Simplicity. Even the word seems to bring an immediate sense of calm over me. It seems that as life progresses, we’re all striving for more, more, more; to be better, faster, bigger; to do more, more, more until we’ve driven ourselves insane. It gets to be so overwhelming – and sometimes I find that while my mind is moving at such a rapid pace, I’m not even physically doing much. Sometimes our minds work so hard thinking about what we should be doing and need to be doing and are going to be doing, that we don’t give ourselves a chance to do — and more importantly, do well. And oftentimes we are doing, but we’re doing so much that we don’t get to enjoy what we’re doing. We don’t give ourselves a chance to stop, breathe, and just be. I think that the way to solve this is by simplifying.
By focusing on what’s most important, and ridding ourselves of what’s least important, I believe that we will discover a life that’s much more simple; much more enjoyable. This method of simplifying can be applied to every aspect of life: home décor, social outings, beauty routine, everyday tasks… even your closet.
Once you’ve identified the need to simplify, it may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Try not to look at a simple life as a precise thing that needs to be achieved. There’s no end goal. There’s no end at all. Instead, look at simplifying as a way of life, and realize that you can live it by doing a little bit each day. This way, your life is consistently getting simpler, and each day you’ll feel calmer, happier, and more grounded than the last.
So how is it done? However you want. There’s no set strategy for simplifying your life, but I’ll give you two ideas I’ve come up with.
An item a day.
Whether this item is tangible or intangible doesn’t make a difference, but the idea here is to remove one unnecessary item from your life every day. Maybe you’re sitting at a coffee shop and a stranger compliments your ring. Take a quick moment to think about that ring. Where did you get it? How long have you had it? What does it mean to you? Would you be okay with giving it up? If you find that this ring doesn’t hold a huge spot in your heart, maybe it’s time to let it have a new home. Give her the ring. Not only did you just simplify your life a bit, you formed a bond with a complete stranger, and you probably just made her day.
But not every item needs to be given up in this way. Maybe one day you walk into your kitchen and notice a wooden spoon that you just never use. Put it in a box to be donated. You don’t have to donate it right then and there, but by deciding to let it go, you’ve just simplified your life a bit.
This item can also be an idea or task. Maybe you’ve been taking painting classes twice a week. You love them, but sometimes it’s a stress to attend a class because you feel that you don’t get to spend enough time with your loved ones because of it. Simplify. Decide to go once a week instead – or even once a month — and decide to find more enjoyment in each class than the one that preceded it.
Two for one.
Another way to simplify is to get rid of two items for every one that you acquire. Again, these items can be tangible or intangible – although this may work best with those that are tangible.
It’s easy. The next time you’re out for a day of flea-marketing and come home with two vintage dresses, a pair of boots, a hand-woven blanket and an incredible mirror, find 10 things to put in your donation box. These 10 things do not have to be related to the items in any way – maybe you have 9 picture frames and a backpack that you never use. As long as you’re using a 2:1 ratio of removed:acquired, you’re simplifying your life, and you can feel even more excited about your new acquisitions.
My hope is that by the end of reading this post, you feel a little more relaxed, and excited to start simplifying your life. I’ll be taking steps to do this every day, and I hope you’ll do so along with me. If we each make an effort to simplify, we’ll be working our way to a more simplified world, one that we’ll all enjoy together. If you have any tips or want to share an experience about simplifying, leave a comment to let us know!
Follow FP Brigette on Twitter.