It’s a familiar feeling for a lot of us – if I buy this product life will be better/easier/I’ll be happier etc. Bombarded by advertising every way you turn, it’s easy to fall into the consumerism trap, pinning hope on some shiny new item to make you feel more complete. Except it usually doesn’t. Chances are it ends up being a burden – having to clean it, tidy it away, maybe making you feel guilty when you see it on a shelf unused ,reminding you of wasting money or incomplete projects. Possibly even shoved into storage boxes not to be seen for years as the mounting piles of stuff in the attic/garage seems like too daunting a task to undertake.
Then there’s the ever encroaching technology. TV with a zillion channels feeding us fear of the world, low self esteem and ways to ‘improve our lives’ if only we buy this diet plan, this makeup, the latest hi-tech gadget. Living our lives through our phone screens, barely noticing the immediate world around us. People in Western society can end up trapped in that cycle, stressed and disconnected, never having time for what truly makes them happy. But it doesn’t have to be like that. It is possible to break the cycle, simplify and start living the life you deserve. In a future post I’ll outline HOW I simplified my life but for now, here are the ways life has been changing since I started my journey to simplicity and minimalism.
THE 10 WAYS SIMPLICITY IS CHANGING MY LIFE SO FAR
- More Freedom: Being able to break the consumer cycle, realising that ‘things’ don’t make me happy, learning to be content and grateful for what is already in my life has brought about a huge change in my outlook. Getting rid of a lot of our possessions left me feeling lighter, more energetic and more hopeful about future possibilities now that my stuff wasn’t weighing me down.
- Less Stress: I am a natural worrier. When something happens I’ll have 30 different worst case scenarios mapped out in my head within 5 minutes. It takes effort and practice for me to be mindful, calm and centred. This has been a LOT easier since getting rid of excess ‘stuff’ that used to clutter my mind as much as it cluttered my shelves. I’m not overwhelmed by a million little time sucking tasks anymore that added immeasurably to the sense of chaos.
- More Time: Instead of feeling pulled in lots of directions, simplifying life especially with regards to schedule, has enabled me to slow down and appreciate what’s happening in front of me and have more quality time. Plus of course, less housework-isn’t that always a bonus?!
- More Respect For Belongings: We live in a ‘disposable’ society that tells us, yes, we need these items to feel complete, but don’t worry if you lose it or break it, we have millions more like it for you to spend more money on to replace this supposedly essential item. The same thing happens when kids have endless toys, especially cheap plastic ones that break easily. They learn that it doesn’t matter if something breaks as they have lots of others to throw about. When everything in our house is chosen with love and care, we’re more likely to love and care for those items. Tidying expert and author of the book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying , Marie Kondo says keep only the things that spark joy. Every single item in your house should have that effect when you pick it up. I’ve definitely noticed that since surrounding ourselves with only the things we absolutely love, Coppertop and I take great care of everything.
- More Focus: Without the constant distraction of false ‘busy’ work, it’s been easier to focus on how I really want to live my life and again, more time to start implementing the changes. I’m not quite there yet but instead of procrastinating by wasting time tidying/organising stuff that didn’t really matter, I’m now able to have a clearer plan for what needs done.
- Less Guilt: Speaking of procrastinating…. I used to feel like I was surrounded by constant reminders of things I hadn’t finished, feeling like a constant failure for not completing that project, reading that book, putting away those papers, paying those bills, tidying out that cupboard(having to play Jenga with a ton of meaningless junk when needing something from the back). No more. Projects completed. Paperwork dealt with. Cupboards streamlined. I’m now able to walk around my house without a continuous assault on my psyche.
- More Environmentally Friendly: An obvious one but significant nonetheless. Simplifying and breaking the consumerist cycle has meant not as much coming into the house, therefore less waste to deal with. Cooking fresh, simple meals from scratch means less packaging from processed ‘food’. Reusing, upcycling, mending items instead of replacing means less landfill. Homemade natural cleaners and toiletries means less damaging chemicals going down the drains.
- Closer Relationships: A wonderful side effect of stripping life back to the essentials has been the ability to examine priorities and what is truly important to me. It’s left more time to develop closer bonds with those I love due to not always being distracted by meaningless tasks and stress. It’s made it easier to be flexible with plans so we can enjoy our time together, without the to-do list hovering in the back of my mind. More relaxed fun times together means more special memories.
- More Happiness: Thanks to all the above reasons plus lessening financial strain, I’m able to surround myself with the things that truly matter in my life. The things that make my soul happy, not my ego. This is a constant work in progress and there are many changes still to come but for me, I feel like I’ve found one of the keys to a better present and future. I’d love to know if any of you have found the same or are inspired to try and adopt a simpler life yourselves!