year of living minimally

The Year of Living Minimally: Week Sixteen

This past week was nice overall, but not groundbreaking.

I hung the laundry out on the line, took my time doing so, and genuinely enjoyed it. The line stays in the shade until about 11am, so it’s motivation to get laundry done before that point. I have a method to how I put clothes in the hamper now – large things on the bottom, small on top, so I know what’s coming to hang. And the same goes for taking it down – I can pair socks while I’m taking them down, fold towels and pants as I put them in the hamper, so once I’m inside I just have to put things away instead of sort all of the laundry again.

I had been saving some fabric to make handkerchiefs, but realized I probably wouldn’t have a chance to do so until Labor Day weekend. I have no problem waiting, and will probably still use the fabric in that manner, but I went ahead and ordered a set to tide be over until then. They weren’t expensive, and it saves me from buying a box of tissues in the meantime. I don’t even use tissues that much, but it will be nice to have the hankerchiefs instead.

I packed my lunch in my glass containers every day. I pre-prepared some chicken strips early in the week and divided them up after they were cooked, so all I had to do was add some fresh fruit to the other compartments and my lunch was made every day. My son is still using his plastic bento boxes and seems to get enough to eat from what I pack in there. I help out during lunchtime in his class thrice a week so I can kind of push him to eat instead of talk during that time!

I splurged and bought a new coffeemaker with a timer, so I can wake up to fresh brewed coffee (and hopefully get out of bed without hitting snooze). I am taking my “old” coffeemaker to work since I have plenty of counter space for it in my room. I also bought two reusable filters, one for each machine. I used to have one, but I don’t know what happened to it – I’ve been using the brown recycled filters for about a year now. Oh well, problem solved for now! It will help cut down on mess, also – especially for the machine at work.

fun, home life, school, working

Taking It Slow

This was the first week of school with students, and I was worried I would be stressed out and overwhelmed and rethinking my life choices.

Instead, I’m zen.

Ok, not completely. There were several nights where I wanted to fall into bed at 8 o’clock but couldn’t, because: kid, dishes, bath time, bedtime stories, prep for the next day, reading to relax, having time to breathe, etc. The essentials.

But I managed. And I don’t feel confused or uncertain right now. I know I made the right choice in taking this job (not that I could have ever said no, it’s pretty custom-built!) and putting my kid in this school and refocusing my priorities – for now, anyway.

I did get a little frustrated on Tuesday night. I had so much to do – prep for work, housework, work for my volunteer duties with YALSA, a podcast to record… not to mention the major project I’ve conveniently been putting out of my mind or else my body would seize up in stress. It was too much. I couldn’t do it. I was overwhelmed. I started writing a list of things I could cut out of my life to simplify and give myself more time for… anything.

I was going to delete Twitter, because I only use it for promo/re-tweeting and rarely interact there anymore. I used to have great friends on Twitter, and our morning back-and-forths were better than that first cup of coffee. But Twitter has changed, and my relationship with it has changed. Same with blogging, actually – so I could delete my blog, too. This one, and We Are Storytellers, and if I was deleting that blog I could delete its Instagram, too. That would definitely simplify things. No more creative blog posts or pictures to post. No more podcasts to record. The only Instagram account I’d have would be #bookstagram, and there was no way I’d have trouble posting there!

Wednesday, someone emailed a piece they wanted featured on We Are Storytellers. A great piece. And I thought… hm, this is becoming the community I wanted. It won’t be all on me forever. And I love podcasting – just because I don’t want to do it this week or don’t feel inspired doesn’t mean I should shut it down, because once I do – I’ll miss it. It’s happened before, hence my podcasting “career” stopping and restarting.

This one email, one shared Google Doc, helped me put it all in perspective. So I recorded the podcast – short and sweet, but I did it. I’m sticking with it. I do these things – these blogs, podcasts, Instagrams – because I enjoy them. Just because my time is crunched now and I’m too exhausted to have passion doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. I have ideas for all of those outlets, and I don’t want to stop them completely just because of a mood.

Since then, I’ve been taking things slowly. Not stressing about the extras on top of my job and home life. I am trying to pause more during the day – at work and home – and take notice of all I have. Take it slow. Enjoy what I have. Appreciate it all.

money, shopping

Thrift Store Finds

Last month I stopped by the thrift store to see if I could find any decent work clothes. I used to find a lot of good work clothes about five years ago, but I was smaller then and wore shorter skirts. I wasn’t too sure what I would find now, but I knew even a few nice tops would help, because I already have some plain black pants I wore at my last school job.

I’m not one to share or enjoy “haul” videos or posts, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I got a great haul that day!

I got four plain tops that can be mixed and matched with several things I already have. I got two tank tops for layering with stuff I already have. I got a printed top (still work appropriate) and two solid cardigans, because I need to cover some of my ink at work. I got a casual dress, a long skirt, and a knee-length skirt I will most likely wear with colored tights or leggings I already own. Everything I got mixes and matches together and with stuff I already own, except the dress which stands alone.

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BONUS: I got this dress at the thrift store back in 2013 and wore it a lot with a yellow tank underneath. That tank expired in 2015, so this dress semi-retired even though I love it. I wore a white tank under it sometimes but it looked like bra straps and I didn’t like it. I found a pale yellow tee at the thrift store once and wore it, but the yellows were off and it bugged me even though they were complementary. One of the tops I found this thrift visit was the PERFECT yellow! I am so excited and have already gotten compliments on how well the yellows match. Plus, the yellow shirt looks cute with the new skirt I bought.

I also got six frames of various sizes that I put photographs in to hang on a gallery wall, which looks great! I’ve been wanting to spice up this wall forever so I was glad to find cheap but quality frames at the thrift store instead of having to spend more for lower quality to buy new at a store like Michaels. Plus getting them at the thrift store made it a one stop shop!

Twelve articles of clothing and six frames cost me $40. Some shirts were a dollar or two, while the dress was closer to seven, and the sweaters about four. Still, everything was cheaper than buying new, plus better for the environment than buying new!

I know I technically could have done without some of these clothes, but I like having options for work. I never would have been comfortable buying myself this much new – t-shirts alone could be $8! But now the stuff I have can last me year-round with layering, so I don’t see having to buy anything new for awhile (knock on wood).

year of living minimally

The Year of Living Minimally: Week Fifteen

This past week was a pretty great one. I got settled into my new job with my new coworkers (but no kids – their first day is today!) and what will be my typical work hours. I’m still nervous about starting the new job, even though I was lucky enough to start in stages: setting up my spaces, meeting coworkers, and now working with kids.

I got a little more acclimated to the new hours I’ll be working. The job itself is no problem, but when I get home at night, it’s a different story. I’m good on Mondays and Tuesdays to an extent, but by Wednesday I just want us to eat dinner and go to bed as soon as we get home! Same for Thursday. Friday I stayed up too late and was tired all weekend, so I’m going to have to give myself a bedtime!

The weekend was a lot of fun though – a bit of work events, a bit of work prep, lots of home chores, and a bit of downtime. I hung clothes out to dry and really enjoyed the process, even though it was hot enough to have me dripping with sweat a few minutes in. I’m going to start doing weekly meal prep on Sundays too – at least for lunches I can take to work. It might not be a bad idea to make a few different things so I can have dinner already done when we get home, since I get so worn out mid-week.

My mindset changed a lot this week, too. I started noticing unnecessary waste and consumerism and tried to change it (in myself at least). I feel like I’m seeing it everywhere, which is bad obviously, but good that I’m noticing it more. I feel like noticing these things is a great way to start changing those patterns in myself, or keep them from developing in the first place. I still have a long way to go (as always), but I feel more aware and confident of where I’m standing and where I’m trying to get.

 

101 in 1001, food

Un-Casserole

I’ve been cooking salmon in different ways lately because it makes a filling and delicious dinner. It also makes me feel a lot better. I used to be able to eat burgers galore, but now red meat makes me feel sluggish and sick, so I’m trying to do more with chicken and fish. Salmon has so many benefits and tastes the least fishy so it’s my usual choice.

I’ve been craving vegetables lately, but I hesitate to buy too much from the produce section. No matter how good my intentions are on grocery day, it seems like I always have food to use at the last minute, or toss because it’s already gone bad.

So these green beans were a frozen steamer pack, but they still hit the spot. I kept some plain as a side dish, but cut up the rest for my un-casserole.

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I cooked the salmon in a skillet first, with some Cajun spices – my favorite way to flavor it. Then I cut it up and put it aside. I mixed a packet of Parmesan noodles to boil while the green beans steamed. When the noodles were tender, I added the cut green beans and salmon. The sauce didn’t firm up enough with the extras added in, so I put some extra grated Parmesan cheese in to thicken it.

It might not be a gourmet recipe, but it was delicious and filling, satisfied my vegetable craving, AND got some things out of my freezer and cabinet!

donating, hygiene

A Change

It might be something of a superficial change, but it feels great!

I chopped off all my hair the other day.

It wasn’t a huge deal because I’ve done it twice before. The first time I went from waist-length hair to an inverted bob that barely grazed my shoulders. I was hooked, so I kept getting it cut shorter and shorter over the next few months until I had a pixie. A few years later, I let the pixie grow out because my son was a newborn and I had no time or desire to get my hair cut. By the time it was back to my shoulders, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went back to the pixie.

I remember talking with a friend who had also recently gone from having long hair her whole life to a pixie. We agreed that we both felt more like ourselves now, and couldn’t imagine having long hair again.

But I would see gorgeous long hair and miss mine. I let my pixie grow out again. I wanted to be able to put my hair in buns and ponytails. But why grow hair long just to pull it back? I hated how long my hair took to dry, and how quickly it would look greasy, even if it felt fine. I had a schedule of when to wash my hair, and therefore when to do sweaty chores like yard work. Rain on a day I was supposed to mow the lawn would anger me because it threw off my hair-washing schedule.

Yeah, I know it was ridiculous. And pointless. So I gave it up.

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My hair is super thick so it looks like a lot, but apparently it was still long enough to donate!

Now I can take a quick shower in the mornings and wash my hair and have it dry before I get to work. I can do yard work whenever it’s nice out and not fret about how much time and effort I wasted washing my hair. Hopefully this will also help conserve water, but I haven’t really been keeping track of that yet.

Regardless, I am excited to feel like myself again – cute, low maintenance pixie cut, lighter head, and all!

year of living minimally

The Year of Living Minimally: Week Fourteen

This week was a productive week. I got some doctor and dentist visits taken care of, and found a new creative outlet that I’m really enjoying exploring. “Real” work starts today, aka not my summer flexibility of setting up. No children in school yet, but we will be working school hours in preparation of the next week. That means I have a lot of excited and nervous energy to channel!

I’m pushing myself to do the most with that energy. Meal plan and prep with my gorgeous new glass containers. Vacuum the house – something I’ve let go for waaaay too long.

 

I put a lot of chores off until yeaterday, so I had a lot of dishes to wash and laundry to do. The sun kept hiding behind clouds and I was so tempted to just put a load of clothes in the dryer, but I didn’t. It was sunny enough that I didn’t need to, thankfully. I can’t remember the last time I used the dryer. I know I mentioned it here as a failure one week, but I’m pretty sure it was back in June. That’s pretty good for me, because hanging out clothes is tedious and kind of awful in our heat and humidity. But I’ve been doing it!

I spent this last week making changes to how I do things as well, like using less paper and plastic even though it would be easier to. That’s the hardest part sometimes – making the right choice even when you are tired and lazy and just want to be done. But I am pushing myself and doing a decent job, even though there are two ziploc bags in my fridge right now…