2017: Simplify

I’m not big on resolutions, but I always get an urge to plan out projects at the beginning of a new year.  Like many others, most of my planning for the year starts with clearing out the clutter and starting with a clean slate so I’ve been gathering all the things in the house that are no longer needed or wanted.  I’ll post a good bunch of them on the buy/sell pages but some things will be donated to the big charity auction I put on at work in March.

While this purge isn’t as massive as the Great Decrapification of 2015, the pile is already pretty large and I still plan to purge through some of my crafting inventory and the coat closet.  Even more surprising was that this pile comes after we’ve already purged quite a bit from the house throughout 2016 as evidenced by the pictures I started gathering for taxes (our tax professional recommended we start doing this to justify any donation deductions we were claiming in the event of an audit)!

As the clutter was cleared, I started to think that I should find a way to continue this motivation.  Not a resolution, just something to keep me focused.  I like the idea of choosing a word to represent your goals for the year and after a bit of thought I’ve decided mine is SIMPLIFY.  It’s a good reminder when I get wrapped up in a project to take a step back and think about what the basics are and eliminate the rest.  And I can apply it to just about everything:

  • Decorating: Less stuff means less to clean and maintain, plus less time to constantly change things up. I gave up my ‘holiday’ tree some time ago, but was still decorating the main area of the house for each little holiday.   Now I plan to decorate by season, rather than individual holidays so our home still feels inviting and cozy but I spend less time and energy creating looks that are only up for a few weeks.
  • Gardening: While it’s always fun to try new things in the garden and see how they grow, perennials are hardy and will come back year after year on their own leaving me more time to focus on harvest crops that will feed our family and important maintenance type projects.
  • Eating: Speaking of food – simplifying what we eat can go two ways, either less complex preparation such as one-pot and crockpot recipes or moving away from processed foods to heathier options.
  • Activities: While you can do everything, you can’t do it all at once. I’m letting go of several activities that aren’t bringing me the joy I envisioned they would so that I can explore other things I’ve been wanting to try and then select those that I most prefer.  Remember not every minute of every day needs to be planned out.  Sometimes the best creativity comes when your mind has time to relax.
  • My business: I’ve always based my photography business on a desire to create quality images for other DIY-minded folks who want portraits to document their lives but not the stress of choosing which images tell that story based on a budget. I’ve honed my style to be very simple and comfortable, which means I don’t need all of the cute props  I see stylized photographers using no matter how adorable they are.  And I don’t have to rush to offer a mini session “special” for every holiday because I have a low year-round rate.

There are many more topics I could apply as well, but overall each will hopefully reduce the extra stress modern life seems to induce.   And I’m realistic to realize that I won’t always be able to take the “simple” road because I live and work with others who influence my daily life.  But when those challenges come up I can remind myself that the simplest answer is usually the best and be sure to recommend that course of action.

This year is going to be a busy one –I’ve got a big project at work that will run through late spring, we plan to build the master deck this summer, I’ll be setting up the new greenhouse the Hubs built last year (I’ll share more on that soon) to get the growing season started, we are taking a trip to Iceland in the fall thanks to winning a contest and on the way home from that trip we’ll be attending my nephew’s wedding near D.C. which I’ll be photographing.   So simplifying other things will help keep things in balance.  Wish me luck and stay tuned to see how this little plan of mine turns out! 🙂