The stark contrast between the last month of the year and the first one is most welcome by the time the New Year comes. During the height of the holidays, I dream of the quiet and slow-paced days of January.
Meal planning shifts from rich, high-calorie dishes to recipes that are healthy and low-fat. Instead of shopping and acquiring new stuff for everyone, closets get cleaned out and old stuff is given away.
In my post Farewell to November, changes were proposed to some old traditions to make the holidays less hectic. These changes helped simplify our celebration and decrease my stress level.
This was the first year I didn’t mail Christmas cards. Instead, I posted a holiday message on Facebook with a picture of our kids, and sent a text message and photo to some of our friends.
Another change was getting a live Christmas tree. Despite some negative things I heard about it being a chore to water, a fire hazard, and difficult to keep the cat out of, this was my favorite holiday change. I absolutely loved having a real tree instead of an artificial one. The smell was wonderful and there is something magical about the centerpiece of our decorations being organic and alive.
I also vowed to simplify our commitments and we did. This allowed me to be less frazzled at the ones we attended. We still saw most everyone we normally see during the holidays, but chose not to attend some get-togethers and had a few less dishes to prepare and gifts to buy.
Santa also simplified this year and skipped the wrapping paper on the gifts he left and no one even noticed! What everyone did notice was the extra time we had for an impromptu trip to Nashville to visit my sister’s family and a night at the movies to see Star Wars.
Now looking ahead to a brand new year and planning my goals, I’m not too wiped out to dream big, or minimal in my case. I’m inspired by the positive changes that living more simply is bringing. I’m also inspired by the minimalist and zero-waste trailblazers that are making this lifestyle more attainable for me and others. Links to a few of my favorites are below.
One of my goals for 2016 is to decrease the amount of landfill trash we produce by half. We’ve decreased it quite a bit with recycling, but going further will require some changes to what we eat. This will be my biggest challenge yet. My kids are picky eaters and they come by it honestly. My husband and I are not too adventurous when it comes to trying new and healthy food either.
I know that composting is an inevitable part of reducing our landfill waste, but I’m nervous about it. I tried composting a few years ago and it did not go well. I’ll never forget the smell of that failed attempt! Hopefully a little more research and the right kind of composting bin will bring success this time.
Another goal this year is to create a capsule wardrobe. I’m fashionably challenged and wish that everyone in the world would just wear uniforms and be done with all the fuss, so I love the idea of having such a concise, purposeful wardrobe! Just imagine how much easier life would be if the clothes in your closet were things you loved to wear and they could all be mixed and matched so you always have the right outfit for the occasion.
This year I’m ready to spend less time managing my stuff and more time doing the things I love but never seem to have time for. I look forward to the freedom and spontaneity that will come as I get closer to a minimal lifestyle.
Do your goals for the New Year include making your life simpler and living in a way that has a more positive impact on the environment? I wish you luck and would love to hear about your progress!
I consider Bea Johnson a pioneer of the zero-waste lifestyle. On her website, she provides practical tips and resources to make this lifestyle attainable.
Francine Jay offers encouragement for your minimal journey through informative blog posts and stories from real-life minimalists. Her books eloquently describe the benefits of living with less stuff.
Courtney Carver serves up some great advice for simplifying on her website, including how to create a capsule wardrobe. Project 333, her minimalist fashion challenge, is something I plan to take part in this year.