Slow down and simplify

For me, right now: December 2017

Well, I’m a year older since my last montly update. I quietly celebrated my 40th birthday midway through December. For me, Christmas never starts until after my birthday. I managed to get the Christmas tree up by around the 20th. Christmas Day itself was my ideal – lots of food and family, but not too much. Now we are into my favourite time of year – the super lazy days between Christmas and New Year.

Being touristy in our own town - view from the Paekakariki Hill lookout

Being touristy in our own town – view from the Paekakariki Hill lookout

December brings to an end my 2017 in 2017 decluttering challenge. Did I reach my goal to declutter 2017 things in 2017? No, not at all. As of writing, I’m up to 1327 things decluttered. All better out of my house than in. I still have excess stuff, but it doesn’t bother me on a day-to-day basis. Thirty minutes of decluttering used to make a big difference, but what’s left to declutter now isn’t very exciting and I don’t have the same motivation I used to.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t hang on to stuff and let it build up like I used to. I decluttered my adult literacy tutoring stuff the week I finished up at that job. The old me would have kept those papers for years and years. Also, I’m out of the habit of replacing things automatically when they break, or accepting free stuff (although I do have a torch in my handbag blazened with the logo of a local real estate agent that I felt too bad to say no to) and I am much more realistic about what I will repurpose.

Two of the more significant items that I decluttered were the quotes for designing an extension to our house (we’ve gone for less stuff over more house) and our ballpit balls (if you’ve ever owned any, you’ll know the sweet relief of no longer tripping over the stupid things). I’m going to print out a new chart of 2018 and see how I go.

I set “slow not lazy” as my guiding phrase for 2017. And that really does sum up the year that I’ve had. I tilted into paid work more heavily in November and early December, and I’m super proud of the way I stayed true to my slow living principles. So with that success, I’ve set a new guiding word for 2018 – community. I don’t really know what success with that will look like, but I’m looking forward to experimenting, trying out some new things, and seeing where it all leads.

On community, I’d like to thank my wonderful community of readers for all your support this year. The Internet can be a nasty place, but not here. It’s so great to know there are other people out there interested in the same things I am (even laundry). I love hearing from you, your suggestions and struggles.

This year, I tried something new and ventured into the world of Instagram. I thought I’d hate it. I don’t have a pretty life, nor do I take pretty photos. It just didn’t seem the place for me. Well, it goes to show you never know until you try. I really enjoy it. I follow lots of zero waste accounts that are super inspiring and informative, there are legions of people charting their decluttering journeys, lots of handmade stuff and oodles of book recommendations. But, best of all, it’s really easy to interact directly with people. In the world of Instagram popularity, these are my best nine of 2017.

My #bestnine2017 on @moretimethanmoneyblog

My Instagram #bestnine2017 on @moretimethanmoneyblog

What I’ve been:

  • Reading – The Pursuit of Happiness and Why It’s Making Us Anxious by Ruth Whippman (alternatively titled America the Anxious). The thesis is that focusing on your own happiness simply turns happiness (or lack of it) into a stick to beat yourself with, undermining (you guessed it) your happiness. I’m currently halfway through, and I’d recommend it to any self-improvement junkies out there. Good for reflecting on and having a bit of a giggle at yourself.
  • Listening to – Thanks to a reader recommendation, I’ve discovered The Inquiry from the BBC. The podcast takes an issue and, over 25 or some minutes, discusses it from four different angles. This one about algorithims is a good starter.
  • Making – My mother-in-law came to stay for Christmas. The panic deep clean necessitated a big batch of Figgy & Co Cleaning Paste.
    Loved learning to make my own cleaning products this year - a little bit of beat-the-man badassery

    Loved learning to make my own cleaning products this year – a little bit of beat-the-man badassery

    I also made crème brûlèe for the first time. Delicious, impressive and so much easier than I ever imagined. I used a recipe by Annabel Langbein for Apricot Crème. I’ll be making that again.

  • Thinking about – I’m hatching plans for a series of posts in January on simple living hacks to reduce your mental load. I’ve got loads of ideas and tips to share. Watch this space. The plan is to get the series out after we get back from our family holiday to Auckland in mid-January. More immediately, I’m concerned how best to survive an eight-hour road trip with a five-year-old. All suggestions welcome.

How was your Christmas? What was the most significant thing you decluttering this year? Have you set a guiding word or phrase for the New Year? Do you use Instagram? Let me know your handle so I can follow you. And please, please, don’t forget your best tips for road trips with kids.




  • Virginia Koffke
    December 31, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Road trips, (I spy), sing-a-long’s (doesn’t matter if you don’t remember all the right words), guessing games. Audio books. Stop and run around the car every hour see who can do it the fastest. All things we have done over the years. As for decluttering, well hit and miss. I get the energy then I feel deflated. I am now more or less down to the ‘what on earth to do with a lot of craft stuff’ and old (with memories) stuff that just sit in cupboards and I feel guilty about throwing away. Enjoy your holiday and have a wonderful and slow and intentional 2018.

    • Amy @ More Time Than Money
      January 1, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      I love the idea of chasing each other around the car – that is totally my son’s thing.
      Memories stuff is very hard to work through, my mum has had to do a lot of that.
      I’m at a good place with my craft stuff now (I should do a post about it), it has taken a while. I had a breakthrough when I realised that having so much craft stuff wasn’t helping me actually make things, it was actually preventing it. The good thing I’ve found with craft stuff is that, once you’ve decided to part with something, it is usually very easy to find a willing taker for it (gifting/donating, I haven’t had the energy to sell any of it).

  • sarahylockwood
    January 1, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Happy Belated Birthday!

  • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment
    January 1, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Happy 40th birthday, Amy. It sounds like you had a lovely, simple Christmas. I love those lazy days between Christmas and New Year, too. It’s as if everything and everyone is on pause for just a little while, isn’t it?

    That’s amazing that you decluttered over a thousand things in 2017. I really wish I had started a count when I began my own decluttering efforts about two years ago, as now I wonder just how many things I have got rid of during this time. I guess I’ll never know, but it’s a lot of things and I feel so much better now that they are out of my life.

    Community sounds like a great word for 2018. That’s something I want to build in my own life, too. I feel like I have become part of a wonderful online community with many like-minded people, but in my real life it’s something I’m missing.

    Happy New Year!

    • Amy @ More Time Than Money
      January 1, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Oh you would have probably decluttered thousands. They add up really quickly!
      I’m the same with you with community, I feel like I have more online community going on than real life. Crazy story, but I first met my neighbour in a Facebook group. We had known each other for a good few months, meeting a local park regularly, when she invited me to her place I put the address in my phone and she lived over my back fence!

      • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment
        January 1, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        Wow, that is a crazy story! It goes to show that community is closer than we think – it’s just a matter of going looking for it.


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