Happy New Year, blog-reading friends! I haven’t posted a word since October, but what better time to hop back into the blogosphere than the start of a brand new year? It has been a goal of mine to get back into writing regular posts for a while now. I’m hopeful that 2018 will bring with it lots of fun events to chronicle here on the blog!
For my first post of the year, I’m excited to share 5 ways I’m planning to simplify my life this year. These are small things that I think will have a big impact in saving me time, space, and mental and physical energy for a fresh start in 2018!
1. Make ONE grocery trip a week – to ONE store.
My usual routine has been to grocery shop at 3 to 4 stores per week, sometimes multiple times during the week, because one would inevitably be out of something I needed or they only carried my favorite brand of a certain item at a certain store. But I realized recently that having these specific favorites and sticking so rigidly to my meal plans is no longer worth the time and energy it takes me to make all these trips. My goal for January (starting small here) will be to visit ONE grocery store a week, for ONE big trip to get all we need for that week. That means if they’re out of something I need for a meal on the meal plan, I adapt the plan with something new based on what they do have. (Revolutionary, right? It didn’t occur to me until very recently that this is actually a valid option.) We’ll see how this goes!
2. Stop bringing coupons into the house.
I have never been anything close to an “extreme” couponer, but I admit I am guilty of letting some pretty big stacks of random coupons accumulate and clutter up our office, only to sift through them weeks later and throw half of them away because they’re expired. Despite a few saved dollars here and there on our grocery receipt, I’ve decided the time and space I’ve been using to look through, clip, organize, and store coupons is just not worth the small payoff in the end. Same thing goes for rebate apps like iBotta and MobiSave (though we have had good experiences with them in the past.)
3. Treat myself to lunch out at least twice a month.
Having lunch out may seem like a really small thing to some people and an unnecessary extravagance to others, depending on your situation and your views. I realized recently that I fall into the latter camp – I’ve treated eating lunch out as something to be avoided at all costs, almost like a failure on my part if I end up having to do it. This is because I work part time while my hubby works full time, so I tend to see lunches out as something that’s only justified for him, since he sometimes doesn’t have time to come home for lunch (though sometimes he does, which is awesome!) or pack something for the day. But I realized recently that I get such a big happiness boost from getting my favorite salad at Panera and enjoying it while catching up on blogs or a good book every now and then. It feels like such a treat. It’s worth it to me to budget in some designated ‘lunch money’ in my monthly shopping category in order to enjoy that!
4. Start building a (realistic) capsule wardrobe.
My good friend Jess showed me Putting Me Together when we had dinner together last month, and I was so fascinated with her site and the easy step-by-step guides she provides for helping readers build a capsule wardrobe that I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and try my own! My wardrobe is something that has been in constant flux over the last few years as I’ve changed work environments and my lifestyle has evolved. I’d like to dedicate some time and effort at the start of this new year to building a sturdy capsule wardrobe of versatile pieces I’ll love to wear consistently. If you’re curious, I’m planning to use this resource from Putting Me Together: Wardrobe From Scratch, Part 4: The Starter Kit Shopping List.
5. Stay off Instagram and declutter my Facebook newsfeed.
If you’re a blog regular, you may have noticed that with my blog hiatus came an Instagram hiatus that is still in effect. A few months ago, I came to the point where social media felt like it was taking much more from me than it was giving. I spent way too much time scrolling, planning, posting, and thinking about those little squares, and I didn’t like how it was impacting my mind or my life. So I just deleted the app from my phone one day, and I haven’t looked back since! It may seem counterintuitive to ditch Instagram when I want to keep blogging, as lots of bloggers use it as a key traffic source. But it’s never been much of a traffic source for me anyway, and I actually think spending time thinking up and creating posts to promote my blog detracted from the more important work of creating quality content for the blog in the first place. Plus, it just left me feeling a little discontent all the time to know what everyone else was doing. And on that note, I’m also going to take inventory of my Facebook newsfeed and ensure that the people I’m following are people I actually know and want to intentionally keep in touch with. I’m not big on “unfriending” people (I really do like most people!), but I don’t need to get updates on what every single person on my friends list is doing all the time.
These are my 5 small moves toward a simpler life in the new year! Did any of them strike a chord with you? Do you have goals for simplifying this year as well? I’d love to compare notes!