Simplify your life. It’s a thing, isn’t it? Thank it and throw it away. Declutter.
I laughed when I searched for this topic on the internet. I found one blog with 72 ways to simplify your life and another that had 100 ideas. But, only a few of the same ways showed up on both lists! Can you believe that?
Who knew simplicity was that complicated?
Many of us are tangled in the web of mental, physical, and emotional clutter. But, a cluttered life keeps us from really living an abundant life.
Is that you?
Today on the 4:13 Podcast, we’re breaking it down. KC and I give you five ways to determine if you need to simplify and four ways to declutter your life. And, sister, we’re keeping it simple!
5 Questions to Determine If You Need to Simplify
- Do you add commitments or things to your life without subtracting commitments or things to make room?
- If everything has a cost (time, energy, money), can you afford it?
- Do the choices you make add complexity or simplicity to your life?
- Do you have a place in your home, calendar, or heart for what you are adding? (Who or what will you have to neglect to add?)
- Do you feel like you have little control over your schedule, home, or life in general?
4 Steps to Declutter Your Life
- Consider what is important to you. Determine and write down your core values or what matters the most to you. For example: spending time with family, growing in your faith, giving to your community, learning, recreation, peacefulness, etc. Knowing your core values makes you pause before you add things—meaning opportunities, activities, stuff—to your life. Knowing what you value helps you assess what to say no to or not add to your life or shopping cart.
- Choose goals you’d like to achieve. These goals should support what matters most to you. Focus on making your goals consistent with the core values you wrote down in step one. Make them realistic and doable. Maybe you could choose just one or two to start. It’s encouraging to do a few things really well, rather than to do a lot of things in a mediocre way.
You can’t add hours to your day, but you can cut down on activities that aren’t a part of achieving your set goal. Next to where you listed your core values, write a corresponding goal. For example, if my core value is a peaceful workspace, then one goal is to clean off my desk and keep it tidy.
- Create plans and policies. Most of us say yes to too many things because we feel uncomfortable saying no. No is a tough word to say, isn’t it? It is easier to say no when you already have plans or policies that support your values and goals. For example, “Our family already has a planned budget,” or “Our policy is to only participate in one extracurricular activity a semester.” Having plans and policies allows them to be the “nay-sayers,” while you smile and thank the one who gave the invitation.
But this also applies to stuff. If you choose a policy that for every one thing you buy, you donate one thing, then you let that policy dictate your shopping—it helps you think twice before an impulse purchase. Or, a budget is also a plan. Cash in an envelope keeps you from mindlessly adding stuff to your clutter when you only have a fixed amount of cash to spend. You spend more wisely.
- De-clutter your physical surroundings. A messy outer world can create or reflect a messy inner world. So, spiff up the outside where you can! Here’s a good guide:
- If it’s broken, fix it or replace it. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to manage the frustration of a broken something in your home. So, if you can fix it, do it. If not, replace it if you can. If money can’t make either of those happen, then at least acknowledge how the disrepair adds some emotional clutter and make it a goal.
- If it doesn’t fit, sell it or give it away.
- If you haven’t used it for the past year, trash it or donate it.
- If you are hesitant or hate to get rid of your stuff, box them and write an “expiration date” on the box. When the expiration date arrives, if you haven’t used the contents, don’t even open it … get rid of the unopened box.
If you could use some simplicity, I’ll be honest, it does take a little effort. Simplifying will seem a little complicated in the beginning. But, believe me, the mental and spiritual effort required in simplifying is easy compared to the complicated life that results without it.
So, go for it 4:13ers!
And, if you feel overwhelmed in the process, remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Me, Myself, & Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Me, Myself, & Lies for Young Women: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Me, Myself, & Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover Bible Study
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What’s one area of life you want to declutter this week?