On Simplifying

Cameron Village Library - image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionpozo/

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working hard to continue simplifying my life, and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve done and my reflections on the process.

Living Space

LKAwesome and I realized that we essentially moved from a combined 9 bedrooms worth of living space into 2. To achieve this, we’ve had to get rid of a very large amount of stuff! The process was a painful one – at times it was heartbreaking to part with a certain piece of furniture or even glass ware (I’m a beer nerd!). Looking back now three months later, there’s been very little that I’ve missed at all. While I always thought intellectually that this would happen, it’s still somewhat surprising!

As it stands now, we probably still have 3 bedrooms worth of stuff in our two bedrooms.And actually, that’s probably not quite accurate. The thing that makes it feel that way is that our new place has almost no closet space. We have only one bedroom closet that’s about 3 feet wide. There’s absolutely nowhere to hide extra clutter!

This can be frustrating at times, but overall I’m finding that it is inspiring me to continue simplifying and make sure I stay simplified. The apartment is gorgeous and it looks great when everything is neat and organized.

Shopping

An unexpected side effect of this process is that I have lost almost all desire in shopping. When I see something that I like, my first thought now is, “Where would it go?” And the answer is clearly that there is no space for it, and that magically abates the desire to own it!

Of course, the extended benefit to this is that I’m spending less money on stuff. Which is nice.

Phone

One area of simplification I’ve struggled with is my cell phone. For most of my life, I’ve had a work-issued cell phone, but that recently ended in December. I got by for a week or so using only Google Voice, but the problem was that I could only use that when I had an internet connection. I upgraded to a very basic and tiny phone, that offered calling and non-qwerty texting for $30/month. That was basically the cheapest option I could find.

But I was really missing my smartphone for two reasons in particular: 1. Navigation! Particularly being in a new city, it was frustrating not having easy navigation on hand. 2. A camera in my pocket. I love taking photos, and the only other camera I have is a large SLR. I like using that, but it’s also nice to just have a small camera on you at all times.

So, I gave in and upgraded to a $140 Android phone. The nice thing is, it’s only $35/month and I have unlimited data and texting. It’s pretty limited on minutes, but I’ve supplemented that with Google Voice when needed. And I’m happy to keep the monthly bill low!

Library

One huge transition for me has been using the library. I’ve found my local branch (Cameron Village – above) and the awesome thing is that using the online system, you can reserve a book from any branch in the county and have it delivered to your local branch. So I’ve been checking out tons of stuff.

The always-pending deadline has also gotten me in a very enjoyable habit of waking up to a cup of coffee and an hour or so of reading each morning. So far this year, I’m averaging more than a book per week. Not only am I saving money on books, but I’ve developed an extremely enjoyable and beneficial routine. 

Being Healthy

One area I’ve been struggling with is getting back into a healthy routine. The cold weather is keeping me from exercising, and the sheer abundance of amazing restaurants has got me eating out much more than I’d like. I have been getting back into strength training, but I really need to get my diet back in order. Eating out frequently is not part of the simple life!

Conclusions

All in all, I’m very happy with the simplification that’s been happening. How about you – have you simplified anything lately?

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