*Post by guest blogger Gretchen Kingsley*
Last week, I talked specifically about the reasons one may decide to start simplifying their life. This week I want to focus on what specific areas may need to be simplified in your life.
The reasons are as numerous as they are for why one wants to simplify. Generally, when you hear the word simplify you immediately think about stuff. Stuff that you buy. Stuff that you inherit. Stuff that you find. Stuff, stuff, stuff. But simplifying can be about so much more than physical clutter.
Here are some of the main reasons one may want to simplify their life:
OBLIGATIONS: Perfectly wonderful activities and events can quickly become draining and demanding when your schedule is too full. They can leave you feeling stressed, exhausted, and bitter.
EXPECTATIONS: When circumstances change, expectations should almost always change as well. Life with no kids is completely different from life with a child. Life with one child is different from life with three. What you could do in previous stages of life may not be possible for the next 10 years and so, they should not be in your expectations. Trying to live up to yourself from previous times or comparing yourself to another person who seems to be living the same life as you (ie: 3 kids, stay at home mom, etc) is unrealistic and frustrating. The need for perfection can drive you farther and farther away from the things in life that really matter to you.
WORRIES: Whatever these may be, they will not be productive or life-giving. They clutter your mind and being.
CHAOS: Most often this is in your daily schedule. You may not even have a lot of obligations but you are neither productive nor efficient. Maybe you need to wake an hour earlier. Maybe you need to make a schedule (even just for a daily guideline). Maybe you need to make a home organization binder…or maybe you need to get rid of your binder.
As mentioned previously, PHYSICAL CLUTTER. There is obviously a spectrum of physical clutter. Have you ever seen the show “Hoarders”. It’s one of my favorite shows that I get to watch only while staying at my parent’s home. The majority of us are not even close to being considered clinical hoarders but any amount of clutter that negatively affects your life, needs to be simplified.
It can also be just the NEED TO HAVE STUFF. The desire to have more and more and more drives one to buy when there is no need. This results in more spending and sometimes a lot of debt. The media likes to tell us that we need a gadget for EVERYTHING. For example, don’t get me started on the whole baby market. They try to market many items as a safety issue which makes people feel like awful parents if they can’t afford (nor care to spend) hundreds of dollars on some big-ticket items that can truly be purchased second-hand and used safely. And the amount of items they say one needs for a child is absurd.
Of these reasons, I struggle mainly with physical clutter and at times with expectations. But my personality does not lend itself to struggling with certain areas such as obligations. Each person will have their dominant areas of struggle, those that pop in and out occasionally, and those that you will never struggle with.
Be thankful for the areas that you don’t struggle with and then start working on those that you do. I’m SLOWLY working on my physical clutter. Remember Isa’s soon-to-be bedroom? It doesn’t look much different but I have already taken 1 box and 2 bags full of stuff to Goodwill. And just this week, this is what I have found in there:
Large cardboard box full of packing bubbles and paper that were in packages that I received. (Don’t ask!)
4 prom / bridesmaid dresses
Box full of ribbons (used ribbons!) and bows
Old desktop computer, printer, keyboard, and speakers
Books that I never care to read again
Pile of clothes that I hoped to repurpose into new clothes
Pile of clothes that need mending
More pens than I’ll ever use in my life
The list could go on…it’s embarrassing
So start by figuring out WHAT needs to be simplified and then start small. There is no rush. Improvement, little by little, is still improvement. It’s that simple.
What areas do you struggle with? Any I’ve forgotten?
This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday at Gnowfglins, Your Green Resource at Live Renewed, Seasonal Celebrations at The Natural Mother’s Network, Welcome Home Link Up at Raising Arrows, Better Mom Mondays Link Up at The Better Mom, The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Titus 2 Tuesdays at Cornerstone Confessions, WLWW at Women Living Well, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable