I am a minimalist at heart. I hate clutter and love keeping my life simple. The more I read about simplicity and minimalism the more I realise how necessary it is for a productive, satisfying life.
Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed by life, your home, your emotions? Doing some decluttering (or is that uncluttering?) may be just what you need.
Here are some reasons why you should simplify your life:
Living or working in a tidy, uncluttered environment makes for clear, uncluttered thinking.
Increased productivity is the result of an uncluttered brain.
An uncluttered environment creates both peace of mind and heart. You will be less irritated and more patient.
You will hear God speaking to you more distinctly.
Less clutter gives you mind space for more important things like relationships or that next project.
You will have happier children because you have time and mind space for them instead of trying to keep your clutter under control. Clutter affects children and they will be easier to manage if your home is simple, neat, and orderly.
Women who live with clutter (lots of stuff and unfinished home remodeling etc) have higher stress levels and higher rates of depression. (See this article)
So what should you keep uncluttered? Here are some areas you can work on:
Keep your relationship stream unclogged by dealing with resentments and misunderstandings. Resolve conflicts as soon as possible. Communicate your needs. Harboring hurt will keep you from enjoying happy, satisfying relationships.
Deal with negative emotions such as anger, resentment, fear, and worry (they have a harmful effect on your health!). Don’t allow them to take up emotional space. Stuffing them down and pretending they don’t exist is not the answer.
Suppressed emotions will affect the way you respond to small crises in your home, and the people around you. As the law of displacement says, no two things can fill the same space at the same time. Negative emotions take up space that positive emotions could be filling.
For the last month, I have lived with only what could fit into 2 suitcases (let’s say one suitcase because I had one for summer and one for winter…) Guess what? I have survived!
The simplicity is freeing! Making decisions about what to wear is simple – I don’t have a lot to choose from. And, what I do have, I like.
The minimalist challenge is to see if you can survive with only 37 items in your wardrobe, (per season) including shoes (still working on the shoe part 😉 ). (Read here to find out more about capsule wardrobes.)
Many successful people wear the same thing every day. It reduces the number of decisions they have to make and frees them up to focus on more important things.
Put the basics in place and don’t overload your schedule. Sometimes less is more. An overloaded schedule creates pressure and leaves you frustrated when you don’t get everything done. (See here for more on scheduling)
There is no merit in living such a rushed life that you have no time to reflect on your life and connect with people. Some people keep their lives busy because it gives them value. Your value is not determined by how much you accomplish. It was determined by how much Jesus paid for you at Calvary. You don’t have to prove your value.
Others keep busy so that they don’t have to face their reality or their past or the fact that their relationships are a mess. It’ll have to be faced some time. Keeping busy is only delaying the inevitable. Time to deal with those messy things that won’t go away.
Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. Be yourself. I had to accept that I can’t do as much as some people do. When I compare myself I feel inadequate and ready to give up. This is not wise. It’s ok if I do less with my life (provided I’m not being lazy!). God loves me for who I am, not for what I accomplish.
Keeping meals simple made a huge difference to my stress levels while at the height of homeschooling. I made sure we had fresh fruit and salad every day with whole wheat bread, baked potatoes, and simple pasta dishes. I couldn’t afford to spend hours preparing gourmet meals that got eaten in 10 minutes. I chose quick, easy meals that didn’t leave my kitchen looking like a war zone. There’ll be time enough to cook fancier meals once your kids get older.
If you are homeschooling, focus on the basics while your kids are young. Reading, writing, and math was all I did for formal schooling for many years. For the other subjects we focused on incidental learning, reading stories, experimenting, unit studies, and doing chores. This gave us lots of time to be together and learn together.
Too many toys makes for unhappy children. Get rid of some and tidy up the rest. Or, alternate the toys by keeping some in a box out of sight. Switch them each week or month.
I used to leave my kids toys all over the living room floor. Why tidy them up? Tomorrow they’d be all over the place again. When I began to put more effort into keeping my home tidy I immediately noticed a difference in how I felt, and how my children behaved. The whole mood of our home changed from irritated and cross to calm and peaceful.
Stuff has a way of accumulating. Get rid of what you don’t need. Sort your kitchen, your books, your clothes, your linen, your office, your desk, your garage…
Sort stuff into three piles – to keep, to give away, to throw away. I usually have an extra pile of things I’m not sure about, my “deciding” pile. When you get rid of stuff you do face the risk of needing that very thing you threw away last week. That’s part of the risk of living an uncluttered life, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives! Do consider carefully before you throw stuff out. 🙂
Live a simple life. Enjoy the new energy you will have to put into things that matter most!