If you’ve contemplated simplifying your life, you’re not alone.
Simplifying doesn’t mean we have to give away all our possessions and live in a yurt—although it could if that idea brings you alive. It doesn’t mean we have to move to one of those adorable, improbable tiny houses, either. Simplifying could mean anything from culling down possessions to eliminating time vacuums our lives. It could be as small as making the decision to spend more time at home or as large as quitting a day job to pursue a long-held dream.
That’s the beauty of simplifying—it’s not the same as minimalism. Simplifying is about re-sculpting our lives so we can maximize our time here in a way that aligns with our values and priorities. Here are four other benefits of simplifying:
- Less overwhelm.
Whether you make a pact as a family to ban overscheduling, or you simply decide to whittle your sock and underwear down, simplifying helps eliminate overwhelm. For many in the Western world, the feeling of overwhelm is something we’ve become accustomed to. This is sad, because the stress of overwhelm damages our bodies and tamps down our spirits. Trimming the fat from your life leads to a less frenzied existence, which means healthier bodies and spirits.
- It’s better for the earth.
Living in a more deliberate, simple manner almost always means using less of the planet’s resources and lowering our carbon footprint. Maybe we decide to work closer to home—or even better, at home— so we don’t waste as much time commuting. Assuming many of us drive to work, a shorter commute means less emissions. Living in smaller homes generally means using less resources.
- Simplifying saves money.
Many choices that we make when we simplify also save us money. Cutting cable TV, making our own household cleaners or eating at restaurants less are all choices that are good for our bank accounts. When we decide to lead a simpler life, we’re also usually less stressed, so we might make less impulsive choices about how we spend our money. We also cultivate the habit of considering whether a purchase will add to our well-being, or if it’ll just be one more thing to maintain.
- More time for doing what you love.
Much of our lives are spent taking care of the details of life. But when we cull out the extras, the volunteer commitments we feel obligated to but don’t love, the extra clothes that crowd our closets, the belongings we hold onto “just in case,” and even relationships that don’t serve us—we’re left with more time and resources to spend on what we love. And more time to spend with people we love.
For me, the process of living more simply is ever-evolving. There will always be more belongings to evict, more recipes to learn to make from scratch and new ideas to pursue to create a more manageable, meaningful life.
How have you simplified your life?
Author: Lynn Shattuck
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Padurariu Alexandru / Unsplash