • A couple months ago I was getting completely frustrated with how our Mondays were going. Typically, I love the fresh start that a new week brings but I was seeing a trend in my bad mood on Monday afternoons. After jotting down a quick list of my want-to-do's and my have-to-do's, I quickly realized I was just plain doing too much on Mondays and it was leaving me overwhelmed and cranky. Not the ideal way to start off a week. With a little reworking of our schedule, I found a new rhythm to our Mondays. By changing what wasn't working for me on that particular day, the crankies have gone away. Well, for the most part. :) Less stress. Less unnecessary anxiety. Less pressure.
  • We've lived in this house for 3 years now and while it's not our perfect / dream home, I am choosing to be happy with it. Oh man, I will be completely honest and tell you it has not always been this way. I didn't want this house, but for the price, it was too good to pass up. There are way more positives than negatives though, including being in a safe neighborhood + a fantastic school district. Yes, I would love (some day) if we had the money and resources to build the house that Mark has been thoughtfully designing all these years. But right now, I am happy with what we have. This is the house the kids are going to remember. This is where memories are being made right now. I want to make this house clean + safe + cozy + ours because, what if there never is a dream house? What if the years fly by (as they typically do) and we are still here when Morgan + Parker graduate from high school? Yikes. I don't want to regret not making this the best home it can be, for us. Less expectations. Less woulda, shoulda, coulda. Less living in a dream world.
So where am I now? I'm still on track with less but am thinking a monthly goal list is the way to go right now. On the top of my list for August is a little spending (or no-spend) challenge, inspired by my friend Jen through the end of the month. What a fantastic way to cut out the "I want, I want, I want" mentality. Because I have plenty. More than enough actually. My goal for myself is going to be more of a use-what-you-have variety.
  • Using up the half-used shampoo, lotions, hand soap, makeup, etc. before opening or buying a new one.
  • Stop filling the pantry with food that we already have - space is limited, screw the sales.
  • No scrapbooking purchases all month. What the what? I'll be wishing I didn't say that in a week. :) But, I have a very nicely organized space now, full of all the things I love, thanks to some heavy handed purging I did a couple weeks ago. This weekend I'm unloading my unwanted goodies at a garage sale my LSS is hosting. Any money I earn will be paid in the form of a gift card to the store, free to use on whatever I'd like. Just no out-of-pocket spending.
  • Cut the feel-good purchases that don't seem like much, but can add up over time. The nail polish, the coffee drinks (unless using a gift card), the cute notebooks, the pens that I already have half a dozen of. Those are my weaknesses.
I don't know that I have an end-goal with all of this, other than to be more aware of the unnecessary spending I have a tendancy to make. Having less stuff in this house is always a good thing. I hope I can get back into a routine of sharing my progress as well. I have always enjoyed hearing your thoughts + encouragement.

On that note, cheers friends! To our one little words + to a new month of doing better for ourselves.


  1. Thank you so much for your "less" posts. They are quite inspiring to me, as I too am trying to do less: spend less money, waste less, stress less. My OLW for 2012 is "do," but I'm trying to do with purpose. Do less of what I don't like and more of want I love. Anyway, your posts and lists have inspired me and helped me stay on track. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much Kimberly! I love that word, do. Totally going to consider that one for next year. :)

  2. Great goals! I love reading these posts so much. You are so right about the errands. I cut out grocery trips to once a week instead of two. We have no lack of food, spend less and I feel less exhausted! Win-win-win. ;)

    1. Thanks so much! Errands with kids are so exhausting huh? Consolidating them has been a major win in our house. :)

  3. Cheers to ALL of this!! I am connecting with you on every level of "less"...well, maybe not the diaper area, but... ;)
    we had ants in our kitchen, instead of hiring an exterminator I googled home remedies and have been rather OCD about keeping it clean. guess what? ants are pretty much gone!! 1 or 2 here or there, but it's all good! :)
    also, i have a feeling we could talk forever about this over a pot of freshly brewed coffee from home. what the heck! throw in some Bailey's if you like! ;)
    thanks for having my back :)

    1. That's awesome about the ants. Go you, Jen!! I can't even tell you how much I'd LOVE to chat with you over a pot of coffee. How fantastic would that be? Cheers, lady!! :)