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    • SimpleLiving
    • By SimpleLiving 30th Nov 17, 11:27 AM
    • 47Posts
    • 1,458Thanks
    SimpleLiving
    A Simpler Life 2018
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 11:27 AM
    A Simpler Life 2018 30th Nov 17 at 11:27 AM
    Every year at about this time, I get a yearning for a more simple way of life. A life that doesn't involve being bombarded with endless ads for x% off or buy a new sofa/kitchen/table/bed/car or your Christmas holiday will become a fate worse than death It really does get to me. I hate consumerism in general. It annoys me intensely that we waste so many resources making cheap non-essential rubbish that will end up in landfill a few months later. I think I must be some kind of grumpy, odd ball though as despite all the headlines about the economy and stagnant pay rises, the shops always seem to be rammed.
    Anyhow, I am planning to step back from it all in 2018:
    - no spending on unnecessary stuff. For example, I have enough clothes to last for years in one wardrobe and one chest of drawers. Books will come from the library. No fripperies!!
    - replace essential items where possible with good quality items preferably second hand, or british made or local where applicable
    - increase cooking from scratch. I buy too many things like biscuits etc that are far nicer and healthier homemade
    - make full use of garden and allotment for fruit, veg, preserves and wine.
    - forage for fruit, fungi, wood ....
    - spend more time outside, gardening, walking, enjoying nature to improve mental and physical well being
    - spend more time with my mum who is 76 and beginning to need me more
    - avoid pressure to conform!
    Anyone got any further ideas in how I could simplify life?
Page 68
    • dND
    • By dND 11th Aug 18, 9:43 AM
    • 475 Posts
    • 6,843 Thanks
    dND
    Thank you Lessons learned and Mrs SD , I do have down days but I find reading my MSE e-mails each morning usually gives me the fillup I need to keep plodding on. The main problem is that it's so far out of my control (apart from dropping the price to silly level and then not being able to afford to get back to the UK anyway )


    I've thought long and hard about what I pack already and while a lot of people might chuck out my boxes of books I know that I will be devastated in the future not having them



    I do have a good feeling when I look round the rooms and go " you're not being transported, you're not being transported etc. etc" but I can't get rid of them just yet as I need the furniture to make the house not look empty. You know how big rooms are here Mrs SD, plus I do need somewhere for guests here to sit down I've already sussed out the BHF furniture stores for any extras I need once I'm in my next home!


    I too am eating my way through my stores and it's stressful as well, as well as not making any more preserves But the plus side is that I can start again with a clean slate once it all happens

    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 11th Aug 18, 10:25 AM
    • 12,693 Posts
    • 175,742 Thanks
    MrsLurcherwalker
    Isn't it an odd feeling to be taking things out of store and not replacing them? and not making chutney after not making jam feels completely wrong. We echo in all the rooms now as the box mountains grow ever higher and the plus side is that I'm running very successfully on minimal wardrobe, minimal kitchen equipment and the only thing I'm really missing is my books. However I do have my trusty friend the kindle so it could be so much worse. Roll on the 29th!
    Thumpers mum was right - if you can't find anything nice to say don't say anything at all!
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Aug 18, 1:09 PM
    • 10,553 Posts
    • 67,059 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    dND When my husband got sick I had to sell our apartment in Spain. I spent six weeks painting all the balustrades, huge job......and making it all look beautiful. I instructed Estate Agents and came home.

    It was a neighbour who actually sold it for me. She spotted someone loitering, ran out to them, showed them round. Whilst they were looking round she rang me said "what's your bottom line". I gave her some figures to work with and gave her carte blanche to do a deal.

    Giving her autonomy to negotiate on my behalf and not have to keep ringing me or refer to the Estate Agent enabled her to haggle with confidence and get the deal. 30 minutes later she had sold it for me. I got a fair price, given the state of the market at the time, and of course no EA fees

    I am an ex new homes sales negotiator myself so I can be hyper critical of estate agents in general but tbh I found most of the estate agents in Spain, whether Spanish or ex pats, were absolutely useless. Just too casual and no sense of urgency, and very unprofessional.

    My neighbour on the other hand had just the right balance of friendliness and sales ability. She saw them looking and pounced.. She could answer all their questions about how the system worked, what it was like living in Spain and of course knew the area like the back of her hand. Bless her, she was brilliant.

    I sold my apartment in three weeks after putting it in the market to a British couple, a year after the crash when nothing was selling.

    At the same time a friend had a beautiful house in Spain and it was on the market for years. Again she was selling because of her husbands ill health. In the end she had to slash the price, reducing by something like 60 per cent. Her Spanish estate agents were worse than useless.

    I priced my apartment very competitively, but with room to negotiate downwards. I gave it a bit of a revamp and made it look like a new build show flat.

    What saved my bacon was the fluctuations in currency exchange rates. What I made on the exchange rates mitigated my loss on the sale price. In the end I broke even.

    I was sorry to have to let it go but I knew that I would never live there without my husband.

    I do hope you find a buyer soon.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-08-2018 at 1:13 PM.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Aug 18, 1:20 PM
    • 10,553 Posts
    • 67,059 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    Isn't it an odd feeling to be taking things out of store and not replacing them? and not making chutney after not making jam feels completely wrong. We echo in all the rooms now as the box mountains grow ever higher and the plus side is that I'm running very successfully on minimal wardrobe, minimal kitchen equipment and the only thing I'm really missing is my books. However I do have my trusty friend the kindle so it could be so much worse. Roll on the 29th!
    Originally posted by MrsLurcherwalker

    I feel like I'm living in limbo.....can't start anything, can't even clean the house properly because there are boxes everywhere.

    Never mind.....it won't be long now.

    Yesterday was exactly 4 years since my husband died.....it is the first year that I haven't been in pieces. It's fate. New house, new life.

    Time to lose the mantle of widowhood and embrace a new way of living as a singleton.

    Yes I'm nervous and anxious but I tell myself it will all come right in the end. Just have to take a leap of faith.
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 11th Aug 18, 4:57 PM
    • 12,693 Posts
    • 175,742 Thanks
    MrsLurcherwalker
    Of course it will! you'll be fine and so will we it's just I am a creature of order and habit and my world like yours I suspect is very much upside down, inside out and all in boxes! I keep telling myself I am the one who was driving the move so I am the one who will make it all OK at the other end and I'm really looking forward to a new start and new life but I'm tired and so is He Who Knows and we'll be jolly glad when it's all over and we can get a decent nights sleep again, is that a thing with you LL? 2am finds us both awake and pondering!
    Thumpers mum was right - if you can't find anything nice to say don't say anything at all!
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Aug 18, 5:07 PM
    • 10,553 Posts
    • 67,059 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    Yes, I have started waking up early again. I was doing so well too. Never mind, as you say, all will be well.

    I am reading a lovely little book...."Ikigai. The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life". Very uplifting. I feel a lot more relaxed today. I have a feeling I will sleep better tonight.

    Not been able to do much packing today. Have a poorly left hand. Stabbed one fjnger with a screwdriver yesterday, and then today got a wasp sting on the finger next to it. So I have been taking it easy, reading and then tonight I will watch a nice film.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-08-2018 at 5:11 PM.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 28th Aug 18, 11:57 AM
    • 265 Posts
    • 1,484 Thanks
    squirrelgirl
    Sorry I've been awol for a while, it's been a bit chaotic this month!!

    House is starting to get there - thanks for asking everyone!!

    I have rid myself of all the surplus furniture now (made £80 on the bookcases which was unexpected!) and most of the 'pre-work' has been done by ds - he has taken off all the skirting boards, windowsills etc. The window installation date still hasn't been set but I'm expecting it within the next 3 weeks. The sparky is starting in mid October and I have put the plastering job out for quotes as the first one was a considerable amount higher than I was expecting - in all honesty, it may be a fair price but I need to get other quotes to decide.

    At the moment, it's all systems go to get as much of the money together for the refurb as poss - I am finally in the position where I can really stick to the budgets (august is a birthday month for us and is always expensive) I have one birthday next month which I have the budget for and one in October that I will put the money aside for from next months salary.

    I am going to cook three times a week - that will hopefully lead to as little food waste as is humanly possible. We have the money out for the grocery budget this month and I am going to keep a really close eye on what we spend.

    Yesterday, I pickled some of the leftover cooked beetroot in some raspberry and blueberry vinegars so that it doesn't go to waste. I will probably use it in the next couple of weeks - I will warm it slightly before I serve it with carrots cooked in maple and Dijon and a quinoa and chickpea salad with leaves. I also made a 'potato pie' with mash and some green tomato chutney mixed together and baked in the oven for 30 mins. I will probably have that tonight with some asparagus, broccoli that I have in the fridge and possibly some seitan if I get enough time to make it.

    Basically, it's a case of eating out of the store cupboard until I am absolutely desperate!! I have some frozen veg - endamame beans and broad beans - plus some tinned sweetcorn so I will hopefully only have to add a few bits each week to make up the veg requirement; fruit is something which I will just be buying as and when. Grains, pulses etc are in abundance in my store cupboard as are household and toiletry products so no need to buy anything like that for a considerable period and I have enough condiments to sink the proverbial!! all in all, a really good position to start from.

    I have my target of 483 days ahead of me before I actually have the house and garden I want, paid for in full if I stick to the plan. I really don't see that doing anything else makes any sense at all.....I have no doubt that something will throw a spanner in the works on a sporadic basis but as long as I keep the prize in mind, i'm sure i'll weather the storms!!

    My new routine is to come onto the boards every morning (today has been a long time as there was a lot to catch up on!! ) and keep myself motivated and focused with the help of you lovely lot!! I do love reading how everyone else is getting on
    15 Month Challenge: House - £10288.85/£25300; Mortgage - £867/£17000 ;
    MFW No. 167
    • Mrs Salad Dodger
    • By Mrs Salad Dodger 29th Aug 18, 2:49 AM
    • 1,106 Posts
    • 12,780 Thanks
    Mrs Salad Dodger
    Squirrel girl, you seem to be getting things under control & a plan with a timescale & a budget - I am in awe

    Sorry I have been AWOL so long My decluttering mojo went on an extended holiday plus the CS van was out of commission for two months before the cs people decided it was beyond repair

    However, my decluttering mojo has returned & the cs rented a van for a couple of weeks prior to leasing a new van

    So on the 23rd of this month the cs people turned up so the single divan bed, mattress & headboard, single wardrobe, bedside cabinet, orthopaedic chair, a carrier bag of garden pots, a bag of seeds & bulbs, 2 rigid lockable suitcases, 5 wooden garden chairs, reel for garden hose & best of all a very large rug (brought over from France) were all loaded up & taken away together with 2 chairs from our neighbour So we now have space (not a lot) in the garage, the spare room, the living room & a tidier garden The only things they didn’t have room for were the 4 large terracotta garden pots.

    The other news is that we have a new shed DH & DSis worked hard to lay the base as the shed was built to order (lockable door & glas window) & the price included delivery & erection provided there was a proper base
    DH & DSis have painted it inside & out - the outside is grey with forget-me-not blue trim - it looks beautiful DH is building me a drop leaf table & has built me a table top garden bed as well. He is also laying floor covering in the shed & putting up racks for the gardening tools

    I might move in when it’s finished

    Am now back to proper weekly menu planning (having stressed myself out by deciding day to day what to have for dinner ), I am baking again & managing to keep the living room & kitchen tidy & clean.
    Although I am not decluttering properly i.e. I still have cupboards, drawers, crates & boxes of Doom I have three mantras which are surprisingly effective in keeping me sane & fairly upbeat:-

    1. IF I NOTICE SOME SMALL TASK NEEDS DOING - I WILL DO IT IMMEDIATELY

    2. I WILL LEAVE A ROOM TIDIER THAN WHEN I WENT IN - WITHOUT HIDING THE CLUTTER EXCEPT for the wardrobe room which is currently the storage room (sr)

    3. THE LAST WASHING UP OF THE DAY WILL BE PUT AWAY BEFORE I GO TO BED

    So all in all, although there is still a lot to do, I am more relaxed about decluttering - when the mood takes me I start a project & try to see it through to a conclusion.

    So to a Simpler Life for all of us

    MrsSD
    • dND
    • By dND 29th Aug 18, 9:15 AM
    • 475 Posts
    • 6,843 Thanks
    dND
    Congratulations to boht Squirrel girl and Mrs SD, you both have made great steps forward in simplifying



    I'm not sure if I've gone forwards or backwards but there is a change imminent here.



    I've decided to return to the UK over winter to work for some very needed cash. This means that I've had to get house and animal sitters which in turn means that I've had to re-arrange the house and redecorate in places, plus sort out my finances/ fuel for the winter/ vets/ etc. etc. so that the housesitters are sorted.


    So, chaos has ensued here; painting and changing rooms around has meant emptying of wardrobes and filing cabinets. Before putting stuff back, I've been through it all and sorted. I'm not sure it will all be done but an awful lot is going out the door never to return.


    Onwards and upwards, or should that be forwards and simpler.

    • Wednesday2000
    • By Wednesday2000 29th Aug 18, 10:15 AM
    • 1,893 Posts
    • 12,932 Thanks
    Wednesday2000
    I have had another clear out and sent some stuff off to the charity shop yesterday and some more clothes off to be recycled.

    Its rainy and dull here today so I will have an afternoon of sitting and watching some black and white films I recorded. Candles and incense on too.
    2018: Simplify your life
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 31st Aug 18, 11:41 AM
    • 265 Posts
    • 1,484 Thanks
    squirrelgirl
    Thanks everyone!

    Nothing achieved over the past couple of days....not been well unfortunately, so haven't moved from my bed really at least i haven't spent anything though!

    dh has taken to adding at least a little something to our 'house fund' change pot every day - only a few pennies at a time but it all adds up in the end I'm actually really impressed that he's taken the whole thing on board - he's normally pretty good now but still a bit hit and miss on occasions, I think living in chaos is having a positive effect

    Tomorrow (if I have finally recovered) I will get the menu sorted for next week and make soup for lunch from anything looking a bit ropey in the veg drawer. If I achieve anything else, it will be a bonus!
    15 Month Challenge: House - £10288.85/£25300; Mortgage - £867/£17000 ;
    MFW No. 167
    • Mrs Salad Dodger
    • By Mrs Salad Dodger 31st Aug 18, 3:46 PM
    • 1,106 Posts
    • 12,780 Thanks
    Mrs Salad Dodger
    dND, I am very impressed Sounds like ‘whirling dervish’ territory It seems to be that once ’one’ has reached a major decision, the decluttering mojo rises to the occasion - we were the same when getting ready for DSis’s move from France Of course now she is here the major decluttering has come almost to a standstill The good news from my POV is that I am still keeping the living room, kitchen & our bedroom tidy & clutter free
    Once the shed project is completed, we can start on the garden planning & clear out ready for next year’s patio project Re the inside of the house I need to be brave & brutal but first I need to decide what to sort first I am sure it will come to me - I will just have to embrace the chaos that I need to create

    squirrelgirl, sorry you are poorly but great that DH is on board Sending healing vibes

    DH & I are about to start some shed work

    Onwards & outwards

    MrsSD
    • SmlSave
    • By SmlSave 31st Aug 18, 9:09 PM
    • 4,706 Posts
    • 16,571 Thanks
    SmlSave
    I've just come back to MSE after a time and wanted to say how nice it was to see this thread back up and chatting
    I am sooo looking forward to some more routine when the kids go back to school (littlest starting) and I can the house in order and some jam bubbling away.
    I seem to remember that "have interesting times" was used as a curse in Discworld and having been dealing with family issues and difficult people I can say that it certainly is a bad thing!
    Boy Smllet born 23/06/2011 and Girl Smllet born 01/03/2014

    5 year challenge to pay off £20,000
    £350 per month challenge
    • Molillie
    • By Molillie 1st Sep 18, 11:34 AM
    • 125 Posts
    • 895 Thanks
    Molillie
    good to see this thread running again, it's hard not to fall off the wagon sometimes, but this really helps with motivation. I'm trying to move into getting rid of a bookshelf, and set of drawers this month. They are currently still full Will continue to declutter paperbacks from all the different bookshelves, so can completely empty the one that's going. It's all part of the longer-term wish to simplify cleaning and dusting.

    Decided to try to be ready to move (downsize) a year from today, barring emergencies and accidents. This doesn't mean to have found somewhere else and sold up the current place, but to have done all that I can manage and afford to make the place saleable. It seems like a lot of time, but other things still happen! Just off to house and pet-sit for a friend who has a family emergency to go and deal with, and another friend of 80+ has texted to say that she fell in her flat, and broke her shoulder, so I am hoping that I can be of use to her over the next few weeks.
    Keep on keeping on everyone.
    • Molillie
    • By Molillie 5th Sep 18, 12:12 AM
    • 125 Posts
    • 895 Thanks
    Molillie
    A bit quiet on here, hope all is well for everyone.

    Hoped to give some paperbacks to a friend today, but she'd read them already, so will need to go to the charity shop. I chose books by authors I knew were her taste, which made my weeding a bit easier.

    The tree surgeon has begun on my garden, and as part of the simple life process, all trees and big shrubs are going, plus the shed, which is rotten. (and most of the contents) He is then going to level the lawn area, and lay new turf, incorporating the parts where the trees were. I don't think that I'll even have flower beds, just some tubs maybe. He said that I'll be amazed by how quick it will be to mow and tidy without sycamores and brambles constantly appearing and growing, as they will be easy to spot and remove then.

    Keep simplifying!
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 5th Sep 18, 6:50 AM
    • 10,553 Posts
    • 67,059 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    Oh how I long to be simplifying again....

    Contracts exchanged yesterday, move on Monday. I am surrounded by boxes and my house is a tip. I feel like I have been living in limbo for months now. I really have had enough.

    The new house needs work but it's a long term project. One of the first jobs will be to get a tree surgeon in....there's a row of huge conifers, they have to go!!

    Onwards and upwards.....
    • Molillie
    • By Molillie 5th Sep 18, 6:55 AM
    • 125 Posts
    • 895 Thanks
    Molillie
    Lesson Learned,
    How exciting! I hope that the move goes smoothly. The good thing is that you know you want to keep it simple there. Jump forward to Christmas in your mind, it will be so much better by then.
    • squirrelgirl
    • By squirrelgirl 5th Sep 18, 8:43 AM
    • 265 Posts
    • 1,484 Thanks
    squirrelgirl
    good luck on the house move LL!

    Molillie, i hope all is okay with your friends! good luck with the de-cluttering

    Smlsave - welcome back

    MrsSD, hope all went well with the shed!

    Not a lot to report here.....still feeling ropey so haven't really done anything - basically, I'm just working and then going to bed! On the plus side, no expenditure, on the minus side - I'd cooked food that has had to be wasted (not freezable ) Oh well, these things are sent to try us....

    I am hoping that this weekend will be a warm and dry one - we have a mountain of elderberries which are ready to pick - last year we just didn't get a dry enough weekend to do it so I am extremely low on elderberry cordial.

    If the weather isn't great, I think I'll be bottling some wines this weekend - I have about 12 demi-johns full that should have been bottled quite some time ago but I just haven't managed to find the time to do it yet (far too busy slobbing!! ) I have decided that I am not going to make any chutney this year as my sis has made enough to sink the titanic - I have about 12 jars in the fridge already and she's threatening me with more!!

    okay, i'm rambling....sorry! have a great day everyone!
    15 Month Challenge: House - £10288.85/£25300; Mortgage - £867/£17000 ;
    MFW No. 167
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 5th Sep 18, 9:01 AM
    • 8,347 Posts
    • 29,320 Thanks
    Primrose
    Oh how I long to be simplifying again....

    Contracts exchanged yesterday, move on Monday. I am surrounded by boxes and my house is a tip. I feel like I have been living in limbo for months now. I really have had enough.

    The new house needs work but it's a long term project. One of the first jobs will be to get a tree surgeon in....there's a row of huge conifers, they have to go!!

    Onwards and upwards.....
    Originally posted by lessonlearned
    How I rejoice when I hear about these awful conifers being removed. They must be such a bane to neighbours too and they will,probably be cheering at the increased sunlight their garden gets too! Too many people plant them, let them get out control and then find it too expensive to have them pruned back so they just go on growing and terrorise whole neighbourhoods, quite apart from sucking all the moisture and goodness out of the local soil.

    A couple of neighbours in our road have clubbed together to help fund the cost of removal of an absolutely massive conifer in somebody's garden nearby which was completely cutting out all the winter sunlight for several gardens all winter when the sun was low in the sky. The effect has been amazing. We can now look up and see clear sky and i'm so looking forward to seeing what sun there is in winter back in our garden again in a few months time. Previously the frost used to stay on our lawn all day because the sun never got to it so our lawn will probably improve too with a massive reduction in moss.
    Last edited by Primrose; 05-09-2018 at 11:07 AM.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 5th Sep 18, 9:34 AM
    • 10,553 Posts
    • 67,059 Thanks
    lessonlearned
    I think conifers should be banned in the urban environment, or in a normal garden. They grow into monsters, block the light and poison the soil. I hate them.

    When I was house hunting I had to dismiss so many really nice houses because of confers in the neighbours garden. I nearly didn't even view this one because I could see a row of the blighters in the photos. Something made me go and take a look. Imagine my delight when not only did I love the house but I found the trees were on my side of the boundary......

    I know it's not going to be cheap to get them cut down but it will be worth it. I'll probably need new fencing too. More money.

    There is also a huge shed right next to the house, again blocking the light. I'll have to keep that for a while but eventually that will go too.

    I can't wait to get cracking.

    I won't be doing much in the way of renovations till next spring. Just get in, get the place cleaned up - it looks like Miss Haversham lived there get warm and cosy for winter. I can dress it nicely for Christmas and then make a start in the new year.

    Wine making sounds fun. Definitely something I want to tackle next year. Removing those conifers will give me another 5 or 6 ft wide strip added to the length of the garden. Perfect for fruiting trees and bushes.

    Getting excited at the thought.
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