In today’s post, I’m sharing all about the lessons I’ve learned – and am still learning – as I create and embrace my simple life. I’m hoping to inspire, motivate and encourage you on your journey to create and live a simpler life too!
It’s been almost a decade since I began decluttering and simplifying our life and home. And during that time, there’s been a lot of learning, growth and a few mistakes along the way. But it’s safe to say that I am overwhelmingly grateful for where I am today and the lessons living a simpler life have taught me.
Creating my simple life has brought so many benefits to my home, my days and my family. From more time to focus on what matters most, to less frustration over picking up toys. From more freedom to pursue a career I love, to less unnecessary stress and anxiety when it comes to caring for our home.
Here are some of the biggest and most important lessons I’ve learned and am learning from a decade of pursuing and living a simple(er) life.
My simple life: 11 lessons from simplifying
1. It’s not worth trying to keep up with Joneses
Most of us realize now that not only is trying to keep up with the Joneses a never-ending goal. One where the goalposts are always moving further away. But it’s also not a very enjoyable way to live.
Feeling like you’re constantly comparing yourself to how other people live, or more accurately comparing yourself to their highlight reel on social media, doesn’t do much to improve your life. It usually leaves you feeling discouraged, like you’re not enough or dissatisfied with your own life.
Plus, you never really know what life is like for the Joneses anyway!
Maybe you see all the new things they have, but don’t see the mountain of debt causing them to lose sleep at night. Or you might see the new things they have, but don’t see the saving and frugal decisions they’ve been making for years to pay for them.
Even if life at the Joneses is pretty good most of the time, no one’s life is without struggles or challenges in one way or another. And if you are always comparing yourself to another person’s highlight reel or image they present publicly, you’ll probably always be left feeling like not enough yourself.
But instead, when you choose to focus on creating a life that feels good to you and stop judging your life in comparison to someone else’s, you have the power to create a life you truly love. A life that feels good, supports you and your family and aligns with your goals and priorities.
You can live the life you want. Instead of trying to keep up with someone else’s life you don’t truly see the whole picture of.
2. Less makes life easier
Practically speaking, less makes life easier. It reduces the amount of work on your plate to maintain your home and the stuff in it. Less stuff means less to clean and clean around. Less to pick up each day, organize and reorganize, etc.
It also reduces your mental load too. You have less to take care of, manage and be responsible for. Less to keep track of, look for and remember.
Simplifying means you have less you are responsible for in general. Reducing your workload, making life easier and freeing up your time and energy for what is most important to you.
3. There is joy to be found when you slow down
Simplifying your home and your schedule not only frees up time in your days but also allows you to move through your days at a slower pace. There’s less busyness and rushing simply because you’re choosing to own less, manage less and do less.
And when you make the choice to slow down, you also give yourself more opportunities to enjoy your days and the little moments that fill them more.
There is a lot of joy to be found in simple, everyday life. But it’s easy to get too busy, too distracted, too rushed, too frazzled, etc. to be able to slow down enough to notice and find the little, joyful parts of everyday life.
Whether it’s the delicious smell and first sip of your morning coffee. The feel of your child’s hand in yours as you walk without needing to rush. Or the way the sun shines through the leaves of a tree.
These delightful little moments are always happening all around you. You just have to clear the clutter and distractions enough so you can slow down, notice and enjoy them!
4. Simplifying supports your mental health
Not only can simplifying help make life easier. It’s also a very useful tool to help support your mental health as well.
As a Highly Sensitive Person, simplifying our home, life and schedule has been one of the most important ways I’ve helped improve my mental health and thrive with my sensitivity.
There’s no doubt that clutter causes stress. And while decluttering and simplifying won’t be a magical cure to the stress, anxiety or depression in your life. It can be one tool you can use to better support yourself. And create a home environment that supports you and your mental health.
5. Enough is a decision
One of the biggest lessons creating my simple life has taught me is that finding your place of “enough” is a decision you make.
“Enough is a decision, not an amount.”– Alison Faulkner
There will always be something new you could buy, something more you could want, something that feels better, newer, faster, shinier, etc. than what you already have.
But choosing to live a simpler life means choosing to find your place of enough and be content there. It’s about learning to find contentment with what you have, rather than always seeking more.
Most importantly, it’s a mindset shift you make. Deciding that what you have is enough and choosing to stop the constant cycle of wanting more.
6. Thinking about “stuff” less
And speaking of “enough”, the goal in simplifying and creating my simpler life isn’t about living with as little as possible. Instead, the goal is to get to a place where “stuff” takes up less space – in our home, minds and schedule.
When you have too much stuff, managing and taking care of it all can consume a large part of your time and energy. Likely more time and energy than you want to give.
But it can also go too far the other way. Where decluttering and getting rid of stuff can consume a large part of your time and energy. Which means your focus is still stuck on the “stuff” you own.
Of course, while you’re in the process of decluttering and simplifying, your focus will be on the stuff you own a lot. But the goal is to get rid of the clutter, the excess and the distractions, so ultimately you can spend less time and energy thinking about, taking care of and managing “stuff” altogether!
One of the big lessons I’ve learned as I’ve created my simpler life is finding that balance. So I can stop spending so much time and energy on my “stuff” in general. Whether that means taking care of too much stuff or always looking for more to get rid of.
Side note: ongoing decluttering is still important!
With that said, decluttering and simplifying your home and life isn’t something you do once and never have to do again.
Your home, your life and your schedule are always shifting and changing. Plus, “stuff” has a way of coming into your home over time. Maintenance decluttering is an important part of maintaining a simpler home and life.
Not only that but sometimes the more you declutter and simplify, the more value you see in letting go of the clutter and the distractions. It might inspire you to go back through your home to declutter and simplify it further.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing maintenance decluttering to keep your home and life simplified. And there’s nothing wrong with doing another round of decluttering to go a little deeper on your simplifying journey.
The key is making sure you’re decluttering and simplifying enough so that you can focus on living your life, not managing the “stuff” you own!
7. It’s ok to live differently
We live in a world where more is often viewed as better, and even as a sign of success.
Intentionally choosing to create a simpler life is often quite counter-cultural. Not everyone will understand it. Not everyone will see the value in living this way. And not everyone will be supportive of you choosing a simpler life.
And that’s ok! Other people don’t have to understand it or accept it.
You have the power to choose what kind of life you live, and more importantly, how that life works for and feels to you and your family. You don’t have to continue doing things how you’ve always done them. And you certainly don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
It’s not always easy to live in a way that might be different from a lot of the people around you. But knowing exactly why you are making the choice to live this way and feeling firm in your beliefs, priorities and goals will help motivate you to continue.
8. Simple living isn’t always simple
The irony of living a simple life is that it isn’t always simple!
In fact, it takes a lot of learning, unlearning and intentional effort to create and live a simpler life.
There are often trade-offs that are part of living a simpler life that aren’t always easy. For example, it might mean saying no to one thing so you can say yes to another that’s more important to you.
Creating a simpler life often involves setting and sticking to boundaries to protect your time, space, money, energy and attention. And setting and holding boundaries isn’t always easy either!
It often means ignoring FOMO (the fear of missing out) and choosing not to compare your life and your choices to someone else’s.
It means figuring out and getting clear about what your true priorities, values and goals for your life are. Not what they “should be” or what everyone else’s are.
It isn’t always easy. But it’s definitely worth it!
9. A lot of the clutter, chaos, stress and busyness is our own doing
This was a lesson that wasn’t particularly easy to learn. When it really comes down to it, a lot of the clutter, the stress, the busyness, etc. in our lives comes from the choices we make. A lot of it is our own doing!
Sometimes it’s a matter of buying too much, keeping too much, saying yes too much, etc. Other times it’s because we haven’t figured out good habits and routines to help make managing our homes easier. Often, it’s because we don’t take the time to remove the clutter, the unnecessary, the excess and the distractions from our homes.
Maybe we’ve allowed ourselves to become busy and rushed because we take on too much. Not wanting to disappoint other people, or because of FOMO.
Not only that but we’ve been conditioned to believe that busy equals important and owning lots of stuff equals success.
It’s not always easy, but an important lesson to learn as you create a simpler life is that many of the complications in your life are the result of the choices you’ve made.
And the flip side of that is that you have the power to make different choices about maybe not all, but quite a few, of the things making your life feel un-simple.
10. Clearing clutter from your home also clears clutter from your mind
It’s easy to see how clearing the clutter from your home makes it easier to function in your home. But clearing the clutter from your home also clears the clutter from your mind as well. There’s less to take care of, less to keep track of, less distracting you, etc.
Not only that, but our homes are often a reflection of how we feel inside, and how we feel inside can often be reflected in how our homes look and feel. Choosing to simplify your home can go a long way towards simplifying and quieting any chaos happening in your mind as well.
In addition, when you have less clutter and fewer distractions in your home taking up your time and energy, it’s easier to gain clarity about who you are and who you want to be. It’s easier to identify your values, goals, priorities and who you are when you aren’t distracted by clutter and chaos in your home.
11. You don’t always need to be “doing”
As someone who likes to be productive, it’s easy to fall into the trap of always “doing”. Whether it’s work, chores or even hobbies you enjoy, it’s easy to forget that there is as much value in rest, as there is in productivity.
Simplifying and creating a simpler life is a great way to free up some of the time you previously spent “doing”. And instead, learning to give yourself more opportunities to rest and just be.
My simple life: lessons from a simpler life
Simplifying your home and your life is about so much more than just decluttering or dealing with “stuff”. There are many lessons creating a simpler life can teach you. These are a few of the big ones from my own experience and journey. And some that you may notice in your life as well.
What lessons has your own simplifying journey taught or is teaching you? Leave a comment and let me know!