This has been a big year for our family. We finalized my son’s adoption, sold our house, got out of debt, I took a new job and we moved to Northern California to fulfill a years long dream of living by our family and friends. And we decided to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle and clear out the clutter in our home and life.
Making all of these changes wasn’t easy. There were a lot of obstacles that stood in our way. The two biggest obstacles, the ones that I think most of us struggle with, are busyness and clutter.
Busyness is when we do too much. Busyness is when we allow ourselves to move from meeting to meeting, activity to activity, constantly checking our phone for texts, emails, and social media updates without any breathing room. Being busy makes us feel important, but often times it keeps us from doing the things that are really important.
Clutter is when we own too much. It’s all the boxes in the garage that keep you from parking your car in it. It’s owning so much stuff that you have to pay for storage space house all your stuff. It’s the dishes that are piled up in the sink like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the mounds of clothes in your closet, the toys scattered in your living room, and the drawers so filled with stuff they won’t shut.
So how do we overcome the busyness and clutter so we can simplify our lives?
1. Do less.
Most people I know are busy. And most of them aren’t busy doing bad things but they are busy doing too many things. If you’re having trouble simplifying your life it’s probably because you’re doing too much. Make a list of the top 3-5 things that are the absolute most important priorities in your life. Then use that list to filter everything you do and begin to eliminate the commitments, appointments, and activities that conflict with it.
2. Own less.
Clutter creates stress in our lives. The more stuff we own the more our stuff owns us. Get rid of everything you own that you don’t need or want. Have a garage sale, give it to Good Will, or simply throw it away. Getting rid of your excess possessions will give you more time and energy for the things you really care about. You won’t have to spend as much time and energy taking care of your things or living in a mess.
Doing less and owning less is not rocket science, yet so few people are willing to make the leap. We’ve grown up with so much busyness and messiness in our life that we think that’s just the way life is. But the truth is it doesn’t have to be that way.
Imagine what it would be like if you had more breathing room in your schedule and less clutter in your home. Imagine if you had more time and energy to focus on the people and activities that matter the most to you. Imagine walking in to your home and office without piles of junk waiting for you. How much better would your life be if you could actually live like that?
You can. Take the first steps into simplifying your life by saying no to busyness and clutter. You’ll be glad you did.