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Most people live fairly complicated lives. When you actually sit down and take stock of everything that we do in a day, all the demands we have, the jobs we work, the extra curricular activities our kids go to, the #instaworthy food we are supposed to be cooking from scratch and the general keeping up with the proverbial ‘Joneses’, there’s a whole lot that goes on. Which is why it’s important to start looking at things to eliminate to live a more simple life.
The truth is, we don’t need all the things we have. Want, maybe? Need, no.
But for some reason we decide to fill our lives with these things in the hope they will fulfil us in some way. But that is a whole other article for another day.
In the meantime, there are some things you can eliminate to live a more simple life, and it won’t involve a big shift and shakeup to be effective.
1 – Paperwork
For a digital age, have you noticed that it seems like we have more paperwork now than ever before? I used to have folders and folders of receipts, warranties, bills, instruction manuals – all the things I thought that I might need one day. But never did.
Grab all that paperwork and start scanning. Make digital copies of everything and shred the originals. I always keep at least two back ups of things, one on a physical hard drive and the other on a cloud storage like Google Drive. The cloud storage is easy to access from my phone or computer if I ever need it and the digital copy is there as just an additional precaution.
Sure there are some things you need to keep the originals of, like some receipts and birth certificates, however, if you’re unsure check with your accountant. A lot of receipts fade so quickly now too – snapping a photo of them and uploading them to a receipt storage app or to your accounting app is a great way to eliminate that paperwork too.
Without all of that paperwork weighing you down, you’ll feel much lighter and simpler already.
2 – Clutter
Have a look around your house right now and I bet you can find at least one (or maybe even more) of those ‘zones’ where everything just seems to be put. Like, that spot on your kitchen bench where the keys, unopened mail, bills to be paid, random Lego pieces, a granola bar and a dirty band-aid just somehow end up.
These zones tend to become a place where it’s just habit to dump random things there because there’s a) ‘space’ for it and b) nowhere designated to put it.
So identify those areas, identify what is mostly taking up those areas and put in place ways to avoid them.
For example, if you put your keys there, get a key holder or key dish and put it in a drawer near your front door or in a cupboard. If you put paperwork there, get a folder to put all the paperwork to scan and put your paperwork in that folder.
Also, put something like a small potted plant in the space where your drop zone was. This will help remind you to stop putting things there and it looks pretty.
3 – Excess Items
Again with the want for so much stuff. How many coffee mugs do you own? Dinner plates? Pairs of socks? Notebooks? Pens? Magazines? More and more things…
Getting rid of excess items is so liberating. I actually become a bit obsessive with it and my husband has to remind me that we can’t actually get by with just one coffee mug. Which is true.
Another area to look at under ‘excess items’ is trinkets. Or dust collectors as my husband calls them. Yes, that candle looks cute but do you use it? And do you need 5 of them?
We have the rule that if we buy something new, whether it’s a shirt or a candle or a new toy for our son, something old has to go. It helps keep the excess under control.
4 – Excess Food
When was the last time you cleaned out your pantry? Oh my gosh, we have quickly become a society of food hoarders! Generally speaking. We have never lived in a world where food was more readily accessible, but we also keep so, so much of it on hand. It’s literally a 3 minute drive to the grocery store – if I can’t be bothered to make that drive then I don’t actually need the item I’m after.
Clean out your pantry and take inventory of what is in there. Throw out anything that is out of date and create a meal plan using the items that are left. Use what you have and only replace what you absolutely need to. Just because the 20 kilogram bag of rice was on special doesn’t mean you actually need to buy it.
5 – Bad Relationships
This one might not be as easy to get rid of, but equally (if not more) important to do in order to live a more simple life. There are certain people in our life that are toxic and just make life more complicated. They could be friends, partners or even family. You know the ones, you probably thought of them as soon as you read the first line of this point. And you know how draining they are on your life.
Just because we love someone, it doesn’t mean we have to keep them in our lives if they aren’t adding value and making us feel good. Clearing these bad relationships, even simply spending less time with that person, can do wonders in your endeavour for a more simple life.
Start clearing and eliminating these things to live a more simplified life and see just how calm things can be.