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Simple Living-How to Simplify Your Life and Possessions for Peace, Freedom, and Achievement

Updated on February 2, 2016
rainsanmartin profile image

Rain is a composer, digital artist, writer and homemaker. Fan of coffee and sunrises, in Fort Wayne, IN with husband Sage and two children.

Simple Living
Simple Living | Source

Article and photos by Rain San Martin

What is Simple Living?

For some, simple living is about using more natural technologies such as the Amish embrace or the pioneers once did, yet the modern Simplicity movement, or minimalist lifestyle, is about eliminating all but the essential from your time and possessions. Owning fewer gadgets, less furniture, and opting out of the rate race.

"Simple living is distinct from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice."

(-Wikipedia)

When you minimize possessions, you have peace of mind to focus on the important task at hand. When you reduce commitments, you have time for "the big rocks" of life.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and the Author of The Power of Less has a Simple Living Manifesto chock full of links to blog posts which he wrote on the ways to simplify your priorities, commitments, possessions, and media consumption.

Simple lifestyle
Simple lifestyle | Source

Simplify Your Possessions

Is it only when company comes to your house that you do a made dash to tidy up? Or have you become so complacent with clutter that it does not faze you when guests arrive? Do you have rooms that you avoid? It's time to part ways with your junk once and for all!

You will be more open to having someone step into your house to use the restroom or wait in your living room when the clutter is gone. When the holidays arrive, you will feel more peace knowing that your house is ready for company once you've decluttered objects taking up valuable space. The spirit of hospitality may be reawakened within you.

Benefits of Eliminating Clutter

  • You feel more relaxed as your home feels more like a vacation resort
  • You can find your keys and tools
  • Safer environment
  • Less time is spent organizing
  • Less time is spent repairing, managing or thinking about your stuff
  • You feel more relaxed and serene
  • You automatically spend less as you do not shop compulsively
  • You no longer feel pressure to keep up with the Joneses!

Simple living
Simple living | Source

De-clutter Your Stuff

When you de-clutter you will be tossing out trash, reorganizing, and donating. Look at each room of the house and see which items can be ruthlessly eliminated. Make an advanced appointment with Salvation Army if they do pick ups in your neighborhood.

The Basement:

  • Review boxes filled with old items that you may no longer need

Kitchen

  • Pots and pans: If you get a new set of cookware for Christmas there is no need to hang on to your old set.
  • Gadgets: When you adapt a simple lifestyle you discover there is no need for numerous utensils. A few durable cast iron cookware pieces, a good cutting knife, cutting board, spatula, spoons and a few storage containers will meet the majority of your needs. Get in the habit of using the back of a small pan instead of a garlic press and a basic cookie sheet instead of one with pre-cut shapes, restricting it's use.

Kids Rooms

  • Unless you plan to hand down your children's clothes to the next sibling, make a regular habit of sorting clothing into giveaway boxes. Keeping a box stored in the closet, marked "Salvation Army" will make the process automatic.
  • You will observe when your child has outgrown an old toy. Explain that you must regularly purge old toys to make room for the new. Advocates of Simple Living often invest in high quality wooden blocks or other nature toys, as they are less likely to look trashy over the course of time. Plastic toys have far shorter lifespans and often end up in landfills.

Your Bedroom

  • Clothes: Give away anything you don't love.

The Bathroom

  • Periodically review makeup
  • Remove old bottles and empty containers

What area of your life could use the most simplifying?

See results

Why Do People Hoard?

Sentimental Reasons

There may have been a death in the family and the survivor may want to cling on to the past. After time the home no longer resembles it's prime state, falling victim to decay and neglect. Eventually the resident is so overwhelmed with their possessions that they "give up", making pathways through the clutter mines.

Fear of Scarcity

Hoarding should never be placed in the same category as a survival preper. Survivalists, store surplus food and extra supply's for an emergency. Hoarders hang on to worthless plastic toys and other goods for "just in case" moments.

If you have ever been tempted to hoard your belongings for "some day", watch an episode of Britain's Biggest Hoarders. Though a grotesque show to watch, it may shine a light on a few bad habits.

Graham Hill On Life Editing

Simplify Your Time-Reduce Your Commitments.

Many people say they would paint, start their business, read to the kids each day and so forth, if only they had more time. The truth is we have time for the things that are important in life. Everyone can pack their schedules chalk full of activities to the point of utter exhaustion, but it takes a different kind of discipline to strategically remove all but the essential and desired from our monthly commitments.

Much of today's rat race could be avoided by meticulously cutting out duties and activities that do not bring maximum joy. There is only so much time in each week. One day should be set aside for rest. The other days are primarily work. If you are married, it might surprise you that having a homemaker take care of the domestic tasks of the household greatly contribute to a life of simplicity.

De-clutter Your Activities

Though many of these commitments appear to be noble and good, they can silently rob you of focused energy that you can put toward your long term goals or family time. Guard your time and scrupulously select your activities. A few areas to look out for:

  • Holiday parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Kids sports
  • Church volunteer work
  • PTA involvement

Why Do People Jam Pack Their Commitments

Today's "rate race" participation is a modern day cultural phenomenon.

Afraid to Stand Still

It has been suggested that they are afraid to be alone with their thoughts. As continual motion numbs them from their pain.

Activity Gives People A False Sense of Importance

All people are important, yet mankind greatly struggles to prioritize meaningful activities. The masses of today's modern American family fill up their own lives, as well as their children's in a frenzy of activity. Why the endless sports and classes? Is it your goal for your children to be Olympians? Most likely they will be in a different vocation. Or is the mad rush to feel important? What about taking that same energy and present your children with raw materials for dreaming? Paints, pencils, journals and books help create an environment of wonder.

“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all encumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. ”

Henry David Thoreau

Simplicity Aids with Achievement and Overarching Peace

When you have fewer possessions and a lower cost of living you are more likely to be able to pursue the vocation of your choice.

When your commitments are fewer, there is more time to purse your craft. Eliminate, edit, cut, then trim some more until you leave space in between the musical notes of your life.

“Music is the space between the notes” – Claude Debussy

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    • rainsanmartin profile image
      Author

      Rain San Martin 3 years ago from Fort Wayne

      Penny pinching and simple living can often go hand and hand as you are less likely to buy on impulse.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Years ago, I was a bit of a pack rat. I would keep all kinds of supplies and scraps of material just in case I needed them for a future project. I would also keep all kinds of receipts, bills, and records- just in case. I have learned to keep very little "extra" stuff now, and this works much better for me. Keeping only things I really need makes it easier to find things, and takes much less space!

    • rainsanmartin profile image
      Author

      Rain San Martin 3 years ago from Fort Wayne

      Thanks for your nice comment. I keep several boxes of memorabilia papers that I place in envelopes sorted by year, and each family member has them. They are my most valuable possessions, which is why I would never see myself living the "extreme" minimalist lifestyle, even though I consider myself a minimalist. I practice practical minimalism & simplicity.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I know there is usefulness in eliminating clutter, but I am very sentimental, and it's hard for me. Still, I'm no hoarder, so I do slowly go through stuff. I can much more easily cut down on commitments, as I'm quite the introvert. Neat hub. Thanks for sharing.