Change can be difficult, no denying that. Sometimes the very idea of change is enough to keep us from moving. Other times it is not the idea of change itself that intimidates but the perceived extent. We often approach a situation by looking at it as an insurmountable whole when we should view it as a series of smaller related tasks. Voluntary simplicity is no different. I didn’t wake up one morning, decide to simplify my life, and by evening it was so. It takes time and patience, and a plan. Here are five things you can do right now to begin to simplify your life.
Divide and conquer. Go through your closets and bureaus and pile up all of your clothing. Use the middle of your living room floor if needed. Take every piece of clothing that you have not worn in the past year and place it in a second pile. From that second pile, separate the clothes into four smaller piles: sell, donate or give away, rags, and trash. Take the obvious actions with the smaller piles.
Empty the room. To declutter a room, move all the things out of it that you can to an adjacent room, leaving only things like area rugs or sofas (unless you plan on getting rid of them). It’s a lot easier to bring select items back into the room than to weed things out while they are in place.
Clear your calendar. Seriously, sit down and take a good hard look at everything that commands and/or demands bits of your time. Make a list with two columns, labeling the left column “Commitments” and the right column “Importance”. Write down everything you came up with for time use in the left column, and rate each one in the right column as high, medium, or low. (How do you know which is which? I can’t tell you that-only you know.) Take the items you rated as low importance and either delegate them or decline to do them any more.
Budget with prepaid cards. My church fund raises by selling prepaid and re-loadable debit cards for a local supermarket. I get them in $100 denominations which last me 2 weeks. (Granted, I’m single so my shopping is a lot less complicated than for a full family.) The thing I have found though is that these cards are fantastic for budgeting purposes, and knowing that I have a finite amount on the card makes me a much more savvy shopper. I do the same thing with my Barnes & Noble Nook account on my own, using gift cards that can be bought practically anywhere. It prevents reckless spending.
Don’t worry, be happy. OK, that may be a bit trite but your attitude has a significant impact upon the quality of your life, real or perceived. When I was a teenager I had a ferocious temper. In the last 20 years or so however, I have mellowed out. Here’s the secret: don’t let the fiddly little things that happen assume an importance they don’t merit. Let go of minor problems before they grow into big crises. The less you stress out about the little things the better life looks-and in this instance perception is reality.