Simplicity Inspiration

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I always love examples of how people are thinking outside the box—especially when it comes to finding creative ways to live simply and intentionally. These ladies are absolutely doing that! Prepare to be inspired.

Zero Waste Home: I started adopting some of the zero waste methods that Bea Johnson talks about in her blog and book a few months ago. Her family of four only produce one mason jar of trash per year using the five R’s (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot)! We haven’t reduced our trash to a mason jar, but have way less trash and recycling overall. I’ve found that some groceries are more expensive without packaging so we’re learning to ease into a less wasteful lifestyle. Over time, I plan to try more sustainable alternatives like using a metal safety razor, beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap, bamboo toothbrushes, and more!

Trash is for Tossers: Lauren Singer is also a super inspiring zero-waster! She recently started a package free store in New York City. I love that she’s working to make zero-waste living more possible.

Seasons + Salt: I am continually impressed with how she crafts her wardrobe with so much intent and simplicity and I especially appreciate her list of ethical retailers and designers! It’s always helpful to see how she’s thinking outside the box.

Slow Your Home: I’ve been enjoying this podcast by Brooke McAlary about living a slower, simple life as a family of four. Brooke and her husband share their experiences in a fun, lighthearted way!

Simple House & Home: I love how this blogger writes about her family’s simple lifestyle—especially this post about what their home looks like with kids, and this one!

Amira Made: I stumbled across her blog through Instagram a while back and have really enjoyed her thoughts on simplicity, adventure, and curating her tiny apartment in Turkey. I love her beautiful, simple kitchen! Gotta say, owning less and using a white/neutral color palette goes a long way in making any space seem airy and peaceful—her photos definitely prove it!

Simply, Becky

Low-stress Mornings

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Lunches for the week prepared on Saturday

Low-stress mornings used to be rare a occurrence, something found occasionally on a weekend. They were more of a circus as I raced out the door, usually late because I couldn’t find an outfit or forgot to make a lunch and spilling coffee as I ran; many times forgetting important items like my phone. I was frazzled. This has been the story of my professional career until now; exhausted before the work day even started due to my cluttered life.

So when I recently switched jobs, I decided to reclaim my mornings. It’s required a bit of work to identify solutions to my pain points, but I’ve been delightfully wowed by its positive effects. Below are my morning pain points and solutions, not as a template to follow, but as an example of how I decided to challenge my “norm.”

Pain Point: A cluttered space.

  • Solution: Less stuff. Since our switch to a minimalist lifestyle, we have very few tasks, clutter doesn’t pile up, and the kitchen virtually cleans itself. We don’t have a lot of furniture, decorations, clothes, office supplies, memory items, seasonal things, unused hobby supplies, and rarely used kitchen items. We toss movie covers, magazines, newspapers, and don’t hoard greeting cards, old paperwork, etc. There’s not much around, so there’s less to trip over, organize, or stack up in the closet. It’s amazing. My mornings are easier simply because I’m not leaving a total disaster when I leave for work. And, without clutter, our home still looks great even if the bed is left unmade or if there’s a pile of dirty dishes left in the sink. It’s become more of a peaceful haven rather than a home that induces tension.

Pain point: Getting out of a warm bed is just difficult.

  • Solution (part a): Get in bed the moment I feel sleepy around 9:00 or 9:30 the night before. It’s not worth staying up just to be groggy the next day.
  • Solution (part b): Place my cell phone alarm on the other side of the room. When the alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., I have to hop out of bed to turn it off and am instantly awake. I’m screen-free when climbing into bed the night before, an added bonus.

Pain point: I despise working out after work.

  • Solution (part a): Working out first thing in the morning. It’s better than a cup of coffee and gets my brain in gear.
  • Solution (part b): One set of workout clothes stored in one place. My favorite athletic shirt or shoes are always where I need them to be. I purchase one set of well-made, comfortable gear that last me for years. It takes 5 minutes to get from my bed to the start of my 25 minute workout.
  • Solution (part c): A simple bodyweight routine or a half hour run saves me from equipment clutter or the need for an expensive, time-consuming gym membership.

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Pain point: I love long showers.

  • Solution: Set an alarm. I can take a perfectly fine shower within the five-minute timer set on my phone.

Pain point: Doing make up, hair, and picking out an outfit is time consuming and hard to find.

  • Solution (part a): One unencumbered drawer with a couple makeup essentials and hair product makes it simple.
  • Solution (part b): A very small capsule wardrobe. It currently includes a pair of black pants, boyfriend jeans, or black skirt, three choices of black shoes, and a selection of seven shirts, one cardigan, one sweater, one black lace dress, and one vest. Choosing an outfit is simple, I love every piece, and it saves me gobs of money.

Pain point: Going out for lunch gets expensive and I don’t typically prepare it the night before.

  • Solution: Making all lunches on the weekend. It takes about an hour and a half to grocery shop, make freezer dinners, and prepare five days worth of lunches for both me and my husband. We share the workload (which prevents us from getting siloed into tedious responsibilities) and chat; it’s a great for us, relationally. It saves time, stress, and money, ensures that we eat healthy food all week.

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The result? A wonderful start to my day and time for important things to focus my day. I’m refreshed, on-time, and generally more pleasant to be around. Worth it? Yes.