I have mixed feelings about One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler
I don't find making all of one's own beauty and cleaning products from scratch to be simplifying. And while I admire her budgeting system (a variation on the envelope system) and her approach to sinking funds (putting aside money each month for quarterly or occasional expenses like Christmas purchases) I find her methods quite complicated; much more complicated than what we already do. (We do use sinking funds, but in a much more simplified way than she describes.)
However, I did find many of her ideas quite wonderful. One project is "Learn to Say No". YES! I have been working hard at that. I have said "No" to Facebook friend requests and to email lists that took up more of my time than was prudent or sane. I have said "No" to several projects that I had thought I wanted to do, but which, in the end, won't result in something that is of high enough value to justify the time invested. We mostly think of "saying no" as it relates to requests by others upon our time, but I think it extends to online communities and to projects and Ishoulds and SomedayI'lls we put upon ourselves as well. Come to think of it, I should be better about uploading and printing and filing all our photos. But maybe it's time to Just Say No and come up with some simpler, less guilt-inducing way to deal with photos.
Another project from the book is to be intentional about real downtime.
A long time ago I pushed all my laundry and cleaning to the ends of the week. I hate both tasks (contrary to what many of my friends seems to think, I don't love cleaning my house. But I hate a messy house even more, so...) It was my Dad who suggested doing those hated things on just one day each week, and not on other days, no matter what. This frees me from the tyranny of always having a hated task hanging over my head! (My Dad is so smart.) I had Friday designated as cleaning day.
Recently, I moved cleaning to Thursday. This has been wonderful, because now Friday is a downtime day. There's nothing that Has To Be Done on Friday, plus, I get to wake up to clean house.
Monday is laundry day. Tuesday, I theoretically do any ironing, which, if I keep up with it, takes all of about 15 minutes to do. Sadly, I really stink at a keeping up with it. Wednesday night I do the grocery shopping, so on Wednesday I try to make out my grocery list and tidy up the fridge (NOT clean it, ok? Just eat up or throw out any leftover or spoiled food and make sure there's room for that night's groceries.) I also SHOULD, on Wednesdays, do a tidy up so that on Thursday all I have to do is clean. That rarely happens, though. Thursday, I clean. If things are tidied up and I work without stopping, I can do the whole house in about 2-1/2 hrs. (Please note that this is not a spring-cleaning level clean. It's dust the dusty spots, wipe down the bathroom, sweep the floors. No furniture is moved, no mops are gotten out. No reorganization or sorting is done, either. Just cleaning. That's it.)
So, on Fridays, if I feel like puttering around purging The Closet From The Outer Realm, that's fine. But if I feel like watching a BBC documentary and doing my nails, that's ok, too. This also leaves Fridays free for trips to nearby Collegetown with the kid or for hitting garage sales once the garage sale season starts in earnest in a few more weeks.
Now, husband and I are working on doing something similar with Sunday nights. We're trying to make Sunday evenings sit-and-read nights. Sitting in the living room (which is finally arranged in such a way that it doesn't make me angry) with feet up, reading. A nice, quiet, slow evening to begin the work week. We managed to do it last week and are going to try for this week as well. Wish us luck.