The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

January 5, 2012

My Un-New Years Resolution — Take the Simple Living Challenge

Yukon solitaire for mobile phoneI sleep with my smartphone.

There, I said it. My virtual life is out of control. I am powerless over my addiction to checking email, Twitter, and Facebook. Listening to podcasts while playing endless rounds of Yukon solitaire. Googling the answer to any question that happens to pop into my head at 3am. I know I’m subjecting myself to radiation, and worse, I am robbing myself of much-needed sleep by staring at a bright screen into the wee hours of the morning. I need help.

As if reading my cluttered mind just in time for New Years Resolution season, Sonya from the Kanelstrand simple living blog sent me an invitation to participate in her Simple Living Challenge beginning in February. I need this. I need it like I need a hole in my head through which I can dump out all the unnecessary crap that makes me feel overwhelmed.

Join Me!

Simple living goes hand in hand with plastic-free living.  The less stuff we buy, the less plastic we generally consume.   And I’ll be contributing to the Simple Living Challenge Discussion by offering tips for weaning off plastic.  But there are other ways to consume, with or without plastic, and I am proof of that.

Please join me by signing up for the 3-week simple living challenge event beginning February 1.  Topics that will be covered are:

– financial life, living debtfree
– frugal living
– how much is enough? reconsidering buying habits
– weaning off plastic, turning to reusable sources
– cosmetics that are killing us, how to use natural sources to beautify ourselves
– re-evaluating commitments, re-evaluating Yes and No
– simplifying your goals
– simplifying your wardrobe
– decluttering your home, mind, emotions
– simplifying your online life
– stop multitasking
– slowing down – talk/walk/eat slowly and learn to enjoy the moment
– free up time to do what you love
– spend time with the people you love
– spend time alone
– connect to your inner self and your needs
– learn to deal with stress
– walk more, drive less
– establish daily routines, plan your daily tasks
– celebrate your success

I got a head start on this back in 2009 when I asked for help decluttering my office and got a ton of responses from you all.  Now I need help organizing my time and my mind.

This is NOT a New Years Resolution, by the way.   I’ve never kept one of those.  :-)

You might also enjoy...


I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 years ago

Beth, I do support your simplification effort and I know you’re doing it because you’re feeling ill effects on your life.

But I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your intensity and the way you’re willing to put a lot of time and energy into everything you do. I’ve watched you (through the blog) cycle through these periods of too much computer and then correcting it several times now, and it does seem to me that it’s a function of some of your virtues as much as a bad habit. I hope you don’t feel like overconnectivity is a personal flaw.

Jason Winters
11 years ago

I guess you can’t completely be ‘plastic free’…you have a smart phone..and I assume a computer.

Go hug a tree…

11 years ago

I’ve signed on. I’m always about simplifying. :)

Deanna Piercy
11 years ago

I had already started a January challenge to buy almost nothing. This fits in perfectly and I’m now signed up.

Eve Stavros
11 years ago

Yes I have taken the pledge! I’ve been de-cluttering, yard-saling (selling), Craigs-listing, e-baying and recently moving in an effort to downsize & simplify. New life in Virginia will have more time for silence, reflection, quiet times with friends…once I get through the hassles of setting up a new household. I look forward to this joint effort to re-energize me and share ideas!

11 years ago

I really want to sign up, but I’m moving. Which is anything BUT simple. Maybe next time!

11 years ago

I’m just on my way to sign up. This sounds like a great idea. Thank you.

knutty knitter
11 years ago

I already do just about everything here so really don’t feel the need at present but I am supporting you in spirit :)

Happy new year

viv in nz

David McKay
11 years ago

Well, Beth, I mentioned you again in my blog. Am I just seeking a larger readership by letting you know? Hmm… maybe a little, but I had started my latest post earlier today and in the course of writing it was discovering that my life has become simpler in some ways by the reduction of plastic in my life. Then I read your post, and saw the similarities.

The milk up the road at that dairy farm? Delicious! And I met the cow that produced it. Life is pretty simple at six in the morning in a dairy barn…


11 years ago

Wonderful! Thanks for the invitation! I’m excited about simplying my life more.

11 years ago

I took the pledge, one of those Confusious sayings is ” The greatest freedom in life is no possessions,” there is alot of truth to that. greg

Clif Brown
11 years ago

Beth, I am so out of it that everything on your list characterizes the life I live…not because I am trying to follow any rules, but simply because that’s how I’ve always wanted to live and what makes me comfortable.

Now that I’m retired and in what we plan to be our final residence for life, it looks like we will be able to carry on to the end this way. We don’t watch (or have) TV. Our wall calender might have three things on it in a busy month. I got rid of my stereo long ago. If something is going to attract a crowd, I don’t want to go. I have a cellphone but the battery often goes dead without my using it.

I’ve never seen the point of the frantic lifestyle that seems to be the norm, but I do see how it is encouraged by an economy that depends on selling things.

I have a Facebook account to have a presence there but don’t understand how anyone can follow more than 3 or 4 people. It seems to me to be a great place to pretend you are important without anyone necessarily reading what you post. To have dozens or even hundreds of Facebook “friends” – how can one communicate with such a mob all speaking at once?

As for Twitter, you know it is a complete mystery to me…seems to be the antithesis of what I value.

But living a quiet life is not strange for me. My family didn’t have a TV until I was ten years old. We had a wind-up record player that you had to crank to play a record and one single solitary telephone in what I like to call “The World Before Beeps” (Touch-Tone phones were the first “beeps”). Things were quiet in the house and it was up to me to entertain myself. I became a master of that and it’s been a wonderful ability to have for over 60 years. I learned how to kill boredom all by myself if friends weren’t around in person.

But for young moderns – I don’t know what to say. They’ve been in the noise since birth and the world is so very noisy now. At the local coffee shop almost everyone is electronified in one way or another. Those few who are speaking face to face are talking at hyper-speed.

My daughter lives in a small city in Peru. I don’t think she will ever live in the States again though I don’t think she’s ruled it out. The reason is that if she returns she will be overwhelmed. To escape the noise is (as you know from your retreats) sensitizes one. The only thing that allows Americans to go on the way they do is the immersion in the noise. Not knowing what silence is goes a long way toward inoculation to continual stimulation.

The irony of my life is that I spent my career in TV broadcasting, working every day to send out electronic noise to millions.

But is all this really new? Someone said “the problem with Western Man is that he cannot sit by himself for fifteen minutes” and if you look at the history of the White Man it is centuries of unrelenting hustle, walking over nations and peoples in pursuit of……what?

Silence is becoming impossible to find, but is the most precious thing of all because with it you can find yourself. To avoid silence is an indication of anxiety over being with oneself alone and be faced with the terrible question: who am I in and of myself alone?

Tracey TieF
11 years ago

Thanks for the invitation.

I need to declutter my email.
Every time I open if I have to check off a dozen emails to delete. I need to take the time to unsubscribe. So that can be my first step.
And I need to stop working at some point in the evening.

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

11 years ago

Well, I’ve been practicing voluntary simplicity for over 20 years now, but if I’ve learned anything it’s that simplicity is a journey not a destination, so I happily took the pledge. Happy simplifying y’all!

11 years ago

All signed up!

Beth, do we get to see what your desk/office area looks like now? :-)

11 years ago

I’m so looking forward to this, thank you for sharing! :)

11 years ago

I need this too! I recently canceled my Facebook account because it was the 2nd time in 6 months hackers got to the email account tied to it. I think I actually had withdrawal symptoms. I’m ok now, which tells me I could succeed at simplifying other areas of my life as well. All aboard!!!

Sharyn Dimmick
11 years ago

I signed up for the Simple Living Challenge. I’m excited to have the virtual company for it. And before it starts I’m going to read through those de-cluttering suggestions your readers gave you. Cheers! Sharyn