Why Choose to Simplify?
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 better. Having and doing less gives you more time, energy, and money to spend on the things that really matter.
I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on
—Henry David Thoreau
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. In our daily lives, we are in a constant rush. We rush through household tasks, trying to get things done. We rush off to work so we’re able to pay the bills and afford to buy more stuff. We strive to finish as much as we can each day. We speed along in our cars, rushing to our destinations to do what we need to do; then leave in a hurry so we can rush on to our next destination. Rush rush rush . . . until our circuits overload. The result? We’re exhausted and stressed out from the daily grind, chaos, and busy-ness.
Tom and I chose to simplify.
Here’s why simplifying makes sense for us
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.
Too much stuff. Combining households and moving into our smaller house, we didn’t have room for all the stuff we both owned: 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 it was the thing for young brides to do, was no longer needed. A nice set of wine glasses, maybe; but matching wine, water, and . . . does anyone even use traditional champagne stemware anymore?
Less is more. Downsizing to a smaller house means less room for all the stuff we own and less space for clutter. Less clutter means more space for living, playing, and working. It also means less areas to clean, and I’m OK with that. Instead of cleaning, we have more time for travel, hobbies, and pursuing those things we love to do.
so that the necessary may speak.” —Hans Hofmann
Easier housework. Flat surfaces are dust magnets, and wall-to-wall furniture allows for a lot of nooks and crannies where dust bunnies can hide. Less furniture in a room makes cleaning the house a breeze.
Saves money. A smaller house costs less to purchase, furnish, and maintain.
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 must purge. Unfortunately, our purging never quite happened. Instead, we placed furniture in the rooms, sold a couple of big pieces, unpacked what we needed, filled cabinets and shelves with books and personal favorites, and left everything else in boxes. The boxes went into the attic; and, when that was full, the rest had to go out to a storage unit for $$ per month. How financially irresponsible, not to mention 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—I need to sort through it, bills need to be paid, papers need to be filed, junk needs to be thrown out. Then, there’s the never-ending To Do list that never seems to go away.
More time. By rearranging our schedules, eliminating unnecessary appointments and meetings, clearing clutter as it comes, and staying organized, we have more time to do the things we really want to do.
and the labors of life reduce themselves.” —Edwin Way Teale
A peaceful retreat. We 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.
Freedom. With a clutter-free simple life, a smaller house, and less responsibilities, we can pick up and go whenever we want.
Improved quality of life. Less emotional and physical 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.
Simple Pleasures . . .
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter . . . to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring— these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
Have a simply wonderful day,