My Lesson in Less

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At first being asked to leave our beloved home of five years was terrible and shocking news. Sure we had discussed moving closer to downtown and into a smaller space but as soon as the certified letter was opened any desires of ever moving were squashed by feelings of fear, uncertainty and guilt for even thinking of leaving our beloved home. But we had no choice. The owners of our rental home wanted to move back in. Why not, it’s an awesome house on a great street with a huge yard and a gorgeous pool? We had six weeks to find our new home and we didn’t even know what we were looking for. Smiley was doing awesome with our new eBay business and our stuff was shipping out piece by piece, however we still had a long way to go before downsizing enough to move into a much smaller space. The opportunity was here to make the changes I had been dreaming of. I just wasn’t ready yet! After a month of searching I was starting to panic. I wanted a small space but we still had a lot of stuff. I was considering an apartment but Smiley did not want an apartment lifestyle. We went back and forth between different neighborhoods. Rents had gone way up, we were not going to get the same bang for our buck and I was even hoping for lower rent. We toyed with the idea of putting everything into storage and staying in a hotel for a month or two. I went to visit the Extended Stay Hotel and the room was like a jail cell with a view of the freeway. We could not live like that! With two weeks to go we kept on looking but did not want to make a rash decision. Then we found it…our beach cottage!

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We found a month to month furnished beach cottage under Vacation Rentals on Craigslist. The idea of putting everything into storage and living on the beach while we looked for our permanent home filled me with excitement. I went to look at the cottage the next day and it was adorable, pet friendly and very close to the ocean. It was paradise! Smiley agreed and with a lot of work and Smiley’s amazing Tetris skills we got our belongings into one storage container. We had to rent a second small storage unit to house our eBay items but we were all packed up, moved out and on our way to the beach!

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Living in my 500 square foot furnished vacation cottage is teaching me a lot about what I like and don’t like. The opportunity to try Small living on for size has been such a Big gift. For example, I know we will need storage. I know we need a doggie door and some kind of a secure yard for Bongo. I know we need ample parking. I know that a pool or the ocean is very important to me. I know I love beach living and we had not even considered that before. I also need to have more patience for nearby neighbors. I know that I do not want to go any smaller than 500 square feet, for now. I love keeping the cottage neat and clean and not having any excess. I love having the small wardrobe I brought to the beach; however I am starting to get bored of my very limited choices so I would like to add a little more. I also know that I can live happily with a small closet and one dresser. I am learning that the simple life is for me. By storing most of my belongings I have learned to enjoy the world around me. Sure I miss some things, but by being away from my hobbies, my kitchen utensils and my boots I have learned that I really do not need any of these things to be happy. Adding them back will be nice, but not necessary and I will really think twice before adding these belongings back into my home and my life. We will continue to look for our new home and plan on downsizing even more once we move in. Meanwhile, we can be found on the beach, working on our killer tans!

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Six Months of Live Big and Small, Thanks to You!

I Am Grateful For You

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For the past two years we have been getting rid of our

belongings to live a simpler life with less stuff and more

meaning. I started the Live Big and Small blog six months

ago to share my experiences, inspire others and create a

community of like-minded people who want to adjust their

lifestyles to create more. More wellness, happiness and

space to do things that matter, and less consumerism and

materialism. This lifestyle change can be as radical as

moving into a tiny house or just being able to fit your car

in your garage, there are no rules. And although I use the

term minimalist often I invite you to define what that

means to you.  As soon as I started the decluttering

process something clicked. I knew this was what I was supposed to do.

My husband thought that this was another one of my “kicks”

and went along with vim and vigor,

waiting for me to move on to my next revolutionary idea

(Komboocha anyone?). But I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop

getting rid of stuff, decluttering my office, my car, my

wardrobe. I started using a simple approach to every aspect

of my life. When I was in doubt, I would just break

everything down to the simplest solution.  My new Big

and Small lifestyle was exactly what I had been looking for.

My road to minimalism was changing everything. Sharing my

stories and helping people change their lives is now my

biggest passion. Simplifying everything also taught me to

need so much less that I was able to leave my sales job to

in order to have a meaningful part time job and explore my passion of

sharing my message. I could have never gotten this far

without the support of my husband and without you. I want to

thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading,

subscribing, supporting and being here for me. I do this

with love in my heart in the hopes that I can make a Big or

Small difference in your life. From the bottom of my heart,

thank you and I love you.

Keeping in Line When You are Off Track

 

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You do everything right. You have a daily regimen that includes things that you do for yourself. Things like taking care of your body, your mind and your soul. You are feeling great because you are taking the time to treat yourself daily to things that are helping to create the life you desire. Then something happens. Your in-laws come to visit, you have a party to plan or you are traveling for a weekend and have a million things to do to get ready. Or it may be something more serious like you or your loved one becomes ill, you have to move or you lose your job. Things happen…life happens! But when these things happen do you instantly drop your daily regimen that has been serving you so well? In times of stress, illness or turmoil it is more important than ever to take time to care for yourself. Dropping the things that normally feel good can make the hard times even harder to get through. You are used to these positive activities and stopping them abruptly can add to your stress, especially if some of your activities are stress relieving by nature like walking, exercising or meditation. Neglecting to do the things that are good for you during rough times may also make it harder to get your old good habits that you have worked so hard to instill back into your daily routine. It’s kind of like starting over and the first step is always the hardest. I have listed some of the normal life situations that can take me off track.

 

Some Things That Take Me Off Track

  1. An out of town visitor
  2. Preparing for a trip or weekend away
  3. An illness
  4. An argument with a loved one
  5. A hard time at work
  6. An injury
  7. A medical procedure
  8. Schedule changes (me or Smiley)
  9. Partying too late
  10. Planning an event or party
  11. Being involved in a project

 

That’s When Things Got Out of Control

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Sometimes in times of stress, turmoil or despair we tend eat the wrong foods, or even forget to eat al all. We don’t get the proper sleep and we don’t take time out for daily walks, exercises or relaxation. Some of us “check out” and avoid the people we love, letting them know that we will have time for them at a later date “when the storm passes”. The book we are reading is left on the bedside table and our kids or pets beg for our attention. When things are haywire it’s easy to make excuses for not taking care of ourselves but the ironic part is that it is the most important time to do so. Maybe it’s not the best time to begin that new art class or spend an hour in the gym, but doing amended versions of your normal daily activities can keep you in check and not having to start everything over from scratch once things go back to normal.

 

 

Revise your Rituals

If you have Morning Rituals like I do it can be overwhelming to take the time to do everything when things get crazy. It can become burdensome to focus on things like meditating and to take the time to write in a journal. You may go into autopilot and slip into old habits like smoking or eating fatty foods. During these times your Rituals are more important than ever. If it’s too taxing to spend an hour taking care of yourself try a modified version instead. Skip a few Rituals or just take less time on each. Even going through the motions can help you. Use your activities to help you in your situation. For example, when you are up against a dead line, getting up a few minutes earlier to plan your meals for the day, or doing some breathing exercises in the car can help manage your stress until your schedule is back to normal.

 

Examples of My Revised Rituals

  • When I am sick I can: do my breathing exercises, read my mantras and stretch.
  • When I have an out of town visitor I can: get enough sleep and meditate for five minutes.
  • When I am in an argument with a loved one I can: exercise, drink enough water and write in my journal.

images   (Just remember to re-use those zip locks!) 

It’s easy to make excuses to go back to old bad habits during hard, busy or trying times. Having the willpower to stay on track with your good habits during all times can keep you even keeled, rested, healthy and on track. Caring for yourself, mind, body and soul can make a huge difference when you are out of your normal routine. And when things go back to normal you won’t have to break any new old bad habits!

 

Please share in the comments the healthy activities that fall to the wayside when things in your schedule change. How can you revise your behavior to stay on track until things are back to normal?