Tag Archives: simplification

Making Mornings Simpler

There are things which I do to simplify my mornings and make the start to my day a bit easier.  I suppose that some of them may border on obsessive compulsive disorder, but I prefer to think of them as being efficient.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

First, I have a two-level closet in which my shirts hang above my pants.  I’ve culled my wardrobe such that any shirt either matches or coordinates with any pants.  This way, each morning I just grab whatever is furthest to the left on each level and I’m good to go.  No need to stop and mull over the possible combinations.  An added benefit is that it does not matter in what order I hang them up.

Second, I have my breakfast mostly ready to go the night before.  My basic coffee maker does not have a timer, so I fill the basket with grounds and the water reservoir so all I have to do is turn it on.  I also prepare my food the night before.  I often have steel cut oats which take a while to cook, so I leave them soaking overnight.  Then all I have to do is add some nuts and berries and microwave them for a minute.  I also like to make tofu scramble with veggies, so I make a large pan ahead of time and microwave a serving.  And so on.  I may not save lots of time overall but it certainly feels less hectic to me.

Third, I frequently get up an hour early and in the winter, I do 30 minutes of spinning on my indoor bike trainer.  In warmer weather, I like to go for a bike ride outdoors.  I started doing this in the summer of 2017 when I discovered the joy of cycling.  I admit, I need to be a bit more consistent about getting up early and riding, so it’s a bit of a work in progress on that front.   Tangentially related to this is my avoidance of the morning news on TV or radio for the past couple of years.  I have no need or desire to begin my day on a sour note by consuming what passes for news these days.

So there you have it.  These are the three main ways in which I simplify my mornings.  I’d enjoy hearing how you simplify or streamline yours.

             Time can’t be made or found, but it can be prioritized.

Ups and Downs in 2017

It’s been a while since I wrote about my decrappification activities.  To be honest, I had a bit of a lull in that regard.  I suppose it’s like a lot of things in life, in that you can’t be going full steam ahead 100 percent of the time.  If you try, inevitably you will get burnt out.  That seems to me to be a good way to inadvertently sabotage your efforts.  On the other hand, you don’t want a slowdown to lead to stagnation.

This past year I had mixed results.  For three things in the plus column, I migrated the majority of my reading to my tablet, using Nook, Kindle, and Acrobat apps.  This cuts way down on the number of magazines and books I have to deal with either for storage or recycling.  (While I agree that there is a tactile advantage to books, everything has a cost.)  Second, I went completely vegan in January of 2017, so my eating got a lot more thoughtful-by necessity as well as purpose-and streamlined.  Third, I purged some of my accumulated winter clothing of times which no longer fit well or which I have not worn in the past year.  I got rid of the equivalent of two large laundry baskets of good clothes which went to charity.

For three things in the minus column, being honest, I’ve become a bicycle hoarder.   That’s not a bad thing per se, but I rebuilt a full suspension mountain bike for winter road use, adding it to my old non-suspension mountain bike and vintage 10 speed road bike-three bikes for one person.  (For the record, I’ve been told that the appropriate number of bikes is (N + 1) where N equals the number you have at any time.)  Second, I’ve come to realize that I have way too many duplicate tools, especially wrenches and sockets.  So, a project in the near term will be to winnow out the duplicates and pass them along.  Third, silly as it may sound, I have accumulated an over-abundance of tee shirts and socks, so it’s time to purge.   The tee shirts I can pass along or donate, and I’ll figure out a way to repurpose the used socks.

As Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.”.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Stretched Too Thinly?

Sometimes the process of decluttering and decrappification is not about messy rooms or an overabundance of possessions.  Sometimes it is about time and commitments.  There are a finite number of hours in each day, week, month, and year.  How we apportion our time has an impact upon us.

For example, for the past three years I’ve been on the Board of Directors of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maine.  It’s been an interesting experience, and I enjoyed being with the people on the Board.  However, when my term recently expired, I chose to not continue.  The thing is, I found myself stretch thinly more often than not this past year.  As much as I valued being on the Board, it wasn’t an essential use of my time.

I once read a suggestion that one should make a list of one’s top five time commitments, in terms of personal importance.  Anything that didn’t make the list would then be considered optional.  For me the top five commitments (in no particular order) are work, church, friends and family, home maintenance, and exercising.  Among other things with which I was involved in varying degrees, the Board didn’t make the cut, so I cut it.  Cutting commitments which aren’t essential, useful, or pleasurable frees up time for those which are, and decreases my stress.  Give it a try!

Time can’t be made or found, but it can be prioritized.

It’s Black and White

I don’t usually engage in Facebook dares, challenges, and things of that nature.  But there is one in which I’m presently engaged that is both fun and interesting.  One of my friends (a “real” friend) challenged me to post a black and white picture each day for a week.  The pictures are supposed to not have any people in them, and the post is not supposed to explain the photo.  Lastly, part of the challenge is to pass the challenge along to a new person each day.  (I’ve been picking people I thought would have fun with it.)

The interesting part is seeing how different a photo looks after I edit it to gray scale, that is, black and white.  I hesitate to say they become more “artsy” but there is a distinct difference in how they present the subject.  Perhaps it’s because black and white requires a bit more thought to interpret.  I’m reminded that I once heard that Alfred Hitchcock preferred black and white for movies because it was better for storytelling.  And I cannot recall off the top of my head that I ever saw a color photo by Ansel Adams.  I’m guessing they knew a thing or two about the field.

There might be something to this black and white challenge worth pursuing.

Before and after.

Hidden Rocks In The River

I was walking along a trail today and an older woman pointed to the nearby tidal river.  “Look”, she said “there are a lot more rocks now.”  She was referring to the large number of rocks and boulders that were visible along the shoreline, since the tide was low.  It occurred to me that there were no more rocks there at that time than at any other time.  They are always there, just sometimes covered by water.  Depending upon the depth of the water, the rocks present varying levels of potential danger to boats.  At high tide, there is little danger because the water is deep.  At low tide, there is little danger because the rocks are plainly visible.  It’s that in-between condition that can be dangerous.

It seems to me that our attitudes about ourselves can be like that.  If our hang-ups or self-doubts are deeply submerged, they have little overt impact.  If they are out in the open, they can be dealt with as needed.  It’s when we allow them a little leeway, and they nibble at the edges of our thoughts, that problems can arise.  They can exert influence upon our decisions and our relationships and we may never even realize it because they are neither quiescent nor overt, but subtle and sneaky.  I guess what I’m saying is, we need to be constantly watchful and not let that in-between condition prevail.

You only see the rocks when the tide is low.