- Thinking about what kind of life you want to live.
I have thought and thought about this, and I think I have figured out what a Simple Life means for our family.
- Controlling your spending with the aim of be debt-free
I tend to think that I am better at this than I ACTUALLY am. We don't use credit cards, we just paid off both of our cars, I buy mostly used. But I rationalize buying a lot of little things that we probably don't NEED. My goal is to only shop once a week.
- Learning how to look after yourself and your family, reskilling
Again, some good on this item, and some things that I could improve on. I know how to sew, clean, cook, crochet, teach, and some gardening. I could improve my gardening skills. I want to learn how to knit. (And I finally am! Signed up for a class and everything!) I need to learn more about doing home repairs. And I also need to be o.k. with the idea of not going back to work in a career outside of the home. Sometimes when I think about being a mother and homemaker and at least for know, a preschool teacher/daycare provider, it doesn't necessarily seem like the best use of my education and job skills. But really, when it is all said and done, taking care of my family is the most important.
- Shopping in a different way
I think I do fairly good with this. Or at least I know how to do this fairly well. When I am making a conscious effort to live a more simple life, I try to not shop often, and when I do, I try to buy clothes and non-edible items used. I shop for as many items as I can at Aldi's. I buy as much non-packaged food as possible, and cook simple meals from scratch. My goal is to shop like this at least 75% of the time.
- Eating healthy, local food
This one I know how, I just don't as often as I should. Healthy, local food also tends to be more expensive. There is also about 3 months out of the year that there are no local fruit and vegetables that are available. Also, healthy food also takes more time, and sometimes I eat non-healthy food because it is more convenient. Also, sometimes I eat non-healthy food because I love chocolate and Diet Pepsi. But another one of my big overall goals for 2010 is to try and eat and be fit for Life. That means that most of the time, eating is to provide fuel for myself and my family. I can provide fuel that tastes good to me, but I need to look at food in a different way. My goal will be to eat more healthy, local food in season, with as much as I can that is produced by myself, and to only eat food during the winter that was grown and then preserved by me, with the exception of meat. But meat will be as much as I can afford, local and healthy.
- Growing some of your own food
I made a good start with this one last year. I grew broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, zucchini, and green beans. I'll probably grow the same things this summer, but more tomatoes and beans. At our house, we really enjoy green beans, and pasta with tomato sauce, so I know that we will eat these things.
- Disposing of disposables
I don't generally use disposable items for my family (with the exception of toilet paper), but I use paper towels for preschool, and so I also usually end up using paper towels for napkins with dinner. I do have many crocheted dish cloths though, and I do use them often. I could probably go without disposables, and I'm going to try and cut down this year.
- Green cleaning
Some good, some things I drop off on now and again. I don't use any chemical household products for my linoleum/wood floors, mirrors and surfaces, toilets, etc. However, I do use store bought dishwasher soap, and I sometimes use store bought laundry soap. My goal is do all green cleaning except for the dishwasher.
- Using your time wisely
A toughie for me sometimes, but I'm doing better. My goal is to limit my time "connected" - either the radio, TV, phone or computer to one hour a day, and to use a "To do" list more.
- Cutting back and making do
Sometimes things like this item make me feel sort of resentful because I feel like I've had to cut back and make do over the past few years, but now I'm trying to CHOSE to do it. It helps me feel differently about it. To me, it also means cutting back on outside commitments, and doing more things at home.
- Looking after what you own
I do fairly well with this. My kids, not so much, although it isn't because I haven't said things about it/yelled at them about it. I think we need to sit down and calmly talk about it and decide what I expect and what they can do to help, etc. Again, it would be helpful if I knew more about home repairs so that I could fix some things when they break, or at least know when it is time to call in a professional.
- Making home your center and connecting with your family and community
I do o.k. with this. I mean, I homeschool, so I see my children most of the time during the day, and we take them to outside activities, etc. But because I AM with my children during the day, sometimes I feel like I need to escape from them in the evenings. Sometimes by actually leaving the house, but also just by not being by them. And sometimes I don't do it because I feel the need to clean the house or prepare materials for preschool or whatever. Some of that time away from my family is necessary and o.k., but I need to find a better balance. I also need to bring more of a sense of community within our own home. Too often, we do activities outside of our home or meet with other people at other places besides our own home.
- Changing your definition of success
For me, this item sort of goes back to the learning to how to look after yourself/family. For me, until a few years ago, I didn't really look at homemaking as job that I could enjoy, improve on, find interesting, a way to learn new skills, etc. I just looked at it as something that had to be done. And it was something that I had to do more of once I was no longer working full-time. And until recently, it was something that I was doing until the kids got older and I could go back to work full-time. But now, doing what I am doing here at home - the homemaking and the teaching and caring of children, and doing it well - that is success to me now.
- Becoming independent - setting yourself free
It is something that I'm working towards. That's all I can do right now, and for the foreseeable future. But I live in the city in mid-size city in Midwest US, and I have 3 youngish (10, 8, and 5 years old) to take care of, so there are certain limits to my situation. But I can always strive to be more independent and self-reliant.