Today’s post is all about how living simply and intentionally choosing less isn’t really about owning less or doing less at all. Instead, living simply is about choosing less of what doesn’t matter (or matters less) so you create more room in your life for more of what matters most.
Simplifying isn’t about having less just for the sake of having less. It’s about choosing less of the clutter, the busyness and the distractions, so you have more time, space, energy and freedom for more of what matters most to you.
Focus on what you’ll gain
If you’re in the process of simplifying your home and life, letting go doesn’t always feel easy. When you see all the stuff (and money you spent on it!) leaving your home, sometimes it can feel hard, or even scary.
Instead of focusing on what you’re getting rid of and letting go of, it’s often more helpful to focus on what you’ll gain instead.
And that’s what today’s post will help you do!
It’ll help you notice all the ways choosing less is making room in your life for more. And why intentionally choosing to live simply is a wonderful way to take control of your days and your life. Designing a home and a life that serves you well, adds contentment and makes life easier!
Living simply: a common misconception
Before we get to the reasons why choosing less and choosing to live simply can create space for more of what matters most to you, let’s clear up a big misconception that often comes along with simplifying.
You’ll notice in this post, I’m using the phrase “living simply”. Another way to describe living simply is with the word minimalism. But minimalism is a term I sometimes hesitate to use, simply because it comes with so many misunderstandings and misconceptions.
At its core, minimalism is about getting rid of the things that don’t matter, so you have more time, space and freedom for the things that do matter.
However, minimalism can often get a bad reputation as being cold, stark, sterile, lifeless, uninviting, etc. And sometimes those same misconceptions can extend to the idea of simplifying, living more simply, decluttering, etc.
There seems to be a common idea that more “stuff” and clutter, make a home feel warm and inviting, lived in and full of life.
But I want to address these misconceptions now before we go any further.
Fill your home with life, not clutter
Clutter is not what adds warmth or life to a space. In fact, clutter distracts you, competes for your time and attention and gets in the way of filling a space with life.
It’s not the stuff that adds warmth or life to a space. It’s how you choose to live in and enjoy a space that makes it feel like home.
Of course, some basic elements of comfort are important in a home. A place to sit, objects that bring you joy, furniture you need to use and enjoy a space, etc.
But once you cross the line from useful items and things you truly love, the rest becomes clutter. It becomes “stuff” that’s getting in the way of you living in your home and enjoying your time spent there.
And on the flip side of that, when you clear the clutter and only keep what you use, need and love in a space, you give yourself more time, space and energy to live in and enjoy your home.
You can choose to live simply, not so you have less. But so you can create room for more of what matters most to you.
And I’ll explain more about exactly what that “more” looks like in this post!
Real life example of living simply to make room for more
Here’s an example from my own home and life of how choosing to live simply and own less, makes room for more in your home and life.
I keep our kitchen countertops almost completely empty. Aside from a candle on the stove, hand soap by the sink, and the occasional container of baked goods by the pantry, the rest of our countertops stay empty. The default state of our countertops is clear.
Over the years, I have received comments from friends in real life and people online who don’t like my clear countertops. I’ve been told the kitchen looks cold, lifeless, like no one lives here or cooks here, etc.
But the thing is, that picture you see of my clear countertops on Instagram is one single snapshot of one single moment of time in our home. Our countertops don’t stay clear all day long. They get messy with dishes, cooking messes, baking messes, homework, craft projects, etc. They get messy just like anyone else’s!
But the difference is our countertops start clear each day.
Less stuff, more life
The clear countertops make more room for the life that fills our kitchen during the day.
Clear countertops mean cooking is easier and we can eat at home more.
It means cleaning up is easier, so it’s more likely to get done. I don’t have to pick up and wipe around/under a whole bunch of stuff to clean up. I put away whatever has landed on the counters that day, then easily wipe the counters clean.
And when it’s faster and easier to clean up the kitchen, I have more time to do other things rather than spending extra time cleaning up and cleaning around clutter!
Our counters don’t stay empty all day. We live here, we use our stuff, we cook and eat, we make messes.
But starting with clear counters and a blank slate each day makes filling our kitchen with normal family life (and the messes that go along with it!) a lot easier and more pleasant.
We aren’t already starting from a place that feels cluttered, messy and chaotic. We choose less so our kitchen is easier to use, manage and take care of. All so we have more time, space and energy for things that are way more important than doing the dishes!
So we can fill our kitchen with life, instead of stuff.
Making room for more life
A simple home isn’t lifeless. Just the opposite in fact!
A simple home is can be full of life, just with less clutter getting in the way of enjoying that life.
Living simply means only keeping what you use, need and love in your home. So you can spend less time cleaning up after life and more time living life!
It means less time spent taking care of and focusing on things that don’t matter all that much. And more time spent enjoying and focusing on the things that do matter.
Less time shuffling clutter around so I can clean the kitchen after supper means more time to spend with my family. Or more time to just sit down and relax at the end of the day!
Get rid of the things that don’t matter so you have more for the things that do.
Less stuff gives you more time, space and energy for more life. More time, space and freedom to live more. Without clutter getting in your way.
So let’s talk about exactly what you’ll have more of when you choose to live with less!
Choosing less to make room for more
When you choose to clear the clutter and get rid of the distractions, you give yourself more time, space and energy to live your life. To enjoy your life. To enjoy your home. Rather than just cleaning up after life and desperately trying to keep up with your home.
Not only do you have room for more life, but you also have room for more ease.
Too much stuff can make you feel like you have an endless to-do list. Like there’s always more to take care of and manage.
But when you choose to simplify, there’s less competing for your time and attention. It’s easier to do the things that need to be done to keep your home and life running smoothly. Letting your days feel easier, more peaceful and less frantic just trying to keep up.
More financial freedom
When you make the intentional choice to live more simply, you’ll likely also choose to buy less “stuff”. Simply because you enjoy the benefits of owning and having less.
When you spend less on stuff you don’t really need, use or love, you’ll have the opportunity to direct your money towards your priorities instead. Maybe that means saving for retirement and future goals. It could mean travelling more. Or it could mean paying off debt (and the stress that debt adds to your life).
What matters is that you’ll gain control over your finances and use them intentionally. Using your money to support your values, goals and priorities, rather than just buying more stuff.
More mental clarity
Less stuff in your home and in your schedule means fewer distractions vying for your attention. It means less to keep up with, keep track of and look for. As well as fewer things on your to-do list swirling around in your head.
And instead, gives you space to think. Simplifying your home and your life gets rid of the physical clutter from your home. But it also helps clear some of the mental clutter that builds up from trying to keep up with, keep track of and stay on top of everything too.
Clutter and too much stuff are distracting. They keep you busy and rushing around because everything you own means one more thing you have to take care of, clean up, clean around, pick up, put away, organize, reorganize, look for, etc.
Choosing to live simply by choosing to do and own less means you have fewer distractions competing for your attention. It means you spend less time rushing around trying to keep up.
And instead, gives you more time, energy and attention to connect with the people you love. To slow down enough to look someone in the eye when they’re talking to you, rather than multi-tasking. To have space in your day to meet a friend or call someone you love.
Your relationships and your connections flourish when you have time and attention to give them. Time and attention that used to be taken up by clutter.
More peaceful alignment
Rushing around and always feeling like you can never quite keep up doesn’t feel good. Especially when you realize so much of that rushing around is so you can manage “stuff” in your home and clutter in your life.
It can often feel like the most important things and the things that matter most to you aren’t really getting the attention they deserve. You’re too busy just trying to keep up and keep your head above water!
When you clear the clutter and live more simply, you feel more peaceful knowing you’ll have time to take care of what truly needs to get done. And still have time, energy and attention to focus on the things that matter most to you too.
You create space in your home, margin in your schedule and time in your days to prioritize what matters most to you.
You give yourself the power and control to decide what is important, and what is just adding clutter or getting in the way of what’s important. Then take steps to clear the clutter and the distractions so the way you live, aligns with what matters most to you.
It’s hard to hear what your heart tells you matters most when you’re always surrounded by noise, clutter, busyness and distractions!
But when you get rid of the clutter and the distractions, quiet the noise and the outside influences, you give yourself time, space and quiet to really notice and understand what matters most to you. To figure out what your goals are, what your priorities are, what you value, how you want to live, what you like and don’t like, to really understand who you are as a person, etc.
As Rumi, a 13th-century poet, said, “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”
More gratitude & contentment
When you let go of the not so meaningful items in your home and life, you can value and appreciate what’s left even more.
And of course, when you take the time to slow down and stop rushing through life, you have more opportunities to notice and feel grateful for the wonderful parts of life and your days – both big and small.
Not only that but making the intentional choice to live more simply helps you find your place of “enough”. Instead of always seeking more, newer, better, etc. to make you feel complete, happy or content.
You recognize that enough is a decision you make, not a certain amount of stuff you accumulate.
Less stuff to take care of and fewer obligations to keep up with mean you have more time in your days. Of course, that means time for the things you value and are most important to you. But it also means you have more time to just be, rather than always be doing.
This might mean you have more downtime to rest and recharge. Or more time to simply do the things that refuel your body, mind and spirit.
When you feel stretched too thin – whether that means with your time, your space, your money, etc. – you don’t leave yourself a lot of margin to adapt to changes as they come up.
But giving yourself that margin in your home, with your time, with your budget, etc. makes it easier to be more flexible and adapt to changes or the unexpected.
Changes and unexpected events are part of life. It feels a lot better knowing you have the flexibility in your home and life to adapt to them, rather than being stretched so thin even a little change can feel like a disaster.
Living simply: choosing less to have more
I hope today’s post has helped you see some of the ways living simply and choosing a life with less can make room for so much more. More of the good stuff that leads to a meaningful, fulfilling, happy life. Rather than a busy, frantic and cluttered one!
What’s one way you’ve noticed choosing less leads to more of in your life? Leave a comment and let me know!