My Quest to Simplify

Simplify. I am sure many things come to mind and everyone’s definition is going to be unique, but this best describes the direction in which I am trying to lead my life. Note the words try and direction. This has been a long, slow road for me and perhaps it will take years to get to where I want to be, but my efforts and progress are the most important. The new year seems like an appropriate time to remind myself or more specifically outline my goals for this year since goals are an essential element in moving towards any short or long term goal.

A little about me. I thrive on being overbooked and the renaissance woman in me is never content. I learn one thing, then discover there is something else I just have to explore. I reorganize things one way and then discover days weeks or months later that there is a better way of doing things. I don’t try to complicate things, life just seems to happen– yet I can control some things which is what I hope to achieve in this little quest of mine. I have a growing family and sometimes the best way does change as we grow out of one stage or (especially being a military family) our location, home or routine changes. On top of this, I love to learn, explore and grow, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t “clutter” in my life that can use some good old fashioned tidying up!

My goal to simplify doesn’t mean I will go without. Without that new skirt from Boden I have been eying or that new sofa my husband will one day agree to after the kids and the pets are grown. It is my desire and quest to eliminate those things we don’t need or that may take away from the more important things in our lives. Tangible things and intangible things like overbooked schedules or unnecessary financial expenses. For example my long term goal is of having a healthy, happy, smart and strong family. Although I won’t go into detail here education, life skills, nutritious eating habits, faith and a lot of fun and laughter fit into this mix.

And actually to simplify can seem like more work. For example, when I bake bread it can be quite a project, but the more I do it the easier it gets. Yet I control the ingredients and will have the skills to fix a “we’re out of bread” dilemma to avoid the stress or drama of a last-minute grocery store run. With kids. I still buy bread at the store, but perhaps one day this will be a supplement to my bread baking rather than vice verse. Speaking of finding easy recipes, the most recent recipe I used to make sandwich bread from my Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook was shockingly simple. And to think it took me over a year to branch from the mother boule recipe! Definitely a book to check out if you want to take a stab at no-fuss (no-kneading!) bread baking.

My efforts to simplify also do not mean that I will strive for convenience, although I realize it may be the best choice from time to time. Trying to cook more from scratch can be far from convenient in the beginning, but the skills I learn from it will, like baking bread, make the task of feeding my family easier in the long run. Rather than relying on convenience foods that do all of the work for you, I want to learn how to make each of the foods so that I can control what is in my food and I have a much wider range of options to make each day with the right tools, ingredients, recipes and skills. I do a pretty good job of cooking for my family and we do buy those “quick” foods or meals from time to time, but I know I have more to learn and that I will continue to get better. Some nights we will eat out if that means I will have more time and energy to spend on the most important things, and that’s okay.

What aspect(s) of your life do you strive to simplify? I have my work cut out for me, but just thinking about simplifying things is making me feel much better already. Stay tuned for Part Two as I explore some ways I will be striving to find simplicity in my life– from organization to cloth diapers and home cleaning.

{If you enjoyed reading My Quest to Simplify I would be tickled pink if you left a comment. To read more about my green(er) parenting aspirations, advice and adventures be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates via email.}


By Emi Stapler. I am a cloth diaper advocate, green parenting blogger, mother of three and a military wife who enjoys sharing my motherhood adventures and advice. Follow me at The Cloth Diaper Report on Facebook, Twitter @TheCDReport , Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

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  1. […] to tackle– doesn’t sound too simplistic now, does it? But just as a refresher from my previous article, my goal is to weed out the different forms of clutter in my life so I can focus on what is most […]

  2. […] biggest goal for the year for me is to simplify. I wrote about this topic three years ago and it is something that I continue to work on and improve one step at a time. I […]

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