Monday I asked the question “How Would Your Life Improve If You Owned Less Stuff?“ It’s a question we don’t often ask. Usually the question is “How Would My Life Improve If I Owned MORE Stuff?”
But let’s suppose that your ready to embark on a simpler life. Lets suppose that you have had enough of keeping up with the “Joneses”, stuff and over-run schedules.
The question then becomes “How in the world do I go about simplifying my life?” It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to have practical steps to walk out. Because let’s be honest – It can be overwhelming.
Ok! So let’s get practical.
5 Practical Steps to Simplify Your Life Right Now:
1. Write It Down: List at least 5 areas you want to simplify your life in. What are your goals and dreams that simplifying will help you accomplish? By making your dreams and goals clear it will help you focus and get started. These areas will not be the same for everyone. The important thing is that after you finish a particular area, mark it from the list and move to the next one. As you simplify come back to the list, add areas as you become aware of them, or re-visit ones that need to be gone over again.
2.Pick one area and get started – For many, the first area they desire to simplify is the stuff & clutter in their home. Take it in small bites – such as sorting and emptying out your Tupperware cabinet or the junk drawer. Remember that simplifying takes time and is more about lifestyle change than anything. It’s important to remember that it’s a process.
3. Set a time limit – Often, when you start simplifying, it can feel overwhelming. I suggest setting a time limit before you dive into a task. This gives you a stopping point, even if your are not completely done. When we started our simplifying process it wasn’t something that happened all at once. It took small, deliberate steps. There were many times that I would come home after a long day at work and spend 15 minutes on a specific area – cleaning out the junk drawer, sorting through the Tupperware or the mud room closet. Over time, those short burst of time added up. The important thing is to finish what you start. It is tempting to get started in one area and then jump over to something entirely different. If you find yourself getting side-tracked, refocus and get back to the original task. See it through before moving on. It really does make a difference.
4. Be Brutal: This can be the hardest area of all. Be brutal. Be frank and honest about your stuff. Breaking free is going to take some hard decisions and new habits. Small steps can lead to big change.
5. Form a new habit: Once you get an area clean decide beforehand what you are going to do when new stuff comes into that space – because it will happen. Simplifying is a continual process because we will always have those things that come into our life – be it stuff or other things. For example: When you get the mail, instead of throwing it on the counter or desk – take 5 minutes to sort it, standing at the trash can. Recycle the junk mail right away. This will cut down on at least 1/2 of the paper that comes into your house. Again, small steps can lead to big change.
So Let’s Review:
Write It Down —-> Get Started ——>Set a Time Limit —–> Be Brutal —–> Form a New Habit
Honestly, there is no real right way or wrong way to simplify. What works for one person may not work for another. Simplifying is more about a frame of mind and purposing to make a lifestyle change over anything else. I simply share what has worked for us and things that I have found to help or hinder the process. Take what you will and leave the rest.
Let’s Connect: What Practical Step would you add to the list? What has helped you be successful in simplifying your life? Join the Conversation.
Keeping it Simple,