“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.”
― Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty
It’s rare that we ever take the time to evaluate the material (and personal) clutter in our lives and ask ourselves, “how can I simplify my life – what could I truly live without and still be happy?”
For me, a highly anal organizer, there’s no greater feeling than purging the unneeded “stuff” we seem to hoard. We’ve got closets, basements, garages, attics, sheds and even storage units filled to capacity with items we’ve “collected” over the years. They seem to fall under the category of, “well I might use this someday”. But guess what – someday usually never comes and before long all that “stuff” will only add to a feeling of chaos and an increase in personal anxiety.
One of the best ways to try and make sense of it all is when you find yourself moving to a new place. The drudgery of having to bubble wrap, pack, tape and label dozens (sometimes hundreds) of boxes almost forces you to think about consolidating whether you want to or not. It provides you with an opportunity to really take a close look at the items you’ve been “collecting” and assign a realistic value to them.
Many of us grow very attached to our material possessions. When my wife and I first moved to Colorado three months ago, the contents of our home sitting safely in a storage facility, we found ourselves longing for decorations, kitchen gadgets, furniture and even some home and gardening tools (sad huh?). But as time went by, and we were forced to live without many of the things which seemed such a huge part of our everyday normal, you find that life still manages to go on – QUITE HAPPILY.
Society continues to dictate what we need in life in order to be fulfilled and happy. Sadly, they always boil down to spending money on material possessions we many times can live without. My wife and I have already simplified a great deal of our material possessions while packing up our home in New Jersey – donating everything to charitable organizations so that others can benefit from what’s just been sitting in closets, basements and garages with no clear purpose.
While moving is not something in everyone’s future, it’s the only proven way I know of to force yourself to simplify. And once you do you’ll walk away with an invaluable lesson – it’s not what we HAVE that brings us happiness, it’s who we have to share it with.
Mehmet Murat ildan once wrote, “If you have a complex life, make it simple; if you have a simple life, continue it that way! No man with a complex life can be happy! The simple secret of happiness is a simple life!”