The Bridges and the Simple Year 2

Stephen, Kandice, The Boy, The Girl, Eddie

Stephen, Kandice, The Boy, The Girl, Eddie

Month 1, Day 1

I want to start this by thanking Kerry. I am so grateful for the opportunity to take over The Simple Year. In fact, I’m stoked (this is a technical term). And in a week, truth be told, I will also probably be mortified. Like when you see all of the junk we’ve accumulated.

A little background

In a nutshell, my husband, Stephen, and I have spent the last 14 months thinking about our priorities as a family. On March 18, 2012, I was seriously injured. Basically, I fractured my spine. As in snap, crackle, pop, collapse. Spine surgery and an agonizing recovery soon followed. I’m still recovering, actually.

But, there is a silver lining there. Because of that experience, we have been thinking about what is important to us. Before I got hurt I worked a crazy job with awesome people for 60 or so hours each week. Despite the hefty salary and bonus that went with it, I started to question whether it was worth it. Managing our household became increasingly difficult and I was functioning via a cocktail of Lexapro, wine, caffeine and Ambien. Up, down, up, down. Not exactly the picture of health. Fast forward 14 months: with the help of weekly physical therapy sessions, I’m becoming stronger. I’ve also had a lot of time to think. Which leads me to our project.

The Project

We’re spending the next 52 weeks on a full-scale frontal assault on our crap. An excess of household items isn’t all we’re purging. The big house, the luxury cars, the cable TV, clothes, schedules, commitments, frivolous expenditures and relying on other people to maintain our home are all up on the chopping block. In our little pocket of Dallas, entitlement, materialism and luxury are everywhere. Instead of staying on the treadmill of consumption and keeping up with what everyone else is doing, we are choosing to focus on what we find meaningful.

We aren’t just de-cluttering our home. We’re de-cluttering our lives. As the physical possessions decline in number, the plan is to redirect the time and money spent caring for them on family adventures.

The beginning of our Simple Year will focus on the nitty gritty stuff we have in our home. As we continue, we will focus on bigger picture items – the house, the car, our family obligations.

Our hope is that during our Simple Year, we’ll identify what we really, truly need. We’re going to put into action what we have been saying in name only for far too long: that our family and relationships are what we value. Not our possessions. We’re going to focus on living a life free from all the stuff that, in the end, means nothing.

We hope you’ll join us.

33 Responses to The Bridges and the Simple Year 2

  1. I’m so excited to see someone take over this blog! Kerry’s blog has inspired me (not that I didn’t just take my kids shopping and waste an extraordinarily large amount of money on over priced, ripped, cropped t- shirts). And I’m looking forward to joining you and your family on your journey!!

  2. Welcome! I am so looking forward to following along as you and your family embark on this lifestyle change! It is so easy to fall into the consumption trap and I will be cheering you on as you take the time to really figure out what is important to your family and what is just trappings meant to impress other people.

  3. So glad you have taken over the blog and I’m looking forward to reading about your journey and finding ideas that my family can use as well.

  4. I am very much looking forward to your posts! I understand how hard it is. We are purging our house now as we are moving from PA to Dallas! Would love to take the journey with you! Wish you well in your new adventure!

  5. Good for you and well done on making the decision!! I’m looking forward to reading about your progress. Don’t fear the honesty of if you make mistakes (those are helpful to read about too). I’ve sure made many of those. I love the quote about “a steady obedience in the same direction”. Wishing you success on this new direction for your family.

  6. This will be loads of fun to watch! I’m very proud of you. I think God has a way of getting our attention when we are out of control. For our family, it was my surgery 4 years ago and difficult recovery that caused us to scale back. We have SIMPLIFIED – drive two old and paid for cars, do a lot of budget shopping and we just don’t accumulate stuff. Our savings account is MUCH bigger and we have gone on some fantastic adventures with the kids. It won’t be easy because people around you expect you to be like THEM, but we aren’t supposed to conform to THE WORLD, are we?

    I am 100% in support of you and cheering you on from Atlanta!

  7. cool, look forward to reading about your adventures.
    the american dream needs to be redreamt!l
    continued recovery to health.

  8. REALLY REALLY Looking forward to this!!!!! Feeling like I have simplified somewhat… but not nearly enough and not BRAVE enough to blog about it! 🙂

  9. Hi Kandice–

    I sold my home and walked away from sole proprietorship of a business in 2008.

    I have been simplifying my life and things for five years!

    I am looking forward eagerly to learning about your process and progress!

    Good luck and enjoy your ride.

    Continued good luck on your recovery too!

    Cheers to you and yours,


  10. Kandice I loved your previous blog and I’m SO thrilled to see that you will be writing again and I will be able to follow your adventures. Looking forward to reading all about it and hopefully becoming motivated myself to make some drastic changes in our own household. Best of luck!

  11. cant wait to hear about your journey, and maybe get some ideas myself. I thought I was doing good about getting rid of junk and not buying more, then I bought a new house(1st time since married 14 years ago). wow we have way too much stuff, moving it all has really not been fun. stuff definitely does not equal happiness.
    looking forward to hearing about your journey.

  12. This is going to be awesome, I’m stoked, too!

    You would think that, as a frequently moving military family, we would not have fallen into the stuff trap, but we have…hard. With every move, I keep hoping for a smaller home with less room to put things, only to get a larger one each time. More space=more stuff. Now, with two kids, I’m also overwhelmed with all of the things we need to do. The American way of life is full of “things,” isn’t it?

    Welcome, I’m looking forward to reading about-and perhaps even joining you-in this journey!

  13. Welcome! I just found this blog a few months ago, so I’m looking forward to watching you journey from the beginning.

  14. Kerry – You did a great job for Year 1 and this pay-it-forward gift to Kandice is beautiful. You have a great spirit!

    Kandice – I look forward to following your exciting adventure this year and de-cluttering with you. We are one big family!

  15. Good luck with your journey Candice. How I wish I could hop on a plane to help you declutter: it is one of my favourite things to do!

  16. Hi! I’m so excites that you’re here! I only recently discovered this blog and I loved reading the archives from the beginning straight through. Now I’m excites to go through a year step by step with your family. I’m lately wanting so much to red rid of clutter of all kinds so I can enjoy my boys. Thanks for helping me see how – thanks in advance- cant wait to see how it goes! Hope you’re feeling better and better too!

  17. Kandi, this is an awesome choice! We used to have a large house, and downsized about 5 years ago, as i wanted to stay home. I’m still working, but both our cars are paid for and our savings have increased Not to spend on frivolous things, but to comfortably pay for what “life” hands you. And believe me, life has handed us a few tests along the way. We still have work to do, but the stress level of “keeping” up with the Jones’ has diminished and we are so happy now! Of course, I still “want” all those things, but reality has set in and my rational husband keeps me grounded. Good luck with your journey and I look forward to hearing how things go.

  18. Good luck. I actually went through something similar a couple years ago after we had our second child and became a stay at home mom. I ended up renting a 14′ U-Haul December of 2011 and filled it once with stuff to have a garage sale at a friends house and a second time for a trip to the dump. Looking at the filled truck both times made me sick as I realized that was money that could have been an emergency fund, college fund or a nice dream vacation. I certainly think differently before making a purchase.

  19. How wonderful to read your story. I am so glad you are taking this journey and are willing to share it. I only discovered this blog a few weeks ago as Kerry’s year long story was ending. And I remember thinking that it was too bad I didn’t find this blog a year ago.

    Now I am thrilled to learn that I can travel though the next year with you! I am doing a bit of the same myself as a retired person who wishes to live less encumbered by stuff and who struggles to simplify my life.

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  22. how weird i injured my spine also and i had to stop working this month and i decided to do a not buy anything for a year also i hope i can!

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