Are you overwhelmed by life? Do you come home and feel constricted by all of the stuff you own? Is your schedule jam-packed with commitments and responsibilities?
For the most part, life is busy, crowded, and convoluted because you make it so. And just as you choose to weigh your life down with unnecessary junk, you can make the conscious decision to pursue a more minimalistic approach lifestyle. It’s all up to you.
Start Living Simple
Why is life more complicated now than it was 25, 50, or 200 years ago? The essence of human life hasn’t changed. We’re still the same creatures with the same biological needs. The only thing that has changed is what society views as normal and necessary. And in American culture, normal and necessary looks like owning a bunch of stuff and having lots of social commitments and responsibilities.
Does the constant lure of doing, buying, and committing to more, drive you crazy? Maybe it’s time you simplify. Believe it or not, it’s as easy as putting your mind to it. Don’t believe so? Just try the following:
1. Make a List of Priorities
In seeking to simplify your life, the very first step is to make a list of your top priorities. These are responsibilities, relationships, and commitments you can’t live without. For most people, this list will include between three and five items. Take your time and carefully develop this list, though if something isn’t obvious, it probably shouldn’t make the list.
2. Trim Your Commitments
Once you have your list of priorities, you can begin to trim away the “excess” in your life.
Begin by freeing up your schedule and cutting back commitments that don’t belong. This might look like no longer being a member of a book club, stepping down from a leadership position in the PTA, or cutting out poker night on Thursday evenings. Whatever the case may be, there are probably one or two commitments you can free yourself from with relative ease.
3. Get Rid of Non-Essential Items
From a physical point of view, you can simplify your life by going through your possessions and getting rid of any non-essential items that you no longer use.
For many people, this is the hardest part. We’ve been groomed in a culture that’s obsessed with owning “things,” but the reality is that we don’t use or need the vast majority of the possessions we accumulate. As a rule of thumb, toss or donate anything you haven’t used in the past year. You won’t miss it.
4. Downsize Your House
“The bigger the house you have, the more money you have to invest to keep it running smoothly,” Green Residential explains. “A smaller house, on the other hand, is much easier to maintain. As a result, you’re able to spend more time enjoying it (as opposed to constantly maintaining).”
It might seem counterintuitive in a culture that idolizes McMansions, but downsizing your house is one of the quickest paths to happiness and stress reduction. (And once you get rid of all the things you no longer use, you won’t feel so crammed.)
5. Get Rid of Debt
Financially (and psychologically) debt is one of the biggest constricting forces in the average American’s life. By sacrificing in the short-term to pay off debt, you can enjoy a much simpler and more carefree life in the years to come.
6. Unplug and Be Present
Social media, email, apps, video games, and text messages seem to consume so much of our daily lives. By making it a point to unplug from technologyfor extended periods of time, you can reduce this digital strain and be present where you are.
Truly Believing That Less Is More
It’s one thing to say you want to simplify your
life. It’s something else entirely to actually follow through and do it. We
live in a culture where society screams more,
more, more. There’s always something else to buy, another version to
upgrade to, or a new product that will supposedly bring happiness. But these
are usually lies. The reality is that less is more. And until you genuinely
believe this truth, you’ll have a hard time shedding the excess and embracing