Simplify, Simplify

Clearing the clutter out of your office or home can be a good, even great, experience.  Many times getting rid of old clothes or unwanted possessions can bring feelings of inner peace and clarity.  So just imagine what simplicity in ALL areas of life would feel like!  We could all probably eat less, spend less, talk less, compute less, purchase less, follow along less.  (Much less.)

My family and I are working to simplify our lives, to break them down to the “core” things that are important, and to get rid of old habits that perhaps we only do because they are what we’ve always done.  Won’t you join us?  Here are some of the ways we are embracing simplicity in our home:

* I don’t ‘wash’ my hair.  Yes, that’s right, I have long been a supporter of what some bloggers call the “No ‘Poo Challenge”.  I gave up using traditional shampoo and conditioner about a month ago.  My result?  AMAZING.  I only wish I’d done in much, much sooner.  Please don’t misunderstand, I do still clean my scalp, but my ‘shampoo’ is baking soda and water and my ‘conditioner’ is apple cider vinegar with a bit of water mixed in.  My hair and scalp have never looked or felt better.  Think about it.  Our bodies were designed to take care of many things on their own, distribution of natural oils being on of them.  Shampoos with harsh detergents and chemicals are a lot more toxic than many people think, and the scalp is extremely porous, absorbing much of what comes in contact with it.  The idea of all those un-pronouncables in my Pantene being soaked into my head sounds so BLEH.  (Along the same lines, I also don’t use toothpaste – just baking soda and peroxide – and I’m working on a natural deodorant alternative.)

* We coupon and we donate.  Everyone has something they can give.  Time, Talent, Food, Clothing are the obvious suggestions.  And I don’t just mean the canned spinach that’s been sitting in your cupboard since last time Nana visited.   Couponing is all the rage now, and often times you can find foods for free, or less than one dollar.  Why not buy one for the family, and donate one to your local food bank?   Target and WalMart have UNBELIEVABLE clothing clearance prices, and with coupons I’ve walked away with free outfits before!  Instead of keeping that haul, (because girl, no one needs that many tank tops) why not donate them to Salvation Army?  Cosmetics are another wonderful option.  You can donate unused cosmetic items to organizations like Dress for Success or your local battered women’s shelter.

* We eat until we are satisfied, not until our guts are busting.  I don’t think I need to go into too much detail here… we live in a society that encourages gluttony when there are millions in the world who are starving.  If everyone had their fair share, and not more, everyone could eat.

* Home haircuts, mani/pedi, and facials. This is too FUN to let anyone else do it!  Ok, ok, hair can be tricky, but when it’s just to get the bangs out of the eyes or hubster needs a trim with the clippers, I can handle that.  Saves us a lot of green, too.

* Greening our Thumbs.  We have toyed around with the idea of growing our own produce.  The only reason we haven’t started is because we are currently renting.  My dad and a few of our friends have had great success with crops like corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and blueberries.  I can’t wait to try this!   Maybe with pumpkins.

* We swap.  Our family, along with a group of others, share things like clothing, coupons, books, and even food.  This is a great way to add to your wardrobe or library without adding clutter or spending a ton of money.

*We MAKE.  Crafting is another big trend (just ask that friend of yours who’s addicted to Pinterest).  There are online tutorials for everything now, from how to make a ruffle skirt out of your husband’s old work shirts, to do-it-yourself home decor.  Projects like this are simple, fun, and best of all, usually pretty cheap.  If you have kids, this will keep their little hands busy, their minds and imaginations turning, and their eyes out of the television.  Talk about winning!

These are just a few ways to get started simplifying your life.  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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