Here’s to a Lean Green & Mean Two Thousand and Sixteen!

 

Instead of making resolutions this year, I’ve decided to make some intentions instead. This year I intend to live a leaner life by giving out more than I take in and learning to live with less. I intend to live a greener life by being better to the environment. I also intend my life to have more meaning than ever before. Here’s to a lean, green and mean 2016!

 

A Leaner Life

 

No Impulse Shopping

When I feel the urge to purchase something that I did not intend to purchase, instead of buying it on the spot and thinking I can just return it later if I don’t use it, I will take a picture of it with my phone’s camera and leave the store. This will give me time to evaluate the purchase and decide outside of the store if this is something that I should return for. If it’s an online item, I will put the item in my wish basket for at least 24 hours before my one-click purchase.

 

One in-One Out

When I buy new things I will try to find something to give or throw away, right away (This does not include consumables).

 

Clean Surfaces

I intend to keep my tabletops and countertops as clutter free as possible. This will make it easier to clean and will bring me a more peaceful state of mind.

 

Empty Space

Just because there are drawers in a dresser, or a built-in with shelves does not mean that they all need to be full. I will aspire to have some empty space in my cabinets.

 

No Junk Drawer

I don’t want a junk drawer anymore! I am working on a “landing strip” area for keys and mail. I will try to find a home for everything else, like tools in the toolbox and the office supplies in their own drawer. I don’t want to own junk so I should not need a drawer for it.

 

A Greener Footprint

 

No More Plastic Bags

I have a bad habit of forgetting to bring my re-usable bags into stores with me. I intend to bring in my own re-usable bags into stores with me from now on. One product that looks interesting is the Grommet. I also purchased recycled doggie bags to use when I walk Bongo instead of using the big plastic grocery bags. I am happy to take suggestions to help me remember this seemingly simple action that makes such a difference.

 

Use Vinegar for Everything

Vinegar is much better for the environment than chemicals and I keep finding more and more uses for it, externally and internally. I just used it to clean my engagement ring and it looks just as shiny as it would using a chemical jewelry cleaner. Here is a great article about 95 uses for vinegar.

 

A More Meaningful Existence

 

No More Hangovers

If I had the symptoms of a hangover, but knew that I had not had a drop of alcohol the night before, I would admit myself to the E.R. thinking that I was on my deathbed. But, it’s just a hangover, so I can’t complain about it. Putting my body through this kind of suffering because of drinking is immature and irresponsible. I work very hard to take care of myself and I do not want to put my body through this anymore. Drinking in moderation and having a glass of water between alcoholic beverages is my plan to stay hangover free this year.

 

No More Sunburn

We all know by now that overexposure to the sun can cause pre-mature aging and the “C” word. I love, love, love being in the sun, especially with my new fondness of the Salt Life here in Florida. To keep myself from burning I will use and reapply my homemade sunscreen often, wear a large visor (Smiley thinks they are dorky, but I love them!) and promise myself a visit to the Dermatologist for an overall skin check-up.

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Learn My Programs

Instead of being frustrated that my camera does not work properly, or complaining that my photos are out of order on my laptop, I intend to learn how to use my programs and devices. Modern technology allows me to do the things that I love to do and I am so thankful for that. I am going to put time aside and learn the features so that I can take full advantage of these wonderful additions to my life.

 

Do What I Love to Do

DSCN2246I have really narrowed down things that I love to do. I love to play music with my new band (The Screaming J’s!). I love writing this blog. I love being a part of a community of people who want to live a more simple life. I love having a meaningful job. I love going to the beach and I love watching sunsets. I want to try some new things this year like becoming an excellent doodler and learning the harmonica.

 

 

 

 

 

Give More

I have been saying it and saying it and I am going to put my words into actions in 2016. I am going to spend more time doing charity this year. Giving is such a win/win. The feelings achieved by helping others is better than anything you can treat yourself to at the mall. I will be writing more about what I decide to do in future posts.

 

You have read “Here’s to a Lean, Green &  Mean Two Thousand and Sixteen!” here first on Live Big and Small.  As always, thank you so much for reading and I welcome your comments.  You can always contact me personally at pippytolan@gmail.com with any questions or to discuss simple living!

My Results are in. I Saved 62 Days by Simplifying!


Less Choice Equals More Time

The more you have the more you have to choose from. The more you have to choose from the longer it takes to make a choice. Weighing the options about everything in life takes a lot of time. By simplifying everyday life you can actually give yourself more time. Everybody wishes they had more time. Let me tell you exactly how I have given myself 62 extra days a year.

 

How I Gave Myself 62 Days a Year

I knew simplifying was going to save me time but I had no idea that my Big and Small lifestyle would add up to literally 62 days a year. This is time shaved off of my daily routine simply by giving myself less to choose from. I have not, even once, regretted my decision to make parts of my life Small, because the rewards have been bigger than Big. Here are my personal tangible time saving results from living Big and Small.

 

Wardrobe Function

The smaller I make my wardrobe the less time it takes to get ready. I know this because I started with an extremely large wardrobe and it took me forever to get ready and now I live with much less and I can get dressed in a fraction of the time. I currently have about 50 items in my closet including shoes. I also have one small dresser with three medium sized drawers that include my pajamas, t-shirts, workout stuff, shorts, bathing suits, lingerie and socks. It is wonderful to open my closet or my drawers and be able to see everything I have. When my laundry is all done, everything can be put away without stuffing it in (I used to have to keep some of my laundry dirty because it would not fit). My wardrobe is still a work in progress and I intend to write a lot more on this subject in the future as I know this is a big issue for many people. I did not sacrifice style for convenience as everything I own I love and feel good in. I started to take control of my wardrobe by doing Project 333. This micro-course is fun, easy to follow and changed my life more than anything else. I was able to modify it to fit my lifestyle as there are no strict rules (as you can see I chose to keep 50 items and not 33). I went even further by finding a job where I could wear a uniform. Wearing scrubs to work makes getting dressed in the morning a no brainer. I work two days out of the house wearing my scrubs and the rest of the time I work from home, so basically every day is casual Friday. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to spend per year picking out my wardrobe verses how much time it currently takes. I included workdays, weekends and time it takes to get ready for travel. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my wardrobe choices smaller.

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THEN

260 weekdays per year x 14 minutes per day = 60.66 hours

104 weekend days per year x 20 minutes per day = 34.66 hours

10 trips per year x 60 minutes per trip = 10 hours

Total time spent in one year picking out my wardrobe = 105.33 hours or 4.39 days

NOW

104 weekdays per year wearing scrubs x 1 minute per day = 1.73 hours

156 weekdays per year working at home x 5 minutes per day = 13 hours

104 weekend days per year x 5 minutes per day = 8.66 hours

10 trips per year x 20 minutes per trip = 3.33 hours

Total time spent in one year picking out my wardrobe = 26.73 hours or 1.11 days

 

ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON WARDROBE: 3.28 days per year

 

 

Meals

Planning meals, food shopping, cooking and clean-up takes hours a day for most people. I love preparing and eating delicious and healthy foods, I just don’t like all of the time it consumes on a daily basis. We have been buying our weekday meals from Fitlife Foods. We order the meals online and I just pick them up, bring them home and we just heat and eat. They have tons of meals to choose from and we can choose small, medium or large sizes. The best part is the food is healthy and delicious. We do lunches and dinners and I make smoothies or oatmeal for weekday breakfasts. On the weekends we either cook or we go out to eat. Our grocery bill is a little bit higher than it was but it’s consistent and we would never get the variety of foods that we get with Fitlife Foods for the same price. Another bonus is we never have to throw out spoiled food. I am in love with this new program. If you can’t imagine not cooking your own meals, I highly recommend checking out the blog Stone Soup, which has wonderful five ingredient healthy meals. It is my go-to when I want to make something healthy and delicious. I especially love that most of the recipes have options for different diets like vegetarian, nut allergies, etc.. Saving time in the kitchen doing everyday cooking has allowed me to spend more time doing something that I really love – baking! I have tried and loved many recipes from The Minimalist Baker. The recipes are simple, healthy and amazingly delicious. Here is the breakdown of the time I used to spend on meals and how much time I spend now. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my meal choices smaller.
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THEN

Cook dinner 260 weeknights per year x 40 minutes per day = 173.33 hours

Plan meals per week = 1 hour

Shop for meals per week = 1 hour

Clean up after cooking 260 weeknights per year x 30 minutes per day = 130 hours 

Prepare lunch 260 weekdays per year x 10 minutes per day = 43.33 hours 

Total time spent in one year planning, procuring, preparing and cleaning up after meals = 450.66 hours or 18.77 days 

NOW

Warm dinner 260 weeknights per year x 2 minutes per day = 8.66 hours

Plan meals per week = 10 minutes

Warm lunch 260 weekdays per year x 2 minutes per day = 8.66 hours

Picking up prepared meals per week = 30 minutes

Clean-up after warming up meals 260 weeknights per year x 5 minutes per day = 21.66 hours

Total time spent in one year planning, procuring, preparing and cleaning up after meals = 73.66 hours or 3.07 days

 

ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON MEALS: 15.7 days per year

 

 

Television

We decided to cancel our cable for multiple reasons. We wanted to make our bills smaller and besides the Macy’s Day Parade we never really watched network television anyway. We enjoy movies so we bought an Apple TV and kept our Netflix subscription so we could watch our television with intention. Now we watch documentaries, nature shows, movies and highly rated television series’. We watch what we want, when we want. Having fewer channels to choose from stopped the mindless channel surfing. I am no longer pulled into things that I really don’t want to watch. I listen to NPR in the car and my Mother calls me any time we expecting weather. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to sit in front of the television when I had cable and how much time I spend watching television now. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my television choices smaller.

 

THEN

260 weekdays per year x 4 hours of television per day = 1040 hours

52 weekend days per year x 4 hours of television per day = 208 hours

Total time spent in one year watching television = 1248 hours or 52 days

NOW

156 days per year x 1 hour of Netflix per day = 156 hours

52 days per year x 2 hours of Netflix per day = 104 hours

Total time spent in one year intentionally watching television = 260 hours or 10.83 days

 

ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON TELEVISION: 41.17 days per year

 

 

Make-Up

My make-up bag used to be as large as a carry-on suitcase. It even had wheels! My make-up was the last thing that I simplified because I loved it and wanted to keep it all. I knew from my past experiments in the kitchen and in the closet that the more I tossed out the easier my life was, so I trusted myself and threw most of it away. I kept a nice selection of natural colors and most of my wonderful make-up brushes and tossed the rest. I now have a manageable amount of make-up that all fits in a 12×5 (inches not feet) zipper case. Now it takes me a fraction of the time to put on my make-up because I use the same things every day. I also save time when I travel because I can just grab my small make-up bag instead of separating out what I think I will need on that trip. The other way I save time is that I don’t wear make-up every day. I have designed my life so that I work out of the house two days a week and I only wear make-up occasionally on weekends. I don’t have to spend as much time going through and cleaning out my make-up either, but I will just consider that a bonus. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to spend putting on my make-up and how much time I spend on it now. Then you will see how much time I have saved by making my make-up choices smaller.

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THEN

312 days per year x 15 minutes per day = 78 hours

NOW

156 days per year x 5 minutes per day = 13 hours

 

ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON MAKE-UP: 2.71 days per year

 

Grand Total Days I Saved from Simplifying = 62.86

That’s Two Full Months!

 

Trimming the Fat

Here are some additional things that I have done or suggest doing to save even more time:

  • Commuting: Design your life so that you work in the same neighborhood or part of town that you live in. The difference between a 15 minute drive each way and a 30minute drive each way adds up to 30 minutes a day that you would be sitting in your car. Saving money on gas is a nice bonus!
  • Adjust Your Work Schedule: See if your company would be ok with working four days a week instead of five. The difference between driving to work four days verses five can add up to an hour per week (based on a 30 minute drive each way). The additional time it takes to get ready, unwind, pack a lunch and do the extra laundry will also save you time each week. Having three-day weekends is also a great perk!
  • Get Ready Faster: Keep the same jewelry on every day.  I choose special pieces that were gifts and change them once every two or three months, or for a special outfit only.  Choosing a low maintenance hairstyle can save  hours a week.  The unique style that I have chosen not only saves me hours a week but gives me flair so I don’t have to spend so much time choosing interesting clothes and jewelry. Using multi-purpose beauty products like my moisturizing body wash allows me to skip a step in the shower without skimping on my daily pampering.

 

Analysis paralysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

Which one do I choose?

Which one do I choose?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple, Not Boring

As you can see, if you design a life with less variety on a daily basis you will create more space and time to do a variety of activities that will make your life much more exciting than changing your earrings three times a week or searching through your stuffed cabinets looking for something to eat. Keeping your drawers light, your cabinets lean and your choices Small will give you the time you have been looking for, with little sacrifice, to live the Big life you deserve.  At first, taking away the excess from your daily life may seem like you are giving away a part of your individuality. Personally, giving up my clothes, jewelry, make-up, creative cooking and television has given me the time to grow, learn, and expand my horizons.  I have given myself the permission to choose life instead of choosing a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t matter to me anymore.

 

What in the Heck Do I Do With All This Extra Time?

It would be lovely if you could just have all the time at once and go on a trip around the world (you might even save enough money to do that if you stop buying so much!), however the time you get back may not be noticeable at first since it will happen in small doses. Instead of letting that time just absorb into more chores or useless tasks I use this extra time intentionally. Here are some of the things that I do with my extra time that I have created.

  • Up to three walks a day with Bongo
  • Bongo massages and “doga” (dog yoga, she’s 13 now and loves to stretch)
  • More time for my Morning Routine and taking care of myself
  • Explore my new neighborhoodIMG_0426
  • Develop more intimate relationships
  • Take photographs
  • Work on my new business
  • Read
  • Long daily walks on the beach
  • Watch the sunset
  • Playing in my new band!

 

 

The possibilities are endless. What would YOU do with 62 extra days? Please let me know in the comments!

You have read My Results are in. I Saved Over 62 Days by Simplifying! Here first on Live Big and Small. Please subscribe to receive notifications each time I post something new.