Maintaining Simplicity

fullsizerenderI believe a simple life takes three basic steps ~

  1. Carefully Choosing – both the tangible and intangible things you want in your life
  2. Logically Organizing – what you have chosen to keep
  3. Constantly Maintaining – the most difficult step in my mind and the subject of this post.

Maintaining simplicity requires paying attention. Many times, I’ve lost focus on my desire to keep it simple and suddenly found myself overwhelmed by things I don’t need or want. Through trial and error, I have learned to shut the physical and mental floodgates or stuff will come streaming back into my life faster than I can say, “Target run.”

Five ways to maintain simplicity ~

  1. Eliminate Certain Things Entirely
  2. Set Limits on Everything Else
  3. Avoid Consumer Traps
  4. Adjust the Mindset
  5. Remain Inspired

1. ELIMINATE ~ When you begin to consciously choose what is in your life, you naturally begin to see things you can eliminate. Over the past several years, I’ve experimented living entirely without certain things. Some experiments didn’t work at the time, such as sharing a car with my husband. Others have stuck.

Here are a few things I’ve eliminated: eyeliner, knick knacks, wall art, indoor plants, book cases, shopping for entertainment, belts, golf, uncomfortable shoes, bedroom televisions, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, fashion magazines, violent movies, CDs, freebies…

2. SET LIMITS ~ I own and enjoy lots of things. Setting limits means deciding on a manageable amount of these things I have at a given time.

Some things on which I’ve set limits: earrings, books, photographs, bedsheets, news, cosmetics, kitchen gadgets, DVDs, outfits, bath towels, Facebook, potholders, plates, pencils & pens, files, television, drive-throughs, hair products, purses, shoes, margaritas…

3. AVOID CONSUMER TRAPS ~ Everywhere we turn, there are direct and indirect messages to buy, buy, buy. We all have our personal triggers, and I’m sure some people have more self-discipline than I.

Examples of things I avoid to suppress the urge to want more, more, more: fashion magazines, too much television and social media, shopping without a list, malls, grocery shopping at big box stores…

4. ADJUST THE MINDSET ~ Decluttering and organizing our stuff provides immediate benefits, but simplifying goes far beyond the physical. The real, and more difficult, path to a simple life occurs in our hearts and heads.

Here’s a short list of the intangible things we would all do well to purge from our lives forever: prejudice, entitlement, bragging, guilt, materialism, fear, negativity, self-promotion, jealousy, anger, people-pleasing, arrogance, insecurity, keeping up with the Joneses…

That leaves room for simply lovely things like these: peace, gratitude, faith, abundance, hope, confidence, happiness, equality, love…

5. REMAIN INSPIRED ~ Here are a few of my favorite bloggers, authors, and gurus I turn to when I simply need a boost of encouragement:

Leo Babuta –  www.zenhabits.net and http://www.mnmlist.com

Joshua Becker –  www.becomingminimalist.com

Marie Condo – the life-changing magic of tidying up and spark joy

Karen Kingston – Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus –  www.theminimalists.com

Jennifer L. Scott – Ted Talk: The Ten-Item Wardrobe 

Ellen St. James – Simplify Your Life and Living the Simple Life

Peter Walsh – It’s All Too Much, Lighten Up, and Enough Already!

Scripture and Parables from The Holy Bible

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Think On These Things ~ Alicia

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