The following post is taken from my book, Start With Your Sock Drawer: The Simple Guide to Living a Less Cluttered Life. You can buy a copy for yourself at Amazon.
‘Simple living’ is how I describe the organised, uncluttered lifestyle I enjoy and that I believe you will too. We are overwhelmed with choices in so many areas of our lives and making one decision after another takes up headspace. This is why I like to keep things simple at home.
Imagine that you are you eating out at a lovely restaurant where the menu goes on for pages and pages. Everything looks delicious, but you feel overwhelmed and paralysed by choice – deciding what to eat suddenly seems impossible, and what could have been a pleasurable process becomes a daunting task. I find it so much easier to make a decision when there are fewer dishes on offer. This applies to scenarios all over your home: picture your wardrobe, your toiletries, your child’s mass of toys… often there is simply too much to choose from.
Buying in bulk, prompted by anything from a severe weather-forecast to a bonanza sale, often leads us to stockpile products – especially food. We stash away tins and packets, believing that bursting cupboards will afford us some security or save us money. But, more often than not, the downside outweighs any gain. The cumulative effect of crowded spaces, overflowing storage and the race against the calendar to eat food before its use-by date, all adds to a feeling of pressure, of being overwhelmed. There is no need to have cupboards bursting with cups and cutlery, bathrooms clogged with an endless array of products and wardrobes crowded with more outfits than we have time to wear. By clearing space and taking away choices, we can make our days more streamlined and cut out some of the decisions we are faced with. Instead of having a rail full of tops to choose from in the morning, I’ve reduced it to only those that I know I wear and love. When it comes to beauty products, I only ever have one shampoo, face cream and body lotion on the go at once; they are all from ranges I love so there’s no need for a wide selection and, best of all, there is no choice involved. The same goes for crockery, stationery, cleaning products and many, many more possessions – the key is keeping it simple. And, by simplifying small areas of your home, you wouldn’t believe the overall space you will be creating and the feeling of calm that will result.
When aspects of our lives feel as if they are out of control, we know it’s important to take charge and bring order where we can. This can mean saying ‘no’ to invitations, limiting our commitments and protecting our time – but keeping areas clear and organised in our homes is just as important as managing our diary in this way. When we are up-to-date with our paperwork, work surfaces are free from clutter and we have gained back control at home, we operate from a position of clarity. This gives us the confidence to take control of other elements of our lives and the simplicity we begin to enjoy at home can spill over into all areas, impacting how we manage ourselves socially and professionally.
Most elements of our life could benefit from a degree of simplification. By following my methods, simple living can be achieved easily and within the context of a busy life. Once it becomes a habit, you can learn to regard material possessions differently. You will become more selective about what you allow to come into and to stay in your home, and you will limit the choices you need to make each day by letting go of the items that are cluttering up your spaces.