Imagine extra time and energy, the chance to pay down debt, deeper connections, better health, improved quality of life, more meaning and purpose, less stress, and honoring the environment for a start. These are just some of the benefits you can gain by embracing simplicity.
When you engage in simplicity, you’ll naturally begin to think about what really matters in life. Hence, simplicity can be an incomparable path of personal transformation as well.
I wouldn’t wait a moment if you feel called to simplify. Like Joshua Becker and his family, you might discover that the “abundant life is actually found in owning less.”
What Draws You to Simplicity?
The process of clearing away the excess and clutter may feel boring, dirty, and overwhelming at times. It did for me. So take a moment to identify your reasons for seeking simplicity right from the start. This clarity of intention will keep you going when the complexity of getting to simplicity feels too much.
I prefer a simple life because I want:
- More time for what’s really important to me.
- More ease and less stress.
- To sustain the beauty and abundance of nature.
How about you? What draws you to simplicity?
Take Your First Step Towards Simplicity
You don’t have to become a minimalist or own less than 50 things to reap the goodness of simplicity. Start where you are and find the level of simplicity that matches your personal circumstances and needs. Simplicity will naturally look different to a single nomad compared to a family of four.
You can start small by cleaning off a single counter or dig in with a weekend extravaganza clearing the garage. The most important thing is to just begin and then keep going.
For most of us, it takes time – think months and years – to simplify our lives. So find a pace that works for you and take one step at a time. Keep the momentum flowing without pressuring yourself.
If you do get off track, that’s OK; just start again. Remember, you’ll feel lighter with each step you take.
10 Ways You Could Embrace Simplicity
To help you get started or reignite your enthusiasm, I’d like to share 10 ways I’ve simplified my life – so far.
1. Reduce or Eliminate T. V.
I used to watch television at night because I felt exhausted and just wanted to space out. But, it didn’t add anything positive to my life. Dramatic programs trigger the stress response: pounding heart, tightening muscles, etc. Commercials lure you to consume more than you need; more than your fair share.
I gave up television when I moved to France eight years ago and have never looked back. When I occasionally watch a program, I’m all the more turned off.
Instead, I practice meditation, exchange massage or Reiki with my husband, sit outside and enjoy the dark night sky, have friends for dinner or read a book. These activities nurture my spirit and enhance my well-being instead of keeping me in that “always on” state.
2. Buy Less
Try a shopping moratorium - except for the essentials – for 3 to 6 months. A no shopping rule gives you the space to consider if what you desire is something you really need and whether the item will truly enrich your life. It gives you a chance to see what tempts you and why that might be.
I’m lucky because I don’t like to shop on or off-line, but I still bought too much stuff. I used to have obsessions like pens, planners and baskets of all sorts. I sold or gave away almost all my possessions when I moved to France.
Now, I rarely buy things. I don’t hesitate to purchase what I need, but I’ve found that I need much less and enjoy life much more.
3. Get Rid of Excess
Here’s an idea to help you avoid the overwhelm if you have a ton of stuff. Robert Wall bought a large outdoor trash can. Then he promised himself that each week it would get filled and brought out to the dumpster. It was a gradual, but very effective process.
You can start with one room, one corner of a room or even one shelf to make it feel manageable.
Whatever approach you use, know that attachment and emotions will arise as you begin to try to let go of your stuff. For example, at first I found it very difficult to give away my library of almost 1,000 books. But, like all feelings, the sadness dissipated soon enough. I rarely thought about most of those books again.
Don’t let emotions be the obstacle that stops you for living a more simple life.
If you’re not sure about something, put it in a “maybe” box and stash it away for a few months. If you don’t need it or think about it during that time, let it go.
I used our move to a smaller house a year ago to do another clean sweep. Even though the accumulation wasn’t out of hand, it still took several months.
4. Streamline Your Wardrobe
I participated in Project 333 to streamline my wardrobe. The idea is to assemble a collection of 33 pieces of clothing and accessories for a season (three months), get rid of any clothes that don’t fit or don’t work, and store the remainder – just what you truly love – until the next season.
Each season, you create a new collection of 33 by mixing pieces from your current closet and those you’ve stored. Courtney Carver escorts you through the process, showing you how fashionable and fun a smaller wardrobe can be. You’ll save time, money and energy when you downsize your wardrobe.
5. Read Selectively
I believe knowledge is power. But, how much information do you need? I think it’s better to read fewer books and actually put the knowledge into action than to keep reading more and more and more.
This is something to consider if you buy every popular book that comes along, but never have time to chew on it or apply what you’ve learned.
Yes, I once had that library of 1,000 books! Now, I have a small library that mostly resides on my Kindle. I might read 12 – 15 books a year, but I sometimes go for months without reading a new book at all. You might, however, find me re-reading one of the books from my small wisdom library in order to refresh and deepen my understanding.
6. Spend Less Time on Social Media
A lot has been said about how social media can detract from your well-being when you compare yourself to others online and come out on the losing end. It can also be a way to avoid feeling alone or taking the time to be still and in touch with yourself.
But, social media can be addictive so it’s not necessarily easy to reduce your engagement. You really need to make a conscious plan.
I’ve had my periods of obsession, but now I try to take at least one full day off from social media each week. And, I keep the time I spend there each day to a minimum.
A great way to start is to track your 168 hours each week to see precisely how much time you’re spending on social media. Then set a clear limit that defines the amount of time you’ll spend on social media each day going forward. Experiment and see what works for you.
7. Do Less
Most of us seem to be caught in the “Doing Too Much Syndrome” that is part and parcel of modern life. Use your time tracking sheet (mentioned under number 6) to observe how you actually spend your time. Then identify 3 activities, commitments, or engagements that you can say goodbye to, one at a time. You know the ones you don’t really want to do, but somehow committed to anyway.
When you go through this process you’ll have to learn to kindly say no. You’ll also have a chance to explore the emotional patterns that keep you locked into over committing yourself. It could be low self-esteem or the need to please or something else. Whatever it is, this is a good time to bring it out of the shadows, say hello and tell it there’s a new way now.
I used to over-commit and give my time away without a second thought. But, I started to question my approach when I felt like I was coming apart at the seams. Finally, I had an epiphany when my husband pointed out how a friend was asking me to give him gratis about $500 of my professional time.
I turned a corner and learned to set limits so I don’t burn out. So I’m quite sure you can do so as well.
When we first moved to Hawaii four hears ago, we lived in a very large house. This was a welcome change after living in relatively small, crowded spaces for a good part of my life. I loved having a whole floor to myself and the rest of the household activity on another. But, I didn’t love all the cleaning, maintenance, and endless walking up and down the stairs.
We decided to downsize and now live in about 950 square feet with a sweet meditation gazebo as an outdoor plus. That’s half the average home space in the U. S., but still far more space than people have in most countries in the world.
I admire people who live in tiny houses, but as a highly sensitive person that’s too small for me. I believe the secret is to find the right size for you. However much you can downsize, you’ll release oodles of time, money and maintenance.
9. A Simple But Loose Planning System
I’ll write on anything within reach: post-it notes, backs of envelops, napkins, loose pieces of paper. But, I’ve misplaced those important scraps time and again, losing time in my search and depleting my equanimity.
I’ve been exploring options for a simple system to keep everything in one place. Now, I’m trying the Bullet Journal rapid logging method to track my tasks, important notes, lists, events, ideas, and plans all in one Eco-System Journal.
What a relief!
Meditation declutters you mind. It increases your clarity so it’s easier to see what’s important and streamline your life. It brings simplicity of mind so you have a more relaxed and enjoyable life.
Simplicity: Perhaps It Could Help You
This is a big list so please don’t get overwhelmed. Just feel into your first or next step towards simplicity and see what’s right for you. The benefits of simplicity are difficult to ignore. If you’d like to find more time, energy, peace, and freedom, simplicity may be the perfect way for you.
Would you like to simplify your life? Is there anything holding you back or have you already begun?
I’m glad you’re here and thank you so much for sharing my posts. If you’re new, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. With love, Sandra