Why Beginning Simple Living Projects with What We Already Have Is Important….

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This image represents how we are on a journey towards a simple or minimalist life. It is a beautiful life from the time that we begin; we just need to look around at our progress to recognize it. Our journeys will go at different speeds and look different from one another, but will be progress. https://simplicitysjourney.com  I  Quote source:  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/arthur_ashe_371527
Brainy Quote

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Hi Friends. I hope that each of you are doing well.

Introduction. I got to thinking recently about starting out on a Simple Living or Minimalist journey and how it feels in the beginning. Starting out on a new way of life will usually lead us to feel so excited, exhilarated and happy. We see different people that have applied this lifestyle to their lives, and the difference that it has made for them and their loved ones. We see that, and want that for ourselves and families, too. We look around our homes briefly and think about where to get started first, usually wanting to do several areas all at once! (Which is normal and pretty amusing, in retrospect.)

Eagerness. After we finally decide where to begin, we are eager to get started. Usually, we end up beginning in an area of our home that has really been bugging us. We dive headfirst into that initial project. Suddenly, we get to the point where we feel that we need to go out and get some organizing items and systems like we have seen on Pinterest, the internet or on TV. We then stop working on our projects momentarily, to go out and shop for these “necessary” items, spending money on multiple, organizing items such as containers, baskets, shelving, and so on.

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Then, we come home and continue with our decluttering and organizing project. Usually by the end, we realize that we possibly bought too many of or the incorrect organizing items and/or systems for the space that we were working on. (Plus we added extra time to our decluttering and organizing efforts.) After working on a few decluttering and organizing projects in this manner, some of our eagerness and excitement begins to fade, while our wallets feel emptier.

I can attest that this usually happens to us all, so please do not feel badly if you have felt or are feeling this way. We have chosen to make a change in our lives by working on making them simpler, or by even working further to become minimalists. With some of these early experiences, it may dampen our initial excitement. However, this is where the quote by Arthur Ashe applies so beautifully. It is such a good reminder for us. Ashe’s quote can be applied to many things, but for us, it can pull us out of that initial decluttering and organizing slump that we may be feeling.

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New Lifestyle Progress. We have what it takes to make simplifying or minimalism our new lifestyle; both in a new, belief system and literally with the organizing items that we already have. Like Ashe reminds us, we can “start where we are”. When we see others’ progress, we can be happy for them, too, knowing that we will get to where we want to be in our simple or minimalist journeys as well. We can cheer each other on and be a source of encouragement and inspiration for one another.

Also, as the quote states, “Use what you have”. Now this is the great part. We do not need to feel that we have to go out and buy the latest and greatest organizing items and systems. We are creative and can use or modify what we already have to make the areas that we are organizing look really nice.

It is so great when after being finished with a decluttering and organizing project, we have an organized space that we can be proud of. However, that is not all. When using what we have, we also will have been able to put our organizing items and systems to good use; the ones that were most likely in our storage areas. This is an extra, added bonus to what we are doing. Additionally, and another exciting part to what we have done, is the fact that we have not hurt ourselves financially in this process either.

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Closing Thoughts. In looking forward, we can continue to “do what we can”, as Ashe suggests. We can take our time and do our simplifying projects correctly. Does that mean that in the future we will never come back and revisit the space that we just finished simplifying? No, items wear out, our tastes change, and so on. However, we can feel satisfied that in this moment, we have done the best that we can. We can feel happy and accomplished with the progress that we have been making.

So my Friends, keep on working on your simplifying and/or minimalist projects. Remember, you are getting somewhere with your decluttering and organizing work. We all started the same; wanting a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. Just as the others that you see making progress, so will you. ….You are doing it!!!

What decluttering and organizing project are you currently working on? How have you been using or modifying the organizing items and/or systems that you already have, in order to make your organizing efforts work in that particular space?

• Please feel free to talk with us in the Comments’ section below. In the meantime, keep thinking on Arthur Ashe’s quote. It will definitely be one to keep in mind and remember during future projects. • Take Care, Kyra

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Pushing Through Frustration While Simplifying….

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Introduction. I recently saw this quote and instantly thought about the fact that it can apply to so many aspects in life. For our Simple Living Community on Simplicity’s Journey, this quote is very inspiring. Throughout our decluttering process, we have to deal with so many feelings through sorting our excess items. However, there is one emotion that we consistently revisit – that being of “frustration”. Frustration over having so much to sort through, frustration over having so many unnecessary items that our hearts and minds wants us to keep, frustration on the number of times of having to go back over the same spaces to declutter, and frustration on having so many feelings that we have to deal with – with each item that we sort through…. and this goes on and on.

The End-Goal. What I love about this quote is the way that it encourages us to focus on our end-goal rather than our individual frustrations along the way. Now, I know that this can be much easier said than done. However, whenever these feelings of frustration come up and begin to deter or distract us from effectively decluttering, we can let these feelings be what let’s us know that we need to pause for a few minutes. During these few minutes, we can take a short break and use this time to re-focus from our frustrations and think about how we want our space that we are working on to look when we are finished. Many times this can help us to move past our feelings of frustration and be able to restart our decluttering project.

If after trying to re-focus, those feelings of frustration do not subside, there is something else that we can do to help us so that we can concentrate on our goals for our spaces. Getting out photos that we took of our rooms before we began decluttering or even of another space that got previously, completely decluttered could be very encouraging to look at. Looking at photos that help us see our progress that we have made previously can give us the determination to be able to continue on decluttering our current spaces.

This photo shows a woman looking at photos that she's taken of the room that she's been decluttering. By looking at photos of how the room originally was, she can see the progress that she's making on the room. This may help alleviate some of the frustration that she's feeling so that she can continue to declutter the room. https://simplicitysjourney.com
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Pushing Through. Currently, one space that I am working on is our basement. This is my largest decluttering project and is a space that has definitely been challenging for me. It has a large number of sentimental items, furniture, and extraneous, family belongings. It is a huge undertaking. Other than breaks, looking at photos of past decluttering progress, and visualizing the desired end-result of my basement, I have found that working in shorter increments of decluttering time helps to reduce my frustration with this space. I set my timer for 15-20 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. For me, this is enough time to make progress in this challenging space without getting too frustrated before my break. Then during my break, I can use decluttering photos or visualization (or even vision boards) of the future of this space to help keep me going when the timer for my break goes off.

Closing Thoughts. Each space that we work on can be a challenge for us. However, if we continue to focus and even re-focus (when necessary) on the end-result, we can continue to make progress. I want to encourage you to keep planning and decluttering your living and storage spaces; transforming them into the beautiful ones that you are envisioning. I know that you can do it! Keep in mind that every time that you invest your time in decluttering, you are getting closer to achieving your goals…. and remember, I believe in you and know that you can do it!

What simplifying project(s) are you working on that has/have a tendency to cause you to feel frustration? What do you focus on (the result[s]) to help you to keep working on it?

• We would love to know. Each of us has ways and things that we do to focus on to a frustrating project(s). Seeing and hearing about that perseverance can be enough for those of us that are struggling with a project to be inspired to keep working through our frustration(s) to finish the project(s). So, let us continue to support one another by answering the above questions in the Comments’ section below. Thank you for sharing and helping others in our Simple Living Community. We sincerely appreciate it. • Take Care, Kyra

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Embarking on a Simple Living or the Minimalist Lifestyle….

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This photo show a green and beige, scrapbook-looking tag that has a quote on it. The quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The quote says, “The only thing that can grow is the thing you give energy to.”
Brainy Quote

Hi Friends. I hope that you are doing well.

Introduction. When we embark on simplifying our lives, it is a wonderful, new way of life. It starts out in one area and slowly begins to positively infiltrate through our lives. Once we begin to see how simplifying reduces the chaos that we have previously had in the way that we have been living, we want to continue persisting with our simplifying process and not turn back.

Quote. Like the quote by Emerson suggests, the more that we put into simplifying, the more that we will get out of it. Whether we choose to live simply or to become a minimalist, we are choosing to better life for ourselves. So keep at it because the improvements that will be seen is truly life changing.

Best Regards,
Kyra | Simplicity’s Journey

For your life, are you choosing to live a more simple life or are you a Minimalist? Do you have some suggestions for our new Friends that are just starting out?

• Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments’ section below. We would love to hear what you think about this. •

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Organizing Challenge – Paperwork – Part III: A Possible Solution to Our Short-Term Paperwork Dilemma

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Part III – Continued….

Usage of the Sunday Basket. I briefly wanted to talk to you about how the “Sunday Basket” can be used. If you would want to use it the “traditional” way that it was originally intended, you would pick the same day each week to go through the basket. However, if you use the Flylady’s “Desk Days”, this basket system would accommodate using that type of routine as well. One possible way to implement multiple “Desks Days” would be to have one day where you would want to work on completing the actionable paperwork and then put what is completed in your “To File” folder (if you have one in your basket). Then on your second “Desk Day”, you could use that time to actually file your completed paperwork in your “Tickler File” or whatever folders that you might have for short-term (this year’s) paperwork.

I also wanted to make a brief suggestion in regards to any paperwork that you are decluttering out of your “Sunday Basket”. Whenever you are getting ready to go through your paperwork, it would be an important thing to research “paper retention” information. This will give you knowledge about what papers are imperative to keep and which ones would be alright to discard. Additionally, if you are unsure of any particular set of papers, it would be good to set them aside and research more on this type of paperwork in the paper retention lists. Other resources that you could have to make certain of what to do with these set of questionable papers, would be to call a qualified accountant and a qualified lawyer. Both would be knowledgeable about what you would need to keep to help you maintain your paperwork for your particular situation.

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Closing Thoughts. Well, my Friends, I hope that this article on short-term paperwork has been informative for you and helps you as create your “Sunday Basket”. As far as sharing mine, I did so because I just wanted to show and describe my “Sunday Basket” to you so that you could have an example to see when you are making yours up. Whenever you do make your “Sunday Basket”, I would love to see a photo of how you made it, if you would like to share a photo of it. I have accounts on Instagram (@SimplicitysJourney) and on Twitter (@SimplicitysJrny), if you would like to share photos of your “Sunday Basket” with the Friends of the Simplicity’s Journey community. Everyone in our community is here to cheer and encourage one other in our attempts to live simply, or even to live a minimalist lifestyle. So please feel free to share your “Sunday Basket” photos with us, we would love to see them! (Note: Please remove any personal or confidential folders or information in your “Sunday Basket” before taking a photo of it to share with us.) However, if you would rather not share photos of your “Sunday Basket”, that is no problem. You could share with us on how your new, “Sunday Basket” is working for you!

Whether you share with us or not, the most important thing – especially to me, is that you have a short-term paper system that works well for you and makes your life easier and more simple. I know that since I have created my “Sunday Basket”, I have had a huge improvement with my paperwork being addressed and staying organized. I have also noticed that there are not random piles sitting around my home. When I need paperwork, I know just where to look, and it is in so much better order. Having this big improvement in an area that was such a large and consistent problem for me previously, made it something that I wanted to share with you. I hope that you have great success in implementing this short-term paper system within your life and home. Remember, each small step that you are taking are leading you towards a more simple life. I know that you can do it! Take care – and happy decluttering and organizing!

What are your thoughts on using the Sunday Basket? How do you think that this type of paperwork system would work for you?

• Please feel free to tell us in the Comments’ section below. • Take care, Kyra

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Creating a Better Life through Simplifying….

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This image shows how we can feel after making some progress in simplifying our lives. We feel better, live better and feel freer than we did before beginning to simplify our lives. https://simplicitysjourney.com I Quotes source: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lewis_hamilton_872408
Brainy Quote

Hello Friends! I hope that you all are well.

Introduction. I saw this quote and thought that it was brilliant. It is so true! Simplifying and using what works for us can help contribute to a more satisfying life. To put it simply, you can define yourself and your life, keep what supports that definition and discard what does not.

Have a great day, my Friends…..and remember, keep on simplifying.

How does this quote inspire you to simplify? What area(s) do you think of simplifying when reading Lewis Hamilton’s quote?

• Please feel free to tell us your thought on this in the Comments’ section below. We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts.• Take Care, Kyra

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Organizing Challenge – Paperwork – Part II: A Possible Solution to Our Short-Term Paperwork Dilemma

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Part II – Continued….

Gathering the Supplies. I have to say that after I learned more about this system, I went out and got the supplies that I thought that I would need to put a “Sunday Basket” together. I purchased the following supplies:

  • A black, Sterilite carrying case with a clip-style closure
  • Files and manilla folders
  • Highlighters – (I had these, but just gathered them up.)
  • A label maker and cartridges – (Again, I already had these supplies.)
  • Writing Supplies and White-Out – (I gathered up what I already owned as well.)

The supplies were not too much – and some were just my preference to have. Below are two photos of the Sterilite container that I am using as my “Sunday Basket”. (I purchased this Sterilite carrying case at Target, in case you are wondering.) Also, the top of the carrying case has a large area where supplies can be kept. Personally, I really like this case for what I am using it for.

• Photos by Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey •

Putting the Framework Together. Now, in regards to putting my “Sunday Basket” together, I made sections that were categorized by color. This is not something that you would necessarily have to do. Again, it is just my preference to color-code it in this way. My “Sunday Basket” is just an example of many, but I wanted to share it with you since it has been working so well for me. With that said, I would say that categorizing in this way has helped me by making it easier for me when I am filing paperwork and looking for a specific category of files or an individual folder. The first category of files that I made in the front of my “Sunday Basket” is light orange and contains files for all incoming and outgoing paperwork; the “Outbox”, “Inbox” and one folder for papers that need to be filed (“To File”). The next group or category of files are a teal-blue and all have something to do with papers that require something to be done with them. They are “To Do”, “To Pay”, “To Call”, “To Fill Out / Write To” and “To Read”. Originally, I had one large folder that I had for anything “To Do”-related, but found that it is much easier for me to break this paperwork out into these different category groupings. I love having them separated this way because if I have a short amount of time during the afternoon, I can grab the “To Call” file and make the calls that I have in this folder. When I am done with this, I just put the folder back in my “Sunday Basket” and can go on to my next activity, and so on. It makes this so efficient for me which I absolutely love!

• Photos by Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey •

The next folder category that I have is in a folder with a bright yellow tab to help capture my attention. I created this folder after being inspired by another suggestion that Dawn, The Minimal Mom, had when it came to indecisive paperwork. She had mentioned that she has a container separate from her paperwork that she refers to as the “Time Will Tell Bin”. In this bin, mail and paperwork that was questionable whether to keep or not went into it. Also, not everything that went into this folder was immediately necessary to follow-up on. The paperwork and mail can be kept in this bin until it is used or until the expiration dates for the material or activities passed and it could then just be recycled.

I created this folder to use in a similar manner to the way that it had been described, except that I wanted to keep this folder and paperwork in my “Sunday Basket” instead of separately. For me, this has worked out great because it has kept all of my currently, undecided mail and paperwork at bay and has therefore not gotten lost or mixed in with other paperwork. I also love that all of my current year’s paperwork is completely contained within my “Sunday Basket”. It’s really nice to know that I don’t have a bunch of paperwork strewn throughout my other folders that are actually organized and ready to be dealt with. So knowing how I am with loose papers when they are sitting around (usually in small piles), I felt that it would be better for me to adjust and modify the “Time Will Tell Bin” so it worked for me. (However, having it separately is an option, if this works better for you.) Since I began utilizing this folder in this way, I have been quite satisfied with how I have been able to keep these papers organized until I address them, if I choose to do so – or eventually just recycle them.

This photo shows how in this stage of getting paperwork together, you would sort your papers into various files. This stage of the process will set the paperwork of for the next stage in the Sunday Basket process. https://simplicitysjourney.com
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The next category of files in my “Sunday Basket” have to do with other files that I would frequently use each week. These purple-tabbed files include the following folders: “My Projects”, “Budget Planning”, “Taxes for the Current Year”, “Updates for the Control Journal” (A term that the Flylady uses for what is essentially a home planner that I’ll be addressing in a future article.), “Menu Planning”, “Coupons”, Receipts” and “Stationary”. I have to say that this portion of files are so great for me because it makes budgeting, weekly menu planning and choosing coupons to help save money, work seamlessly together. In addition, having the receipts placed into a folder after these helps so much when having to check online orders and such. They are all together, right at my fingertips!

The next folder category subsequently following the others (and is a dark orange-tabbed folder) is the one for “Sentimental Papers”. I decided to put this folder in here because when looking at what paperwork I had found when I was originally gathering it from the main level of my home, sentimental papers were a large part of what I had found the most. Just like papers in the “Time Will Tell Bin”, sentimental papers are dealt with in much of the same way. For example, if you think about it, we can get several cards for a particular event in our life. One card may just have the senders’ name inside while another card or two may have a written sentiment along with their names. Placing these types of cards and letters in the “Sentimental” folder can ensure that they are being stored properly while giving time to decide whether or not to keep them.

As time goes by, I have found that sentimental paperwork will become more easily apparent in identifying which should be kept and which should not. I think that it is because as time goes by, the emotional tie to these papers becomes less the older that they get. If you think about it, cards and notes that we have gotten say six months ago are much harder to part with then ones that we got (maybe even for the same occasion) five years prior. Having a “Sentimental” folder, helps in giving us time to get more of an emotional distance and perspective; making it easier to identify which papers and cards to keep and which ones that we should not. I have made it a goal for myself to decide and clear out all of the sentimental papers from this folder by the end of each year; recycling what I do not want and properly storing the ones that I do want to keep (in a separate container from my “Sunday Basket”). Whenever you make your “Sunday Basket”, I would love to hear how you are handling the gathering of your sentimental paperwork; in your “Sunday Basket” or in a separate container that you keep elsewhere in your home?

This photo shows how in this stage of getting paperwork together, you would sort your papers into various files. This stage of the process will set the paperwork of for the next stage in the Sunday Basket process. https://simplicitysjourney.com
• Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

The next two sets of files are for my blog and for my faith-based paperwork. My files for my blog are pink and currently contain three folders. The first is for my “Current Blog Notes”, the next folder is for my current “Research” information that I want to store and the last folder is for my “Archived Blog Notes”. Having my paperwork within these folders, stored in this way has currently been working. (However, as time goes by, and I have more paperwork for my blog, I may end up putting all of these papers into a binder.) The next set of files are purple, and store my current, Faith-Based paperwork. It is set up very much like my Blog folders that I just mentioned. So far, this has been working well. However, just like the other set of Blog folders, I may eventually place these faith-based papers into a binder as well. It really all depends. I plan to go through my Blog and Faith-Based files about once a month to see if there is any paperwork that I do not need so that I can recycle them. But, if I find that these two sets of files are beginning to take up too much space or are not working for some reason in my “Sunday Basket”, I’ll just remove them. If you end up placing files for activities such as classes, your blog or faith-based paperwork, please let me know how it is working for you in your “Sunday Basket”.

The last set of folders in my “Sunday Basket” have bright, green-colored tabs so that they stand out among the other folders. These folders are probably some of the most important in the “Sunday Basket” for me because they help store the current year’s paperwork when I am done with them. These folders have been set up as a Tickler File; files for each month of the year. This part of my basket has really worked well in keeping my paperwork from getting out of control. You see, most of my other folders make sure that I complete work. These folders are where I store them for the rest of the year. The way that it works is that when I am done with a certain set of papers, I initially put them in my “To File” folder (if I’m short on time). Then, when I am working with my basket, I take the papers in the folder that is temporarily storing them and put the papers in the “Tickler Files”. To place them in the correct folder, I look at what month the paperwork was written by the sender and file it in that month. It has become really simple to maintain this part of the basket system. At the end of the year, I will go through each folder, month by month, and take out what I need to keep and shred and then recycle the rest of the papers. I will then take the papers that I want to keep and put them in my long-term system for archival purposes. (I will talk about this long-term system in a future article.) So, that is it! These are all of the folders that I have in my “Sunday Basket” system. You may have a lot of the same folders when you set yours up – or you may have many different ones based on your home and personal needs.

Do you have a lot of paperwork to sort through? (No judgment here, we most likely have all had our share of paperwork. 😀 ) What is the most challenging part of sorting through paperwork, do you think?

• Please feel free to tell us in the Comments’ section below. • Take care, Kyra

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

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