Can you believe it is March already? I hope spring has sprung where you live if you experience the seasons . In the spirit of spring cleaning, this month we shall be focusing on organisation. We kick it off by looking at how one can avoid stress by embracing simplistic living.
Although often confused, simple living and minimalism refer to two different things. However, writing in the Huffington Post, Kathy Gottberg concludes that they are two sides of the same coin. She noted that minimalism tends to be external with a focus on being disciplined to ensure one pairs their belongings so everything they own has a designated purpose.
Simple living on the other hand tends to be internal and the focus is on being content and embracing life more gently and concentrating on what is most important to you. Which ever side of the coin you choose, what matters is both minimalism and simplistic living have benefits when done in a consistent manner.
As a family, we tend to lean towards simplistic living and below I share three ways in which we are doing this.
1. By Avoiding Clutter
I do not think anyone sets out to be a clutter bug it is something that creeps upon us. You see something you like and decide to give it a place in your home this continues and before you realise it, you are drowning in stuff.
While appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show, Nate Berkus gave this piece of advise “your home should be your sanctuary and should rise up to greet you”. This cannot happen when you live with clutter. What makes it worse is because there is not enough space to display all the items you purchase, you fail to appreciate their beauty.
As a family, in order to avoid this dilemma, we live by the one in one out rule. Whether it is shoes which I love or clothing or furniture, in order to make room for the new we have to let go of the old. On my part I have made tremendous progress especially regarding my shoe collection. My husband on the other hand is very good in this area and he always says “it is good to gift an item when it is still in good condition so that the new owner can enjoy it too”.
It is imperative to point out here that clutter does not only come in form of physical things it can manifest in activities or relationships or a life style you embrace. In order to avoid this clutter, we choose to embrace what Greg Mckeown calls “living a life of essentialism where you commit to a life of doing only what is essential to you”. What is important to note however, is before you embrace essentialism you must be clear about what is essential to you.
2. By Working With What We Have
As stated above, simplistic living requires that you live a life of contentment. Rachel Cruze rightly observed that “In a heart full of gratitude, there is no room for discontentment”. As a family we strive to be content in all ways.
I wrote about how my office shares a space with the home gym. My desire is that I have a designated space for my home office. However, at this stage of our life this is not possible. In order to work with what we have, I decide to treat my work space as if it were a real office. I ensure I file my papers well and maintain a relatively clean desk. I am “enjoying where I am on the way to where I would want to be”. So whether it is that small crammed kitchen or the tiny bathroom go ahead and treat it as you would treat the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams.
Perhaps one could argue that learning to work with what you have inevitably means you live within your means. Many times what we want is not necessarily what we need. When you work with what you have, you often find you are able to meet the needs before you and live contented.
3. By Always Having a Plan in Place
Simplistic living calls for being intentional. This means you need a plan of how you are going to simplify your life. Your plan should begin with you determining what matters the most to you. Ask yourself in what areas am I determined not to make trade offs? When faced with conflicting decisions to make which happens to us at one point or another which ball am I willing to drop?
I am a person who swears by plans. Perhaps because it is the only way I know how to manage myself and my weaknesses. Plans help me to avoid stress a lot. Whether it is my weekly plan that enables me to manage my roles of wife, mother, cook, teacher, chauffeur, blogger, consultant e.t.c. or a meal plan to allow me cook simple but nourishing food for my family, or a simple menu of what to cook when we are hosting, plans work for me.
Every Sunday I sit down and draw up my plans for the coming week and then work my plan. Sometimes life happens and I am derailed but this does not completely throw me off and I soon find my bearing and get back on track. My greatest benefit of having a plan is they help break things down which enables me not to feel overwhelmed.
So there you have it, three ways in which we as a family are choosing to use simplistic living to avoid stress. I believe that with prayer and planning, it is possible to find simplicity and balance which in turn allows you to enjoy spending time on things that matter the most to you.
Next week we shall look at some of the reasons why you should use routines to organize your life.
The Organisation Series
How Simplistic Living Helps To Avoid Stress (You are here)