Does this sound like a simple life? Imagine this scenario: Stephanie gets out of bed in the morning, trips over a pile of clothes on the floor and stubs her toe, is late for her appointment because she can’t find her car keys, and goes to bed that evening depressed because her house is a mess and she feels like a failure. For some people, this seems extreme and far fetched, but for many, this is far too familiar. If you feel overwhelmed by a long to-do list and you feel like you never make progress towards your goals, you aren’t alone.
Why Do We Set Ourselves Up For Failure?
I often feel like I never seem to accomplish all of the things that I should. I feel like a failure. I finally decided to get to the root of the problem so that I could come up with a solution. I discovered that my problem wasn’t laziness or a lack of motivation. My problem was that I had too many unnecessary items on my to-do list.
We try to cram too many things into our day that we think will make us happier, more successful, or more desirable. But all of the craziness just makes us, well, crazy. If we evaluate what we fill our day with and eliminate all of the excesses we end up happier.
Why Should We Choose A Simple Life?
By eliminating all of the excesses, we have more time to focus on what truly makes us happy. Below is a list of what creating a simple life means to me. I will outline what my list means to me. I hope that my situation will help guide you through the thought process of developing your list so that you can begin to find areas that you can eliminate to become a happier version of yourself.
- Less Stress
- Less Regret
- Less Fighting
- More Time
- More Money
- More Appreciation
Clutter stresses me out. Paper all over my desk stresses me out. Piles of clothes, clean or dirty, stresses me out. My goal over the next 6 weeks is to remove all of the clutter in my home. I need to clarify my definition of clutter because I think we all have our own idea of what clutter is. To me, clutter is the temporary or semi-permanent accumulation of stuff. There is
Does this mean that my house always looks clean? NOPE.
The living room is almost never cluttered. The kitchen is almost always cluttered but picked up often. The laundry room is always cluttered. The bedroom is always cluttered on surfaces but never the floor. My office depends on the project that I’m working on. My husband’s office is always cluttered but I don’t spend time in there so it doesn’t bother me. My 18-year-old son’s room… IS A DISASTER.
Less stuff = Less Stress. I am planning on getting rid of as much stuff as I can over the next six weeks in order to have more room to store what is necessary. Yes, I have watched and I am a fan of Marie Kondo’s method of Tidying Up. No, I will not touch every object in my house and only keep what brings me joy. I plan on touching every object in my house and asking myself 5 questions.
5 Questions To Ask Yourself
- Do I use this? Not will I use this, that question will cause you to keep everything.
- Would I buy this today? Our taste in color, decor, and style changes constantly. If you wouldn’t buy it today you probably won’t use it tomorrow.
- Does this bring me joy? This is where Marie Kondo’s method comes into play. If an item brings you joy or makes your life easier or better, keep it! The goal is not to live in a home that feels more like a hotel room. The goal is to get rid of the clutter that is causing stress and getting in the way of life.
- Do I have multiples of this? Can you donate the multiples if they will expire before you can use them? Do you have a separate storage space to keep the multiples? This is a difficult one for me because we are preppers, so we have multiples of a lot of things. However, we have a separate storage area for the items that we buy in bulk and use on a regular basis.
- Can this be combined or reduced? Can you combine three bottles of lotion into one? Can you take the item out of its packaging so that it takes up less space?
By having less stuff I hope to also spend less time picking up, less time fighting with my family about the stuff they didn’t pick up, and less regret about how all of the stuff I have accumulated makes me feel.
I feel guilty when I look at all of the stuff that is shoved into closets and drawers. I feel guilty that we wasted our money. I feel guilty that I have five coats when some people don’t have one. That also brings about feelings of shame for the same reasons. I hope that by donating what can be used by others I can get rid of the feelings of regret and shame. I also hope that those feelings will keep me from buying more stuff in the future.
I haven’t experienced the regret of not spending time with my family because I have worked too much. I have been blessed for the past 18 years to have been able to raise our son as my job. I have worked part-time since he started school but I have always been able to be available when he needed me. But I do know that there are many parents that struggle with the pull between work and family. Working to provide is necessary and admirable, however, working to provide excesses is not as valuable as spending time with your family.
I mentioned my 18-year-old son’s room is a disaster. It has been a battle for many years. He either doesn’t see it or doesn’t care. He actually told me last week that having piles of stuff on his bed makes him feel cozy. Who am I to doubt what he feels? But when I have to go in there I don’t want to have to walk over clothes on the floor. So it is a never-ending fight. One that I’m going to miss in a few short months when he graduates from high school and moves out. sniff, sniff
I don’t fight with my husband about any messes because we are equal in the threshold that we have to get to before we clean. If you do fight with your spouse or roommate then creating a space with less stuff should help eliminate some fights.
I kind of touched on this with Less Stress. By eliminating the need to accumulate more stuff, you give yourself more time to enjoy what you have with the people that you love. You have more time to socialize with friends. You have more time for yourself. When is the last time you didn’t have anything to do and you just sat and relaxed? When is the last time you did something that you love?
How many times do you say “I don’t have time for that?” Or “I wish I had time to start a hobby.” I encourage you to pick something that you don’t think you have time for. Write it down and put it somewhere so that you can see it every day. Let that be your motivation to eliminate the excesses that are keeping you from having time for that goal.
You should see an increase in your bank account when you get into the mindset that you don’t have to buy more stuff to be happy. You may also see an increase if you decide to sell some of the excess stuff in your house. While donating things like coats, blankets and small appliances will help the people in your community who
When you have given value to what you keep you should come to appreciate it more. I’m not a purse lover like some of the women I know. So when I get a nice purse I really appreciate it. It has value and significance to me because it is special. Everything in your life should have a purpose and have meaning to you. If it doesn’t then you probably don’t need it, you just wanted it.
Wanting nice things isn’t bad. I don’t want to give you the impression that I think you should only have the bare essentials in your home. You deserve to splurge on a pair of shoes or a new set of throw pillows for your couch every once in a while. But before you buy something new, get rid of something old. Then you will keep the amount of stuff in your house to a minimum.
Are You Up To The Challenge?
If you are ready to eliminate all of the extra stuff in your house that you thought would bring you happiness but instead causes you to stress then I am excited to help you! Click on the links below to tackle each area of your house. I am writing these as I tackle them in my own house so check back often to find new areas to declutter.