Living Simply: Time

As I’ve downsized my home and (attempted to) cut unnecessary spending, I’ve noticed something about my schedule: it’s kind of opened up. Simplifying the maintenance of my clean home has given me a significant amount of free time, and I’ve actually reached a point where I need to work fewer hours to pay my bills. I’m not gonna lie to you – it’s nice. As wonderful as it is now, I can only imagine that this lifestyle would be a godsend if we had children.

I was a nanny for several years, so on a much smaller and less permanent scale I got a taste of raising kids. I remember well trying to snatch every free second throughout the day to throw some dishes in the dishwasher, or using every precious moment of nap time for laundry. Many of the families I worked for needed a nanny because both parents had to work outside the home to pay for the big house and expensive cable packages I got to enjoy all day while they were gone. Not every parent who works long hours can afford not to, but many of the ones who employed me could have probably have fired me if they’d lived on a little less. I’m not going to judge anyone’s motives, but it’s the truth.

Then I got married and left nannying. I have usually worked two or more jobs, but the busiest I’ve been was a summer a couple of years ago. My husband and I worked for a film studio and I worked at Starbucks as well. 7 am – 3 pm at the studio, 4 pm – 11 pm at Starbucks five days a week, more Starbucks on the weekends, and I was in college online at the time, so any “extra” hours were filled with papers and finals. I wasn’t just being masochistic. Our living expenses were really high enough to warrant that many hours of work. Some weren’t our fault (for a few bleak months in the middle of health care reform, my Dude’s insulin was about $250 a vial), but our luxury apartment and spending habits were bad decisions. Whatever the reason for our crazy lifestyle, we felt like we couldn’t change it. I hated how chaotic my life was.

Today I’m on vacation. We’re living on savings for a couple of weeks until we find a good employment situation in Athens, but I’m not stressed. (And did I mention that for the first time ever we have savings!?) Our expenses are at the bare minimum, so I’m only applying for the jobs I want, and even then I’m not looking for more than 4 days a week from whatever job I find. In the meantime, we both are working hard on our writing projects and learning Mandarin. In a moment I’m going to go do a single load of laundry, and since that’s the only housework that I need to do today, we’ll spend all afternoon exploring the city. Want to come?

What would your life look like if you had fewer dishes to wash, less laundry to worry about, and you needed to work less than you do now? What goals would you accomplish? What projects would you complete?

How can you start the process of simplifying today?

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11 thoughts on “Living Simply: Time

  1. Living simply is going to be such a huge benefit for me starting in July when I will be student teaching by day, taking classes in the evening, and writing lesson plans/studying by night. The advisor for my program warned me that it’s impossible to work for the duration of the program, so we really have to simplify.

  2. Once our debts are paid off and we have decent amount of savings, I’m hoping to quit my traditional, 8 to 5 cubicle job. A part-time job or no job at all is my dream. 🙂

  3. Freedom has been a huge motivator behind everything we’ve done this last year, and I’m about to take a leap of faith out of a bad job, something that would never have been possible without downsizing and simplifying. Even just the time we have in the evenings and weekends though, now that there’s less to maintain… it’s a wonderful thing isn’t it?

    • I made a similar leap about six months ago, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made! I hope your leap of faith brings you much fulfillment. The world is not as scary out here as it looks from in there. Best of luck!

  4. I’m working every day on simplifying (though I find I still generate new clutter, a habit I’m working on). Every bit of downsizing I get done is a relief, a step in relaxation, like taking a deep new breath. It make me wonder how I got so much stuff in the first place.

  5. My husband and I occasionally talk about living “off the grid” and it sounds like you and your hubby already are. Good for you! Besides the downsizing, I think there’s an element of faith involved in making the leap.

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