Welcome, 2011. So nice to have you here.
As you know, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how to continue on my journey of minimization even after the material items have been eliminated. I mean seriously. How many times do you really want to read about my laundry and my closet?
So, I’ve been doing some research, reading some other blogs, and filling my mind with alternative living solutions that will help to minimize waste, chemicals, pesticides, and consumption in general. Now, I have so many great ideas that I don’t know where to start.
And, since you know I’m a self-proclaimed procrastinator, I thought I should develop a timeline for all of these fabulous ideas that I have, so as to not let them overwhelm me and become a roadmap for failure. So, I’ve decided to assign a new challenge to each month. Something along these lines:
- January: Food. It’s too early to plant a garden, but it’s time to do some research and plot the garden. Learning what vegetables I can plant, and deciding how I will multi-purpose them to feed my family throughout the year. Meanwhile, I plan to continue shopping from the local organic grocery store that takes my order via email and delivers to my door. Brilliant. And, since I’m in the no-waste frame of mind, I plan to put all of the food that I purchase to good use … instead of allowing it to spoil. Eating healthy … always a good January resolution. But instead of just eating healthy, I’m planning to build the infrastructure around the change, to make it sustainable. And, while I’m at it, my children will be scouring our cupboards for more items to donate to the local food bank. Revamping my whole food infrastructure in January.
- February: Chickens. I don’t think baby chicks are actually available until late February or early March. But, they will need a place to live. So, building a chicken coup and setting up the raised beds for the garden will be the challenge for February. Along with the compost system and sending the cats outside to become hunters. Sending the cats outside. That day cannot come soon enough.
- March: Herbs. I’m not sure if it is too early to plant herbs outside in March, but I can certainly start them indoors. I want to cook with flavor this year. And I want to line my walkway with lavender. So … researching, finding, and planting the herb garden is on my list for March.
- April: Chemicals. Certainly, I am going to switch from the harsh, damaging chemicals right now. But let’s be honest. I’m not a chemist. There is a fantastic natural store in our little village that sells natural cleaners. I’ll be using those until I can perfect the craft of mixing my own home-made chemicals that actually get the job done. I’ll experiment until then. And I don’t exactly want my house to smell like vinegar. So … I anticipate this taking me a while to perfect. But by April, I should have it figured out. (Procrastinators give themselves ample time.) This should also coincide with a massive Spring Cleaning.
- May: Energy. By May, it should be warm enough out to line-dry my laundry and minimize our energy consumption. I also read an article about a company that is now leasing solar panels, much like you would lease a satellite dish … rather than having to invest $2500 in each panel, now you can lease them for a fraction of the cost of your electricity bill. I’m not sure we’re there yet … I have some more research to do first. But I really like the idea.
- June: Closet. This may be wishful thinking, but since we’re shooting for the stars here anyhow, I believe I should be in a good place by June to minimize everything that is currently in my closet and replace it all with strategically chosen items that will mix and match to provide ultimate wearing potential. All in a minimized size. Of course.
- July: Cabin Fever. In addition to minimizing “stuff” around here, one of the key components of the Minimal Challenge is, as you know, creating memorable adventures and experiences with my family. July is our favorite month to do this. It starts out with a festive celebration and spirals into vacations and sun-loving fun. I don’t know when or where yet, but I’m just going to reserve the entire month for festigation.
- August: Work. While I wish I were European and could go on holiday for the entire month of August, it turns out that I’m American and have to spend August paying my penance for celebrating our Independence Day in July. I don’t know who thought up this system, but I’d like to have a frank conversation with them now. Regardless, while I would love the festivities of July to spill over into August, someone has to pay for the aforementioned solar panels and chicken feed. So … in August, my ultimate Minimal Challenge will be about finding the balance between work and play. And, with a garden to tend and animals to care for … my children should be regular farm hands by August. So, I plan to shift my focus from electronic work to physical, outdoor work, as we prepare for the vegetable harvest.
- September: Harvest. This will be all new to me, of course. Harvesting the garden at the right time. Learning what to do with our bounty. Canning. Freezing. Cooking. At least I have nine months to prepare for this …
- October: Purge. Again. Just after school clothes shopping and shifting gears from summer to winter, this month calls for a pre-holiday purge. Shoes. Coats. Everything that doesn’t fit anymore.
- November: Run. There is a (half) marathon that I want to run in November. It’s not exactly an act of minimization so much as it is an act of maximizing my health. And I will be able to train for the marathon during all of the time that I used to spend cleaning and sorting and storing all of the “stuff” that consumed my life and doesn’t any more. I’m considering it my reward for minimizing the chaos in my life … giving myself the gift of time … to get healthy and train for something.
- December: Rain. We plan to completely minimize the grey skies and weeks-on-end of head colds and vomiting next year by escaping to the sun. We’ve said these crazy things before, so don’t hold us to it. But, since my husband will be graduating as a Board Certified Leisure Specialist next December, it only seems fitting that we would celebrate with a leisure activity.
It’s just an outline. But it will serve as a guide for 2011 and keep me focused on the tasks at hand. Let us begin …