March resolution wrap up and an introduction to April the Super Simple Month

March is supposed to come in like a lion but go out like a lamb. In my case, it transformed from a lion into a stampede of angry bulls. I liken this past March to the running of the bulls through the streets of Pamplona, and I am donned in a white shirt with a small, red (a little bloody) scarf tied around my neck.

My March resolution to have our entire house unpacked was a failure. Somehow, I forgot that until our previous home sells, many of our large pieces of furniture will still be in that house. For example, our more than 12 feet of bookshelves aren’t in our new home. This means we have 17 unpacked boxes of books on the living room floor where the bookcases will one day reside.

I’ve decided that I’ll revisit the unpacking resolution after we sell our previous place. In the meantime, I’m moving on to my favorite resolution each year — I’m declaring April a Super Simple Month.

To me, a Super Simple Month is defined as no travel for work, one social engagement a week or less, no shopping except for necessities, and no new large projects (craft, writing, organizations, etc.). The goal is to finish some items already in progress on my to-list, relax as much as I can with my family, and be as low-key as possible.

I need time to recuperate from all 2011 has thrown at me so far. I have to get my feet back under me. I’m ready for the lamb that March promised me.

Can April also be a Super Simple Month for you? What rules would you impose to achieve this goal? If not a Super Simple Month, what resolutions do you have on tap for April?

Erin’s 2011 monthly resolutions: January, February, and March.

27 Comments for “March resolution wrap up and an introduction to April the Super Simple Month”

  1. posted by Matt Baier on

    I like this idea. April feels like the perfect time to tie up loose ends before taking on new initiatives.

  2. posted by Rich Russell on

    We declared February our super-simple month and LOVED it! Over President’s Weekend, we had a 2007-style staycation; we did eat out a lot that weekend, which might not be in keeping with reduced spending (which we also adhered to in Febs), but it was still much cheaper and less stressful than traveling somewhere — and we were supporting our local restaurants!

  3. posted by Another Deb on

    Right now, April is the “cram it all in before the standardized test” month. After next Monday, I can go sort-of-simple. The content materials can flow at a natural rate and I can enjoy working with my students without that artificial deadline that’s seven weeks earlier than the day they leave me.

    Home? Garden? Projects? Forget it. Nothing else can happen until the school year ends.

  4. posted by Becca on

    Erin, if the Super-Simple Month is your favorite one all year, why not repeat it more often? Wouldn’t that be in line with your philosophy of leading your most remarkable life? I’d say you deserve at least 3 Super-Simple Months per year!

  5. posted by OogieM on

    Not on our farm, April is the get everything set month so that when the lambalanch hits then end of the month and into May we are sort of ready. April is for Federal Flock inspections, vaccinations, irrigation work, shearing, ditch cleaning, wool shipping and barn cleaning. Mid winter is the time when we can generally take time off not spring!

    It’s interesting to note the difference between urban and rural seasons.

  6. posted by Karen Newbie on

    Unfortunately, April is not going to be super simple for me due to the various commitments my kids have. In order to impose some simplicity on the things that are within my control, I’m opting for easy yet healthy meals, nurturing friendships with an occasional lunch or coffee, prioritizing my projects so I don’t have too many going on at once, and insisting on better bedtimes for myself and my brood.

  7. posted by Liz on

    OH MY GOD, your (previous) house is fabulous. I am so so so so jealous!!!


  8. posted by whistlerpotpie on

    Love this idea!

    I’m going to spend 15 minutes a day clearing out the old. (I know FlyLady can be dorky, but it’s really working for me.)

    I’m going to work in the yard when I am looking for “something to do.” Die monkey grass, die!

    And I’m going to snuggle with my Husband and my dogs multiple times a day.

  9. posted by jane on

    Have you explained anywhere why you had to move so suddenly?

  10. posted by Cupcake on

    I can’t make April super-simple because I’m getting married in June. Things are ramping up rather than slowing down. But I’m already anticipating a super-simple month in July or August to just relax with my new husband and enjoy our home and our new life together. Thanks for the suggestion!

  11. posted by Linda Varone on

    Being betwixt and between two homes is organizationally and financially stressful. You might want to use this time to get to know your house better before you move in the big furniture. What window has the best view of nature – you could put your favorite chair there so you can relax and enjoy it. What space has the best sunlight – you could place your desk there or a craft table or leave it empty as a floor play space for your son. May you and your family have much happiness in your new home.

  12. posted by Nihara on

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Super Simple Life, not just a Super Simple Month?

    Sometimes, it’s important to step back from activities even if they are enjoyable and enriching. We recently decided to cancel a planned family vacation to Hawaii because although it would have been amazing to show our three little ones the beautiful beaches and the lush greenery, it would have been overwhelming to survive the six-hour time difference and recover on our return. It sounds crazy, but choosing not to go on vacation simplified our lives.

  13. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jane — Seven months ago, we started the approval process to close in our carport and turn it into an office. This space was originally enclosed when the townhouse was built, and a previous owner took out the front wall of the house to create a carport. (I have no idea why.) The house has two bedrooms, and we used one for sleeping and one as an office since both my husband and I work full-time from home. This arrangement was fine when my son was an infant, but now that he’s 21 months old, he needs his own room with a real bed and not a crib.

    Anyway, our neighborhood association approved the restoration plans and a month later our city’s architectural design review board approved the plans to return the house to its original state. We got bids from different contractors and hired one to start the work. When the contractor applied to the county for building permits, the county’s zoning administration denied our permit. Apparently, our neighborhood (90 homes) is short four street parking spaces. Our home would be completely fine (still having a legal driveway parking space in front of the house), but the neighborhood would somehow be negatively affected by our actions. We only have one car and only need one parking space (driveway), so we wouldn’t be impacting street parking at all. We would have also been returning the house to its original state, which means the single-car driveway was what the architect and developer had expected for the home. Most importantly, it’s complete malarkey since no one else could legally park inside our carport except for us … but the county likes to meddle in the affairs of private citizens.

    The house is amazing and beautiful and I miss it dearly … but I’m not willing to break the law and illegally transform the carport back into livable space just so my family can live in our dream home. So, we moved into a rental home with two bedrooms and an office. Now, our son can have his own bedroom, we can have our own bedroom, and we can have a place to do our jobs. The house with the carport will be perfect for someone who wants a carport, wants a beautiful modern home, and who wants two large bedrooms. It just couldn’t meet our needs since both of us work from home.

  14. posted by Jackie Pettus on

    April can’t be simple because “for fun” I sing with a jazz group and our annual show is tomorrow night. Since February, every spare moment, including at lunch and while driving, is spent listening to practice recordings on my iPod. After the show I need to catch up on work (I make household record keeping software) and with my husband, who just returned from three weeks touring “the great libraries of England.” (He’s a book collector, so I sympathize with your “too many books” problem.)

    May will be my simple month. We’ll be staying at our vacation home in the Napa Valley for a week and I promised my husband I wouldn’t work. We’ll see how that goes. I actually enjoy my work, especially when there’s a walk through the vineyards, a swim and a glass of wine waiting for me at the end of the day.

  15. posted by Annette on

    “Lambalanch.” Love that! I have two initiatives for April – get outside when the weather is nicer and finish up some house projects before summer. Trim needs painting in my bedroom and there are walls everywhere that need a touch up. We have been so shut in this winter here in Maine I don’t want to spend an extra minute inside once May comes! Summer is too short here for that!

  16. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    We just finished painting our downstairs spaces and stairway hall ultra white, to make them more minimalist and in preparation for the wood floor refinishing we have put off since before we even moved in more than 12 years ago. I truly can use a breather…I am in the final stages of formal study to be an improv player, and either I make the company or I don’t in May, so I am giving that focus now and the rest will have to rock along as best it can. I guess June might be a better Super Simple Month for me.

  17. posted by Klyla on

    Now that I have the income taxes done, the rest of April is my “catch up on my to-do list” month. It’s very satisfying to get some of the little things that had gotten pushed aside crossed off the list…right now my list is up to 10 and 3 of those should fall today. Enjoy your break Erin…you deserve it!

  18. posted by Rondina on

    I went from about 2500 square feet to 1140 and I can sympathize with the bookcase problem. All those built-ins left behind. Many of my books are for reference and since I am going paperless at the same time I have had the binding cut off many and scanned them using OCR technology.

  19. posted by marjoryt on

    Since I teach year round, my downtimes come in the two weeks after classes start and two weeks before they end. My two online classes are at that stage – ready to start final exams. My other classes reach downtime at the end of April (our exams are the 2nd week in May). My planners are showing something for every week before the summer semester begins.

    I’m finding that other people will schedule my off time, unless I schedule it myself. Coworkers, friends, and family just know I’m not available for 3 days the 3rd week of May (I’m planning to sew!).

  20. posted by Vanessa H. on

    Cupcake’s comment makes me think it would be a good idea to do a post on getting ready for marriage. There are usually a lot of weddings in June.

  21. posted by Julia on

    Actually, this pretty much DOES describe my life. And I thought I was just a recluse!

    I have an illness that depletes my energy levels very quickly – medication helps, but I will never have the energy that, say, my sister has. So I make sure to keep my commitments to a level I can control and enjoy without exhausting myself.

    Of course, I also have no children.

    I have a vacation at the end of April but I’ll count it as a “simple” month anyway, as I’ve been looking forward to the trip for months – a quiet, unplugged week in a cabin by the sea…can’t wait.

  22. posted by Shalin on

    I <3 the Super Simple Month concept 🙂

  23. posted by Lee on

    I love the idea of Super Simple Month. I’m having (gourmet cook) friends for dinner tonight and decided our meal would be simple – meatloaf, baked potatoes, frozen vegetables, and mix pudding in a ready made crust. I really wasn’t feeling guilty, but it will be fun to announce that it’s Super Simple Month.

    Last month was hectic for us, as my husband was finishing a project and getting ready for a 2 week working trip overseas (in third world conditions). I suggested we not make social commitments in the weeks leading up to his departure and defer any plans until he has had at least a week to settle back into the routine here. Life wasn’t simple, but it was alot easier than it would have been if we would have been trying to fit obligations into an already busy time period. Sometimes “Simple As Possible” is still good.

  24. posted by Ann on

    April is never a super simple month for me…I am an accountant and this is a crazy crazy crazy time for me – at work. What is funny is that I tend to think of things to do around the house (uncluttering wise, etc), but my DH tells me that is simply avoidance behavior. So I find myself having to wrench myself back into work mode, when what I really want to be doing is to reorganize my closets. Anything but taxes.

    I will pick another month to be Super Simple Month for me…and try not to feel guilty. We have been so programmed, in my estimation, to “do, do, do” that we are not allowed to “be, be, be”… I remember vividly a moment in August of 1985 – about 3 hours after giving birth to our only child…and found myself thinking “Well, what do I do now?” And after awhile, I realized that I didn’t have to do a DAMN THING MORE that day. Giving birth to that beautiful boy was accomplishment enough.

    We need to give ourselves permission to have a super simple day, week or month. All of us.

  25. posted by Jody on

    A Super Simple Month idea is wonderful. I know the same month will not be the best choice for everyone; I am getting ready to go out of state for a conference, and the day after I get back travel to Haiti for the 3rd time in a year.

    But I plan to look at my schedule and decide which month, for me, I can declare a Super Simple Month and make it an annual tradition.

    Thanks for the idea!

  26. posted by Theadora on

    We did a Minimal March. No eating out. No unnecessary or unplanned expenditures (unless they couldn’t be put off such as our car maintenance which must be done on schedule or void our warranty). And we tried to keep the events to a minimum, which was a big deal since we usually have two or three, ‘Go out and Do’ type things a week. It was fantastic!! It allowed us to evaluate (and adjust) our budget and emergency fund based on our needs rather than wants. We had lots more home time and ended up going hiking and running with our dog much more frequently.

    Unfortunately, we told everyone, “We’re on hiatus! But we’ll be back in April!” resulting in every single weekend in April getting fully booked before we realized what happened – including two (two!!) weekend road trips. Not to mention most week nights. I feel like since midnight on the first I’ve been running at full speed and the finish line’s still miles away! Is there a way to have a minimal month without pushing things off until a later date?

  27. posted by Katharine on

    We may not have a simple month, but I’ve declared it a “personal” month. With soccer and softball seasons overlapping and two kids in each, along with spring concerts and a focus on my health and better eating, I have decided to focus more on the personal aspects of life. This means leaving the office on time, and taking a few hours of vacation on afternoons with family activities. This allows us to accomplish everything, while not going crazy. It’s actually making me more productive at work and at home!

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