If you know me at all, you know I am a complete nerd when it comes to goals. For about a week, I’ve been thinking about posting my goals for the new year on my blog. I mean, wouldn’t that be fun? Accountability and all that, right? Truth is my palms are sweaty just thinking about publicly declaring what I ordinarily keep all to myself: my goals.
While I sometimes talk loudly about my current passion or a goal that requires support and input from friends and family, I have never laid out my goals for all the world to see. So, this is new territory!
I’ve been working at simplifying my life for more than two decades. Clearly, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But also, keeping our lives simple is not a “one and done.” It requires maintenance and mindfulness to maintain our desired level of minimalism.
To that end, I generally have one or two ongoing simplifying projects, or at least a couple on the back burner. This year, however, is a special one for me and inspires me to be more focused on projects. In January, I turn 50!
Although some feel dread at the prospect of hitting the half-century mark, I am embracing it! My theme for the year is reinvent. That could – and does — mean many things, of course. For now, here are the projects and mindsets I intend to work on in 2019.
Declutter the garage
Our garage is many things, but a place to store our cars, it ain’t.
The garage is mostly the domain of my husband Greg, and it contains lots of unfinished projects. For example, there are still a small number of boxes in the garage leftover from when we moved here four years ago. A pile of lumber is left over from the building of our house. On top of those archeological layers are the usual garage-type items like tools and outdoor gear.
Unfortunately, our garage frequently serves as a way station for some of our house decluttering efforts. When taking a load to a donation center is not in the schedule, we’ll park items in the garage until they can be hauled away. In essence, this makes one decluttering project happen twice: once to get things out of the house, and then a second time when we re-discover those items in the garage.
On the bright side, we seldom identify items for donation and leave them in the garage. Most times, we declutter and gather donations, put things directly in the car, and away they go. But it only takes two or three aborted decluttering missions to junk up a corner of the garage. Dealing with clutter a second time is frustrating and time-consuming.
Will I get buy-in from my husband Greg for this project? It is not my place to make a goal for him, so the entire fate of this project remains to be seen! Nevertheless, I can work on lots of garage items and, if I know him like I think I do, when he hears me puttering in the garage, he’ll join in.
Aside from the obvious desire to have a tidy, functional garage, there is a second, secret reason why I would like to carve out some space. I’ve decided to keep this to myself for the time being.
Reduce or eliminate the aspirational closet bins
Our common theme here is hard stuff. The more routine decluttering projects are completed (for now) in our home, and as a result, most of our simplifying is maintenance. The two dimensions of our home decluttering that remain are the tough ones – the garage and the sentimental and aspirational items.
My daughter Rowan and I have been watching the Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. As we both marvel at the mountainous piles of clothing some people own, we feel pretty satisfied that clothes-closet cleaning would take less than an hour in our house. We’ve done a terrific job over the years of paring down unneeded clothing.
We also do a reasonably good job at keeping books from getting out of control, and I have been a master-level ninja about paper storage for years. Even sentimental items are fairly well-contained. The one area that needs work is the domain of stuff I would consider partly sentimental, partly aspirational.
Over the years, I have had numerous rewarding and satisfying hobbies including yarn crafts, quilting, herbal medicine, and gardening. When Rowan was born, however, the landscape of my free time altered, however, and as a result, most hobbies were set aside. I have kept some nice equipment and supplies associated with some of those hobbies (presumably for that mythical time in the future when I will magically have dozens of extra hours in my weekly schedule).
In addition to supplies and equipment, I also have notebooks full of notes from classes taken in support of some of my hobbies. Those notebooks represent many hours of learning, and I have been reticent to let any of this go.
But I am feeling this is the year. In my efforts to reinvent some aspects of my life, I am ready to shed the layers of belongings taking up space and making me feel melancholy and guilty every time I see the bins that house them.
Continue to simplify my financial life
Simplifying my financial life has been in the works for several months now. In my work with my SimpleMoney Studio Membership, we are tackling projects each month toward simplification of all things money. Therefore, I’ll say little about it here. I’ve made a multi-year project of simplifying the financial aspects of our life, and like all other decluttering and simplifying projects, this is always a work in progress. New developments require rethinking old habits and processes.
I have some decent and positive routines in my day-to-day life. Morning routines, evening routines, tidying routines … check! Still, I find myself frustrated some weeks with my lack of organization and the number of important tasks not completed. This year, my focus will be to reinvent and refine the processes and routines I have in place, not add more.
I need some quality thinking time to modify some of my time management to better reflect current priorities. Fortunately for me, I find that sort of work enjoyable.
Increase white space
Throughout the past year, I have written about and discussed via my podcast episodes the concept of white space. The idea of white space is to leave breathing room in your life – in your schedule, in your finances, in your choices. White space is different for different people, but for me, I think I’ve done a decent job of inserting and managing white space in my life over the past year.
But I know I can do even better. Adapting to having unscheduled time has been a difficult process for me. My default setting is to be busy. Certainly, I prefer being constructively busy with tasks and responsibilities I find satisfying. Increasing white space in my schedule by eliminating some lower-priority obligations was a good starting place.
To up the ante this year, I intend to increase the amount of “do nothing” white space in my days. Time to wander, time to putter, more time to read and rest – this is what I have in mind. It is a two-fold challenge. Creating the space in my days is one thing. Mentally adjusting to being comfortable with “downtime” is quite another. We’ll see!
Even though all of this may seem like a tall order for one year’s work, I like big, juicy goals. Some projects may only take a few hours or a few days. Others are changes I foresee needing to implement over many weeks and months. Either way, I am motivated and excited to get going on this year of reinvention!
How about you? Do you have simplicity goals for the new year? Share yours below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your ideas! In fact, we are starting an accountability group in the community to help us achieve our 2019 financial goals. DON’T MISS IT!!
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