In my post The Simple Life: Why it Matters, I talked about simplicity (of mind and life) and why it’s good for us.
I come from a very simple background – I grew up without electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, tarmac roads, phones e.t.c.
Still I am like most people – I have one too many shoe in the closet, I sometimes work a budget to acquire a faster gadget.
But overall I am perturbed by the insane excesses of our world.
After our move to America around two years ago, I was astounded by the comforts and luxuries of the developed world. To be honest, many things that are taken for granted here are luxuries and miracles where I come from.
In replying to a comment in my previous post, I mentioned that one cup of Starbucks coffee (averaging say 4 dollars*) is enough to feed four children, three square meals (in an orphanage that my husband and I support in Kenya)
To keep life simple, we must ask ourselves some questions
What does simplicity look like to me?
What is the most important thing in my life?
What can’t I live without?
Simplicity will look different to different people. Some of us stumble at comparison. We have an idea in our heads but are unable to to implement it because our expectations are unreal.
For example, a family with young kids might simplify differently than a single person.
There are principles to follow but ultimately, you know your life and how best to pair down.
A lifestyle that compliments simplicity
Once we decide on a simpler life, I think it’s important to make adjustments and choices that will continue to support and compliment our goals.
Many of us have good intentions but good intentions alone won’t get us where we want to go.
For example, you may decide to cut out your daily cup of Starbucks coffee. Instead of keeping that money in your wallet, you can invest it elsewhere else e.g commit to meet a need somewhere.
It’s easier for a new habit to stick when all alternatives and temptations are removed.
Excess is not health
Multitasking is a myth, you know. You can only be good at a few select things, not everything.
I think the heart of a simpler life is harmony, not juggling.
Keeping too many balls in the air isn’t a sign of success. I think that successful people are actually good at few things, not everything.
So if you have places to go in this life, you can’t carry “everybody and everything”.
Not all clutter looks bad
Some of us believe that all clutter looks like clutter.
So we think “if it’s really bad for me, I’ll see it and do something about it“.
Truth is that some clutter looks really good, even sensible.
For example, am working to build an online business and staying plugged into the online life looks like a sensible idea.
Nonetheless my relationship with God and my husband is priority. It comes before business and ministry.
De-cluttering has meant toning down my online reading and networking. It’s meant more strategy and willingness to do with less.
Any sort of significant pairing down will feel uncomfortable, even painful.
You can’t wait for things and circumstances to “look bad” or make sense before tossing them out.
If what you have now is stopping or hindering your forward progress, you may need to prune it
We can’t wait for huge encounters to prompt us to turn our lives around .
We can choose to be intentional today.
Tweak our lives and simplify now when we have control. Instead of waiting to have some big life situation to force our hand, down the road.
Don’t wait for a health emergency to force you to slow down, or a wayward child to get your mind back to family, or a spouse asking for divorce to remind you of your vows.
De-cluttering takes courage – an ability to say no to good things, as you reach for better things.
Be the driver of this change – not a hapless participant.
Bottom line, to keep a simpler life, we can continually ask ourselves, “Is this taking me forward or backward? How does this connect to my life goals, my purpose? Is it taking me there or not?”
Question: Once we’ve gotten rid of clutter, how can we stay clutter-free? Please share your thoughts in Comments.