by Bridget Alexander.
One of the first steps to simplifying your life is minimizing your “stuff.” It is never an easy process, and it is just that, a process. You start with one room or space, like a closet, a room or in our case, the pantry or icebox. You go through each item piece by piece and decide if it stays or goes (keep, give away or trash). In short, more is not more. The goal is to pare down our items to our favorites, and as we replace them we can increase their quality – now that quantity is no longer at issue. Enjoyment increases and stress levels decrease after a successful de-cluttering.
Now, let’s apply this to our local food shopping. Go through your pantry and refrigerator, decide which your favorite items are. Decide which items you bought because it was a “good idea at the time” or something you should eat, but didn’t really want to; get rid of them and don’t buy them again. Think how much of an increase in your food budget that turns into. Review your favorites again. Could you do better on those items? Are they local? If not, could they be? If yes, do you want to increase the quantity or buy them more often?
One of the challenges we face when buying local food is cost and the other is time. When you pare down to your favorites and de-clutter your life in terms of food you are free! Free to spend your dear dollars on items that matter to you and sweeten your experience in the dining room. If you are now purchasing fewer items because you know what your short list is, you will save time. You can go into the farmers’ market and bee-line it for the dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan kale, lacinato kale, black kale, orcavolo nero).
Is pasta a favorite dish every week? Have you found a local fave? Now you are free to try and enjoy!
The other thing to to keep in mind is that experiences keep us happier longer than material items. According to “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending,” one of the main examples of experiences that make us happy and keep us happy is a good meal. So investing time and money into your food makes sense, but make keep it simple and spend money on your favorites and less time buying things you don’t really want and you’ll enjoy the experience that much more.
Less is more, my friend,
Bridget is a 37 year old mother of two. She lives in West Wareham with her husband and their two children. She has also resided in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, California (Pacific Beach, San Diego), and on a dairy farm in Montana. She has a degree in Communications and Creative Writing. She is also an attorney and member of the Massachusetts bar…but does not practice, and instead focuses on her blog The Good Life, She Wrote and Commercial Freelance Writing. Over the last five years she has become increasingly interested in simple living, as she struggles to achieve life-work balance; and local food, as she strives to eat a whole, plant-based diet. Bridget also served as the executive director of the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) for four years.