Getting Back on Track

When I started my Konmari Journey to Decluttering and Minimalism, I didn’t set out to finish in any particular time frame, but my first round, what I call my “pre-Konmari”, took about 6 weeks. I went through my clothing, CDs/DVDs, books, paper and the kitchen (which I think is one komono category with about a million subcategories). Then something happened and I got a little off track.

After some time passed, I picked it back up and kept trucking with a goal of completing the process by our vacation in October, only to be sidetracked by summer. Baseball, racing, camping. You name it, I was distracted by it. I was really in no hurry to complete because I really didn’t need to be.

Then late this summer I joined a challenge on Facebook to complete the Konmari process by Labor Day – always a sucker for a challenge, I accepted. I evaluated what still needed to be completed, learned I didn’t have as much left to complete as I thought, planned it out on a calendar, and set to work making it happen. Come Labor Day, I considered myself a Konmari Graduate! It felt amazing to be done. We went camping a few times after this and came home to a spotless house. It was so great.

Then October struck and we went on vacation. I tried to make sure I had everything done before I left, but I didn’t (there was still unfolded laundry littering my dining room table and some clutter had popped up here and there as we packed and prepped). After we returned, we didn’t unpack in a timely manner so we added half unpacked luggage, plus the unfolded laundry we washed as soon as we returned home, to the laundry that remained from before we left. Add to that detritus from too many nights of take out and 10 days worth of untouched mail, and you have what I call a disaster. My anxiety was mounting!

After a week and a half of doing no chores and having no routine, it was very hard to get back on track and maintain our Konmari graduate status. But we’re now one week post-return home and things are getting back in place. After spending a weekend and 3 weekdays looking at the mess we’d created, I buckled down and tackled the job before it became insurmountable. How?

Lists.

I made lists. I am an amateur Bullet Journaler (still not entirely sure this is the perfect method for me) and used that system to make my list. I thought I’d ease in by doing the biggest project first – folding laundry.

Wednesday night: fold laundry (didn’t happen – but a bunch of other stuff did).
Thursday: fold laundry (didn’t happen, but more other stuff did).
Friday: fold laundry (who am I kidding??)
Saturday: Get groceries, Birthday party, etc.
Sunday: Clean the house!!! (and fold laundry – for real this time).

Throughout the rest of that week, I cleared the counters again, cleared the launch pad in the living room (I’ll write a post about the importance of a launch pad someday, but in the mean time, you can learn about one here), put away the blankets (those things migrate and take over our living room!), cleared the coffee table, got the kids to put their toys away, cleaned their rooms, and got my sink shiny again, etc. This weekend, I focused on vacuuming, catching up on laundry, and made time to wash all the curtains in our house (some were looking pretty dusty), and took the kids to the farm to chill with their grandparents. I even folded and put all but one basket of laundry – it was still drying so I have an excuse. Yay me!

Prior to the list, I could see all the things that needed to be done, but I didn’t know where to start. Creating a list of all the things I needed to do helped. I was able to take that first thing on the list, focus on it, and knock it out. Then I moved onto the second item. And so on, on down the line, until the list was complete.

Additionally, I always put the machines to work first. I always start the washer and dishwasher before I do any kind of cleaning. I can’t even get started on any task until the dishes and laundry are going. Stop by my house on any given day and you’ll see me wandering around aimlessly until I get those two machines taken care of. I physically have to start a load of laundry and must have a cleaned out sink (clear of all dirty dishes) before I can start dinner. It borders on OCD, actually. It’s really a no-brainer if you think about it. By starting the washer and dishwasher first, you’ve already tackled a large part of the cleaning up process in most homes – you’ve collected all the dirty laundry and all the dirty dishes and taken care of them. Boom. Two tasks (maybe 4 depending on how you make your list) done, before you’ve even started cleaning!

As you move along through your decluttering categories, ideally you’ll find a way to go from start to finish without stopping, but that’s not how life works. If you should find yourself getting sidetracked or backpedaling and aren’t sure how to get back on track, start by putting your machines to work first and making a list. It works for me every single time.

But beyond all this, it’s important to give yourself a break. Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting caught back up with the house chores likely won’t be done in a day, either. It’s  more important to spend time with your husband and children or hang out with family and friends than it is to have that perfectly spotless magazine ready home. So, do what you can, but make time for bonding, fun and relaxation too. You’ll get it done eventually.

Minimalism and Anxiety

I was inspired to write this post after reading another with the same title over at A Minimalist Abroad. Berin talks about how minimalism helped him to reset his priorities in life – his job, his daily activities, and stressing over things that truly do matter vs those that don’t, thus reducing his overall stress and anxiety. It was a great read. I hope you’ll check it out.

A few years back, I was also diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and depression, as well as post partum depression and attention deficit disorder. I was a mess.

What I found to be true for me, personally, is that specific situations and stressors triggered most of my symptoms. The feeling of dread, the feeling of overwhelm, that desire to escape it all and run away vs fight it out. All of those things, for me, were triggered by my environment.

My job at the time triggered my panic disorder and, in turn, caused the PTSD. Leaving that job was a tremendous step in the right direction, and while it was disappointing to end that chapter in my life, it opened doors to a similar but less stressful aspect of the same career field. My panic disorder lightened tremendously upon leaving. I think I still suffer a bit from the PTSD; some of the things that triggered my panic way back then still produce a bit of anxiety for me now, but they’re quickly fading as triggers the longer time goes on. The post partum kind of goes away on its own as the post-pregnancy hormones a woman deals with start to level out, so that’s gone now. The ADD is still something I deal with on a daily basis, and it’s frustrating, but I’ve learned to cope. I don’t feel depressed anymore, but my doctor tells me that all of the above stem from general depression as a jumping off point, so if you have one, you have depression as well. Whether I believe that or not… I don’t know.

One thing that stuck around for me, however, was the anxiety disorder. It plagued me daily. I constantly felt on edge with a short fuse. I was no longer taking medication with a doctor’s approval, and my symptoms were mostly manageable, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. I felt angry a lot and I didn’t like it, so I started really analyzing when I felt my worst, what my environment was like during those times, and what I felt might reduce those triggers.

Through some serious soul searching and being real with myself, I discovered most of my anxiety came from my home environment. I made a list of all the things at home that stressed me out. Once I felt that list was complete, I made a list of all the things that stressed me out that I had direct control over – things like bills, housekeeping, laundry, etc. Those things I couldn’t control I knew I had to just let go.

I found I was stressed b/c I was so overwhelmed by my duties at home. Our house was in a sad state of disarray and I hated it! I didn’t know where to start! And once I got started, I simply couldn’t keep up. I was constantly working on something. I was always telling my children I couldn’t do [insert whatever activity here] with them because I had [insert whatever household chore here] to do first and then I’d have to do [another chore] and [another]. My poor kids. They had a mom who was too busy and too stressed to be a mom! I dreaded going home at night because I knew my work was just beginning as I filtered through the list of things I needed to accomplish that I would never actually get done – ever – and because my attention would be pulled in so many different directions: kids, dinner, laundry, general cleaning, etc, etc, etc. It was never ending! I was very unhappy.

I knew something had to change so I brainstormed how to change it. I made a list of what I felt was the solution and how to achieve those solutions.

  • We have too many bills
    • Fewer debts would result in fewer bills
    • Buying less would result in fewer debts
    • Keeping things longer would result in fewer debts
    • Spending within our means would produce fewer debts
    • Paying extra on things more often would reduce our debts
  • My house was constantly an overwhelming “where do I start” mess
    • The house would be less messy if people put their things away
    • People could put their things away if their things had a home
    • Things would have a home if there were fewer things to house
  • Mount Washmore was insurmountable
    • Laundry would be less overwhelming if I did one load of laundry a day
    • One load a day would be sufficient if everyone had fewer clothes

Things like that.

In very timely fashion, I stumbled upon Konmari and the Magic book, which, in turn, led me to minimalism. As soon as I read the book, I felt like I had a chance to actually take control. As a Type-A personality, control is important!

Since completing the Konmari method and embracing minimalism, I have found my anxiety is nearly gone. I still have anxious moments and times when I feel super stressed to the max, but like Berin said in his post – these stressors are produced by things with meaning now, not a to do list I can’t keep up with. I know that I’m at a point now where I can forgo the to do list once or twice a week if I need to take a break or if the kids need extra cuddle time and things aren’t going to end up wildly out of control again. I don’t have a mountain of chores anymore – I have routine chores that are done in a very short period of time.

It all works now and my anxiety is so greatly diminished that I don’t think I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder anymore. Now I think I suffer from occasional situational stress, which is a normal part of life. Finding this way of life has been so absolutely blissful. I am so very thankful.

You can get your own copy of the Magic book here. (affiliate link)

The Facebook Project

A while back, I started noticing how much time I spent on Facebook. I noticed how much I was using my cell phone, primarily, which was my typical link to Facebook. Facebook was where I spent most of my time while using my phone. Hours would pass and I would have nothing to show for them. This was a problem. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I eliminate Facebook, I’ll eliminate the “I use my phone too much” problem. Two birds; one stone.

So, I removed the app in an attempt to spend less time there, opting instead to be more intentional with my use of Facebook by accessing it only via computer. I did indeed spend less time overall on Facebook, but it still wasn’t enough. I wasn’t accessing Facebook at home anymore (dragging out the laptop and logging in was meh… so I don’t do that very often), or while on the go, but I was still accessing Facebook too much at work, a problem in and of itself.

On days where I didn’t have a mountainous workload, this was probably a little ok, but there were days when I actually had quite the workload and I still went to Facebook. And while I was there, I was either consciously or subconsciously reading the newsfeed. I want to be a better employee, and Facebook is certainly not making that possible.

On the days when I was subconsciously browsing, I’d find myself losing hours of productivity. On days when I was consciously browsing, I’d find myself thinking “who cares?”, “blah, blah, blah”, “quit bragging”, and a number of other “I’m annoyed by this post” thoughts. I found myself skimming most of it, bored.

What I wanted was to eliminate my newsfeed, focus on the one or two groups I enjoy, and my public blogger page. I tried to avoid my newsfeed, but that danged thing has a magnetic pull that is hard to avoid.

My solution? Unfollow everyone! Ok, well, not everyone, but 96% of my friends list. I kept my family and some non-family who I really enjoy keeping up with. The rest were unfollowed. I noticed after doing this that my newsfeed was riddled with posts from public pages – pages I had “liked”. So I unliked them all. I also left every single group except for 6 (4 of which I’ll be leaving as soon as I am no longer employed by the Direct Sell industry – my departure from those groups will be noticed immediately and I don’t really want to have to explain myself to them).

This is what I’m calling The Facebook Project. There are 4 intended consequences for this project.

Reduce the time I spend on Facebook. My newsfeed is whittled down to the bare necessity. It’s minimized to things that I suspect will bring me joy. After performing my cuts, I discovered I only had about 5 minutes of reading material available to me. Perfect!

View Facebook consciously and intentionally. My newsfeed is minimized to the point that I’ll run out of things to mindlessly read very quickly and will have to find something else to occupy my time and mind. Additionally, if I think of a friend and wonder what they’re up to, I can intentionally go to their Facebook profile and check in. This will also allow me to keep up with the people I really want to keep up with rather than Facebook determining who I should grace my newsfeed.

More Life Less Consumed. *pun intended* My life will be less consumed by distraction, by aggravation, by idleness, by stress, and by the pull to keep up with the Joneses.  These things won’t be eliminated all together, but there will be one less source. Exactly what I need.

More privacy. This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. 😉

The next step is to find a way to block the mobile browser from accessing Facebook and all those event invites I get… oy. Anyone know how to do that?

Until I can walk away from Facebook and never look back again, this is my solution. What is your relationship with Facebook like? Do you have any tips for reducing the time spent there?

When Joy Sparking Spills Beyond Discarding Clutter

Over the past year, I have been undergoing a life-changing process of clearing my home of clutter that contributed to my anxiety and overall discontent. My house always felt messy, I always felt like I had a ton of things to do, and I felt anxious all the time. I’d finally had enough and unofficially dubbed 2015 the year simplifying life and finding more happiness. I say unofficially because I didn’t tell anyone in real life what I was doing.

In a previous post, I discussed finding the “Magic” book that I felt had the power to transform my life and later discussed how the process works. I went into great detail, but I still highly recommend you purchase the book and read it to fully appreciate the process and the effect it can have. The book and process met my expectations and helped to open the door to a life I’m happy to be in.

The concept of sparking joy has infiltrated every aspect of my life. It’s wiggled its way into my Facebook account and resulted in the culling over over 100 “friends” and the removal of about 30 groups I didn’t wish to follow anymore.

Joy Sparking snuck into my phone and removed countless apps, to include Facebook and, surprisingly, MyFitnessPal, an app I had religiously logged into for a running total of 875 days without fail.

It burrowed into our financial world as well, which resulted in my resignation from a direct sell company I’d been a part of for the better part of two years, and the resignation from two others I had only been a member of for a few short months.

The longer “Joy Sparking” remained in my life, the less stuff and things I occupied my time with. I realized that the lifestyle I was trying to accomplish was Minimalism! I have found I need less and less “stuff” to find satisfaction.

I’ve started reading quite a few blogs on Minimalism. I’ve made a list of them here in case you want to check out what Minimalism is all about. I’m liking the concept so far.

What I once thought was a lifestyle of restrictions and stark emptiness is anything but! In reality, it’s a lifestyle of freedom! Since embracing the joy sparking art of decluttering and reducing my volume of belongings, I’m finding I’m free to experience life! I’m able to go camping with my family and not feel consumed by the guilt of accomplishing nothing while I sit by the fire. I’m finding I’m free to go on day trips with my husband and just enjoy his company. I’m finding the time to color with my children. I’m finding the time to visit my father’s farm and collect eggs and teach the children about farm animals. I’m finding the time to dream of what we want our future to be! I’m finding the time to read leisurely again. I have found minimalism to mean I can live the life I dream of living rather than being stuck cleaning the life I’d always thought I was supposed to live.

Less truly is more.

Minimalist Gift Giving – and a brief summary of our vacation

My husband and I just returned from a 10 day vacation to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary where we attended a NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup race, visited many race shops, dreamed about what it would be like to be a part of the NASCAR family of employees, and experienced the ocean and a true beach for the first time in our lives. We spent a day at the beach. Hubby and I did what we call snorkling. We saw many fish and a crab. We went to the Miami Seaquarium. We went to the Everglades and took an airboat tour and watched a gator wrestling show. We spent time at Bayside. We ate alligator, crab, conch, squid and mahi mahi. The weather was perfect. We loved every minute of our time in Boca. There has been much talk of what it would be like to live in Florida.

What’s this got to do with minimalism? Everything, really.

For starters, we opted for a shared experience rather than buying each other anniversary gifts – highly minimalist! He has always wanted to see the race shops in Charlotte and has wished to take me to a race since we started dating. I want to visit my best friend every chance I get (she’s the reason we went specifically to Boca Raton, FL). I have always wanted to see the ocean and a real beach (all we have for beaches here are man-made lakeside beaches or sandbars in the middle of the river). We wanted to see the Miami skyline, and see gators in real life – not those we see in a zoo. Mostly, though, we really wanted to see the ocean and our friends.

Secondly: souvenir shopping! There’s nothing more anti-minimalism than buying a bunch of friends and family a bunch of stuff that really means nothing to them because they didn’t attend the vacation with you. Who doesn’t want to buy everyone they know something to commemorate a vacation they didn’t take? haha That’s how silly it felt to us as we were hitting gift shops trying to find things for the people in our lives. Additionally, buying everyone something gets expensive in a real quick hurry when you have 15 parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and children. Because buying gifts for everyone was cost prohibitive and silly, we opted to only buy gifts for his parents and our children. And we didn’t just buy them any old thing we saw. We ended up buying very little for these four individuals, which surprises me, to be honest.

Because his parents kept our children and tended to our pets for 10 days, we felt the need to buy them a thank you gift. We wandered through countless gift shops while in Charlotte, and spent some time in the gift shops near the beach. We evaluated everything we saw with different eyes than we used before finding minimalism. We didn’t want to just get them “stuff” that would sit on a shelf and get dusty. We wanted to find them something they’d actually use and enjoy. It boiled down to us buying one tshirt, two can koozies, a beachy candle, and two coffee mugs. We decided that none of this was an adequate enough thank you gift, so we ended up getting them a gift card to a local restaurant so they could enjoy a date night on us for helping us celebrate our first 10 years of marriage on such a grand scale.

What we bought our kids was different than it would have been a year ago as well. Ordinarily, we’d buy everything we saw that reminded us of them. Instead, we stuck with 3 tshirts each, a shark tooth and alligator tooth necklace for our son, a flower necklace for our daughter, a stuffed alligator each, a bookmark for our son, a refrigerator magnet for our daughter, and a shell adorned “treasure box” for our daughter. They loved all three tshirts. Our son is an avid reader and was thrilled with his holographic alligator bookmark. Daughter likewise loved her holographic alligator magnet. Son and Daughter have both worn their necklaces each day since we returned home. And both have slept with their stuffed alligators each night, naming them and dragging them with them everywhere they go. We sent home a few postcards because our kids just love getting mail – I’m still trying to figure out what to do with these now that they’re in our home.

It feels like a lot when it’s all written out, but each item was carefully considered for usefulness, enjoyability, and cost. If we thought they’d like it, but it would sit on a shelf unloved, we didn’t buy it. If it was useful but not necessarily enjoyable, we didn’t buy it. Looking back, we could have just done the gift card for his parents and called it adequate. Everything we bought will be used, but in hindsight, it’s more stuff for people who don’t necessarily need or want more stuff.

While we didn’t execute our gift buying flawlessly, our thoughts on gift giving have changed so much in the last year. We’re even rethinking Christmas and birthdays – asking for experiences rather than things. We’ve already decided that for Christmas 2017, we are loading our kids up and taking them to Florida to experience all the wonder and excitement we experienced in our 4 days there. We just have to decide what time of year we want to go that will result in the least amount of disruption from school without being hotter than blazes or overrun by tourists, that still allows for comfortable use of the beach and ocean. Florida has been, by far, the best experience I have ever had – in line behind marrying my husband and having his children, of course.

As I think about this upcoming Christmas and my new philosophy on gift giving, I have to admit I’m getting a bit overwhelmed and anxious about it. We live in an area that does not have a whole lot of experiences to offer. Our nearest marine aquarium is three hours away. Our nearest amusement park is two hours away. I’ve been scouring websites that offer alternative gift ideas trying to find some that fit in our area of the country, but each of them results in the parents having to fork out extra money to utilize the gift. I’m really coming up empty and it’s scary to me.

Are you a minimalist gift giver? What gift giving ideas do you have?

Disconnecting to Stay Connected

My husband and I are preparing to take a vacation, just the two of us, to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We’re taking an extensive trip that will span a total 10 calendar days, have us driving more than 3,000 miles and in the car, one on one, for more than 44 hours. We haven’t taken a trip together in the car since 2013 when we drove to Tennessee in the middle of Winter Storm Cleon – boy was that ever fun! Before that, the longest trip we’d taken together was our honeymoon to Table Rock Lake in 2005.

The last trip we took was a great deal of fun – despite the crummy weather. We listened to the radio (I have satellite radio so we had quite the range of music to enjoy) and sang along to some old favorites from high school and had a blast doing so. We snapped pictures of the display when really ridiculous songs came on and shared them with the World of Facebook. I’m sure that was super annoying to all our Facebook friends – really, who cares what song is playing in your car?

I fully expect to enjoy ridiculous songs from the 80’s and 90’s again this time around, but I won’t be posting them to Facebook – mostly because I can’t now that I’ve removed the Facebook app from my phone. So, Facebook friends, rejoice! Your newsfeeds will be free from images of my car’s radio display. My husband still has Facebook on his phone, so I’m sure there will still be some updates here and there that he posts (and tags me in), but yours truly won’t be logging in.

But I’d like to take it a step further and put the phone down completely. Complete disconnection… Putting the phone down for our trip will allow more opportunity for connectedness between my husband and I while we drive for those 44 hours. He will be driving most of the hours because he prefers to, and not staring at my phone will allow me the ability to truly enjoy the sights of our beautiful nation. And what good is a co-pilot who’s not also watching the road?

Disconnecting will also save battery power for taking pictures of the landscape to share with our children, for phone calls home to tell them goodnight, and for Googling local sites and restaurants for visiting. 10 years ago when we traveled to Table Rock Lake, we did not have smartphones, Facebook or a computer. We had each other and a camera. Times are different now, but I think I will put away the smartphone in exchange for one on one time with my hunny, reminiscent of our honeymoon 10 years ago.

Maybe we’ll even leave the laptop at home? However, I will take my Kindle b/c what’s a road trip without a good book? I saw on Amazon the other day that Ania Ahlborn has a new release.

Have you disconnected to reconnect with loved ones? It’s been on my mind a lot lately. How did you make it work?

My Struggle with Facebook

Over the past few months, I have been struggling with what to do about Facebook. As I work to remove distractions from my life, I have learned very quickly just how heavy a distraction Facebook is. So, I’ve been slowly weeding it out of my life.

About a year ago, I experienced a personal hurt. I re-experienced this personal hurt on an almost daily basis by way of Facebook updates. I really struggled with the bitterness and anger I felt over the situation. I resented everyone involved – even those not directly involved. After doing some deep soul searching, I learned these people weren’t worth the anger and hurt feelings, and I wanted to cull them from my life. Unfortunately, that would come with confrontation, so I opted to “unfollow” them instead. That unfollow button was the best feature Facebook has ever offered. Unfollowing these people was liberating! I was free from my anger almost immediately. It felt so good I continued to unfollow anyone who ever posted anything that caused me even a moment of irritation, anger, frustration, annoyance or sadness (personal sadness, not sadness over their own situation).

Then I started getting braver. If I just didn’t care what someone had to post, I made the decision to delete them from my friends list. This occurred as part of my Konmari Journey. I think I deleted close to 100 people. I also went through and removed groups and pages I no longer wished to follow. Facebook felt lighter and my newsfeed felt cleaner.

Suddenly, my news feed wasn’t so annoying. But I still had this problem.

I didn’t really give a hoot what was posted on Facebook. None of it was exciting. None of it made me feel happy. But yet I was spending hours reading the newsfeed. Anytime I had a spare second, I’d browse through the newsfeed. Literally, for hours. When I’d get to stuff I’d already read, I’d refresh and start over. What a waste of time!

It was at that point that I decided to remove the app from my phone and only visit Facebook with intent via the computer. This resulted in me cutting down my usage a lot and prevented me from sharing a bunch of mundane who cares stuff. That thing that happened that annoyed me for 5 minutes at some point last week that has since been forgotten did not receive any Facebook fanfare. The stalkers who just troll to see what everyone is up to had no idea I went camping last weekend. You know, because who cares? However, on the flip side, that super cute picture I took of my kid walking with her daddy did not receive any Facebook fanfare, either. Nor did the interception my son got during his flag football game. And did it matter? Not one bit. We still celebrated my son’s interception and I still smile when I see the picture of my daughter and her dad. The lack of Facebook fanfare did not take away from those two moments.

However, Facebook is still a distraction. I currently have a direct sell business (more on that here) that I run through a Facebook group. I also like to keep up with the Konmari communities and minimalism communities on Facebook. So I downloaded the Facebook Groups app thinking that would help me ditch Facebook without actually ditching it. But, I was still viewing too much Facebook from the little glowing rectangle in my hand thanks to the groups app. And I was still viewing hours of Facebook content on the computer.

I don’t enjoy it, so why do I keep going back?

I may have found my reason. Fear of Missing Out. FOMO. Emily Torres, author of Minimal Millennial speaks about this syndrome (is it really a syndrome?) here. It finally made sense. It’s the reason I kept Facebook Groups. It’s the reason I kept Facebook Messenger. It’s the reason I was still viewing Facebook from a computer. I was scared of missing something.

My sister-in-law and I are both working on weeding Facebook out of our lives and she has also indicated that the fear of missing something keeps her from giving it up completely. But what are we really going to miss? Someone’s gripe? Someone’s brag post? The opportunity to compare our wonderful life to someone else’s wonderful life that we view as being slightly more wonderful than our own?

If anything, Facebook is reducing the awesomeness of our own lives every time we  browse the newsfeed. My life is awesome. I have a great job. I have an amazing husband and wonderful children. I have a suitable house, a suitable car, and make a suitable living. I don’t need to validate any of that by making a braggy post on Facebook. And I most certainly don’t want to cheapen it by comparing it to the life of some “almost friend” on Facebook that might appear to be better than my own life. That’s not fair to me or my family.

So, I’m working a bit harder to ditch Facebook. I removed Facebook Groups from my phone. I deactivated my business persona account (the one where I made some selly posts and tried – and failed – to keep up with my customers) and I deleted my business “like” page. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be deleting my business group as well. I’ve already announced to my “clients” that I’m closing my doors to pursue the things that make me happy, so keeping the group open is a moot point. I may post my direct sell inventory on a garage sale page to get rid of it or I may just have a garage sale – I haven’t decided how I want to tackle that yet. I’ll send a message to those I wish to remain in close contact with and exchange phone numbers. Once that’s done, I’ll have little to no reason to ever frequent Facebook again. And why have an account if you aren’t going to use it?

So, I will begin the process of downloading the joy sparking images from my Facebook account very soon. I should have most of them saved already. Then it’ll be “adios Facebook”.

Have you deactivated or deleted your Facebook account? How has your life changed as a result? What additional advice might you have for me?

Freeing up Time for Things I Enjoy

My husband and I have been attempting to make headway in our debt for quite some time now. We were making a little bit of a dent, but it wasn’t as big as I’d like it to be, despite following the Dave Ramsey plan to the best of our ability and willingness (i.e. we refused to sell off everything we own – which is precisely why we’re only making a small dent).

Early in 2014, in an attempt to make a bigger dent, I decided to join a direct sell company. It was a good idea, in theory. I knew I’d be working a lot and had hoped to have a lot of parties so I could make that killer residual income that everyone talks about making. Unfortunately, for me, that wasn’t what happened. I didn’t have lots of parties. My parties didn’t produce a lot of sales volume. And I didn’t make a killer residual income.

But I was determined to see it through and thought that if I just worked a little bit harder, I’d find success.

So I kept trying (read: bugging my friends to have parties). I provided prizes and incentives for my hostesses (read: I spent my commission before I even received it). And I carried our product everywhere (which meant I had to spend commission to buy product I didn’t earn).

Unfortunately, none of it was enough and I ended up spending much more than I made. It wasn’t worth the time I spent on it.

So I have decided to hang it up. With my current goal being to seek joy in everything I do and own, this just had to go. I absolutely love our product. I use the product every single day. I enjoy looking at the catalog. I think it is fairly priced for the quality and would (for the most part) buy every item in the catalog. I know it’s a high quality product that will stand the test of time. I’ve been abusing some of the products for over a year now and they’re still holding strong.

However, soliciting for parties does not bring me joy. I don’t enjoy bugging my friends. I don’t enjoy begging for parties on Facebook. I don’t enjoy spending money on marketing materials only to have no new customers coming in. It’s with a heavy heart that I give it up because the company is a great company. They shower their consultants with gifts and pay decently. But I can’t bring in the sales I need to make it worthwhile.

It’s all about doing what makes us happy right? Working this business was just another thing I had to do that didn’t make me happy – much like having a tooth pulled. When I compare it to other things I spend my time doing, it’s not a joy sparker. Scrubbing toilets makes me happy (b/c they’re clean, yo), doing laundry makes me happy (who doesn’t love clean clothes), pulling weeds makes me happy (it makes my flowers happy too). But soliciting for parties every single day and getting zero parties does not bring me joy.

It’s time to enjoy knowing my weekends are open for football games, baseball games, racing, fishing, camping and sacking out on the couch, or whatever spontaneous thing my husband springs on me next. Having the freedom to be spontaneous was a major part of the purpose behind simplifying, minimizing and decluttering my life. I wanted to be free of the never-ending to-do list. If my husband walked in and said “hey, let’s go do this today”, I wanted the time and financial freedom to do it.

I’ve announced it to my clients already, so they’re aware. Put a check in that box. It was fun (not really) while it lasted. I have a couple of catalog parties scheduled to be submitted yet this month, but after that, I’m closing my website, selling my inventory and disbanding my Facebook group.

Did you recently free up a bunch of your time? How did you do it?