So many beautiful things can emerge from simplifying your life. I honestly believe it creates balance and improves the chi in your home and with how you feel. I’ve been approaching different methods of simplifying and decluttering which have really improved my outlook on things and life overall. I figured I’d share them with you today.
Usually the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word simplify is to declutter. Even when you’ve gotten to a place where you feel good about the things that you have, and released unnecessary and unused items, there is a consistent upkeep that continues as things and new possessions continually flow into your life. When I first began my minimalist lifestyle journey I was well aware that I was living in a home with too many things. I felt confined and annoyed that I could not create a home that I was proud of. I also did not know how large my previous apartment really was because my husband and I had initially filled every inch of the space with too much stuff. It wasn’t until I had started getting rid of extra furniture and the items that they contained where we both began appreciating space over things.
Regardless of the size of your home, you can always make it appear larger by downsizing your possessions.
Minimizing my possessions was also a way to allow more good to come into my life including money. I continued to be grateful for the things that I had, and gratitude in itself can create more abundance. I let go of everything that was worn out, broken, unused, and unloved. In essence I got rid of anything holding negative stale energy to create space for more positive to come into my life material and everything else.
Whenever I am on the verge of a new life path, career, or business endeavor, decluttering is one of the BEST ways to create space for the good to birth through. It is a symbolic metaphor for clearing the path.
I’ve been decluttering items for well over three years now. During this time I’ve created a method that works easily for me, although it still takes time, but without the emotional tug of war of what to keep. One of the easiest places for me to begin this process is with my wardrobe on the days I do laundry. My wardrobe has been downsized tremendously so my initial method of downsizing my wardrobe isn’t as necessary as I don’t have nearly as much. Now I just look for items that I don’t get excited about any more, and decide whether to alter the item or to give it away. I also decide whether I could use the material to make something else, yet I give myself a time limit so I’m not collecting “future project” clutter. I then move to clearing out papers, books, cosmetics, and other miscellaneous items.
I’ve finally gotten to the place where saying “no” is much easier than it has ever been and at times very necessary. Saying “no” to others demands on my time has allowed me the space to live a more creative life. I feel so blessed to have a life which revolves around creativity. Writing this blog, designing and selling jewelry, dancing and choreographing, and developing a cosmetic product line are all creative projects which also take A LOT of time and energy. Over the years I’ve watched myself literally work myself sick with multiple outside jobs, say “yes” to everything that was asked of me, and still try to have a fulfilling creative life. Some things I was agreeing to do out of fear that I wouldn’t be seen as a nice person, or I would be missing an important opportunity if I did not say “yes”.
I no longer say “yes” to everything that is asked of me. If I am asked to do something via text or email, I give myself some time to think about it before I reply. If I am asked in person, I will say “Can I get back to you on that?” or “I’m not sure, but I’ll let you know.” I never want to do anything with resentment or any negative emotion as I will naturally bring that negativity to whatever I’ve agreed to do. By giving myself some time to think about it, I am also able to check my schedule, see how whatever is asked will affect my other commitments, and also give me a moment where I can negotiate what I can do so that it can work best for everyone involved. I am then making a conscious effort to do everything with love and positive energy.
When I ‘ve stretched myself too thin with responsibilities and outside commitments, I have little time for self reflection, quiet, or rest. I then in turn feel chaotic, and the only one to blame is myself.
We obviously need money to live, yet I personally value time more. I’m no longer working hard to have material possessions and have found many ways to have the things I do desire with a much smaller budget for example DIY skin care and cosmetics and thrifting. When I started decluttering my possessions, I realized that I only need quality loved items to be happy. When I started focused on the things that I loved and was grateful for having them, I no longer was easily manipulated my society to want more and more. More is not necessarily better.
Emotional decluttering is a much more complicated process, and takes more conscious effort than going through your closet or getting rid of worn out sheets or towels. The process of emotional detox can erupt anger, tears, physical pain, frustration, blame, and resentment, yet the most rewarding final result is peace and serenity. Being on a constant “treadmill of life” doesn’t allow you to even have a second to think about the present moment not to mention past childhood pains, emotional or physical trauma, or anything else which holding onto doesn’t allow your good to come into your life fully no matter how hard you try.
One of the easiest ways to begin this process of decluttering is to write your thoughts down or journal. Journaling allow you to say the things that you wish you had said, get insight, or even vent without sharing any negative energy with others. I don’t keep my journals anymore as that was one way I symbolically released the past. Before moving I took the time to look through the many journals that I had, read pages here and there, and shred them all. Just writing things down has always been especially healing for me.
When I am doing specific healing and release work, it is a wonderful feeling to write down my fears, pain, frustration etc. then literally light them on fire over the kitchen sink and watch it burn. I then watch the water from the facet wash all of if away.
Louise L. Hay wrote a wonderful book called You Can Heal Your Life which discusses in depth how our thoughts can create dis-ease in our bodies and in our lives. The one thing that keeps our beliefs strong whether we consider them good or bad is our emotions behind them. Taking time to read material that brightens our soul while doing forgiveness work as much as we can will give us the emotional and spiritual space to feel lighter and not so heavy with life.
One of my favorite ways to release emotional clutter is to get out in the sun and play hard! There is nothing more healing to our spirit than nature. When we are inside too long and miss the natural sunlight and fresh air it is depressing. Play is one of the most effective ways to unknowingly do healing work without any stress whatsoever.
In what ways do you actively simplify your life?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)