Simplifying your life doesn’t have to be an all-in Marie Kondo kind of event that requires days of decluttering. In fact, taking it on in this manner carries the extra pressure of having to get rid of everything, or else, which may add to the overwhelm that your stuff is creating in the first place.
To truly simplify is to go beyond the physical clutter and make a lifestyle change to one that prides itself on quality over quantity, so that the things you do allow into your life — the activities, the people, and yes, your stuff — hold value and add meaning.
And since a lifestyle change usually doesn’t happen overnight (or in one KonMari session), I suggest you take small steps in this process. One small step every day eventually adds up to creating a lifestyle.
5 Things You Can Do Now to Simplify Your Life
1. Limit your social media. Social media has become a lifeline for many, but really it’s sucking the life out of us. By scrolling our feeds, we’re not present with what’s in front of us. If you take Facebook (or your preferred social media) off your plate, you’ll be amazed at how much time you have available for doing things that matter, like engaging in face-to-face conversations. Be warned, you may experience faux buzzing sensations when you withdrawal from social media. You’ll think that you are feeling your phone notifications when really it’s all in your head.
2. Let go of two items from your closet every day. This may seem ineffective if your closet is overflowing with stuff, but when you let go of one little thing, it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment, which is encouraging to keep going. Plus, if you do this in the morning when you’re getting dressed, it’ll add a sense of productivity to your entire day. Try not to get too sentimental with this project. Pick out two items, look at them carefully, then ask yourself if you love these garments. Be truthful and go with your first response. If you don’t love it, why do you have it? Let it go!
3. Go on a clothing spending freeze. Most of us wear the same things every day, yet we own hordes of clothes. If this is you, you can probably stop clothes shopping for awhile and still have plenty to wear, so try it! Not only will this help reduce your clutter, you’ll save some money.
4. Say no to requests that invite stress. Although you may want to bake cookies for the school bake sale, if you already have too much to do, then just say no, even if the PTA president asks you personally. The same thing goes for drinks with friends: If you can’t do it (or even if you don’t want to do it), don’t do it! When we say no to the requests that pull us away from our centers, and make us more stressed, we’re actually saying yes to ourselves. Sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow — to put ourselves first — but it’s like that oxygen mask on the airplane where you must take care of yourself before helping others.
5. Meditate. Meditation has a two-prong effect in simplifying your life. First, the act of sitting and being with your body and breath is an act of simplifying in itself. When you carve out the time to do this, you’re creating space in your life, which is a key element in simplifying. Also, when we meditate, we become more aware of who we are and how we’re living. This allows us to become more clear on what we want in our lives and what we can let go. So when it’s time to respond in a situation, whether it’s an invite out for drinks, or an embroidered handbag at the store, we are more equipped to make a better decision since we’re more aligned with the person we want to be.
What techniques do you use in simplifying your life? —Elysha