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“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” -Victoria Moran
Just as one must work out regularly, eat in moderation and visit the dentist for regular cleanings in order to maintain the healthy life, we must also put in place routine practices into our everyday lives to ensure we are living simply luxuriously.
In other words, while we may jump start our lives after having read through this post from the archives on how to simplify our lives or this post on how to get organized, we must also dedicate our lives to maintaining the life we have now created for ourselves.
The good news is that the hard work most likely has already been done. If you have already taken the steps to restructure your life – creating a more simplistic approach, editing out the unnecessary and delineating your priorities, now the maintenance will be much easier to do. However, it is only by creating a maintenance plan that we can ensure our simply luxurious life will remain in tact as our lives will always be changing and evolving.
Even as the creator of TSLL, I am having to make sure my maintenance routines and habits are honed and working effectively. Over the past two years, my schedule has changed, and I have had to make conscious choices of what I can and cannot do in order to live my own simply luxurious life. So while it may be frustrating to hear that choosing to live well isn’t a one-and-done process, the good news is if the path you paved for yourself is in line with your values, now all you need to do is check in regularly and perform a tune up whenever the need arises.
Today I’d like to share with you a list of Maintenance Routines that can be helpful to keep the unnecessary to a minimum and continue to live a life of quality and contentment. I’ve broken it down into four categories: Everyday Living, Health, Wardrobe and Relationships.
~Organize your email inbox. Whether you have an Apple computer (set up “Rules” under “Preferences) or Gmail (try ActiveInbox), setting up your email account so that it doesn’t overwhelm you and gobble up unnecessary time when you finally get around to making your way through your inbox is vital to mastering the technology and communications in your life. Put up the appropriate blocks, subscribe only to newsletters and alerts that assist you in living a more simple and luxurious life, and delete anything that you no longer need.
~Snail Mail. As I shared in this series, you can quickly remove your address from catalog mailing lists and unwanted offers which will greatly reduce the mail carrier’s delivery to your door each day. And since you know it will arrive six days a week, set up a system of where you place it in your home, dispose of it and when you read it.
~Set up a House Cleaning Schedule. Keep it simple. There is no need to hire a Martha Stewart to deep clean your oven every week, but with regular tidying up, stress can be kept at a minimum and you can enjoy walking across your threshold each night. Here is a detailed run-down of cleaning schedules and ideas.
~Outsource As Necessary. Depending upon your schedule and what you enjoy doing around your home, seriously consider your time as it is a valuable commodity. If you do not have time to mow your lawn and could use the few extra hours on the weekend to enjoy time with your family and friends or relaxing, hire a service to care for your lawn. Or house cleaning, if your budget allows. You will know what you can and cannot do, but don’t feel guilty for protecting your time and energy if your schedule requires you to be elsewhere.
~Monthly Budget. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, financial wealth is crucial for peace of mind and future success. Choose a date each month in which you sit down and reconcile your income and expenses. Feel free to use my SIMPLE BUDGET TEMPLATE to help you get started. Knowing where your money is going will help you make the best decisions today with your finances.
~Weekly Grocery Shopping. Choose a time each week (or there a bouts) to go to the grocery store and pick up your weekly essentials for meals. For example, each week I stop by my local bakery and pick up a fresh baguette and a dozen farm fresh eggs. I also pick up at my local market the fruit and vegetables, protein and other regular items I need for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. (In this post, I share my complete grocery list and here is a pic if you are more visual.)
Recently, a reader asked me how I keep my baguettes fresh all week when it’s just me that I’m cooking for. While, the initial crunch and inner chewy goodness won’t be as ideal after the first day, you can easily make it last for another five to six days. Slice in half, or small enough to fit, and place in a Ziploc sealed bag. Usually, I enjoy the baguette as is on the first day and then toast in the oven for bruschetta the rest of the week or make sandwiches.
The key is to have a default grocery list that you follow each week and edit or add to as necessary so that when your Sunday afternoon has you heading to the grocery store, you can quickly pick up your handbag and be out the door without spending unnecessarily.
~Weekly Food Prep. Nell Stephenson, the original Paleoista, shared this wise simple trick. Use Sunday, or the day before your work week begins, as an opportunity to slice and dice all of the veggies and fruit you will be enjoying throughout the week. Place them in a container in your refrigerator and then as you need the food for lunches, etc, pull them out and you’re ready to go. Time saved and you’re eating healthy as you had planned.
~Fitness Routine. Respect your workout routine just as you would a meeting at work – nothing can interrupt it as it is vital to your livelihood. Keep it simple, but follow it consistently. And while you can certainly mix it up, it is during those busy weeks when you have no time to think about what you are doing that you will be thankful for the fitness habit you have created. Click here for tips on how to get and stay in shape.
~Water, Water, Water. A simple trick to help drink more water throughout your day is to go to bed with a bottle of water – drink a healthy glass (as your body will be dehydrated when it wakes up), and then upon waking up, immediately drink the remaining of the bottle as your body is seeking hydration after its long hibernation. Not only do you give the body what you need, but you’re helping the body to kick start the cleansing process.
~Stock Your Pantry and Refrigerator Responsibly. As an aunt, the one thing that confuses my niece and nephew is my lack of snacks in the house. I just don’t have them – packaged snacks that is. And so, they end up snacking on fruit instead which they love anyways. Simply put, keep your shelves stocked with food you should eat, not the snacks that are simple, but lack proper nutritional value. During those moments of weakness, you make become frustrated that you don’t have “cheat food” at the ready, but later you will thank yourself. Eventually you will begin to eat in such a way that is balanced and such moments happen less frequently because your body is receiving the necessary nutrients it needs.
~Cost Per Wear. While initially paying a significant amount of your monthly budget for a quality pair of shoes or any essential item may be hard to do, in the long run you are saving yourself time as you won’t have to run to the store for yet another pair of flats as well as money. Additionally, you are reducing your stress because you can confidently walk into the meeting or interview knowing you look great and will continue doing so for years as the item will last.
~Repair as Necessary. Whether a ripped seam occurs on your favorite skirt or coat, or the soles of your shoes are becoming worn, tend to clothing as necessary to keep it looking its best. By choosing to repair rather than to immediately replace (you can do this because the quality clothing will continue to look great), you are saving yourself money and time searching for a new item.
~Save & Wait. As someone who keeps my eyes on favorite items as they are released in fall and spring, I also don’t or can’t pay full price. So rather than visiting the site multiple times a week to see if it goes on sale, I set my Hukkster alert which will email immediately when a flash sale takes place or the item is placed on the sale list. You would be amazed at how much of my DVF wardrobe has been discovered with this alert. Money saved, style in tact.
Note: Hukkster is sadly no more. I am searching for a worthy alternative and will share on the blog when I do. If you know of a similar service, I’m all ears.
Bi-Annual Closet Analysis. A simple way to keep your closet updated and at the ready for any occasion is to perform a bi-annual closet analysis. Follow my step by step guide here.
~Weekly/Monthly Dates. For friends with busy lives, and that includes your own, one of the easiest ways to stay caught up and enjoy each other’s company is to create a regular date. Whether it’s a phone conversation, a coffee date or group brunch, make your relationships a priority and nurture that them regularly.
~Keep Stationery at the Ready. Always have stationery ready to use for any number of occasions. The best stationery is blank stationery so that you can insert any message you need to. After all, receiving a thoughtful note from a friend or neighbor shows forethought and consideration. A simple gesture which speaks volumes.
~Quality, Quality, Quality. When it comes to any number of relationships – romantic, friendships, work – we need to be aware of our time and resources, but also about the effect any of these relationships has on our energy, well-being and self-worth. So long as we nurture those relationships that are healthy, our quest for a contented life is on the right track.
With simple routines set in place, we can become better adept at knowing what to avoid and what to welcome into your lives. The habits we create and stick to on a daily basis help us to not waste time or our energy on unnecessary stressors or triggers that can take us off track.
Now maintenance even on the routines mentioned above is also necessary. Whenever you have a significant life change (job, move, relationship, etc), or even at the beginning of a new season or school year, it may be a good idea to assess how each of your systems are working and adjust accordingly for even better performance. For me, I usually sit down in August before the school year and consider what routines worked well the previous school year and what did not. If they didn’t, I try to determine why and then edit as necessary. The same can be said for the beginning of the year. In other words, take time regularly to check in with your life. Most likely you are doing great, so keep up the good work.
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Images: TSLL IG