As a Quaker, this week is near and dear to me. Simplicity is one of our core tenets, which I appreciate very much. Late summer can be a good time to start getting rid of things so you go into fall with less stuff. Goodwill or some other organization will be glad of your extras, as long as they are good quality. It’s always good to share with others.
But simplifying your life is about more than getting rid of what you no longer use. It’s a way to look at your life and eliminate the things that take away from what you really value, such as family time, or relaxation from the stresses in your life. For me, I value time to write, and have accepted a life of less money to have that time. Only you can decide what it is that causes clutter in your life, whether that is actual physical objects, or allowing others to take too much of your time.
So how do you go about simplifying your life? The first step is to understand what is really important to you. There are many ways to go about that. One that worked for me was to think of my funeral and what I hoped people would say about me. If you do that, then ask yourself, are you living your life as if those values are uppermost?
Once you know what is important, then there are various strategies to implement that.
- Just say “No.” You don’t have to agree to everything. Know your boundaries.
- Limit the things that are unimportant. Do you really need that pair of shoes? Do you need to remodel the kitchen? No judgment, just know what is important to you.
- Have a plan. Think about what you will need for the week ahead and get ready beforehand so you are not tempted to spend because you were unprepared.
- Learn to live below your means, and use the extra money to get out of debt. That will give you a tremendous amount of freedom.
Quotes about simplicity
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.–Hans Hofmann
The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.–Elise Boulding
I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.–Albert Einstein
It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.–Laura Ingalls Wilder
A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.–Eleanor Roosevelt
Have few desires.–Lao-tzu
Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.–Henry David Thoreau
Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.–Edwin Way Teale
Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.–Richard Halloway
Simplicity is the nature of great souls.–Papa Ramadas
Simplify your life. You don’t grow spiritual, you shrink spiritual.–Steve Maraboli
Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty, it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do. Know what those things are before you start.–Leo Babaura
‘Tis a gift to be simple,
‘Tis a gift to be free,
‘Tis a gift to come down
Where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves
In the place that’s right
‘Twill be in the valley
Of love and delight.–Shaker hymn
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