5 Ways to Live Simpler

Written from a train somewhere along the southwest coast of Italy.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupe

Collect Experiences Instead of Stuff

Thanks to advancements in technology and travel, we are blessed with access to many experiences that were not accessible just 100 years ago. Yet, despite these opportunities, people are still stuck on the accumulation of material possessions. I would encourage you to forgo the decorative niceties and expensive what-nots in favor of a more vibrant life filled with unique experiences. Translate the things of cinema into real life adventures. Scuba dive in sunken ships, stay in an ice-hotel in Norway, cycle across the United States - this is the stuff of the present not the future.

Live in such a way that memories are made, life-time friendships are forged and better stories are lived. Through these experiences, your character will be strengthened, your perspective will be broadened and your inspiration will remain alive and well. Don't stop living and let life "happen" to you.

Smaller Living Space

Let's just get out with it - bigger homes are way cooler than little homes. We're on the same page. But bigger homes come with their own share of burdens. More empty space means you need more things to fill it. Not only is money being spent on things you, more than likely, don't need, there is an opportunity costs in that it can now no longer be spent on other, more valuable expenses such as experiences!

So now you have more space with more things in it - you have to clean all of it which means more time spent vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing and sweeping. Time that could be spent pursuing your dreams.

Yikes! It's about that time. You gotta re-shingle the roof and the carpet could use an update and the walls could stand a fresh coat of paint.

Imagine living in only the space you need - fewer unnecessary things, easier to clean, cheaper maintenance costs. And if you're sick and tired of living in small quarters, go for a camping trip in Yosemite National Park and spend some of that freed up cleaning time enjoying the world God has created for you!

Invest in Quality 

So you're living in a smaller space, and cutting out a lot of purchases you don't need. Great! But we do need some things. We can't live entirely devoid of material possessions. So go for quality! Making a conscious effort to invest in things that are made well and will last comes with a host of unforeseen benefits! Primarily, it forces you to determine if it is really worth spending the money. We aren't as flippant with our cash when we're shelling out the big bucks. If we decide we'll get our money's worth out of the item, we go ahead and make the investment!

TIP: Invest in things that have lifetime warranties - one time purchase, lifetime usage.

Pare Down the Wardrobe

You don't have to be a fashionista to accumulate quite a closet full of clothes. We need a sweater for Cousin John's graduation, a suit for Aunt Bertha's wedding, a pair of shorts for the beach and some new hiking boots for that once-a-year camping trip. It tends to add up. I bet at least 50% of your wardrobe is worn less than 20% of the time. So here's what you do...

Go through and weed out the stuff you rarely/never wear. Bag it and give it to your younger cousin or Goodwill. Now that your closet is severely trimmed down, anytime you are aching to get some new clothes, begin investing in quality clothing that is versatile. Classic cuts, neutral colours and multiple purposes. Over time you'll be able to mix and match to create endless combinations from just a few articles of clothing. Invest in a few solid accessories to spice it up such as some tie clips, watches, or hats for men and purses, jewelry and hair thingies for the ladies.

Less clothes means less to choose from, easier decision making, lighter bags when you travel and roomier closets!

Leverage Your Mornings

Simpler living requires utilizing your time wisely. One of the best practices is to leverage your mornings. Early in the day, you'll find fewer people demanding your time and attention, opening up some time for you to clear your head and get a few things done.

Spend some time reviewing/revising your schedule, creating a to-do list (I recommend The Index Card Method), partaking in your chosen method of waking up (coffee, meditation, running etc.) and mentally preparing yourself for the day.

Most people have a fairly regular morning routine. Such habitual practices will not only help you increase productivity, it is also good for your health!

Now what?

So you've simplified your life. Now you have bags of clothes you need to do something with, freed up funds and more time on your hands! I would encourage you to turn around and give those things away. I believe that you will find more satisfaction in giving those things away to people who need them than you found in purchasing them in the first place. As we give, God will bless, so that we might give again - the giving cycle.

If you have found this post to be helpful, please pass it on so that others can also begin living a more vibrant life.

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