Is it time for you to simplify simplify simplify?
‘The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it!’ ~ Henry David Thoreau
If you learn to simplify your life and all things in your life you will be able to find more room for peace in your life. Finding peace will give you more time to be present to the more important things in your life – your family, yourself and those things in life that bring you the most value. By simplifying and de-cluttering your physical space, you have more space for healing the body-mind-soul!
You may have heard the acronym, K.I.S.S. It stands for “Keep it simple, ------!” Since I don’t like negative thoughts or negative beliefs, I will take poetic license and use instead, “Keep it simple, Sam!” Not only are the best things in life free, they are simple! Life shouldn’t be so hard, when it can be simple and easy. Life should flow and be full of more things that are enjoyable and bring us meaning than bring us headaches and grief. You can simplify simplify simplify and be happy!
If you take the time to clear the clutter you will clean out your physical and emotional cobwebs and create more time for yourself. It is a great feeling to go through your belongings and systematically make space for yourself. Physical and mental space will materialize as a result. Self-examination by going through your belongings is a truly healing process. Don’t let your junk become a body-mind-soul issue where your body speaks your pain. Just simplify simplify simplify instead!
In clearing out your clutter, the rule of thumb is to identify all that is important to you and eliminate the rest! Sounds dramatic and it can be. It also may be harder than you know. But if you commit to doing this the end result will change you. You will experience a newly found freedom. This is a new freedom to re-create you. The physical space and metaphorical space that opens in you might surprise and reward you! You now have enough room for Creating a Sacred Space for yourself. All this because you have learned to simplify simplify simplify!
I grew up in a large family of almost a dozen children, so I was unable to get a lot of the things I wanted as I was growing up. I learned how to get by on what my family had. The only way I could get what I wanted was to earn the money babysitting and working at a nursing home.
As a young adult, after becoming an RN and making good money for the first time, the acquisition of things was very important to me. I now could eventually get anything my little heart desired! I spent the better part of early adulthood accumulating things that I thought would finally bring meaning and happiness to me. Of course, these things could not do this, but it took until my early 40’s to realize this.
Because of my background, as an adult, I quickly re-learned the meaning of making do with what I had. As I got older, these skills came in handy. I slowly learned that for me personally and for my health, simple was better. I was choosing to simplify. Maybe it was the way I was raised, or maybe it was that I realized the time and effort it took to obtain and maintain things. I wanted off the bandwagon. I now wanted to simplify simplify simplify!
I realized that I really didn’t need every kitchen gadget and decorative knick-knack I saw in the glossy catalogs I received every day in the mail. I really didn’t need 5 sets of cutting knives that served the same purpose. I could easily get by with a 2-cup liquid measuring cup instead of 4 different ones of different sizes. The bread machine grew into an old concept after a year, the kitchen wizard that cut, chopped, diced, sliced and did everything but cook the food, sat on the shelf because it took longer to clean than it did to chop the food by hand.
My kitchen was symbolic of all the collecting of things that had added up over the years. We had happily collected kitchen gadgets, cars, boats, a house with roomfuls of things, closets full of clothes, and a garage and basement full of junk.
Along with all the stuff we had acquired, came the responsibility for their upkeep. The burden of all this stuff started to weigh heavily on me. I needed to simplify simplify simplify!
Life seemed to just keep on piling up more and more issues that needed addressing. From going through junk mail, electronic mail and paying the bills, to keeping on top of the best insurance deals, best financial plan, merchandise deals, travel deals, and mowing the yard, weeding the gardens, and the upkeep on the house. I was doing all this while working full time and taking care of the family needs.
Pride and keeping up with the neighbors kept me going until it just didn’t seem worth it anymore. We were caught in the modern day phenomenon, the modern day trap of our houses getting bigger, better and fuller of stuff while our families got smaller. Houses no longer represent a warm place to live that we call ‘home,’ but a status symbol, an ‘investment.’ With house prices going up at a ridiculous rate, it was easy to get caught up in this.
Houses are also I believe, a way of insulating ourselves from the stress of the outer world. We keep on building our castle, with our moats, as we try to find happiness and comfort, by keeping the outer world at bay, because we feel so out of control.
My middle age unrest began in 2004, before the economic crises of 2007-9. We were lucky and sold our big, beautiful Victorian home in an emerging neighborhood in Denver, in 2005, before the housing crisis hit. We downsized before downsizing was popular. It was definitely time for us to simplify simplify simplify!
We were looking for a different lifestyle. After 4 moves in as many years, the first out of the big home, then out of the city of Denver, to a ski area, then back to Denver, we finally settled on our little cabin in the woods of Southern Colorado in 2008. With each move we downsized and got organized even more - had yet another garage sale, sold more possessions, got rid of the extra set or two of everything. We really examined everything to decide what really meant something to us and what really made a difference. We were choosing to simplify. We were even gearing up to live in an RV, maybe, fulltime. I also consolidated our financial accounts. I ensured that everything would be delivered electronically, so we didn’t really even need the US mail.
Our little cabin was remote, with a barely sufficient well, powered by a solar system totally off the grid and heated with a wood-burning stove. It was a very interesting adventure. No yard to mow, no neighbors to keep up with, other than socially, since both our neighbors and we are living on acreage that keeps us beyond eyesight. As my stepson said, we were becoming ‘hippies.’ But not really. We were well-to-do hippies, and we could still get whatever we wanted. We just chose to live life simply. We wanted to simplify simplify simplify!
Without the burden of the upkeep of the suburban house, we could leave on a moment’s notice to our next adventure. It afforded a real freedom to travel. Plus most of our friends appeared to love coming to our place, to enjoy the serenity and the simplicity of it.
I soon took up traveling nursing, and my husband and I went together to various cities in the Four Corners area as I worked for my in-home clients.
We used our cabin as our jumping-off place, our ‘terra firma.’ So, you see, I still need the ‘land’ and our connection to it. I am not ready for the hippie commune just yet! But I am keeping an open mind!
The point of my story is not to encourage you to live like a hippie, nor tell you to live without, but to honestly assess your lifestyle. But what if you had to live in a small apartment, or an RV? What really does mean the most to you? Could you live with only an RV full of possessions? Would your life be easier? Would you be freer? Would you have more time to really enjoy the things in life that bring meaning? Think like this as you go through your house and your life and simplify simplify simplify!
Could you pick out 4-5 activities or things that you absolutely enjoy the most and make them your priority? The 4-5 things that provide you the most value? When you decrease your clutter, you will have time for that which you value most. For me, it is in the order of priority:
What does your list look like? If you notice, my list does not have any things at all. Take time, if you have never done so, to make your list. Sit quietly and ponder what are the most important things in your life and vow to clear the clutter to create space for your new life. Vow to simplify simplify simplify wherever you can.
The number of possessions per capita, if anyone had access to such data, is probably going up exponentially. We are America: the land of the over-indulgers and over-consumers. We live in the ‘Land of Plenty,’ and it sure costs plenty to live here with the lifestyles we choose! It costs you money and costs you your physical and mental health! The stress of constantly obtaining and maintaining costs you your body-mind-soul! The only option to get off this bandwagon is to simplify simplify simplify!
Recently on a trip to Europe my family hooked up with my stepson’s friends, all who had recently graduated from college. Over dinner they asked us, “What is your single piece of advice for life that you would give us?” Our advice to them was, “Pile up experiences, don’t pile up things!” Things tie you down and limit your freedom, and for me, my sense of adventure. Things burden you with more upkeep, more expense to insure and maintain.
The mantra is: simplify simplify simplify!
you love your home and your castle, and your things, and if they bring
value to your life, by all means keep them and maintain them. Just
beware of the moat that you build around them. Make sure it is not a
moat of stress. If it is, then you know what to do! Simplify simplify simplify!
Always remember: The price of everything is the amount of life you exchange for it! - Henry David Thoreau
I get a sense that the 20-something generation already sees this concept. They had the things as they grew up, and they still want the money, but they want the freedom more. They see that our generation is trapped, working non-stop to acquire the ‘good life.’ They are finding it increasingly more difficult to enter this material world, this struggle, and in today’s economy it is making it even harder. They seem reticent to give up the good life. They are environmentally greener than we are, less encumbered, and more conscious of issues. Or maybe I am just seeing the world through my stepson’s eyes as he struggles to enter a world where he longs to find meaning. Or maybe the Golden Supply Line hasn’t yet been cut?
If you choose to simplify your life, and I hope you just choose it and do it, please follow the following links for more quick tips to simplify simplify simplify your life and get you going: