It’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since I wrote a post about my one word for 2015! And although I still have so much room to grow, I do think that God has done serious work on my heart to make me more able to meet my goal of being ‘present’.
While it may sound ironic with a new baby on the way, my one word for 2016 is simplify.
Over the last few months, I have uncovered a strong desire for simplicity in our life. More just isn’t always better. I long for a slower pace. To be fair, we’ve gotten a bit of a head start of a few of these things, but here are some areas where I’ll be focusing in 2016:
Simplifying our Finances
We’ve been using Dave Ramsey‘s cash envelope system for a couple of years now. His Financial Peace class (which we’ve now gone through twice!) has taught us SO much about how to deal with money and I can completely say that money arguments really don’t happen here anymore. I’m so thankful that Ryan and I can be on the same page about our finances. There were complications with the cash system, though, and we’d been running into issues lately. Between not always getting our cash out of the bank on time each month and doing a lot of shopping online recently, things were getting confusing.
We decided that we wanted to look into an app that would allow us to simply use the debit card for all purchases and track them there, syncing the information so we both could see it. What we ended up with was even better. Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar app for the Web & the iPhone allows us to create our monthly budget, track transactions, and handle our debt snowball all in one place. We got everything set up before the first of the year, and we’re really excited about this better fit for our lifestyle.
Simplifying our Schedule
All of our activities have seemed to pause over the holiday season, and it’s honestly been so refreshing. We feel passionate about so many things and love so many people, but this has come as a reminder to me of how important it is to leave space to rest and breathe. When the dishes and laundry and errands are done, and we get to sit down at the table for home-cooked meals together on more than just a rare occasion, life is just better and really – we have more to give.
Today we had our New Year’s Day date (one day late, but oh well…) and we decided on what our commitments should be in the coming year.
Simplifying our Wardrobes
This has been a work in progress for a while now, but it will be ongoing. I’ve really seen a turn in our purchases – reflecting a desire for quality over quantity. I think that stemmed from what was, initially, a frustration with our home: a lack of storage. This old house may have a lot of charm, but the closets are tiny and minimal. Even our shared closet in our 800 square foot St. Louis apartment was at least double the size of the one we share now.
When we first moved in here about two years ago, we used separate closets, but they were each stuffed to the brim. After many rounds of cleaning out, selling on eBay, and donating, I began to be interested in the idea of a capsule wardrobe. This summer, we each chose 40 pieces to put into our shared bedroom closet, and the rest stayed in the guest room closet. And it was love at first try, for me. I had chosen pieces that mixed and matched well, so picking clothes in the morning was a breeze – and I was wearing something nicer than gym shorts and t-shirts – bonus!
Our attitude towards shopping changed, too. With many fewer pieces in our shared closet, it is much easier to see the ‘holes’ in our wardrobe. I started a little list of things I was looking for – a leather tote, a white v-neck tee, a pair of rain/snow boots. The list was actually pretty short and very specific. That helped me realize that 1) I don’t need to buy things just because they are on sale, and 2) since I needed very few pieces & they would be worn often, I should be shopping for higher quality things and taking better care of my clothes.
Building a maternity wardrobe has thrown me for a bit of a loop because selection is so limited and my body is constantly changing, but I’ve attempted to hold to the same principles, and I’m fairly happy with what I have at this point. I’m sure the coming year will continue to be challenging in this department, but here’s to minimalism, organization, and loving what we wear!
Simplifying our Home
Gahhh…keeping this house clean is a constant battle. Between the on-going home improvement projects and having a dog, it seems like it’s a losing battle at that, but I think we’ve learned a lot in the past year. Here are some things I’m excited about doing in 2016:
- A fresh coat of white paint on the entire interior. We had the exterior walls insulated this past Fall, and so far we’ve been much warmer and have spent much less on heating than last year at this time, so that’s great! But we were also left with 2-inch holes all along every exterior wall. Our goal is to have them all filled and the rooms repainted before baby arrives in March. Daunting, I know, but we are excited about this opportunity to give the house a fresh, simpler look that is more our style.
- A place for everything, and everything in its place. I’ve talked at length about our lack-of-storage situation. This basically translates to mean that everything we have (except clothes and dishes) is on display for the world to see. And we still have too much. After hearing the recommendation seemingly everywhere, I read (skimmed…) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Good method, I think: Do you love it? No? Then let it go. Yes? Then it needs a place. We still have many categories to address in this way, but we’re getting there. And I’m finding that having less has an amazing calming effect, as does loving what you have.
- Gradually moving to homemade cleaners and personal care products. Have you guys heard of The Hands-On Home? I got it as a gift from my parents for Christmas and I’ve already read it cover to cover. It’s pretty and just my style – crunchy, with a hint of nerdiness. I love how Erica explains the science behind why her homemade remedies work, discusses the cost savings, and keeps the ingredient lists so common & limited. And I’m excited that she includes suggestions about incorporating essential oils. As our Mrs. Meyers products run out, I’m going to be giving these recipes a try!
- The garden. Last year was fun, but we were a bit over-zealous. This year, we’ll focus on growing the things we actually use, period. And we’ll buy the things we don’t grow at the farmer’s market!
Simplifying our Diet
We’re doing another Real Food challenge for the month of January. You may remember that we’ve done this before – just a great exercise in discipline and a good reminder of how important it is to be conscious of what we’re fueling our bodies with.
This year, I want to be intentional about cooking at home and eating out/ordering in much less. I’m planning to be more consistent about meal planning and grocery shopping over the weekend so that we’ll be prepared for the coming week, because when we plan ahead, we make much better choices.
What is your one word for 2016? I’d love to hear what you decide!