2016: Trying to Simplify

Happy New Year! Typically I like to reflect on my previous year's resolution before the new year, but I just spent the last few days in the mountains with friends, away from the computer and it was glorious. 

My resolution for 2016 was to simplify. I wanted to apply minimalism to my home, have fewer commitments, a simpler diet, and more design focus. If you followed along with my year though, you'd know 2016 was anything but simple. It really took until the very end of the year for this word to really seep into my everyday life. Here's a rundown of how things went:


I spent most of the year working toward becoming Zero Waste. In some areas, it was amazing - we wasted less food in the kitchen and almost 100% of our food scraps went to our compost. It led me to find multi uses for products around the house: i.e. vinegar for cleaning, coconut oil for lotion, and castille soap for both dish washing and hand soap.

However, this process also led me to have a TON of guilt about anything I couldn't save from the trash. Rather than minimizing I was hoarding everything that I *might* be able to use in the future. This meant my office looked like an Amazon graveyard with boxes and pieces of packaging everywhere, along with random things I'd keep for a potential craft. This all led to MORE STRESS. Not what I was trying to accomplish with my "simplify" resolution. 

Along with Zero-Waste, I wrote about several other tools I was using to simplify my home. I really felt like I was on a roll with all of these the first half of the year, but once we started traveling a lot, bulking up commitments, and the holidays rolled around all of these things went out the window. It wasn't until I watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix recently that I remembered these tools and started to put them back into my routine.

For the last week of the year, I've been clearing out everything I was holding onto for a "maybe one day..." My office is finally clean and usable for work again, and my home isn't stressing me out so much. While I wasn't able to simplify my home for most of 2016, I'm excited to finally have these systems in place for the new year.  


Whew. Much like my home, it basically took me an entire year to figure out how to simplify my schedule. Pretty sure I took on every commitment known to man. I started teaching 1-2 classes a month, co-organized a new meetup, organized another year of Dine & Draw, helped with a conference, spoke to multiple groups, and traveled EVERYWHERE. (You can read more about my crazy year here).

All of this meant I kind of acted like a mad-woman the entire year and my home was over-flowing with chores I couldn't handle on top of work and extra activities. I did do a few things to simplify though:

  • We started doing Blue Apron, which has literally been a godsend. If it were up to Eric, we would just order Postmates for dinner every night - so that meant I was doing all meal planning and grocery shopping. So glad we started this service that sends us three recipes/meal ingredients a week so I don't have to think about any of that! If you haven't tried it out and want to I've got 5 invites for free meals - so holla at me!
  • I let go of Dine & Draw. This was hard because I love this group - but I realized I was putting in so much effort to try and make it happen each month on top of other things that it was causing stress rather than being something fun. I've thankfully found some awesome people to take it over, so I'm excited to go just as an attendee soon!


At home: I did awesome. Between Blue Apron and Zero Waste we've almost entirely eliminated processed foods from the house (aside from when I'd stock up on things for house sitters and parties). However, if you can guess from my hectic schedule above there were a lot of nights we ate out and I did not eat so well. I still drank a lot of soda and ate plenty of taco bell + chick-fil-a. There's always next year?


This is one area I actually know I did well in. After putting together my favorite design projects of 2016, I see a definite style showing through in my web projects, and I've got a solid direction for how I want my illustrations and branding projects to look. I know for sure what projects I like working on, and what I don't. Finally, I was even able to simplify my design process a bit this year by adding in Zeplin - which allows me to quickly pass off files to developers.

So while I thought I did terribly with this resolution, seeing everything in writing now I see that it wasn't all that bad. I've got some great systems in place for a simpler home, I'm slowly working on perfecting my schedule, I've got a solid focus for my design work, and maybe 2017 will be the year I quit my addiction to Dr. Pepper :) How'd your 2016 resolutions hold up?