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{simplify} : Answering the Question “WHY?”

**Post by guest blogger Gretchen Kingsley**


It’s a hot word these days.

Everyone is talking about it.

Either how they want to do it or how they’ve done it. Go to any bookstore or library and you’ll find books and books on decluttering, simplifying, or downsizing.

Why is this? This seems to be an era (specifically in the United States) where we have everything at our disposal and we are made to feel that we can have it all, even that we should have it all. While we are blessed as a nation to have basically any product one could ever imagine and at every price range, we also seem to be a nation that is consumed by wanting more and never feeling satisfied with what we do have. This is evident with the large foreclosure and bankruptcy rates that are prevalent right now. We are told we NEED all of these products (or even opportunities/activities) and we believe it without discerning what we actually DO need.

Our lives are overwhelmed with stuff and activities. Our lives are filled from sun up to sun down. We need more room for the stuff that we continue to bring home. We have to spend more hours taking care of our things as well as more time trying to remember and search for that item that “just has to be around here somewhere”. We spend more and more time going from one activity to another.

These products, activities, and obligations are not bad in and of themselves. It is the mass of them that causes problems.

For each person, the reason to simplify any aspect of their life will be different. There is no correct way to simplify. Nor is there any formula for how much one needs to simplify. I have read several places that one should get rid of 50% of their things and then reduce 50% of what is remaining. If seeing how much you can live without is your reason for simplifying then this is a good way to go about simplifying (note: I can tell you from experience that you need VERY LITTLE to actually survive. Even basic commodities such as water are not necessary in the abundance that we believe they are.) But I believe that the reason most would like to simplify is because of a desire for one of the following:

  1. Less Stress – Clutter often times leads one to feeling stressed because it’s over-stimulating. Or if one’s clutter is activities or obligations, there can be the constant feeling that there is not enough time in one’s day. When either type of clutter is simplified, you can discover what brings you true joy and satisfaction.

  2. Less Work – The more stuff you have the more organizing, maintaining, and cleaning you have to do of those items.

  3. More Time – In addition to saving you the time of organizing, maintaining, and cleaning, you will know where your items are. Have you ever noticed that when you have multiples of a certain item that you can never find them when you need them but when you have only one you know exactly where it is at. With more time you can focus on the relationships and activities that you truly enjoy.

  4. True Desire for Happiness – Stuff does not equate happiness. True happiness comes from being with those you enjoy as well as spending time on those things that truly satisfy you.

  5. Allow for Opportunities for True Creativity – Research has shown that children with less clutter (aka: toys, television, etc.) will have longer attention spans, are more creative, and become more resourceful. I’m sure the same thing could be said for adults.

  6. Save Money – The less stuff you bring into the home (buy) the more money you will have. With this money, one can pay off debts, create an emergency savings fund, or save up for something that one truly desires.

  7. Impact the Environment – Consuming less means less is ending up in the landfill.

  8. Create Space – In both your schedule and/or living space.

Do you remember the photos I showed you last week of our junk room? Our desire to simplify is not to deny us of the stuff that we want or need but to free us from the things we don’t. I desire to lose that stressed feeling that comes every time I open that bedroom door as well as create a space for Isa’s new room.

Now that I have my WHY figured out, I’m off to declutter.

What is your reason for simplifying?


This post is linked to: Simple Lives Thursday at Gnowfglins, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, The Homesteader Blog Carnival at The Morristribe, Welcome Home Link Up at Raising Arrows, Better Mom Mondays at The Better Mom, Titus 2 Tuesdays at Cornerstone Confessions, WLWW at Women Living Well

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