Is self-sufficient farm living a goal for your family this year? Many of us are focused on simplifying our lives. Me too! I’m a goal setter. Some say I’m an excessive list maker. With our move from west central Louisiana to Northwest Idaho, we had to do a great deal of downsizing. One of the goals for us became taking steps to simplify life and enjoy more of self-sufficient farm living. Decluttering to live the simple homesteading life is something I have a fresh memory of, as well as a couple of blisters which are still healing.
Sometimes in the day to day rush of living, we get weighed down by the clutter and stuff we really don’t use or need. Going through all your things and getting rid of what you haven’t used in a year or two is a great starting point. If you find something you’re surprised to remember you had, that’s a good sign you don’t need it.
When I say get rid of things, I don’t necessarily mean hitting the trash pile with it. We sold everything we could possibly sell, donated what we could, and trashed the rest. Adding a little cash to your bottom line can be a help. Simply donating items to someone in need can lighten their load while hitting the proverbial two birds with one stone.
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Another result of decluttering which amazed me is the increased productivity I have. I always heard that a cluttered work space was a sign of a cluttered mind, but now I think maybe a cluttered work space does more to create a cluttered mind than the other way around. From my experience, a neat work area helps me focus for longer periods of time and cuts down my work time on each project. This means more time with friends and family. I find this true no matter what I’m doing, writing, cooking or gardening.
Unsubscribing from lists you don’t use or want is something I often put off. It’s faster to hit the delete button than to go through the short process of removing my name from a list I don’t use anymore. Sifting through a list of emails takes a few seconds more each day, but the real time waster is the distraction. They get us off track as we chase the proverbial rabbit down the side path of waste and before you know it you’ve spent thirty minutes getting your mind refocused on your goal.
Of course, easier said than done is to set your goals and make a daily to-do list. The mind is a great work space, but a terrible storage space. Always record your goals for an easy and quick way to pull your mind back on track. Make sure your daily to-do list leads in some way to the achievement of your goals.
The satisfaction of looking at a list at the end of the day and surveying your accomplishments is immeasurable. It’s just as important to see what you couldn’t get done and determine if it’s important, necessary and beneficial. If it is, carry it over to the next day. I like using Nozbe to keep my lists.
I usually have to remind myself to be realistic and not overwhelm myself. The chicken coop which needs mucking and the fence in the field does need mending, the garden and household chores I think need to get done today could make the daily list, doesn’t mean I can or should even try. There’s still only 24 hours in a day and only so many hours of daylight. So I prioritize. I have today, this week, this month, and a sometime soon list (told you I love lists). I find these make it easier to prioritize the many chores which come along with self sustaining living on the homestead. Be sure to check your lists frequently to see if your actions are supporting your goals and to simplify your daily prioritizing of chores.
Many of us have a homestead heritage. We can learn something our ancestors knew to be a necessity, considering time wasters and eliminating them from our day. A hundred years ago, it was a must to self-sufficient farm living to eliminate time wasters and focus on the chores necessary before the next season hit the homestead.
We have modern conveniences while homesteading today. Most of us don’t have to run to the creek or well for water a couple times a day. Being able to wash our clothes with a machine saves us so much time. Yet, we still have to be purposeful in how we spend our time. Doing so gives us the satisfying feeling of progress.
I can remember my great-grandparents and my grandparents, who practiced self-sufficient farm living, having time to sit on the front porch for coffee and welcoming anyone who happened to pass by. Do you have time to do this? Energy to do it? They didn’t have our conveniences and still managed to do it. I believe it’s a matter of priorities. If we simply eliminate a few time wasters a day and spend that time on a goal we have, in a few weeks we’d be surprised at how much was accomplished. We’d also find ourselves focused on what’s important, spending time with those we care about.
Remember to take time to enjoy each day. I purposefully set aside 30 minutes each day to do something for myself. Set time aside for yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes (for the busy mom that may be spending 15 minutes a day in the bathroom – by yourself! ). Whether it’s to read a book with a cup of tea, write a letter (yes, I still do that), call my kids, take a nap (oh boy!), take a walk, whatever you’d like it to be. Most of all take some time to be thankful. A thankful attitude is contagious. I hope you make progress today toward your goals as we make each year better than the last.
Do you have tips to share for simplifying your life? Please share with us in the comments below. You can always contact me for encouragement, answers (if I don’t have them, we’ll find them together), or just to say hi.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack