- Downsizing life
- Simple Living
- Realistic Green Living
- Emergency Preparedness/Risk Management
- Technology that helps to simplify our lives and not just the computer
- Needing less
There are so many more great pictures that bring back a gamut of memories. I also have a bunch of pictures that I don’t know who is in the pictures, but I am sure that they are either relatives or friends of the family at that time. I am hoping that I can get with my Uncle and that he will know some of the Unknowns.
I had forgotten how long it takes to actually hang clothes on a line – about 15-20 minutes for a large load like we had this morning. During this time I got to hear and watch the hummingbird fly around, the chickadees at the bird feeder, watch a plane go by overhead; listen to the bluejays calling to each other, a squirrel scolding me for being in their territory, a hawk screeching in the distance, motorcycles roaring by on the road and see the sun burning through the clouds.
How often do I just go through the yard and not pay very close attention to any of these sights or sounds – far too often I think. I am thinking of too many other things and how to get them done or I am just going from one place to another in the yard.
Hanging clothes on the line can be more than a simple chore that you need to hurry through, so you can move on to the next thing that needs to get done. Yes it is easier and faster to throw your clothes in the dryer and turn it on, but does it give you a chance to enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of nature? Not to mention saving a little bit of money each time you don’t have to run the dryer for an hour.
While doing this “chore” you stay in one place until you get it done, the outside critters don’t seem to be too overly concerned by you being there and go back to their normal activity shortly after you get out there, which was very surprising to me.
All their activity made the hanging of clothes a little longer than it needed to be, but I enjoyed stopping to watch their antics and listening to the different sounds of being outside. It was something that I needed to do, most of the time when I am outside I am always doing this or that, when I should be of slowing down more, to see what is going on around you, enjoy that time and not always be rushed to get something done – now.
It is strange how something as simple as hanging the clothes on the line can, help re-connect you to what is going on in your yard and what is important.
There has been a meme going around the Internet about doing a day in your life. I got tagged, so here is a day in my now much simpler life. Since most days I do not have to be in a specific place, at a certain time my schedule is flexible. If I really don’t want to do something that day I do it a different day.
When I talk about time, or use the words: about, approximately, etc., it generally means within a half an hour. That is the beauty of my semi-retired schedule, it isn’t in absolutes, it is very general give or take that 1/2 hour time frame.
- 6:30 – The wife and I talk about the day and what we have planned. Make the bed, etc.
- 6:45 – Take Bennie for his morning 1.0 mile walk. This is not a power walk and we have several places where he stops and sniffs. We make him sit and wait for each car that goes by. Usually there are 5-6 cars (the people are going to work) in that 1/2 hour walk, not that much traffic, but a heckuva lot more than there used to be.
- 7:15 – Household chores, cleaning up what messes the 5 cats made, sweeping, the morning routine cleanup.
- 7:30 – 8:30 – Have breakfast, 90% of the time I have a 1/4 cup Quick Oatmeal, 1/4 cup blueberries (and other seasonal fruit), Flax seeds and honey mixture, along with a banana and 16 oz of black coffee.
During this time I read my emails, Google Reader, check Facebook and Google + and think about what really needs to get done during the day versus what I want to do. I think about a blog post and go over several ideas.
- Around 8:30 I go into the library and “read” a chapter or two of my current bathroom book.
- 9:00 – I go for a run/walk, my knee is progressing so I was up to 2.0 mile run (this week I had a setback, but will be back soon) and 1.0 mile walk. Then lift weights in back of the garage for about 10-15 minutes
- 9:45 – Take Bennie for his long walk, usually around 3.0 miles or start project work around the house, if wife and stepdaughter walk Bennie.
- 11:30 – Stop for lunch. Usually have a fresh garden salad – straight from our garden, Thousand Island dressing, homemade leftovers or a peanut butter sandwich (Teddy brand) with homemade jelly/jam. To drink – a herbal tea of some sort and water. With a mini chocolate or two for desert.
Read my emails, Google Reader, Facebook, and Google + and work on a blog post or read a book (electronic or paper).
- 1:00 – Work on projects around the house. The next couple of months will be cutting firewood mostly, but need to repair/paint front steps, replace back steps. Mostly general house maintenance stuff that you don’t have time for when you are working full-time. I have a pretty large “honey-doo” list that needs to get done before colder weather.
Some afternoons are devoted to bonding time with Bennie in my recliner, I take a nap with him in my lap 😉
- 3:30 – Take Bennie for another 1.0 mile walk
- 4:00 – Check computer/finish blog posts up, read and relax
- 4:30 – Shower time – Definitely needed
- 5:00 – Help with making supper and eat with wife at the table. Most of the time wife makes homemade meals of some sort. We very seldom eat out.
- 6:00 – Put things away leftovers and do dishes.
- 6:30 – Last Bennie walk of the day (stepdaughter has taken over this one for now), shoot 20 shots at target (archery)
- 7:00 – 10:00 – Work on computer, play NeverWinter Nights 2, research topics that interest me, read books, do little projects. We usually have the Red Sox game on in the background or else something on from NatGeo, One of the History Channels, Discovery or something like that.
Around 10:00 go to bed and read for a while. Right now my bathroom book and bedtime reading book is John Seymour’s “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It”
Bennie is a 5 mile a day dog, if he doesn’t get those 5 miles in, he can be a hell on wheels – I guess it is the Jack Russell Terrier in him. Some have called him ADHD on speed.
Generally I don’t leave the house more than a few times a week – I am a bit, no a lot of a homebody and that is what I wanted when I went into semi-retirement.
That is pretty much a day in the life, not a real stressful day, but I get a little bit done each day and take time to do the little things that I never had time for in the past. Like sharpening my saws, cleaning out my side of the garage, properly preparing surfaces for painting (instead of just slapping paint over it).
In other words, I have the time to do things right, instead of half-assed. The added benefit is that I notice my ability to focus on something is improving. My stress levels are more in line with what I want from life, compared to what they were when I was a teacher.
As I get more of the honey-doo list done, I plan to start learning and practicing new skills, that might be interesting or fun to learn. A lot like I recently learned how to sharpen a saw. Useful skills that can be used around the house.
That is a day in my life. Kind of boring, but you know something – I like it.
What does your day look like?
It is my understanding that this is the same saw – it looks a lot better then than it does now.
But I am glad that I took it apart, one of the pins was almost broke in half, which would have been a pain if I was using the saw and it broke.
I took it apart sanded the wood down a little to get the worst of the gunk off, used some rust-remover on the blade and then with fine grit sand paper cleaned the blade up as much as I could. It wasn’t a perfect job, but…
Yes it does – zipped right through this 4 inch limb without any problems. Just had to adjust the tension a bit. It cut pretty good, who knows maybe I did something right. If I had to cut a lot of logs this way, I bet I would be in pretty good shape before the end of the summer.
Originally posted at Simple Is Working on 7-24-11
This morning I was going through my Google reader and came across Simple Living and Grandma’s Lace | Silly Simple Living, I commented there because I think she did the right thing.
I agree with what she says here completely – this comment also got me to thinking.
One of the core tenets of simple living is to live within the space you have, and reduce what you have to fit within the space that you can afford. I like to call it the “get rid of it” doctrine.
Yes that dangerous thing again damn it – “thinking”.
Figuring it Out
This morning I finally figured out what bothers me about certain segments of the minimalism and simplicity movements or lifestyle. The attitude that segments of the simplicity and especially minimalism movements have about getting rid of what you have – do they go too far?
Now I am a big, no a huge proponent of getting rid of things that I no longer need, want, have space for, etc. If you would have saw my actions over the past couple of months you would understand how much I am trying to simplify or minimize, and get rid of “stuff” (junk) that I have accumulated over the past 10 years.
Here is my soapbox.
I think that segments of living simply and minimalism go too far, when they start getting rid of things that are their family heirlooms or part of their family’s story, under the guise of not holding on to things because have only sentimental value and are unnecessary to your current lifestyle.
This bothers me, because I have been there and done that.
What I did
When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I saw family heirlooms or most sentimental items as junk or unnecessary clutter. Most of those things I had been entrusted with from my families past or were part of my immediate family’s history was just “stuff” to me then.
Most of that “stuff” I gave away, sold to get some extra cash or simply threw away, as they were unnecessary to my life. Their part in my family’s story meant nothing to me back then, I can remember bragging about how I didn’t let sentiment affect me when I was getting rid of that “junk”. A lot like some of the popular minimalists or simplicity gurus seem to be doing in their blogs today.
What happens when your perspective change?
Many of the things that I got rid of during that time of my life, I will never, ever see again and yes there are many items that today, I regret having gotten rid of. They were parts of my family’s heritage that are now lost to my children and grandchildren.
As I have gotten older, I have become more interested in my heritage and the things that have been a part of my family’s history. Many of those things may not have any real value to others, but are heirlooms and there were reasons why they were kept and passed down to the next generation. Each “thing” had its own story and a part in my family’s lore.
A picture of the item item is not the same thing as holding the rifle that your grandfather shot his last deer with and the story why he never shot another deer; or the wood saw that your grandmother’s grandfather bought new during The Great Depression and the story behind what he had to do to get that saw. The hours and hours that were needed to create a quilt by your great-great grandmother and the stories told around what she did to get the material for that quilt and how the quilt was passed down from generation to generation.
As the oldest child, I was my family’s next lore keeper and I did a shitty job of it when I was young. Luckily my mother didn’t give me many of these things or others until I was older and understood the value of these family heirlooms.
What I believe now
My suggestion to those proponents and devotees of more extreme forms of minimalism or simplicity, is to really, really think before you get rid of something that has sentimental value to you or is a piece of your family’s story. If you don’t want it now, give it to someone else in your family for safe keeping, because there might come a day, when you will be like me and regret having gotten rid of something, simply because it was taking up too much space where you were living, you didn’t have room for it in your present lifestyle or you were only hanging onto it for sentimental reasons.
Something else, if you do have a family heirloom, please write the story behind the heirloom and why it is important to your family’s history. The oral histories are great, but what happens if something happens to you and you are not there to pass down the importance of something’s place in your family’s history – that is when the next generation simply sees that “thing” as something to get rid of, instead of a part of their heritage.
Perhaps the idea of using “Common Sense” is a good rule of thumb when getting rid of stuff (especially family heirlooms or sentimental items) while trying to live simply or with minimal impact. Before you get rid of something ask yourself.
- Will I regret not having this item to give to my children or grandchildren?
- Will I miss this piece of my family’s history or the story it represents?
Finally Simple Living and Grandma’s Lace | Silly Simple Living states
You can take back my simple living membership card if you want, I don’t feel one bit sorry about my indulgent splurge There are times when preserving family history is more important the minimizing possessions.
I think that her final statement sums up my thoughts about this post better than I could.
Think carefully before you get rid of something that you will not be able to replace once it is gone, I wish that I had. Simplicity or minimalism are not about losing your heritage, they are about improving your life. Think about it.
Simple Living/Being Green
This is actually just being ready for the unexpected. I am not the gun-toting militia survivalist Maineiac (misspelled on purpose) that is stereotyped in the media, who believes that the EOTWAWKI is coming and getting ready for it
When I K.I.S.S. this
Are you doing the right thing for the right reasons?
One of the things that I have done over the past month to simplify my life was getting rid of my iPhone and the $80 a month bill. Yes I had to pay an early termination fee, but paying the fee saved me almost $700 in the remaining monthly payments, which made my frugal side very happy.
Stop and think for a moment about why you have a smart phone or what I like to call them – a mini computer in your pocket:
- Use it to receive phone calls – duh
- Text Message
- Go on the internet
- Check your email
- Make or check calendar appointments
- Access family, friends and client contact information
- Check your Facebook account
- Check your Foursquare account
- Check your Twitter account
- Check your Google + account
- Check your LinkedIn account
- Play games
- Watch a movie
- Listen to music
- Take pictures/video
- Read a book
- Use as GPS device when travelling
- Use as a Runlog or Workout log
- and all the other apps you can add to your smart phone.
Now think about what you actually do with that smart phone.
- Is it worth the $80 minimum a month for 2 years (the length of the typical contract), plus the cost of the phone?
- Do you really use your smart phone functions enough to justify at least $960 a year?
When I first got my iPhone over a year ago, it was something that I believed I needed to have and worked a deal with my wife to get it. After I got my iPhone, I thought it was the neatest thing since sliced bread and found reasons to use it all the time, bought this app and that app to make it even more useful to me.
I found that as a phone, the iPhone sucked big time, you can’t hear the person talking on the other end, checking my mail on the smart phone was annoying – I was always deleting emails that I wanted to keep, typing on it is pain in the butt, and it always needed to be charged when I needed to use my iPhone. It also seemed that I was always checking this or that to see if anything new had arrived or happened at home, in restaurants, school, where ever I happened to be, I would pull out my iPhone and start doing something on it. Hell it got so bad that I felt naked if I didn’t have my smart phone nearby. The iPhone had become an extension of my life – the connected life.
When something begins to “take over” that much, it raises red flags for me.
At that point I got rid of a few of the more “need to see them apps” like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and deleted my email feeds from my iPhone. I turned off all notifications that had once so stridently called for me to take my iPhone out of my pocket to check on what was going on – to be connected.
Once I did those things, I used my iPhone for music or reading eBooks at the gym, distance for walking and workout logs, taking crappy pictures, GPS if traveling someplace I don’t know where I was going. Other than that I really didn’t use it all that much. I don’t text message all that much and I am lucky to use 75 minutes a month of my phone minutes.
Most of the time I prefer to be on my Mac than trying to use the iPhone for productivity type items. Now try to take my Mac away from my “dead, cold fingers – it will be the only way 🙂 Not really, it is only a tool, but one that I use more than any other.
In April I began questioning the real need for the iPhone at the extra $80 plus dollars a month for a plan that I didn’t really use that much. The more I thought about it, the more that I knew that I had bought into the marketing hype that says you “have” to have a smart phone. I admit it now, I bought the iPhone to be cool in front of my students and to the other techie types that I was interacting with, to show them that I was staying current in the “techie” world. After all you can’t be current in that world if you don’t have a smart phone.
Well that is not who I really am. I have never been what you could call “cool”, a lot nerdy – probably, but definitely not cool. When I came to a voluntary change in lifestyles earlier this summer, we didn’t have room for unnecessary items and the $80 a month could no longer be justified. It had to go and on June 30th, the $80 bill went away.
Do I miss not having my iPhone? In a word – No. If I need to call someone, I use my wife’s cell phone.
With my lifestyle change and changing interests I don’t need a smart phone. If I need the Internet, I am usually around the house 90% of the time and can access it with my Mac. I can still use many of the apps that I had on the iPhone if I want to, it is the same as an iTouch. So I really haven’t lost very much except access to 3G cell phone networks with this device. Now I can do the rest for free.
I know that I will not miss that $80 plus dollars a month that I used to give to AT&T for a service that I definitely under-utilized. It is amazing how your perspective quickly changes when you have less disposable income for unnecessary expenditures. You learn to cut down and simplify your needs quickly.
I did learn that I am not immune to marketing hype – that company’s use to plant a false need into our lives and give corporations money that could be used for other more important things.
My experience may not be yours, especially if you travel a lot, but take a look at your smart phone usage if you have one.
- Do you really need it or do you have it because you want to be “cool”?
- Is this one area of your life that you could simplify?
It was for me.