5 Things I Learned on My Summer Staycation

While friends are away cavorting in Europe, I'm watching over their house. Apart from the jokes I could make about the things I've learned (like that I need a house with a pool!), there are some more profound lessons I'm taking home from my staycation.1. I can live with a lot less than I have: Though I may be spartan on some levels (I only have two sets of sheets, for example), on other levels, less is the furthest things from my mind (let's not talk about how many pair of shoes I own.). Though I'm on a staycation only about half a mile from my house, I packed as if for a vacation, not wanting to have to run home to get stuff all the time. Despite my small bag, I've got plenty.

If you can't go away, try: paring down your closet (as one example) to what you really love, and see if you can live with just those items for a month. I'm not asking you to get rid of it, just pack it away somewhere. This is a version of the outbox concept. If you really love it, by all means keep it. But maybe you'll find you don't miss it at all.

2. Live lightly: I'm not talking about packing lighty, although as I mentioned, I settled in here with only a small bag, but I'm living with the feeling of abundance. Perhaps it's knowing that if I need something I can run home to get it, but isn't it the same way in life too? You can buy it, borrow it, or rent it if you really need it. Most of us hold on to stuff just in case, afraid we won't be able to afford it when we need it. Knowing that you can buy if you really need it makes buying it that much less compelling and makes you much more creative and carefree with what you have. (I.e., I went to a party last night and, while I considered running home to get a dress, I ended up not having time. So I worked with what I had and you know what? It was fine!) This feeling is hard to hold on to, but I'm going to try.

If you can't go away, try: throwing out that old worn out thing that you've been hanging on to just in case or, if you're the kind of person who buys too much, next time you have an event, try making do with something you have, but mix it up and get creative (i.e., wear the same dress but different shoes, make dinner using just what you have in the pantry or fridge, use hair conditioner instead of shaving cream for your legs or face).

3. A change of perspective: Though I'm all about routines, being in a different space means they're bound to change. That change makes me rethink the routines I have in place.

If you can't go away, try: Mixing things up, whether it's the order of your routines or where they take place, like taking your morning coffee while writing in your journal on the couch instead of at the dining table listening to the morning news.

4. A new appreciation: New space, new neighborhood, new grocery store. Even the things that I do on a regular basis demand a little more attention and effort, and that's a good thing. Out of necessity, I'm living more in the moment.

If you can't go away, try: adding one new place to your repertoire of places you frequent. Try that new place for lunch, look for the new items in your grocery store (and try them!), get off the subway or freeway one stop or exit early. Take a different route or the bus if you always take the subway.

5. Experiences, not things: With a gorgeous house at my disposal, I certainly would rather spend as much time here as possible instead of out at the stores shopping. And I certainly don't want to go home with more than I came with.

If you can't go away ,try: subbing in an event next time you're tempted to go out and buy something (especially since most of us buy stuff out of boredom). Go to the movies or try a new restaurant instead of getting a new pair of shoes or the latest model TV. Plan a trip online instead buying stuff the next time you find yourself surfing the web aimlessly at three in the morning. Even a little bit of time away will give you a whole new perspective, even if you don't go very far!

(Image: Theresa Gonzalez from Eva's Eclectic & Elegant Pad)

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