One Little Word for 2021

Still on the One Little Word bandwagon? Me, too.

A quick history of my past words…
2014: intentional
2015: joy
2016: contentment
2017: low-maintenance
2018: less
2019: finish
2020: enjoy (kind of hilarious, never blogged about it)

I finally settled on my word for 2021, and it is streamline.

Now that I’m looking back on my past seven words and this year’s, they all seem pretty similar, either having to do with simplifying or enjoying. It took me a while to commit to streamline, and it was because of how similar it is to previous words I’ve focused on.

To me, the difference is that I’ve reached a point where I’ve simplified as much as possible–my home, my possessions, my calendar, my kids’ stuff, all the things. I’ve reached the point that I no longer have any rooms or closets that need a big cleanout; instead, I keep a box and a garbage bag in my closet and add items as we grow out of them. When they’re full, I drop them off at a donation center. My husband and I refer to this as maintenance mode, and we love it.

The issue I’ve been running into lately has been trying to free up my own mental space, as dramatic as that sounds. I’ve stumbled across quite a few articles about how the pandemic has affected parents (mothers, usually), largely by being more mentally taxing than normal times are for parents. I kept finding myself hitting a wall with two things: laundry and meal planning. I’d started to dread–I’m talking dread–those particular tasks, and let’s face it, they aren’t exactly tasks that can be avoided or even put off much.

Especially after you’ve simplified everyone’s wardrobe and don’t have infinite piles of clothing anymore. Ahem.

Something had to give.

I’m still figuring out how to streamline laundry a little more (the issue here is that we line dry a lot of items but not all, and it creates a barrier to fully finishing the laundry–riveting, I know, full series to follow). Streamlining meal planning was easy, though. I sat down with my recipe binder and listed everything that met two criteria: easy to make and everyone eats it without complaining. Because I started in January, I focused on wintry meals. When I’d sit down to make a meal plan for the week, I’d just look at the list. It had 17 meals on it and didn’t include stuff my husband cooks or grills. We eat leftovers a good bit, and my husband cooks / grills on weekends, so the list of 17 easily got us through three weeks at a time.

I made my spring list two weeks ago. It has 20 meals on it, and we grill more often in spring and summer than in winter, so we will probably repeat meals less often (even so, no one seemed to care if we ate the same things over and over).

A simple solution to an overwhelming task. Done and done.

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