While May was nutso at our house, June was a breath of fresh air. We settled in to our summer groove, and I was able to do some projects that helped me simplify my life. Trouble was, the slower pace about killed me.
Here is the run down on what happened in June to help me simplify my life.
Took a sabbatical
As I mentioned in last month’s installment profiling my simplicity moves in May, I started a twelve-week sabbatical in mid-May. Since the end of May was a flurry of travel and vacation, I didn’t really get down to what I expected a sabbatical to be about until June.
The rationale for the sabbatical was three-fold. One, I needed a good, long break. Accumulated stress from all these years of running a very stressful business have definitely caught up. I simply do not have the stamina I did when I was younger. The second reason was to spend this last summer with Rowan, finishing our homeschooling and just hanging out before she starts school in the fall. Lastly, I have been starting preparations to move toward retirement from my planning firm. Stepping away for a period of weeks helps my team gain some skills in decision making without my ever-present two cents.
As I write this in the second half of July, I can say that June wasn’t much of a sabbatical. Furthermore, I am not very good at sabbatical-ing. I thrive on being busy and having deadlines. It’s like my superpower or something. As a result, much of June saw huge to-do lists with house projects and other “important work” that needed doing, since I now had this luxurious free time to fill.
My July report will be better in this regard, I promise, because I finally got the hang of a sabbatical after I was half-way through the damn thing. Well, hopefully I will remember these lessons when I repeat this sabbatical thing next summer! Ha!
Decluttered a bunch, homeschool and otherwise
As I moved into June, I saw a wide-open stretch of time that was gloriously blank on my calendar. So, naturally, I planned several decluttering and simplifying projects. The first was a big one, and it is not complete yet. We did, however, make a good start. We did the usual sweep for obvious clothing items that needed purging, as well as some household items that were no longer needed. But the big project was the homeschool books and materials.
We have been homeschoolers for eight years, ever since Rowan demanded at age three to learn how to read. Sure, I have purged things as we have gone along, but I have maintained a large bookcase with reference-type books “just in case.” Since I don’t know for certain that Rowan being in school is going to be the permanent choice for our family, I am not going to let go of everything.
I did, however, go through every book on the shelves with an eye for, “Is this middle-school or higher-level material?” Quite a bit of it was not, and so piles began to develop on the floor. Overall, this project spanned a few days, and I now have a large accumulation of stuff in the corner of my closet waiting to be donated to a school in August. (That poor closet corner – I just CANNOT keep it empty for more than 24 hours.)
This purging, and the subsequent rearranging of things we will keep, has been bittersweet.
Cleaned out under the mudroom sink
We have a sink in our mudroom with a roomy cabinet underneath it. This is where cleaning supplies are meant to live, but other random items had taken up residence there, too. Rowan was game to help, so she pulled every last item out from under the sink. Then we put similar things together to take stock of what we had. It couldn’t all go back in there and have a functional space. We purged a few items and relocated others to a more appropriate storage location.
Our best find? Bleach. Four bottles of bleach. FOUR. Of course, we know why that happened. At some point, bleach was needed, but not spotted under the sink, so we bought more. And that happened more than once! This was the most embarrassing find in our decluttering efforts so far this summer.
On the bright side, we should have the freshest, brightest linens in the neighborhood. For YEARS.
Cleared a place in the garage
As previously noted in my mid-year simplicity goal review, Rowan and I attacked the garage when Mr. Starks was out of town. We cleared a path, organized the white storage cabinets, and made room for Rowan’s pottery and craft work. Since then, we cleaned out some old, yellowed, white stackable plastic drawers that I have owned for over twenty years. (Gosh, if only I had some bleach to clean them . . .)
Those drawers were in the area we call Rowan’s “art cubby,” but we decided to move them out to the garage to provide some organizing space out there. That project is stalled for the moment, but we’ll get back to it. In place of those drawers in the cubby, we moved in a nine-box shelving unit that previously held homeschool books in the den. The corner of our den is now tidier, and Rowan’s art cubby is looking a wee bit nicer. Overall, still a work of progress.
It all adds up
Despite the fact that I wasn’t able to rest and relax much in June, I feel good about the progress we made on some long-standing decluttering projects. Simplifying our lives is an ongoing process, so we do what we can do now, and then wait for the next opportunity to up our game.
Small changes add up over time. Sticking with the process is what counts.
What small steps have you taken recently to simplify your life? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your thoughts!
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