Apr 182012
 

My wife and I definitely have one area where we need more practice simplifying. That area is simplifying our time management. A while back my wife has come to me and said I just feel so overwhelmed with all of the things I need to do. To which I replied

Stop doing so much!

She looked at me quizzically and then we walked her though everything she had been working on lately. This got her to realize that being on a couple of organizations boards, volunteering every other week, working 50+ hours a week, and doing additional work on the side may be to much. Granted she still volunteers quite a bit and is still on the boards but she has cut back at work some and only does 1 or 2 side projects at a time. Just taking notice of how much you do or try to do can help you figure out why you are overwhelmed.

What got me thinking about this for myself was last week Thursday, I already had quite a busy day planned. Doctors visit, work, friend’s bachelor party. Overall a semi-busy day but very manageable. Then 2 days before Thursday I got the opportunity to take a certification exam for free. In the middle of the day. They said to plan 4 hours for the exam. Earliest I could get in for the exam was 10 am. Doctors appointment was at 1:30 … 45 min away from the testing site. Did I say no I can’t do the test? Of course not, that would be the sensible thing to do. So I spent the next 2 days worried about how I was going to fit it all in. In the long run, the test only took me about an hour and a half so I was even able to stop home and check work emails before heading to the doctors. Was it really worth stressing out for 2 days? Probably not.

Before you sign up for just one more thing, think about all of the other stuff you already have going on. If it is too much then don’t sign up for that one more thing and stop doing so much!

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:50 pm
Mar 182012
 

It has been unseasonably warm here in Michigan. Today is so nice. We got home from the in-laws opened all of the windows. Let the air flow through the house and just enjoyed.

Don’t forget about how nice the very simple things like feeling the breeze or listening to the birds chirping really are.

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Feb 282012
 

Over at street smart finance they had an interesting article called “4 Finance Lessons For My College Aged Daughters” While I don’t have any daughters college age or otherwise, I still think that he had good points

  1. Learn to make a simple budget
    • I use Mint.com to keep track of my budget. Really easy and automatically syncs with your bank accounts.
  2. Never spend more than you earn
    • Not that complicated of a concept but americans can’t seem to figure it out. I would recommend not even having a credit card.
  3. Make a commitment to save money
    • Trust me your car will break down some time and you will have to fix it. It is good to have money saved up so that you don’t go into debt which you have to pay back with interest.
    • You would rather have the interest working for toward your retirement.
  4. Be responsible and pay your bills on time
    • Might as well pay them on time so that you don’t have to pay them and late fees

The notes under each of them are mine I recommend clicking through to their article to read their reasons

via streetsmartfinance

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:46 pm
Feb 252012
 

Unclutterer has a great list of things that you can go through. Granted this has been a really mild winter so far so you may not want to do a major purge but if you have not used (or in some cases not even thought of using) an item this year it could probably be donated. Remember just because you are not using it does not mean that someone else would not love using it every day.

Here is there list:

  • Blankets
  • Sweaters
  • Hats, Gloves, Scarves
  • Coats
  • Boots
  • Outdoor Recreation Items
  • Outdoor Care Items
  • Decorations
    • This one actually happened a couple of years ago for us. We decided that everything that we wanted to keep had to go in 1 large rubbermaid bin that goes in the attic above our garage. Now it is really easy to get Christmas out and setup. We also use everything in the bin every year now.
    • Not everyone will be able to be able to do 1 bin. But I challenge everyone to give some of the decorations that you have not used this year away.

Can you add anything to their list?

via unclutterer

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:45 pm
Feb 222012
 

If you have debt you probably ask yourself what should I pay off next. This is a question that I had been asking myself lately as we are getting close to paying off one of our student loans. Luckily one of my friends knew about a great site to help you figure out what to pay off next. The site is unbury.me. The site is pretty simple. You type in a name for each loan or credit card, current balance, min payment, and Interest. Then click calculate.

The site then shows you a graph of when each loan will be paid off and how much interest you will pay etc. You can also adjust the min amount that you are putting toward debt every month and it will show you how quickly you can have you debt paid off in one of 2 ways, using the avalanche method or the snowball method. The avalanche method use paying off the one with the highest interest rate first. The snowball method is paying off the smallest amount first (this is the one dave ramsey says to use.)

I like the ability to switch between the two methods to see how soon I can have the debt paid off.

Via Jeremy Via unbury.me

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:43 pm
Feb 202012
 

One thing that makes it easier to get rid of things is to have a place to put them until you are able to actually bring them to be donated. We always have at least 1 bin in our house that we call our Goodwill bin. Usually it is by the front door or possibly in our guest bedroom if we are expecting company. If you find something you feel that you no longer need it can be a pain to bring this to Goodwill or Love Inc or whatever is near you right when you decide to get rid of the item. But, if you have place for these items in your house it does not take much effort to put something in a bin. Then when the bin or bins get full you can take the time and energy to bring them to be donated.

–Nate

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:42 pm
Feb 182012
 

Todays post is all about why are you buying what you are buying. Next time you are about to buy something try to think of these things and see if you still want to buy it. If the answer is yes then go ahead. If it is no maybe you should put the purchase back and think about it a little more.

  • Does it replace something?
    • If it replaces something is the thing you are replacing need to be replaced because A) it got old and just needed to get thrown away even if you didn’t use it that much? B) You just want something new? or C) It is something that you have used so much that it got worn out and you really need a new one. If it is C then you are more likely buying it for a good reason.
  • Does it provide me with more time?
    • Does it allow me more time to do other things? I have someone mow my lawn. Granted I got a really good deal but I do it because I hate mowing the lawn and it frees up that time every week for me to do other things.
  • Does it make me happy?
    • Will this thing make me happy? Sounds like a simple question but you have to go a little deeper. Am I buying it because the item will make me happier or because the act of buying something new makes me happy? If it is the act of buying something then I recommend a pack of gum or something else sub $1.
  • Without looking at the price how much would you pay for it?
    • After you decide how much you would pay for it then look at the price tag. If it is higher than what you perceived the value to be then I would recommend not getting it.
    • This I find particularly helpful with art. My wife and I like art but we take a while before we purchase something. I often ask myself is “how much would I buy that for?” 9 times out of 10 it is a lot less than what they are asking.
  • Where am I going to put it?
    • Everything has to have a place. Figure out where that place is before you even purchase the item. This is one thing that has been a blessing for us in our small house. My wife likes looking at furniture and I always say where are we going to put it. This has saved us so much money.
  • Will it hold its value?
    • No one wants to keep something forever … well a gold bar would be cool but impractical. At some point we may want to get rid of this item. Will this item keep its value or possibly go up?
    • This goes hand in hand with is it of good quality? If not I would recommend not getting it until you can afford something that won’t break in a month and force you to buy it again.
  • How many people in the household would use it or enjoy it?
    • If you live with a wife and kids, roommates etc. How many people will want to use it? If you are the only one should you really get it? If everyone gains joy from it then it may be a good purchase.

Next time you are going to buy something ask yourself these questions first.

–Nate

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:39 pm
Feb 112012
 

Joshua over at becoming minimalist has an article about how you can’t just clean and organize, you also have to get rid of things.

As he says:

“…simply organizing our stuff (without removing it) is always only a temporary solution. By definition, organizing possessions is an action that must be repeated over and over and over again. At its heart, organizing is simply rearranging. And though we may find storage solutions today, we are quickly forced to find new ones as early as tomorrow.”

He also discusses several downsides to keeping things instead of removing them:

  • The items do not benefit anyone else – If they are not being used by you why are you not letting someone else use them
  • It doesn’t solve our debt problems
  • It doesn’t make us want new things any less
  • It doesn’t force us to evaluate our lives
  • It accomplishes little in paving the way for other changes

He goes into detail on all of these and I recommend clicking on the link and reading them. He goes on to talk about how getting rid of things actually accomplishes all of the items on the list.

Via becomingminimalist

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:37 pm
Feb 062012
 

Since last week I did a post about my closet purge I thought it would be a good idea to do one on how my closet is organized now.

As you can see I have things pretty well defined. This post is more about automating your life and making things really simple more than smaller. I know I could easily fit my clothes into less space but then it would not be as simple.

I am going to try to point out things that are not self explanatory.

  • Seasonal – This is for those items that you don’t use all of the time but it is good to have. Snow pants, Gloves, Swim suit etc
  • Socks – When I need new socks because the old ones get to many holes in them, I throw out all of that color sock that I have left. Then I buy 2-3 packs of the new socks that are the same color. Then I put them in their home place. I don’t roll them, fold them in pairs, etc. I just group them by color and in the morning when the room is dark I can always grab a pair that matches without having to think about it. As time goes along they all get used and if I have to throw out one here and there no big deal because they are all the same. I keep white and brown socks together because the color difference is still big enough that I can grab them in low light and I didn’t want any more bins.
    • This is different from my wife who has a bunch of socks that have to be matched exactly to 1 other sock in the bin. Way more work than what I want to put in when I am still half asleep.
  • Day Olds – If I have worn something for part of the day and it is not dirty yet. I fold it up and put it here. I don’t like mixing in my old clothes in with my clean clothes.
  • Belts and Ties – Wife and I share this aka she keeps here 1 belt in with my belts and ties
  • Work Shirts – These are all of the shirts I have with my companies logo on them. In the morning I just pick one at random and put it on and I know I am ready to work.
  • Every Day Shirts – 90% of these could also be worn to work but since it isn’t 100% I keep them separate.
  • Hamper – I love this hamper. Each of the bags is exactly the size of one load of laundry. So when it fills up I pull it out and run that load.
    • When I first started downsizing my clothes the hamper would not even fit underneath where it is now. Shows you how much I have purged down.

Now here are the pictures of my closet

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:35 pm