Goal #6: Simplify: Part Dos

(Note: if you haven’t read the previous post, go ahead and take a couple minutes to browse through my carefully chosen rambling from June 27)

Too much stimuli is never productive.

A couple months ago, I sat in front of the TV, annoyed that another commercial had interrupted my Thursday night lineup. Impatient, I opened my Macbook and logged in to Facebook to pass the time. Then I saw an email notification on the side of the screen and clicked on an interesting-looking video link. Well, let me tell you… those videos take FOREVER– like a whole minute– to load on You Tube, so I tabbed over to Facebook again and UGH! My homepage had only one new friend update, so I quickly grabbed my Android phone to see if I had won Words with Friends. But the app took more than a couple seconds to load– oh cool! My show was back on!

And in the midst of the bright screens and rapidly firing neurons (and a lull in the story line of 30 Rock), my eyes dropped from the TV and found themselves affixed to the daily devotional book on the coffee table which had unfortunately become a weekly afterthought.

I’ll read it later, I said to myself.

Louie CK is a good therapist.

WHAT? YOU’LL READ IT LATER? My suddenly obnoxious brain became possessed by comedian Louie CK in the voice of God. “WHERE ARE YOUR VALUES? YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW! WHERE IS YOUR HUSBAND? GO ASK HIM HOW HIS DAY WAS! HOW ABOUT SHARING CHRIST’S LOVE WITH OTHERS? JUST GO DO IT! STOP WASTING THE TIME I GAVE YOU AND START LIVING!”

After this metaphorical face slap, I decided to turn off the TV, put down the phone, close the laptop, and figure out what else, in addition to technology, was distracting me from real, productive life meaning.

After many blog searches and conversations with friends, here’s what I’ve done over the past month to limit distractions to a more meaningful life:

It feels SO GOOD to get this extra stuff out of the kitchen!

1. Gave away all clothes that make me go “Ugh, I guess I’ll wear this.” Because of fewer choices (and all of them good), I save 10 minutes daily by knowing what I’m going to wear!

2. Entertainment center: out. IKEA TV stand: in. No more room for N64, cable box or half our DVD’s. Bye bye, stuff!

3. Non-”essential” coffee mugs: garage sale. Set of dish-ware: gave to a friend.

4. Instead of going to Walmart, which leaves me (and everyone else) with a disgusting feeling, I made deodorant and toothpaste, switched out tampons for reusable hygiene products (sounds gross, but why spend $5-10 each month on tampons with plastic that ends up littering beaches? THAT’S gross!)

5. Got rid of Twitter & Pinterest; also stopped Facebook and Groupon notifications on my phone

Chopped! Less time on hair = more time READING BOOKS!

6. Chopped my curly hair into a short pixie. I use half as much shampoo, and don’t have to use curling gel, hairspray, a straightener, curling iron… wow! That’s a lot of unnecessary stuff!

7. Stopped dyeing my locks. My natural color is back for the first time in 13 years, and man is it SHINY! No more chemicals on my head or in the sewage water; no more money wasted on vanity.

I could go on all day. The Minimalists and Becoming Minimalist and My Plastic Free Life and Greenimalist and Simple Black Coffee and Project 333 are blogs I’ve been glued to recently, and they have a plethora of advice and firsthand experiences about giving up sentimental items, connecting to the earth, and basically realizing our values. Check them out.

Compared to last year, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Ostrich leaps and bounds, to be exact. I find myself no longer familiar with the question, “What should I do with my life?” Instead the inquiry is more the caliber of, “How can I bring more meaning and quality into my life?” Minimalism is definitely a good start.

What’s holding you back from living by your values?

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About bornagaingreen

I love to interact with people who are excited about their passions! Decreasing my impact on the planet and increasing my family's health are high on my values list, along with minimizing distractions from a meaningful life. Share your story with me! Let's move forward and give a voice to our values and passions, one interaction (or lots!) at a time.
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5 Responses to Goal #6: Simplify: Part Dos

  1. Caitlin says:

    I love this! I have been thinking of cutting my hair short again but I really have little fuss with it at shoulder-length, as I wash with baking soda and vinegar and don’t put anything else in it. It looks pretty awesome, but I miss short hair. Oddly enough, I used more products on short hair than long hair… I’ll have to figure that out.

    I also switched to reusable menstrual items, which grosses people out (“That’s too far,” and “Ew, gross” are two comments from my immediate family) but seriously, I can no longer really accept the fact that tampons and pads are made of gross stuff and were probably messing with my body (GM cotton, anyone? If it’s even real cotton?? And sweaty plastic with chemicals in pads, no thanks) in addition to just being waste. *shudder*

  2. Kay says:

    I, too, simplified my wardrobe about a year ago. I have multiple black tops and jeans as my everyday wear. Black always looks smart. The good thing is I have never grown tired of the combination, always have something I like to wear, can dress it up with jewelry, and have cut shopping almost completely. A tip: look at the Academy Polaredge insulated shirts – there are two type, waffle knit and smooth knit. One costs $7 or so and the other $12. They last forever. I wash on easy cycle and never put in the dryer, just hang to dry. I also kept a few dressier clothes – mostly in black also.
    Am also looking at the waste we throw away each week and have cut down considerably. Have you seen the website: zerowastehome?

    • Yes, I have seen the zerowastehome blog and the author is finally posting again after writing a book (eeee!). She had a post with 50 different ways to wear a men’s black button up shirt. Her creativity is astounding.

      My friend does something similar to you– she buys plain shirts and dresses them up with cool jewelry. Sounds like a great way to slim the wardrobe. I’ll check our the Academy Polaredge shirts. And what a progression you’ve made by simplifying your clothes and cutting down on waste! The world needs more of you!

  3. Castile soap boar? Reeeeaaaaaally? Hmm, I’ve never heard of that option. How does your hair feel after washing? I may indulge.

    The Diva Cup is an adjustment… it’s a definite more hands-on approach to feminine products, but really, if you are within reach of a sink 80% of the time you’re using the restroom, it’s a piece of cake. Look at some message boards about this option and go from there. BTW I get so many compliments on those crocheted produce bags you made for me… thanks again!

  4. Jennifer Knoblock says:

    Love the haircut! I went pixie at the beginning of the summer and am still loving it. I don’t use shampoo at all anymore (just castile soap bar) and no blowdryer, either! Saves on plastic shampoo bottles AND electricity! I am still a little uncertain about the reusable feminine products…need some encouragement. :)

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