One Small Change That Gave So Much Freedom

One Small Change

There is one tiny thing that I recently changed that gave me immense amounts of freedom. Freedom I didn’t realize that I’d lost. Time that I didn’t realize was missing. Joy in the little things that had slipped away.

I wonder sometimes, if all the technology around us these days is making life easier, or just more complicated.

Think about it. Yeah, our washing machines help A LOT. We no longer have to spend an entire day scrubbing and line drying the family’s clothes (and cloth diapers). Dishwashers are nice (although I’ve lived the last five years without one). Oh and central heat, I’m not giving that up! (Ours went out last week and it was COLD.) There are some aspects of technology that I don’t want to lose.

But what about your TV? Your tablet? Your smart phone? Uh oh, I’m stepping on some toes!

There is definitely room for allowing entertainment and enjoying technology for sure. And access to the internet brings in a whole new world of learning and communication, and a world of opportunity! It’s hard to complain about that.

What I find complicated is the distraction that some of these things cause. I’ve talked about Unplugging. That can help tremendously in reducing the interference our devices cause in our relationships. But I found that one or two hours in the evening wasn’t enough.

Want to know my secret? I turned off ALL notifications on my phone. ALL OF THEM!

Oh. My. Word. You have no idea how FREEING it is!

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I somewhat tried this before. Most of my notifications were off. But slowly as updates came, I allowed them back on. And I was suddenly sucked in to keeping up with the notes across my phone or the red dots alerting me that something had “happened”.

Once I turned them all off, and I mean all, no emails, no Facebook, no Instant Messenger, nothing on my lock screen, nothing telling me that something somewhere out there was going on, my life became my own again! Wow.

The ONLY exception is text messages and phone calls. (I should go back to an old school Nokia! Ha!) The reason for that is to keep in contact with my husband and close friends. A ding or beep now means that someone is specifically needing my attention. In my circles, most all other forms of communication are not time sensitive or can wait until I have sit down time at the computer.

The reason that this works for me, is if I have to intentionally unlock my phone and open an app to find out what has “happened”, then I’m going to think twice about that action. Is this something that I have to do right now?  Most often the answer is no.

I’m breaking the habit of picking up my phone and letting it distract me from my day. That is the freedom that I am enjoying. I have time to finish the tasks on my to-do list. I’m finding joy in the little things in life again, like a quiet moment right after Little Man falls asleep. And when he’s awake I can give him my undivided attention when he needs it.

I just have to say again how freeing it is. Maybe I have a problem with my excessive phone use, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I’ve read about other’s that struggle with this, so I hope this one simple change can give you freedom too.

If you find yourself distracted by your phone, tablet, TV, or whatever device that becomes your vice, turn it off for a while! See if you can find some freedom and take back your time. Enjoy the day to day aspects of life. Be in the moment with your kids and spouse. It brings a renewed level of satisfaction in those relationships. It keeps you connected to the things and people that really matter.

Do you find yourself distracted by technology?


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Simplify Your DVD Storage

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Simplify Your DVD storage

You may be wondering why simple-living, homesteader wanna-bes even have DVDs.

Well, if you were wondering, we don’t have cable or satellite. And we don’t have internet streaming capabilities for services like Netflix. Thus we are left with a collection of DVDs.

Quite a collection that was outgrowing an ugly storage shelf. (Plus I randomly decided one day to rearrange all the living room furniture and the bookshelf looked really awkward where it was sitting.) It was time to figure something out to store all those movies in a more simplified manner. old shelf

Note: I didn’t get an official before photo of the storage shelf and this is the only one I could find. But you get to meet my sister (the best sister ever) and see my baby when he was first born. Almost a year ago now! AH! But back to the DVDs…

I must confess, I stole this idea from my dad. He gets major credit for finding an excellent DVD storage system. He utilizes plastic storage bins and puts all his DVDs in sleeves. (Categorized and labeled alphabetically order of course.) His boxes are stored in a closet where he has space.

I wanted to do something similar and started looking for bins to put our DVD collection in as well. I stumbled upon some pretty baskets with hinged lids (at Target) that are just perfect! The baskets are better for our DVD storage since they were going to sit on a shelf under the TV.

dvd storage

One evening after dinner, my hubby and I organized our DVDs. We labeled the sleeves and put the discs inside and sorted them into categories. We almost created an epic section for our favorites. Which still might happen. I have extra dividers. (Which I made simply by cutting some cardstock.)

As we filled up our little baskets I was amazed at how much space we gained by removing the shelf! It freed up a wall and made a more open feel to the newly arrange living room. And it’s easier to thumb through a category of movies rather than search for them on the shelf.

dvd storage on shelf

We were able to recycle the old plastic DVD cases which made me feel better about getting rid of them. I didn’t just want to fill up a landfill with more plastic! That is something to be cautious about when simplifying and getting rid of things. Donate, sell, or recycle if possible when minimizing.

I’m so glad we took some time out to simplify our DVD storage. It looks better and feels better to have the DVDs sorted and tucked into a couple of baskets.

How do you organize your movies?

 

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Peek into a Minimalist’s Bathroom Cabinet

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I can’t stand clutter.

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that things will pile up. Even as a minimalistic as I am, I still end up with stray items in random places. One place that often collects items is a bathroom cabinet.

I opened my bathroom cabinet the other day and realized that I had let it go too long. Some intense organization was due. So I sorted out what I actually use and got rid of the rest. I’ve really been in an organizing and unloading mood lately. (And when that happens you better take advantage of it!)

I found several items that I don’t use any more because I’ve replaced them with natural products. Things like sunscreen, headache medicine, lotions, and make-up were tossed. Now, I either make my own, use essential oils, or purchase pure products instead. There are quite a few things that I got rid of, but I won’t confess bore you with what else was in there.

As far as what I found necessary to keep, well, it’s probably more than a true minimalist, but it’s carefully organized and much easier to access. I have a set of drawers that hold spare glasses, cotton swabs, and contact cases. I have some travel bags behind the drawers. Easy to get to but out of the way.

I have a large drawer that has nail polish. I have a weakness for nail polish. I am moving toward using less toxic polish. One awesome product I found was Jamberry nail wraps. I love them. Especially easy to use with a little guy around. It’s hard to find a slot of time long enough to let my nails dry if I paint them.

There is a bin of medical type supplies with an ace bandage, homeopathic remedies, and homemade pain cream. We have a larger bin in the closet with things like gauze, large bandages, and old knee braces as emergency supplies.

I also have a random collection of bentonite clay, homemade sunscreen, a loofa, and extra toothbrushes in another bin. The nail polish remover is in there too. (I know, toxic, I can’t be perfect.)

One thing I probably could have gotten rid of was my hot rollers. I rarely ever do anything with my hair, especially roll it, but I have the space for it and may as well keep it for the moment. If there is ever a time when I’m squishing it in, it will go.

There are of course some feminine products that will just receive an honorable mention.

In front of everything for easy access is my doTERRA unscented lotion and face wash, toothpaste, and avocado oil for my face.

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On top of the counter I keep my daily used essential oils, a basket of make-up, and obvious bathroom sink items.

It may seem a little odd to tour someone’s bathroom cabinet, but I hope you found it semi-interesting. I really like to keep things to the minimum and that means making sure to keep it organized and to go through things often. There is always a need to reevaluate if something is necessary or not.

The main thing is also to not pile up too much stuff. Besides the hot rollers and some of the medical gear, I frequently use all the items in my bathroom cabinet. I like knowing that the items I have are useful and not just taking up space.

 

How can you simplify your bathroom cabinet?

 

This post is shared on Hearts for Home, Homestead Barn Hop, Modest Mom Blog, We Are THAT Family, Homestead Blog Hop. Homemaking Party.


 

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Thursday’s Thoughts – Simplify

It seems to me that Spring is finally on the verge of arriving. I realize much of the northern parts of our country are still under inches of snow, but here in Tennessee the sun is finally shining!! The forecast is showing highs above fifty and sunny skies, which I will welcome with outstretched arms. (It has been miserably dreary here lately which does not help me or my husband’s mood. Lets just say it has been rather cloudy in my house this past week.) All to say, this burst of sunshine kicks me into organization mode.

For some reason, when the sun starts shining and I feel Spring coming, I am compelled to organize, clean, and purge my belongings. Indoors and out. I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation and I must get my surroundings in order. The time change is approaching too, and that means I have no excuse to get myself outdoors walking/running after work.

The first thing on my list is my closet. My husband and I share the tiniest closet in the creation of all closets and most if it is my stuff. In some ways I bugs me, but honestly it probably helps me maintain a creed of Keep Life Simple that I adhere to. There are always a few items in my closet that “I know I’ll wear again someday.” Usually that someday never occurs. It is time to remove those items from my life!! Good-bye Hawaiian print dress that I am saving for a luau that I will never attend! Good-bye red button-up shirt that I could wear at Christmas! Good-bye black dress pants that are really too small and got hemmed too short that I really don’t like to wear!

Shoes, purses, yarn, kitchen cabinet, and books (Yes, I may get rid of a few books) are also on the list of areas to simplify. I’ve also found many tips and tricks on Pinterest to help organize cabinets and such. It is time to implement those pins.  A trip to the dollar store for some much needed bins and containers is in my future as well.  There are also a few stray items that hover in corners around my house. These things are about to be evicted. I’m tired of seeing them and they are cluttering up my life.

Well those are the thoughts that are haunting me today. It is obvious cleaning is on my mind this week. I’m blaming the sunshine. Be encouraged and get your house ready for Spring!!