We took our next step toward minimalism this week. We decided it was time to clean out and off our entertainment center. It has 2 shelves and 2 cabinets with a shelf inside each one. The large top was covered! Not only was our television there but so were many things that didn’t really belong. We had a video game console and set of small speakers on top that simply needed to go onto one of the shelves. We had set them there because we didn’t want to run the cords then. They have been there for a year because once they were there we stopped thinking about it. There were also DVD and game cases that weren’t put away because the cabinets were so full of stuff that they were hard to put away. Papers that had been left there over time. We really had become clutter blind.
I started by cleaning off the top of the stand. Going through every item to decide if we still needed/wanted it. If the answer was yes, then I had to decide if it belongs in this area or elsewhere. I assigned four categories: Keep in this area, Keep in another area, Donate/Sell, and Trash. Next, I cleared off the shelves and set up our most used/loved electronics. The top shelf now holds a PlayStation, a camera docking station, and a set of 2 small speakers that I connect to my phone while cleaning. The bottom shelf now holds our cable/DVR box and a Wii.
The cabinets were stuffed full of DVDs, video games, cords, controllers, CDs, and random junk. I was a little surprised by how much stuff I pulled out! Here’s a picture taken during the process.
I really wish I would have taken a before shot but I forgot. The top shelf of the left cabinet is home to a DVD storage binder that holds kids/family movies and another full of CDs that my husband is not ready to part with. I am currently debating on buying another of these to hold the remainder of the DVDs, games, and CDs that we want to keep. On one hand they take up less space than the individual cases but I think that they allow us to feel it is acceptable to keep more because it takes up less space. I also decided to keep our daughter’s memory books on this shelf. I have been trying to find a place to keep these that they will be safe but that we have easy access to them. I will do a separate post about these books sometime soon. They are amazing! The bottom shelf of the left cabinet houses my daughter’s headphones and the cords that we needed to keep that are not in daily use. The top shelf of the right cabinet now contains DVD’s and a couple of video games. The bottom shelf is home to video games and controllers.
This area is so much easier for us to use now. We got rid of 2 boxes of stuff not including trash. A ton of this was DVDs and TV series that we no longer watch. It looks so much nicer! It gives me the boost to start working on decluttering and minimizing other areas of our home.
Here’s the finished product:
It is so hard to believe that Octavia is a year old! That year really flew by. I feel like the time goes faster with each kid or maybe it just seems to go faster as I get older. We have had some great times this year! She is a wonderful little girl. She is curious, fun, and loves to eat. Her favorite thing to play is peek-a-boo. Her favorite food is avocado.
We decided on a “1st Birthday” in pink theme. Her sisters helped me decide. It is summer so we chose to serve a grilled lunch and put blankets out so the kids could picnic in the backyard. We blew up a few pink and white beach balls for the kids to enjoy. I was lucky enough to find these at the dollar store!
She was the final piece to our family puzzle. I finally feel like my family is complete. It’s a hard feeling to explain but it’s like we are finally all here. I felt like we were missing somebody before her. I began feeling like this as soon as we got home from the hospital and it has not changed over this first year.
My social media fast experience went amazingly well. It made me realize a few things about my life. It has been months and I believe that the impact of this challenge on me may be bigger than I ever thought. I honestly didn’t know if I could do it. It started off hard for the first few days but became easier with each day that passed. I didn’t realize that social media had become a mindless addiction until I was forcing myself to live without it. I also didn’t realize how much of my day that I was losing to it without even making a conscious choice. I had no idea how much time I waste on silly things that do not really matter and are not bringing me any closer to my goals. I decided to go through every aspect of my life and take some time to decide if I wanted to continue to choose to include that in my life. It was a long tedious job. It took me some time to return to this site which was not my original plan but it had to be carefully considered as well. I have decided to continue with this site because it is part of the life I see for myself and I truly enjoy it. I love having a creative outlet. While I did use Instagram and twitter, my Facebook feed was my number one offender. I have returned to using social media. I now set limits for myself and make a conscious choice about what time I spend on it. I no longer allow myself to stare hypnotized at my screen for hours scrolling through my feed.
Until I took away the distractions I did not notice how unhappy I was becoming. I didn’t know how bored and boring I had become. I was honestly very shocked by this. I had always been the person who was doing something. I had many hobbies just a few years ago. Had the mindless noise of social media and television really drowned out all of my hobbies? What I had done was pick up a few unhealthy ways to appease myself including being envious of other people on Facebook and Instagram, playing video and computer games, and watching more television than I have my entire life. I had become addicted to technology. I never expected it but it happened. By facing my addiction to social media I opened the flood gates. I had been mindlessly hopping from distraction to distraction. I had successfully removed anything and everything that provoked deep thought from my personal life. But why? That was when I started to become aware of my unhappiness. I have all these dreams and I was not doing anything to get closer to achieving them. In fact, I had found ways to avoid even thinking about them in any realistic way. The distractions I had become addicted to were killing my dreams. The distractions make it so much easier to ignore them.
Ok, I’m going to get super honest here. I am afraid that if I try my hardest, really give it my all, that it will not be enough. I am simultaneously afraid that it will be enough and my entire life will change. You always hear of these people who achieved their dreams and their whole life changed. They always seem happier but still…Change is scary too. What if I get what I think I want and it is not what I thought it would be? What if I fail miserably and then I lose the beauty of the dream? Is this what stops most people from attempting to live their dreams?
If I want to change something in my life I have to take the action to do so. I figured out that if I put my mind to it I could take steps to get closer to that crazy dream life I desire. My dreams are a little different but they are mine. I am willing to put in the time and effort to achieve my dreams. I am also willing to finally face my fears.
I am one week into my social media fast. It has been an eye-opening experience. In short, I have been more present in my everyday life. I feel calmer. I do not have that feeling of nagging urgency for no reason. I underestimated the amount of time I was spending on social media, mainly Facebook.
I have spent more time talking to my girls. I have spent more time talking to my parents on the phone. I texted my mother a couple of pictures so she could show off her grandbabies. I took the time to look up articles and topics of my interest instead of spending time reading articles that popped up on my Facebook feed. I made a couple Valentine’s Day crafts with Isabella (7 years old) and spent a considerable amount of time playing on the floor with the baby.
I found myself reaching for my phone many, many times over the last week. I’m really glad that I deleted the apps off my phone or I may have mindlessly opened Facebook without even thinking it through. I never realized how much I do that until there was nothing there to open. It has become very apparent just how addicted to Facebook I had become. However, this has not been difficult. I had all these reasons why it would be so hard to live without social media and so far none of them has been an issue. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
I’m interested to see how the rest of my 30 days go. I have begun thinking about starting a home project or reading a new book. I’ll update again in a week.
Am I addicted to Facebook? Do I spend too much time mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed? The simple answer is “Yes.” The project of dedicating a year to life takes me by surprise again. I never really thought about the impact that social media was having on my life and family as a whole. While considering what kind of lifestyle I wanted I began thinking about how much time I spend on my phone while at home. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what things in my life are making a positive impact and what is not. Social media in its current capacity is making a negative impact on my daily life with Facebook being my biggest offender.
I think that Facebook (and other social media to a lesser extent) has a place in my life but I think it needs to be a much smaller place. We have family and friends that live far away that it helps us stay up to date with. My work mates use it for group messages to get together and to plan days that we all bring stuff in for birthday parties or meals. Friends and family use it for party invites, especially kids birthdays. Those are the positives. Now here come the negatives. It is a time suck. I think to myself “I’ll just do a quick notification check.” That turns into “I’ll just do a quick scroll of my feed to see how everyone is doing.” The next thing I know I have spent a half hour or more doing nothing. Or on some cases it is worse than nothing. The perfectly edited Facebook feeds that hide reality is not good for any of us. The art of the modest Facebook brag, the mostly useless shares, the whining, the “too perfect” couples, the sad news stories, the fake news, the rants, the political opinions practically screaming back and forth, and the endless memes are all just becoming too much for me. It is so easy to get sucked into that world. I find that it is all a little overwhelming. I am curious to see how this choice impacts my family, my life, and my mental health. I am part of the last generation that actually remembers life before social media took over. I long for the days of phone calls from loved ones and being able to get together with friends without anybody staring at their phones. I miss the times that people were actually social.
I did not delete my accounts or even put a hold on them. I just removed all of it from my phone so that it doesn’t live at my fingertips anymore. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook messenger apps have been deleted from my phone. I have decided to take a 30 day social media fast. I started yesterday. March 13th will be 30 days. I’ll let you know how it goes.