Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci
What is simplifying? Some people might think that to simplify would mean they must give away all their material possessions. This is not what it means! In one sentence, simplifying is about cutting out the excess. This can be excess Things, excess Stress, excess Demands on your time and resources. Do families really need a television plugged in to cable in every room? Do two people really need a 5000 square-foot house? Does anyone really need to drive a gas-guzzling Hummer?
What does it mean to simplify? It's about trimming the excess, getting rid of the clutter that does not add to your life, learning to say "no" to those demands on your time that are not priorities for you. Why do say "yes" to obligations that overtax us? Why do we except all the junk mail that keeps filling our mailboxes? It's about removing those things in your life that do not add value.
How to simplify? Start small and take it one step at a time. The biggest cause of failure for most people is trying to tackle too much at once or make a significant change that involves a lot of steps too quickly, which becomes overwhelming. You can start in just one area of your life at a time -- home, work, finances, time, money... whatever it is, start with the easiest to accomplish and move on when you feel you have accomplished your goal. Small changes could be limiting the number of hours spent in front of the television (if you're not ready to turn it off completely), stopping the barage of junkmail (visit Obviously.com for more info), declutter your closet and donate to chairity those clothes you haven't warn in over a year. Keep up your simplifying routine by not resubscribing to magazines you don't read, assess your purchases (ask Do I really NEED this? and answer yourself honestly) and don't buy when you are feeling emotional (angry, sad, upset -- many people shop to comfort themselves, as other people eat to comfort themselves... but it is a false comfort that inevitably leads to more of the emotion they didn't want). Start looking at the foods you eat. Are they simple, unprocessed whole foods? Or are they processed foods full of so many ingredients it's tiresome to read and contains many that are difficult to pronounce?
There are some fantastic books on the subject of simplifying. I recommend that you borrow (and read!) these from your local library:
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs
Loaded with beautiful ideas for living simply.
Your Money or Your Lifeby Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
If you read no other book on the subject, read this one!
The Good Life by Scott & Helen Nearing
No one knows more about living a simple and fulfilling life than the Nearings (my personal heroes).
Live Simply in the City by Jonathan Allan, Lynne Cantwell & Vicki Robin
Think you can't live simply in an urban area? Think again!
Changing your life to include more happiness and less STUFF can start today!
at a time. The biggest cause of failure for most people is trying to tackle too much at once or make a s
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. ~Henry David Thoreau