New Year, New Challenge: Simplify.


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 SaintExupery

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 :

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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24 thoughts on “New Year, New Challenge: Simplify.

  1. This was a very timely post. It seems so many are finally seeing the value of letting go and concentrating on what has greater value in their lives. I’ve been on this path for many, many years and continue to pare down. It’s a never-ending process. What is satisfactory today won’t be next year because I would have matured more. I have to say that there are many tactics I’ve employed over the years, gleaned from countless podcasts, speeches, sermons, books, talks, persons, places, etc. Some tactics that resonated the most with me include taking personal time, self-care, learning the art of satisfaction, and abandoning consumerism. We all have to live in our societies but we don’t have to be conformed to them: we can think for ourselves and choose a peaceful life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing – I think taking time out of the rat race for self care is one of the biggest impacts for me. I never really put ‘creating space’ in my personal life as part of minimalism – but it certainly is. My schedule needed serious purging, arguably more than my home. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Moving into a tiny two-room space a year and a half ago forced us to simplify. It is something we should have done a long time ago, but sometimes it takes getting knocked off your donkey on the way to Damascus. Previously, we had been renting a large house. Everyone would say “It looks so empty!” And so, of course, we proceeded to fill it up. I could hardly believe how much “stuff we really needed,” either right now or someday, was sold or given away without a second thought when we no longer had room for it. I am starting to think that simplification begins with reducing one’s footprint by occupying as small a space as practicable. It can be difficult to understand that you really don’t need a breakfront with a full set of a china and an enormous table that seats 12 until you realize that you don’t have a dining room anymore. I suppose the ultimate manifestation of this phenomenon would be the homeless people in this area who have all their worldly possessions in a rolling cart or sometimes packed into just one bag.

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    1. This really resonates to me. I remember when I was looking to purchase a house, and fell in love with my place – a small two bedroom condo in a walkable area of the city. Many people encouraged me to get a larger place which I could “grow into” – but I’m glad I stuck to my small place. I have since gotten a roommate, and the place still meets all my needs. Even still, I know I could be living with a lot less. As I let go of “things” I start feeling lighter and lighter. It’s a very freeing experience.


  3. My word for 2016 was ‘Simplify’. Although I thought it was about work and clutter, it turned out to be a call to simplify by cutting myself off from some very draining relationships and reworking the way I interacted with others.
    Good luck with your plans.
    PS: Came here via Elena Peters’ blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i’m on the process of simplifying my life, both on the inside as on the outside. but it’s not being easy, and some days i fail.

    i’ve donated a big chunk of my clothes, but there’s a lot more than i want to rid off. my boy’s toys were tackled too. i’m trying to form new habits, like meditating every day, journaling, and have specific days and times do to specific stuff. i read about this approach in a blog, if you want to know more about it, tell me and i’ll search for the url.

    now, i’ll read more about your stuff project and see how i can join you! (read stories. share stories. change your own stories. rrrepeat!) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing work, Nicia! I also have started a practice of Meditation over a year ago, and have found that it made a huge impact. Would love to see the article you read – but also, interested to hear what you found hard or anything you found particularly rewarding! So glad to have you along for the journey. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. the article is this one: (i think you’ll love the whole blog)

        the most hard is the overwhelming feeling. everywhere i look there’s something to declutter and it seems like there’s no end! the most joy it gave me is to see something beautiful, organized and that gives me joy every time i look at it. this is what keeps me moving.

        thank you, laura. it’s great to read your words and learn with you. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really relate to feeling overwhelmed – in last year’s purge it felt like there was work everywhere (in my typically calm space). I also love the unclutttered, clean oasis’ the process creates. More space for the mind. ❤ So glad to hear your experience.

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