My Simplifying Journey (So Far)

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(How I spent nap time yesterday - making a lemon pound cake from scratch, which I have never done before.  It turned out really well!)


My word for 2015 is "simplify", and truth be told, my year feels anything but simple so far.  We have had so many things happening in our family, and so many things changing, that my life feels more chaotic than it has in a long time.  However, I kind of expected that - simplifying, ironically, is not a simple process.  It takes a lot of work to get to the point where things feel more simple.  My goal is mainly to get to the end of this year and be left with a more simple existence after all my hard work of organizing and getting my act together!

At the beginning of the year I listed three areas where I wanted to improve.  So how am I doing with the areas that needed simplifying?


Belongings 

I actually feel really good about how much progress I have made with cleaning things out over the last couple months!  I have cleaned out most of the areas of my house that really needed it (closets, clothes, toys, books).  I have made at least three fairly large trips to Goodwill since the year began, and I also have been pleasantly surprised at how many books and toys I have been able to sell to local buyback stores.  I've probably made $100 on things I have been able to sell back.  The house is slowly but surely starting to feel less cluttered.

Favorite buy-back stores?  For toys, I have been able to sell a few things to Once Upon A Child.  They don't pay wonderfully well, but it's something!  For books, I have been selling to Tradesmart, and they actually do seem to pay better than a lot of book buyback stores - I have been able to use the money I have earned there for more book money, which is kind of fun!  I wish I could find one that would take my (non-designer) clothes.


Finances 

I have been doing better at not spending so much and staying within my budget, but there is definitely room for improvement.  One thing I have decided that I think will help me is to use cash more often, especially for grocery shopping.  I still use our credit card for gasoline (because it would be way too hard to take all the kids in to the gas station to pay every time), and I was doing really well at keeping track of what I was spending from my bank account for groceries…then Paypal decided to take a purchase out of my bank account randomly (what?), and my account was overdrawn, and I was slapped with a $30 fee.  Not so simple.  If I am using cash more often (and watch my Paypal payment method more carefully), I might be able to avoid this happening again.

Favorite budgeting tool?  The GoodBudget App.  It's basically the envelope system in an app, and it helps me keep track of what I'm spending (and is especially useful for the things I use the credit card to buy, like gas).


Bible Study

I have been able to stick with the She Reads Truth year-long reading plan so far, but until the last couple weeks my quiet time was still feeling stale.  But lately I have started forcing myself to get up earlier, and I have started using a journal.  I think these two things have helped me a lot!  My main problem has been focusing on prayer and Bible study when I have little kids running around, needing me in the mornings.  Waking up earlier has given me a little more time before the chaos starts, and writing in a journal has helped me focus on what I am reading a little better.

Favorite Bible study resource?  I got an inexpensive app that has the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, and there is so much wisdom in it - I have really been enjoying it, and I write the quotes that especially stand out in my journal, along with my own thoughts.


I think I am seeing slow improvements in each area, and I am starting to feel a little more organized!

What was your word of the year, or what kind of New Year's goals did you set?  How is it going?

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Appropriately, I am also on Tommy Nelson today, talking about the process of spring cleaning - especially for those of us who are sometimes lacking in motivation!  Visit the Tommy Nelson blog to check it out!
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Keri Snyder said...

Love the word simplify and these areas you are focusing on. I have slowly started to go through things we have to simplify and let go of clutter. Especially in the area of toys!

Hannah M said...

Your cake looks so good!! I haven't made a pound cake in forever, and now I think I might have to make one! I'm so glad you're slowly simplifying; it is a hard thing to do. How impressive that you've gotten rid of so many books, toys, clothes, and such! I feel like that's something I'm working on constantly!

Natalie @ She Builds Her Home said...

Why is simplifying so much work?! It should be...simple haha. But I have really found that as well. I need to be more intentional about it because I feel like last year when we moved and had to simplify some, I got burned out from all the work of it (we had soooo much stuff when we moved) and kind of just stood still. I really feel like having excess and having clutter can put me in a constantly stressed and anxious state without even realizing it!

Alex Jacobson said...

Callie, I have recently joined in the Illustrated Faith movement and it is transforming my Bible reading time! You should check it out. :-)

Ashley Bergman said...

My word for the year is Grace. I purchased a Giving Keys necklace that says grace. It reminds me of my word, my need for grace and to give grace to others around me.

I had that same feeling with my quiet times. It stunk because it's a time I so need, but when it's stale and lifeless, it becomes a last priority and I don't have the frame of mind I need (especially in a house with littles!). I started giving the littles that are home in the morning (I have 4 kids, but 2 are in school in the morning), when I try to do my quiet time, and I have found that scheduling that time to read and journal has been helpful. I know that time is set aside, and for the littles, I set out some toys and snacks and hope to get about 10 minute intervals to myself. I love the she reads truth devotional, but I have found that just devoting whatever time I have to reading the Bible (I'm re-reading Psalms right now) is so much better than any book. I read until I feel like God is speaking to me through His words. And then I journal sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But that coupled with writing 3 thankful things each day has so changed my quiet time and me! Hope any of that is able to help you!
Thank you for sharing what you are doing to simplify - I'm trying to do that as well. Oh spring cleaning setting off all these grand ideas ;)

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