Simplifying yet again and a winner!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

I've been thinking about what this pandemic has taught me.

I know these past months have been so hard for many people. We know people who have died from Covid-19. We know people who have been out of work and who have lost their jobs. I don't want to minimize that at all. I was very privileged in that I simply had to stay home. 

And one thing I've learned during this enforced quiet time, and it's not new, just a confirmation, is how satisfying a simple life can be. 

Even though I've decluttered a lot over the past five years or so -- tons of stuff, filling my foyer up multiple times with donations, and throwing out bags and bags of stuff -- I still have a ways to go.

This time around, during the pandemic, I've thought of decluttering my life in other ways. Not just the physical possessions. Other things that are cluttering up our lives, complicating things, and adding up on our credit card bill.

These are the things I've cancelled since the shelter-in-place orders began:

  1. Sirius radio -- I don't drive very much, and for short distances. Even though I always talked them down to a lower monthly fee, it just isn't worth it. I can listen to the local radio stations for the short amount of time I drive, or just enjoy the silence. Savings = about $7 per month.
  2. Netflix -- yes, we will miss some of the programming. But there's a lot on Netflix I don't care to support. I'm happier reading a good book. Savings = about $15 per month.
  3. Amazon Prime -- When I saw a $126 something charge on my credit card bill for Prime, I started thinking. I realized that I only have to spend $25 to get free shipping without Prime, and that I can wait a couple more days to get my shipment. I'm also going to try and shop less on Amazon. Yes, it is wildly convenient. But I'm more and more aware of how much power a few companies  -- Google, Amazon, Facebook -- have, and am trying to withdraw support. To the extent that I can. And as far as Prime Video goes -- we just don't watch it often enough. The few movies I've watched this year on Prime have been ones I've had to pay for.
  4. Thrive Market membership. This is an online grocery store where I've found no-sugar ketchup and mayonnaise and no-sugar crackers, etc. But I've discovered several of my local grocery stores carry these items, so I can save the $60 annual fee.
  5. Auto-ship Keurig cups from Amazon. We are using the refillable Keurig cups. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
  6. Auto-ship mascara. I love the tubing mascara that just washes off with no black smudges left under the eyes. I loved a tubing mascara from Thrive (different company than the grocery store Thrive). But the drugstore L'Oreal Double Extend mascara is just as nice for less than half the price ($27 versus about $11). 
  7. Facebook. I've been thinking about this for some time. It is hard to let go of since it is the only place where I see photos of extended family living far away, and hear news of engagements and births, etc., from friends I don't see often. But the divisiveness and anger really gets me down and stresses me out. I'm sure it will continue to get worse as the election nears. It is also an incredible time-waster, as I find myself mindlessly scrolling and discover a half hour or forty-five minutes have passed. I haven't deleted my account, just deactivated it. For a few days I felt a little lost and out of it, but I've adjusted and feel much better.
  8. Instagram (sort of) -- Instagram is a lot happier place than Facebook, but it can also be a huge time suck. I removed the IG app from my phone, so no more endless scrolling throughout the day. It's still on my laptop but I rarely find myself checking it anymore.
  9. Instacart -- this was the best thing ever when I started using it last fall. I loved placing an order and then having everything delivered to my doorstep two hours later. It was like a miracle! Especially since I so dislike grocery shopping. It is great for new moms and the elderly and so many who are too busy to shop. But I decided that the monthly fee ($9.99) and tips added up to too much. The final straw was when things were so crazy during the lockdown that my Instacart order was going to take 10 days to be delivered! And nobody had time to text me about replacement items so I was only getting about half my order. I know things are better now, but I've decided I can do this myself.
  10. Google search engine. I was using Firefox for a while, but it seemed every time I rebooted I'd have to install it again. Google just kept trying to take over. Now I'm using Duck Duck Go for my search engine. I'm not too savvy about all this, but I'm trying to maintain a little bit of privacy, if possible.
Not only are we saving money, but I feel lighter.

Pizza dough set to rise. Look at that air bubble! Sometimes yeast does its own thing.

I have been further encouraged in simplifying my life by reading Cheryl Smith's book Biblical Minimalism. You can read my review of her book in my previous post. Cheryl has generously offered a copy of her book to one of my readers. Donna Nance is the winner! Congratulations to her. I know this book will be a blessing and an encouragement.

What are your thoughts re Amazon, Facebook, and Google? Do you find yourself subscribing to everything like I have in the past, or have you opted out? I'd love to hear.

xo Deborah
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