Simple living doesn’t have to mean moving out to the middle of nowhere like we did. It doesn’t have to mean growing a vegetable garden. To simplify your life is to intentionally and systematically cut out the extraneous things in your life that hold no meaning – or, worse, that are holding you back in some way.
With that understanding, read on for five ways that you can begin to simplify your life today.
1. Remove five items from your closet that you no longer wear.
Many people consider a closet a good place to start when they want to declutter their house. After all, it’s such a small space, right?
Even so, it tends to be one of the most cluttered – and therefore most overwhelming place to start. So instead of challenging you to grab a box of garbage bags and start eliminating everything you haven’t worn in a year, I’m simply going to ask you to give up five items.
A collared shirt. A T-shirt. A pair of pants. A skirt. A dress. A pair of socks. A belt. A scarf.
Pick five items that you don’t really like and therefore have not worn in a while. Then bag them up and put them in your car to drop off at a location that receives such goods (make sure they’re clean first).
Decluttering, any kind of decluttering, makes your life simpler because (to a certain extent) the more stuff you have, the less freedom you have.
2. Return or make that e-mail or phone call that you have been putting off.
Whether it’s e-mailing a company with a question or calling a friend or family member with whom you need to resolve a conflict, allowing communication tasks to pile up adds to your stress and makes your day busier when you finally work up the nerve to do it.
This is especially true when the e-mail or phone call has to do with an unpleasant situation. But when you learn to face such situations head-on, you save yourself a lot of grief. You also keep both yourself and the other person from having too much time to blow up the problem in their mind, which makes talking to them about it even harder.
3. Replace a processed food you usually eat with a natural one.
Just for today, eat a banana with some almonds instead of candy bar. Just for today, cook yourself a chicken breast and fresh vegetables instead of eating a boxed meal. Just for today, replace one of your glasses of soda with a glass of purified water.
Eating foods in their natural state simplifies your life because they improve your health and well-being. And they enable you to connect, even just a little bit, with nature.
4. Turn off the T.V. and computer.
Modern technology is a two-edged sword when it comes to simple living. While it has made our lives simpler in a number of ways, it has also complicated them.
Watching certain T.V. shows can increase your stress levels. So can engrossing yourself in an online debate about some issue or other. And no matter what you’re doing, when you are staring at a screen you are disconnecting yourself from the natural world.
This evening, choose to talk to your spouse or a friend for a while, perhaps while taking a walk. Read something enriching while classical music plays in the background. Work on that craft you’ve been claiming to be “too busy” to do. Practice the guitar that’s been collecting dust in the corner of the living room.
Whatever you choose, when you go to bed tonight you will feel like you’ve actually accomplished something. Feeling fulfilled makes life simpler because it’s better for both your physical health and your mental health.
5. Take a step toward a goal you’ve set.
Many, if not most, people set goals of some kind or other in their minds. But life gets in the way, and so instead of moving toward their goals they push them aside.
With few exceptions, most people always have a few extra minutes in a day to take a baby step toward something they really want. They just need to reprioritize and/or organize their time better.
So today, take one step toward that weight loss goal. Take one step that will help you get that online business started. Take one step that will get you out of debt. Take one step toward your goal to start a garden.
How does that make life simpler? The things you set goals about are generally things you really care about. What you care about should be your priority, and when you are focused on your priority, it’s easy to ignore the extraneous situations and things that would otherwise pull your attention away from it and make your life much more complicated than necessary.
Simple living encompasses much more than decluttering your house and getting out of debt. It’s a way of thinking that helps you to be healthier and happier. And all you need to do to get there is to take one step at a time.