Sunday, March 6, 2011

Simplify

Simplify. Its what I am doing in my life right now. It's as if when I turned forty last August, that I really decided that what I want in life....is LESS. I have always been a sort of person who doesn't require much (I think that was the hook my husband latched onto LOL). I don't put great priorities on "finer things" or perhaps it is more that the finer things in life to me are not material things. Although it seems with each passing day I want for less. It's a good thing. I feel as though God's blessings in my life are more than enough and far surpass the needs I have on anything materially. In fact I dont need for these things. Sure I sometimes want....but not Need. 
I am taking this approach and running with it, in all aspects of my life. Putting greater emphasis on things that matter, and not sweating the small stuff.  Only YOU can determine what is important to you. There is no wrong or right.  If a large bank account and lots of things are your highest priorities, then you may actually try working more hours rather than less. But if values like peace, security, and family are of greater worth, then the workaholic approach may not be getting you where you want to go.That being said...this is my approach.

1. Evaluate Your Activities. Then see if you are meeting your goals. If not, prioritise.


2. Declutter. There are few things more discouraging than having more stuff than we have places to put it. This has been my life. I am not only sentimental but I also hold onto things thinking I can use them or think that someone else can. We've all seen horders. It scared the mess out of me! I am no where near a horder, but I also recognize that I need to let go and I have hording tendencies. A cluttered home is a cluttered life. I am evaluating my home. I have often said how I hold onto sentimental things. This will not change. I treasure things from past, most particularly if they come with a history, notably my family. These are the things I am now finding places in my home for, where I can enjoy on a daily basis. It also allows my home to have character, history, a story. It's more personal of the people that lives in it. I like that!  

Another hording show taught me much when I begin to clear out, that's Clean House. When cleaning up a space, take four boxes or bags with you. The boxes represent actions to take with each item you find. Label one box "Put Away." In this box goes everything you feel a need to keep. The second box is labeled "Give Away/Sell." In this box goes things that you no longer need or want but might be of use to someone else. The third box is called "Storage," and represents things that you feel you may need, but not soon. The final box is labeled "Trash" and is filled with things that will end up at your local landfill or recycling center. Then take 15 minutes at the end of each declutter session to appropriately dispose of the items in each box. This is most important!!!

3. Unclutter your life. This has been my latest project. Turn off the tv. Delete junk from your email box. Go through the mail on the way from the mailbox and throw away what is needed as soon as you walk in. Dont allow things to pile up. And my husband has taught me this..."Just because the phone rings, doesn't mean you have to answer it." If I am in the middle of a task, or exercising I finish my project before I move onto to others, like returning calls. Doing these things will allow more time. Time for family. Time for yourself. There is truth to the old adage, if momma isn't happy ain't nobody happy. Be happy. Find time. Declutter.

4. Let Go. Several years I went through some difficult times. It was a time in my life that was both challenging and hurtful but I have often found that in adversity God shows himself. My faith was tested. And lessons learned. I am better for it. If not for my friends, my husband, my family I would be certifiable. Big Daddy is often my greatest cheerleader. He was there for me and told me to let go...that it wasn't worth the heartache. And you know what.....it wasn't! It was good advice. Considering letting go more. Decluttering also means one's mind. Don't sweat the small stuff. What might seem "big" today.....a year from now, five years from now will not be.....ask yourself will it matter next year? Five years? Ask yourself next time a situation occurs. And give it the attention, or lack of it deserves.

5. This is a BIG ONE for clarity in life. Practice Gratitude. Recognize that there are people all around us who serve us and make our lives easier. Try expressing a little gratitude to others. Say thanks to your partner at home for something simple like watching the kids while you run household errands. Or take a bath!! Think about the local government workers in your community who quietly and efficiently maintain your parks, keep your streets clean and deliver clean water to your home and maybe send them a note of thanks.I know that the workers in my city do a phenomenal job and probably don't get the appreciation they deserve. Practicing gratitude and being aware of what others do for us is a good way to keep life simple.

6. Do Two Things at Once. Here is how it works: My husband or I will often take one of our children with us while running errands. Not only can they split up time in a store by running to get a product (our children are older so can do task on their own) but it also gives us a chance in the car or to stop for a snack along the way and it gives me time to talk and connect with them and takes virtually no more time that I would have spent anyway.  I make it a priority to know what songs my children are listening to, what shows they watch and who their friends are. Those kinds of things can tell so much about a child's view on life. It's amazing how you can do more with less time when you try to do two things at once.

7. Journal. Be it poetry, music, words you find inspiring, your daily outlook....write it down. Its a great tool to look back and see what makes you happy. I love to journal. If you don't already journal and want small steps, try a gratitude journal. Write one thing daily that you are grateful for. Be it as simple as "Rain" or as in dept as specifically a walk in faith. Allow yourself to focus on the good things. Your cup WILL runneth over if you realize what is poured.

8. Finally consider your needs. Is it a want or a need? Is it a necessity? Giving into a "want" is not always bad, but it shouldnt be made into a habit. Again, with that one year, five year philosophy...if you think it will still have great importance....and investment then certainly consider, but otherwise let it go. I am still working on this one. Again....Big Daddy's advice.


Simplifying our lives should be a SIMPLE.  Search yourself before you begin. Ask yourself what you place value on then make sure you activities align with them, and then make time to accomplish more.

8 comments:

jennifer said...

Beautifully written Leigh.

Your words spoke to me because we just completely cleaned out our former home so that we can rent it (up in north Alabama).

It took a UHaul trailer to move the rest of our belongings. Our garage is full and I KNOW I have too much. I have proof of how desperately I need to simplify my life, sitting where my car should be parked.

Your words give me a compass.

Girl with the Curlz said...

Boy do I hear ya. That 40th birthday hit me the same way. Out with the clutter it doesn't matter anymore. I told my husband lets just throw everything out. (Which he didn't agree ha-ha). I am really wanting to simplify my life though. Loved your post.

Jane said...

There is so much here...I am in the process of decluttering, too. I have to get two rooms ready for guests at the end of the month. You wouldn't believe the stack of items to be donated!!! There's so much still to do...and then there is my cluttered studio (I really do work well in chaos...at least in this room. But it's being emptied, too.)
Have a great trip...
Jane

The Decorative Dreamer said...

Great post! I am with you on the decluttering lately. I too have problems with too many sentimental attachments from inheriting things. I am learning that just because I had a relationship with whomever gave me something if I don't like it or will not use it, it's okay to pass it on along. I don't have to keep everybody elses stuff! LOL!
As for the gratitude paragraph, I love this the most! I think as a whole we all need to learn to practice a little more gratitude. I like the idea of a gratitude journal, that's so positive! :)

Shelia said...

Hi Leigh! I've been trying to do this for some time. Am I making any progress? :) Good luck, Dear One and hope you're doing good down in Sweet Home Alabama! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

4thelove! said...

wow! Very much a good read today for my little world! "LOVE" - HM

Marie Anne said...

I've done some uncluttering in my life in recent years, both personally and with belongings. I need to do more of it.

dogsmom said...

Very good post and the right time of year (at least here in the US) to remind us to get started. I have been working at it all winter and for some reson seem to be going in the wrong direction. I am sending more out than I am bringing in, but everything looks a lot messier.
I am looking forward to actual spring because I am getting an "extra room" to help me with the simplification process.