For some time now I’ve been walking around with three words at the top of my To Do List—simplify simplify simplify. I know it’s just one word repeated three times, and I’m not trying to be redundant, but I’m with Thoreau on this one. Less is more. Having and doing less gives you more time, energy, and money to spend on the things that really matter.
We live in an age of abundance. From big houses full of possessions to the emotional clutter that comes from having too much to do, we’re in a constant rush. Rush through household chores to get things done. Rush off to work so we can pay the bills and afford to buy more stuff. Rush to-and-from destinations to do what needs to be done. We cram in as much as we can in a day . . . until our circuits overload. The result? We’re exhausted and stressed out from the daily grind, chaos, and busy-ness.
I prefer a simple life.
Here’s why simplifying makes sense to me
- Downsizing. With our children grown and living on their own, it’s just the two of us. We don’t need a lot of space. A smaller house is a perfect fit.
- Saves money. A smaller house costs less to purchase, furnish, and maintain.
- Too much stuff. Who needs wall-to-wall furniture . . . kitchen counter clutter . . . shelving crammed with books and knickknacks . . . drawers full of useless junk . . . banker boxes loaded with family photos, the kids’ kindergarten art and A+ math homework from third grade, old credit card statements, and miscellaneous who-even-knows-what-it-is-and-why-are-we-saving-it paper?
- Enough is enough. You can unpack only so many complete sets of fine china before you realize you have too many. Crystal stemware, too, from way back when registering Lenox was the thing for young brides to do, is not needed. A nice set of wine glasses, definitely; but matching wine, water, and . . . does anyone even use traditional champagne stemware anymore?
- Less is more. Less clutter means more space for living, working, and playing.
- Easier housework. Flat surfaces are dust magnets, dusting around tchotchke is a pain, and wall-to-wall furniture allows for a lot of nooks and crannies where dust bunnies hide. Less in a room makes cleaning the house a breeze.
- Clutter comes with a price tag. The more stuff you have, the more space you need for it. If you don’t have the space, you either have to purge or store it in boxes . . . in the garage, in the attic, in the basement. And, when that’s full, in a storage unit for $$ per month. How ridiculous is it to be paying a hefty monthly fee to store stuff we don’t need?
- Less stress. Clutter—as well as a calender full of appointments, meetings, and commitments—is a constant reminder of things that need to be done. Even when I see the stack of incoming mail on my desk, I silently groan. It’s stressful having stuff that needs to be done sitting there waiting.
- More time. By rearranging schedules, eliminating unnecessary appointments and meetings, clearing clutter, and staying organized, we have more time for travel, hobbies, and pursuing those things we love to do.
- Freedom. With a clutter-free simple life and less responsibilities, we can pick up and go whenever we want.
- Improved quality of life. Less physical and emotional clutter means there are less distractions. We can focus better, be more productive, and have more time and energy for the things that matter most.
- A peaceful retreat. I want our little house on the lake to be as lovely as a model home. Clean . . . serene . . . restful . . . relaxing. With just enough furniture to make it comfortable. And no clutter anywhere.
Too much to ask? I think not.
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