Why I Did a Social Media Cleanse

It’s safe to say technology and I are not the best of friends. It took me years to figure out my cell phone (and I still don’t take advantage of all the bells on whistles on it); I still press the wrong remote when turning on the television set; and I’ve yet to figure out what all those extra buttons are on my camera.

Which is why it took me so long to accept social media. Social media felt like an extension of technology, one more thing to learn, one more thing to drive me crazy.

But everywhere I turned, authors and publishers assured writers that social media was a necessity, an outlet for writing, a way of networking, and a way of advertising oneself.

When I began writing, all I wanted was to share my message and inspire others, but as the realities of today’s technological age set in, I knew I had to give in and accept social media.

I opened a personal Facebook page. Initially, I did nothing but read a few posts by others. Soon, I learned how to use Facebook, and found cool writing groups to join. I joined one, then two, until I soon belonged to seventeen different groups.

I liked being part of those groups. It was new, different, and gave me a bit of high. I searched other social media outlets and found more to join – LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Medium. Along with my blog, and two extra email accounts, I was a true social-media-addict.

But the problem was, social media was stealing my time. I couldn’t keep up with it, let alone keep up with my writing. I needed a solution. I began to get up a tad earlier, extend my working hours a little later, skip lunch, and do social media on the weekends (which I swore I’d never do).

Still, my writing was suffering. It’s funny how the very reason I had begun social media was the very thing I could no longer find time for.

Writing became something I talked about more than I did. More about networking and advertising, and helping myself more than helping others.

I pondered this last week, and decided what I wanted, and needed, was to go back to the beginning. Well, maybe not the very beginning, but closer to where I once was. It was time for a social media cleanse.

Social media is like everything, it gathers in our lives, fills our computers, clutters our mind. Social media is the clothes stuffed in a closet, the books on the floor. It is the chipped containers and worn shoes. Social media is the junk drawer in our lives.

So I’m making some changes. I’m cutting my blog from three days a week, to two (the same as my FB author page).

I am posting on Medium only once a week, deleting Pinterest from my life, and closing one email account (which will be a ton of work, but worth it in the end).

Instagram is a cheap and easy hobby, and for that reason, I will keep it. Twitter is in limbo, unsure of whether or not it is a necessity.

As for those seventeen groups, they’ve been knocked down to twelve, and soon, six more will be released.

Social media has its benefits. I’ve connected with friends and family I haven’t seen in years. I’ve met others with similar interests.

But social media became my clutter, and stopped me from living my dream. It stopped me from living my life.

Is there any social media you can let go of? What’s cluttering your mind? What’s cluttering your life?

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Simple Quotes for a Simple Life

We all need a little inspiration now and then. When I was searching for quotes (which there are tons of, by the way) I was amazed at how far back some of these sayings go.

Simplicity/Minimalism is nothing new. People have been talking about it for years. Check these out (next to a few are the years in which they were quoted).

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” – Leonardo de Vinci (1452)

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” – Coco Chanel

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“It is the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

“It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich not according to what he has, but according to what he is.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, the other is by desiring little.”
– Jackie French Koller (1948)

“Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.” – Tom Robbins (1936)

“You have succeeded I life when all you really want is only what you really need.” – Vernon Howard

“Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris (1800s)

“Live simply so that others may simply live.” – Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774)

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Dust Bunnies

I’m hoarding dust bunnies. Who knew? I guess I should have, after all, I haven’t seen beneath my sofa or dressers in the almost four years I’ve lived here. But when my husband and I moved the bookshelves out of the study, there they were – tiny little bunnies all snuggled against the wall.

They weren’t very cute.

They make me sneeze, wheeze, and cough at night.

The perfect cure would be to rid our home of carpet. Bunnies love carpet, burrowing down, waiting to attack allergy-sufferers. Bunnies love to tuck deep inside the fibers, hidden amongst pet dander, mold, and even the little pollens that float in from outdoors.

Which makes carpet really, really gross. Here are a few (not-so-fun) facts about carpet:

-An infant can swallow 10 grams of dust a day (by crawling on the floor). Ten grams! Yuk. (home.howstuffworks.com – sourced from Green Guide)

-Dry vacuuming doesn’t pick up dust mites. (Webmd.com) In fact, when using a standard vacuum filter, allergens may escape back into the room. Nice.

According to carpet manufacturers, carpet is not a problem for allergy sufferers. They argue that carpet can be cleaned, and even site a study in which the incidence of allergies went up when carpet was replaced with hardwood floors.

I would love to know more about those claims. For instance, what is the carpet cleaned with? If it’s chemicals, is that better? Doesn’t that affect people with asthma the same, or more, than the mites themselves?

And what about that study? I have a hard time believing those were true hardwood floors. It’s hard to come by real wood anymore. Most of it is manufactured, and filled with all kinds of toxic glues. I wonder what that does to someone with allergy and asthma problems.

I wish I knew the answers to those questions, but I don’t. And honestly, even if I dug really deep, I’m not sure I’d ever get the real facts.

But I do know this, when I am around carpet, I have more problems. I sneeze and cough, get headaches, am stuffed up, and wheeze at night. No one can tell me that carpet isn’t a problem.

I’d love to get hardwood floors. But there are two problems. First, they are expensive. Second, like I said before, it’s hard to find real wood. It is engineered, veneer, plywood, and horrible glues that cause their own set of problems.

So for now, I am stuck with carpet fibers that clutch the dust bunnies. I will sneeze and wheeze until I can figure out how to rid my home of tiny critters.

And maybe I will have to move my furniture more often – before the dust bunnies have a chance to repopulate.

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Simple Steps to an Orderly Life

Life is chaos. Disorder. Discombobulation. Ask anyone who has children, or works, or runs a home, or basically has a life. We are a busy, busy society.

It amazes me when I watch young families, their constant motion and continuous state of movement. Flitting from doctors to soccer, from work to appointments. It’s a never ending flurry of activity.

I wonder how they do it.

It isn’t only families with children that are busy. We all are. We have jobs that require many hours, businesses we run on our own. We have book clubs, wine clubs, and church clubs. We have extended family, and many friends. It’s hard to keep our lives together sometimes.

What can we do to keep from going insane?

I don’t know of anything that can completely stop the insanity, but I have discovered a simple, common thread that helps: Routine.

Routine is glue. I know, it sounds boring, blah, mundane. But it works.

Here are a few tips on keeping routine:
*Every morning, have the same breakfast, or a variation of it, or at the most, two choices. My husband and I have a smoothie each day, with variations on fruits and veggies. We usually have an egg, though on the weekends we often have bacon and pancakes, with leftovers for a few days. No thinking, no fussing, just routine.

*Dinner is a good time for routine as well. Make it simple. Grilled cheese (or whatever sandwich) and soup on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, tacos on Wednesday. Make Friday night pizza or burger night. Make it easy, simple

*Prepare tomorrow’s lunch while cleaning up dinner. You are in the kitchen already, with leftovers in front of you.

*Bedtime routine is a must, not just for children, but adults as well. Routine calms us down and prepares our brains for sleep. Turn off television an hour before bed, read, drink tea, do yoga, whatever you need to end your day.

*Keep routine in all your life. Monday-Laundry, Tuesday-clean bathrooms, Wednesday-dust and vacuum, Fridays-errands. Do the same thing each day of the week.

Life isn’t simple and easy, but routine can ease a hectic life into a calmer one.

What routines do you have in your life?

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A Gradual Shift to Simplicity

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” -Edmund Burke

I was cleaning my windows this weekend, a chore I despise for many reasons: It’s not fun; it’s tiring; I’m really, really bad at it; and it takes way too long.

My husband began the project a few months ago by spraying off the outside of each window. The inside was my job, and oh, how I fought it, putting it off until one day, I decided to wash a pane. What should have been quick and easy took days. A few days later, I washed another pane, and another, until finally, I was done. Those dirty little windows were scrubbed.

I looked through the clean panes, at bees that tried desperately to build a hive next to our home, and birds that flitted over the rooftops. Life was clearer, crisper.

One day, probably not far away, winds will blow and dust will gather, and once again, I will fight, and slowly, I will clean. Because life is like that, it begins, ends, and begins again. But what really matters is that, in the end, I finished, only because I had begun.

The road to simplicity is like that as well. I thought it would be quick and easy, and once I’d accomplished it, I’d never have to do it again.

I remember dumping drawers, cleaning closets, and feeling refreshed with the removal of each bag. But it didn’t end there. I kept finding things to do. It was never-ending.

I guess simplicity is a constant journey, a life-long path of travel.

But the funny thing about life is this, like my windows, it gets muddied up. And then we must clean. Begin, end, begin again.

A constant journey, a continuous motion of change.

My journey to simplicity will never end. I’m on it for good. But I wouldn’t be here if I had never begun.

What can you do to begin your own journey?

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