Simplicity has been an underlying theme of this blog for years, and in this post, I’ll go back to the basics in case it’s new to you or something you’d love to include more often in your everyday life. Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with a group of women dear to my heart about this passion, and I’d love to share the highlights of that discussion.
WHAT IS SIMPLICITY?
Simplicity, boiled down, means less is more. It is the antithesis of our culture of “busy.” A person living simply has margin and space and has worked to remove complications that bog them down. For me, the fun part of simplifying is editing (some people call this decluttering). Just like a good paper or book needs to be edited for an idea to shine through, my home, stuff, clothes, routines can be edited to let the best parts shine through and remove the unnecessary extras. You must learn to say no and stick to it.
I often think of simplicity as going a little old school. Just because society tells me I “need” something new (whether a new trend or gadget or Internet phenomenon), I always question it first. Do I really need to add this to my day? What was my mother’s or grandmother’s day like at my age? How would they have managed in a simpler time?
Once you begin simplifying, you may quickly realize, as I did, that simplifying is not a one-time job. It is a process, a lifestyle shift. While you may start with your closet or social media apps, the same idea works in multiple facets of your life. And we’ve found that it is addicting. Once you see the freedom of simplifying one area of life, there is momentum to move towards the next step.
When my family chose a simpler path, it wasn’t just about the number of pieces in our closet or decluttering a junk drawer. We found that there were five deeper reasons for simplifying our home and schedule.
- Feeling content and grateful for what we have, rather than constantly wanting more.
- A simpler life prevents decision fatigue by eliminating excess.
- By clearing out clutter, we can focus on what’s important – both the stuff that we most use and like, and the people who are more important than maintaining, cleaning, and repairing stuff.
- Saving money. By cutting out shopping as a hobby or therapy, we can live within our means.
- Creating a calm and peaceful home and heart.
HOW DO YOU SIMPLIFY?
Start with what is already in your home. Slowly and methodically, work your way through your home and declutter. A quote that is always running through my head while decluttering is, “Have nothing that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” by William Morris. I also think, “Would I spend $20 or $50 to replace this item if it broke?”
I have found that once you begin to see how simplifying improves your living space, it gets easier and easier to let go of stuff. I try to find better homes for the pieces or to sell them or to donate them to a charity. If this step is hard for you because you have a lot of sentimental or guilt attachment to pieces, this may help: You are not a victim of your stuff. You are choosing to let each piece have a spot in your home and if it isn’t serving a purpose, let it go.
Note: the same tips could also apply to activities already on your calendar if your family feels over-booked.
Second, watch what you bring into your home. Carefully consider deals. Do you really need this? Will you really use this? Do you have space for this? Often the answer is no. Unsubscribe from email lists and instagram accounts that are constantly marketing sales. You will buy less. Carefully consider freebies too. Just because someone is giving something away, whether a relative’s hand-me-down furniture or the free toys from Chik-fil-a, do you really want to keep it in your home? Lastly, try a spending freeze. Twice a year, I stop buying stuff for about three months. With the exceptions of groceries, I don’t bring anything extra into our home. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it.
Lastly, be intentional about what you want to add to your life . Maybe you’ve simplified an area of your life with the end goal of being able to pursue a hobby you love. Maybe you want to be more present with your loved ones. Maybe you want to get outdoors more often instead of cleaning and maintaining stuff.
A simple life doesn’t have to be boring or stiff. Create margin for the things you value.
EXAMPLES OF AREAS TO SIMPLIFY
Toys – decluttering toys
Kitchen Cupboards – coming soon…
Photos – creating family photo books
PS: If you have questions, feel free to write them in the comments. I’m considering doing a Simplicity FAQ post in the next few weeks, if there are enough questions. We did a similar thing in the discussion I led, and it was fun to brainstorm with a group of women about ways to practically simplify our daily lives. Ask away!