Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Anyway Project

Back in the sixties we were told that modern living through technology would make our lives better by easing workloads and giving us more "free" time, yet today we are scurrying more and enjoying less. It seems that we are on the proverbial hamster wheel, trying to keep up from day to day. By sitting at a workstation all day we now need to schedule time for exercise, something that would have amused our parents and grandparents. For those of us who grew up before answering machines, being "connected" 24/7 is physically and mentally draining. Taping television programs that we might miss only creates another taxing obligation on our time, for having to watch them in the future when we should be doing something else. Welcome to modern living through technology.

Like so many others, I have looked for ways to reduce my spending, my use of resources, and my commitments so that I could enjoy a less hectic lifestyle. Over the years I have tried "no spending" time frames and challenges to use less. I have budgeted. It works, up to a point.

Last week the little light bulb (CFL, of course) went on in my head when I read Sharon Astyk's post about the Anyway Project. The title referring to the way we should live, anyway. (Love the logic in that.) Her post from this past Tuesday goes on to explain the different aspects of the project. It puts it all together. Through her project, everything I've tried to do piecemeal gets connected as a whole including a few areas that I had not explored, such as Community. After reading her posts and the reader comments a few times I've developed my own list of goals to make my life more sustainable. In joining this group (I’m not thinking of it as a challenge), I am setting goals to accomplish in each of the following categories.

Domestic Infrastructure:
Since I don’t have the luxury of a pantry room, I will create a list of basic provisions (dried beans, etc) and purchase what I can store in the kitchen cupboard that I emptied during last years “clear out”. The stored foods will be the basics for meal planning, hoping to return to the food storage, meal-planning lifestyle from years back.

Household Economy:
A few years ago I found an amazing excel budget spreadsheet online, which I tweaked to fit my needs. It worked great for the year that I used it, showing me all my spending habits and where I needed to make changes. I will pull up the old copy and update it for my current needs.

Resource Consumption:
First, I need to reduce unnecessary short driving trips.
Second, I need to address the drafty windows in my condo. Last winter I used the plastic that is applied indoors with a hair dryer. I can combine this with window quilts, which other participants mentioned.

Cottage Industry and Subsistence:
I need to find an outlet for the vintage items that I have accumulated, possibly through eBay or etsy. Then explore a possible cottage industry to supplement my primary income.

Family and Community:
I tend to become an indoor person during the winter months, but need to find group activities for the next few months. I’ll research events held at the public libraries near me for this.

Outside Work:
I have an intense and demanding job, which can cause stress and the need for “decompression” time. I’d like to find ways to improve my workflow/workload.

Time and Happiness:
I’d like to find time for relaxation (possibly yoga?) to even out my lifestyle, and return to a regular exercise routine.

I may have to fine tune these, or provide more detail. You may want to follow along or even join in. Here’s the link to Sharon’s blog. Right now I’m off to look for and update that old excel spreadsheet.

Please take time on Thursday, November 11th, to remember our veterans!
Thank you.


farmlady said...

Good thinking.... great organization.
Good luck with all of this. Improvement is always a good direction to go toward.

Brad K. said...

I love Sharon's writing.

As for the pantry - don't overlook adding shelves to an unused/underused closet. The pantry is for the stuff "not ready" - not the open packages, not the things in use. You might plan on stocking the kitchen from the pantry once every day or two - a few extra steps when stocking the pantry or drawing supplies from it won't matter all that much.


The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Brad,
My less than 700 sq ft, one-bedroom condo does not have any unused/underused closets. Last year I cleared the clutter from my galley kitchen and voila! a lower cabinet that is empty and available for provisions.

P.S. No matter where I am in my condo, at 700 sq ft there are no extra steps ;)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Oh thanks Farmgal for alerting me to this site and to what you're planning to do. We ALL need to change our ways. (or at least most of us do).

Loved this posting,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

The Curious Cat said...

This is an interesting post...I want to find out more about this project! Unfortunately I also need to go to bed and get up for India...but when I get home...I'm always rushing and it would be good to get some balance! xxx