I read a quote on my teabag the other day that said: “When the dawn of simplicity comes into life, complications leave.” And isn’t that the truth. I love talking about living simple and a minimalistic lifestyle because it is just so lovely, free, happy, it’s light, it’s airy, and it’s very liberating. I notice more and more people are getting into it, wanting to know more about it and wanting to make some changes in their lives to make it more easy breezy. So whether you have already taken steps towards simplicity, or you’re just thinking about getting started, getting inspired, this is the video for you. I have seven steps you can take to make your life more simple.
For some people, this can be the most challenging step, but it’s also super fun and unbelievably rewarding once you’ve done it. Decluttering your home is the perfect Step to living simple because your environment has a significant impact on your happiness, whether you’re conscious of that or not.
Clutter things you don’t want, need or use, things that are broken, things that were a gift, but you’ve never looked at, all these things are crowding our home, mind, and heart. The feeling you get when you get rid of all the excess stuff is just so great. You will feel like you’re 30 pounds lighter.
Getting rid of the noise and extra’s will leave you with a home environment filled with only the best things that give you joy and add value to your life.
If you’ve never really decluttered before, here are some tips to help you get started.
- Divide your stuff into three categories.
The first is all the useful things you keep around the house such as your vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies, appliances perhaps, that type of thing.
- Sort through them, asking yourself the following questions.
How often do I actually use this?
Does owning this item make my life better or simpler?
Do I have something else that I can replace this with?
And, do I own multiple of these? For example, you don’t need five vases and three teapots.
- Once you’ve gone through this category, it’s on to the second, the sentimental, emotional category.
Gather old birthday cards, old report cards, gifts from your first crush in one spot, and sort through them asking yourself the following questions.
How often do I still look at this?
Does owning this item bring me joy, happiness, or add value to my life in any other way?
Can I make this digital?
(For example, that old rapport card, or birthday cards from your childhood can be digitilized.)
If you’re still attached to an item, I suggest keeping it for now. You can always go through this category again later.
And then it’s on to the last category, which is everything else you own.
Clothes, books, DVDs, appliances, electronics, gadgets, you name it. I suggest going through these, using the konmari method. If you’re not familiar with that method, here’s basically how it works. You go through your stuff not by room or cabinet, but by category. So for example, gather all your clothes into one place and go through them by holding each item in your hands and asking yourself the following question:
- Does this item spark joy?
- In other words, do you feel good or happy holding it and owning it?
If yes, keep it, if not, get rid of it. If you’ve never decluttered before, this can take some time. Don’t get frustrated with yourself, and just do it bit by bit. Whatever you want to get rid of, you can decide to sell, give away, donate, recycle, or toss.
Once your home environment is clutter-free, light, and breezy, you can use the same principle to declutter your digital environment. Take your phone and go through all your apps. Do you use them often, and do they still serve you, keep them, if not, delete them. The same goes for all the media that’s on there, and all these funny gifs everyone keeps sending you. And if you have a laptop or tablet, the same goes for these things.
After this, take a good hard critical look at your social media platforms. Which ones do you use, and do they actually bring positive juju to your life, or not? Be honest here. If yes, keep them, if not, delete them. You don’t need all these unwelcome distractions that give you stress or irritation, or that keep you from doing cool and fun things.
Then again, if they have a positive impact on your life, keep them. Also peaking of distractions, I suggest disabling all your alerts on your phone. This way, you can decide when you want to spend time on your phone, and when you want some quality relaxing time without distractions. People don’t need your reaction right away. When it’s REALLY urgent, they’ll call.
Do this to your home environment and digital environment, and you are on the right track to living simple.
Review your projects.
This is an essential step to living simple. Getting a new kitchen counter, painting that one chair in the den, learning a language, writing a book, these things can be super fun and add significant value to your life. OR they can give you lots of stress, irritation, and insecurity.
It’s all in the context really. I suggest making a list of all the projects you’re working on or wanting to work on and going through them honestly.
- Does this project add to your happiness or wellbeing?
- Are you doing it for you, or because you think others expect it of you?
Be honest and keep the good, contributing ones, and toss the stressful, unhappy ones. You don’t HAVE to do them. You are already good enough right now.
The same goes for your commitments. The same as with your projects, think about them, and make a list.
“Dinner with your neighbor every Sunday night, getting your nails done every two weeks, going to your cousins’ friends’ daughters’ neighbors’ wedding.”
- Do these commitments add value to your life?
- Or do they clutter up your free time?
Be honest and make choices. Some commitments can be hard to give up, but you don’t HAVE to do everything you think people expect of you. You only live once.
This is where it becomes tricky for a lot of us because it involves people. It doesn’t feel right to review your relationships and value them as good or bad, but when you stop to think about it, our relationships with people have a significant impact on us. And if we have toxic relationships in our lives, they can really drain lots of energy and bring us a lot of sorrow.
So take a moment to think about this, and identify any of these relationships in your life. If there are any, whether it’s in our home, in our mind or our heart. Once it’s no longer serving you, adding value to your life, it’s time to let it go. If you take this serious, living simple is definitely attainable.
The “I should” Thought
For this Step, we’re going to go a little deeper into our minds and identify what thoughts about ourselves or our lives are holding us back. We can call these the “I should..” thoughts.
As human beings, we tend to be very critical of ourselves and expect a lot from ourselves. We don’t just want to be good. We want to be perfect.
“I should be someone who exercises every day. I should be someone who only eats healthy, home-cooked things. I should be the perfect working mother who also hosts every bakesale and goes to every musical or recital or soccer match. Or, I should be the perfect minimalist with only 50 items to call their own.”
These things we expect from ourselves can bring us lots of inspiration and determination, or bring us down ultimately and make us incredibly stressed. So take a moment to think about your own “I should” thoughts, and make a list.
Why do you expect this from yourself, and in what way is this still adding value to your life? Be kind to yourself, the same way you would to a friend and get rid of all the not so constructive ideas about all the things you should do.
Stay Inspired and Conscious
The Step is kind of continual, so it goes on forever. Staying inspired by watching videos on YouTube of other people’s journeys, or by talking to like-minded friends, can help you to remind yourself why you like always living simple and minimal. This way, you’ll stay conscious of your choices and invite less new things or complications in your life.
It’s also a great way to exchange ideas and help each other out.
So this was it, seven steps for simplifying your life. I hope it inspired or helped you. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have any more tips on living simple.