Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Smaller Life (book, article and website suggestions)

I'm downsizing and I love it. I recently moved from a large home to a small home and with the lighter lifestyle has come the unexpected gift of time and awareness.

 Here are a few of the changes I'm enjoying in my life:

  • Walking my dog. My former home had a large fenced yard for my beagle Eloise. I now walk her 4 to 6 times a day and I'm really enjoying exploring my new neighborhood, meeting other dog owners and watching the seasons change.
  • Childhood pleasures. There is a pond down the street from my new home. Every day I walk the dog to the pond and feed the ducks scraps from the kitchen. I haven't fed ducks since I was a little girl and it's now one of my favorite parts of the day. I love to watch them fight for the bread and enjoy that they sometimes follow me home looking for more. I've also started collecting pine cones on my walks, I've filled a pretty bowl in my dining room.
  • Nesting. I cook almost every day. I eat healthier. I crawl in bed with a mountain of pillows and my dog and I read, day dream and get more rest. I cuddle with my son. I write more letters and read more books.
  • Spending my time wisely. When I was married my life revolved around the weekends and the chores around the house, the dinners out, parties, events at the clubs we belonged too etc. It was exhausting and not always fun. I stopped laying in bed and reading the paper. Lazy Saturday mornings lingering over breakfast disappeared. Walking, talking, movie nights and just simply being wasn't happening anymore. I wake up now with an entirely new perspective on life. I spend my time wisely. I play more golf. I spend time with my friends sitting around a bonfire instead of a country club lounge. I started volunteering again. I've invited more people into my life now that I'm not competing with someone else for his time. I've made some lovely new friends and reconnected with some dear old friends.
I've read some good books on minimizing your life, your home and your job in order to maximize your time, health and happiness. Here are a few I've enjoyed:

The Minimalist Entertains : Forty Seasonal Menus for Dinner Parties, Cocktail Parties, Barbecues, and More by Mark Bittman. Good recipes and ideas. Simple can be better.

The Only 127 Things You Need: A Guide to Life's Essentials by Donna Wilkinson.  Excellent resources, tips and plain common sense on things from your health, your wardrobe, your home and more. A great book to get you started on downsizing your life.

City Chic: The Modern Girl's Guide to Living Large on Less and City Chic: The Urban Guide to Livin' Large on Less by Nina Willdorf. Tips on everything from dining out to decorating your home on a budget. Love the recipes for skin care from kitchen staples like olive oil and eggs. 

Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano. Tips on "greening" your home, style, food, travel and more. Recipes, tips on eliminating junk mail, exercise, beauty tips and more.

Here are a few good articles to read. 

The Next Little Thing? by Steven Kurutz (the NY Times article that got a lot of people thinking small)
Think Small by Bethany Lyttle
Death of the McMansion, a Yahoo Finance article

And some great websites:

Small House Society
The Not So Big House
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

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