Every year, I take on a challenge. Something that gets me closer to living a life inline with my values. It allows me to focus on one thing – and usually see some significant strides in that area – rather than tackling everything at once.
This past year, I completed a STUFF Project. It included going through all of the things in my condo and storage. Piece by piece. I would be lying if I said that it was easy, took only a couple of weekends, or that I enjoyed the process. It was quite stressful, as I thrive in clean and uncluttered spaces, and the process involved ripping apart well hidden pockets of forgotten items in boxes/bins/drawers and the resulting boxes piled up in the hallways.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint–Exupery
It made me realize how many things I still have, and how much work could be done to simplify my life. That’s why this year, I want to take an even deeper look at how I got here in the first place.
I’m going to focus on the following three tactics during 2017 :
- Further reduce the amount of items I own – this follows my STUFF Project, but takes it up a level, until ‘there is nothing left to take away’. What will be the difference? Really assessing the necessity of items. Is there a better, or simpler, way of doing things – that requires less stuff and less time? For example: I hate ironing. I rarely wear clothes that need to be ironed because of that. However, I still have a huge ironing board, a small ironing board, large iron, steaming machine, a box full of steaming accessories, a steaming matt hanging over the back of my door, and many lonely wrinkle covered clothes. What’s stopping me from donating the whole lot – if I have plenty of other clothing options? I’d be saving electricity, personal time, and much needed closet space.
- Consume less & consume better – I have a feeling this is going to be the most challenging one of all. Breaking the chains of this consumer culture are likely going to be easier said than done. My house is a testament to how much “stuff” I welcome in on an ongoing basis, and it has been documented in the number of donation piles scattered throughout my home this past year. I know I need to be more strategic about what I am choosing to purchase – from clothing, to food, to interior design – choosing simple, natural, less disposable, quality pieces that will inspire joy for years to come. One of the things I have struggled with for the past decade is taking the time to prepare wholesome, simple, foods for the week – opting too often for the fast, excessively wrapped, food on the run. I’m looking forward to taking the time to learn how to make my own food that is more nutritious and less wasteful. Consuming less and consuming better applies to all things.
- Simplify life habits – when someone asks how my day has been , all too often the response is ‘BUSY!’ as if it is a badge to proudly wear. It’s time I pick up a better mantra, and embrace the beauty of slower more peaceful times. One of the most destructive things to do is overcommit, a habit I have a terrible knack for allowing myself to do. Simplifying means clearing up your schedule to make space for more meaningful and restorative activities – reading, writing, meditating, spending time out in nature. In order to make time for the important things, this means (for me) reducing the amount of time spent doing mindless activities like browsing social media, or vegging out watching videos. An added benefit? Less advertisements driving me to consume!
I am on a mission to break the pull of consumerism in my life, and make choices about what I purchase or how I live my life based on my values. By removing things in my home and life I don’t need, I will have more space to welcome in the things I want. Join me!
Have you tried any tactics to simplify your life? What worked? What didn’t? Do you think our lives could be more ‘full’ with less? What benefits to do you see in living a more simple life? I’m curious to hear your ideas and experiences below!
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