Small Changes that Made Big Impact

Oh how very often we say the word busy. We're busy busy busy, all of us. And I'm guilty of it too. Of the busyness. But there came a time when I was really busy, and life just felt... cluttered. With stuff, with to-dos, with decisions, with appointments, with people... with stress. So I made a few small changes. We're talking teeny tiny things that might seem insignificant, but when I take a look at these little things, I realize that my life is a whole lot easier since I've made them.

 I stopped subscribing to magazines.

I love magazines. I do. They're a wonderful little one hour escape on a warm afternoon filled with inspiration, beautiful photos, and fun stories. But I don't have the time for them. (Read: I don't make time for them). For a while, due to "special offers," gift subscriptions, and expiring airline miles, I had racked up seven monthly subscriptions. SEVEN. And as much as I wanted to read them, I just couldn't make the time to do it. So I had a stack of somewhere close to 40 magazines in my unread pile that were just collecting dust. So what did I do? I donated them. (and used some for a fun craft project that I'm still working on). And I let go of the pressure to have an hour or two (per magazine) each month to set aside browsing through magazines and didn't renew my subscriptions. Lucky for me, most of the articles end up on the web anyway, so I just followed my favorite publications on Pinterest instead. It saves clutter in my mailbox, and it's actually kind of a relief. And it's also kind of a special little treat when I'm going on vacation or something when I know I'll have the time to pick up a couple at the checkout line to throw in my carry on.

I Don't Keep My Phone On My Nightstand

This was actually not really an intentional thing as much as it was out of necessity. The outlet next to my nightstand only has one plug that works all the time, and the other operates on the light switch. I wanted both my lamp and my phone plugged in and didn't have an extension cord handy the first couple weeks we lived here, so my phone ended up being plugged in across the room. And I realized I actually kind of like it, not having it next to my head. I end up reading before I go to sleep now instead of flipping through things on my phone (out of sheer laziness and love for being warm and not wanting to get out of bed right before I fall asleep). I get to wake up a little with my thoughts, natural light, and quiet before staring at my phone and all my notifications. I end up waking up, going through my Bullet Journal, figuring out my day, and getting centered in my own thoughts, instead of flipping through the digital world and being in everyone else's business before I've even left my bed. It's actually kind of amazing how nice it is to start and end my day without a device.

I deleted Facebook. 

Not my entire account. Just the app off of my phone. And man is it freeing, both mentally and time-wise. I realized one day just how grumpy I got after looking through Facebook with all of the political commentary, news story commentary, and mostly the ads that I was seeing instead of updates from my friends. I wasn't seeing my friends' beautiful families, I wasn't seeing my own beautiful family for that matter, yet I still found myself wasting hours per week just mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. So I deleted the app. And I love it. I still get on when I'm on my computer in the evenings, but I set a time limit and don't go beyond that. It's encouraged me to be more intentional in my relationships via texting a friend to catch up instead of relying on Facebook to do it for me, and funny enough, my phone battery lasts a whole lot longer when I'm not getting notifications all day long about everything going on.  

I scheduled monthly donation pickups.

I try so so so hard to not buy things I don't need. But I get caught up just like everyone else, and just like everyone else, our needs change and the house gets cluttered with stuff. So I made a point to start a monthly donation pick-up. I didn't commit to taking a trip once a month, because I knew I'd put it off. So I found an organization that picks up my area (our neighborhood on Fridays), and I pre-schedule a pick-up for the first Friday of every month. I keep a box in the garage to throw things in throughout the month, and also set a reminder to take a quick run through the house the week of pick-up. Then all I have to do is leave the box on the driveway the morning of pick-up, the truck comes, grabs our junk, and leaves me a donation receipt for our taxes. It keeps the house from getting too cluttered, and I like having a reason to keep things cleaned out. 

I created a capsule wardrobe.

More on this soon, but I thought I'd mention it since it's made such a huge impact on my day-to-day life. You can look up examples of capsule wardrobes online, but it's basically a paired down wardrobe that has all the basics, and all the pieces you need to dress for any occasion with nothing extra. No bulging closets, no over-spending on impulse clothing buys, and no more staring at a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear. I'm still learning to not buy things I don't need, but knowing that I have what I need by re-evaluating each season and shopping only with a specific list makes a huge difference in my spending, my dressing in the morning, and also with the kind of clothes I buy, giving me more opportunity to buy higher quality because I need less quantity.

P.S. I'm also in the process of doing this for the boys and it's helping a ton there, too. Can't wait to share more with you!

I Made a No Shoes In The House Rule

I always wanted to be the cool girl that was like "no it's fine! We can always sweep later!" but between the pine needles, the dog(s), the kids, the constant in and out, I was sweeping all the time and the house was always dirty. So I put a basket by the door and everyone drops their shoes before coming in. I'm happy to make exceptions, like when we're hosting something, but day-to-day, we're a no shoes household. And it's really nice to keep the mess to a minimum and to keep all the shoes corralled in one place. I especially like this old milk tote (stolen from my parents' house, actually), because it has a handle so all I have to do is grab it and put shoes where they go if it gets out of hand. 

I Made Nap Time My Time

This is not to say I don't clean or do productive things during nap time. What I mean is that I don't do what I don't want to do during nap time. And most of the time, I do feel like cleaning up a little bit (without someone coming behind me uncleaning) and folding the laundry isn't a big deal. But that only takes up a few minutes of that nap, and I grant myself that time to work on things I want to work on. Whether it be Sara Dear stuff (usually), working on a project, making a phone call to a friend... whatever. It's a total mental thing, but I give myself a pass to not feel obligated for a couple hours a day. I'm still productive, but I'm doing what I wanted to do with that time, and it's made all the difference.

So - those are a few changes lately that have really made a bigger impact than I ever anticipated. Have you done anything small lately that's made a big difference? Do you do anything I've listed here?