With all the buzz surrounding minimalism and simple living these days, it’s easy to believe that living simply is as easy as making a few quick decisions and clearing out the clutter in your life in a matter of days. But—what about reality? The truth is, making changes that move you toward simplicity can be scary. You can read thousands of “rah-rah” posts about how awesome it is to let go and live a simple life, but the act of putting those ideas into action and starting to clear the physical and mental clutter is the hard part.

From a real-life perspective and from someone who has been practicing simplicity for many years, it’s not necessarily a quick fix. It’s more of a change in mindset, and it takes time, intention, and energy. Most of all, it takes determination– a determination to create a world where you are focused on your priorities, you are open to change and to where you can embrace the possibility of learning that less can truly be more.

I’ve learned that the power of simplicity comes down to realizing that fewer choices means easier decisions. For example, less clutter means less cleaning and organizing. Fewer commitments leads to more time with my family (and even time left over for yoga and a glass of wine – not necessarily at the same time!). So, you want to bring the power of simplicity to your life, and create space and time for things that truly matter to you. But how do you set out on this journey to simplicity? My suggestions are to start small, create a vision, and appreciate the results.

Start Small

All too often, we’re tempted to reach the end before we even start. We want to create a “big bang,” if you will, and make huge changes all at once. But let’s be a bit more realistic—look around at your home and life. If you’re honest with yourself, you didn’t get in the position you are in all at once, and–no offense to Marie Kondo– it isn’t all going to be resolved in one fell swoop, either. Instead, it’s best to take it one step at a time. To begin, pick one small thing and create the simplicity you want in that bit. Start with your shoes. Or your mixing bowls. Or your volunteer commitments.

Whatever area you’re trying to simplify first, edit it down to a manageable amount. Think of it as pruning a tree: when you remove the branches, dead limbs and debris from the tree, there’s much less stress and weight on the tree. You’re left with a healthy tree that can grow and sustain itself. The same is true in your life. Once you reach a point where one area of your life is manageable, it becomes clear that this “pruning” will only lead to good things.

Once you achieve success with one area, you can see what that feels like and build upon it. Starting small allows you to see progress as you go, rather than beating yourself up for not reaching the lofty goal of “change everything at once.” Small steps at a time will create the sustainable, long-term change that you’re looking for.

Create A Vision

woman free at sunset

When we have a clear goal in mind, it can help us stay motivated during the difficult moments on the journey. Think about the feeling you’d like to have, or visualize what your home or life will look like once you’ve simplified. Maybe you envision a sense of freedom. Perhaps you long for fewer choices so you don’t have decision fatigue. Maybe you’re looking forward to having fewer things to dust in your home.

Take time to think about why you want to simplify, and identify what your ideal would look like. Your surroundings. Your commitments. Your free time. When these things are identified, you’ll have a clear picture of where it is you’re headed on this journey to simplicity. Whatever your vision or your needs are, articulate them. Write them down. Ponder them. Create a vision board. Getting your goals out of your head and onto paper (or your computer, maybe) will help you commit to yourself and to reaching your goal of simplicity.

Appreciate The Results

minimalist cactus

Once you begin simplifying in small steps, pay attention to how you feel. Hone in on the feelings that your clear spaces or open schedule evoke. Pat yourself on the back for each step you take. Personally, when I embrace the simplicity in a space, I realize that my breathing is easier. My stomach doesn’t hurt. I don’t want to avert my eyes from the stuff, but instead I feel a sense of calm. Even as you make progress, you’ll still have spaces in your life where you haven’t reached your goals yet. For me, those spaces still cause a sense of unease, but I know in time they’ll be just as calming as other spaces in my life—it just takes patience!

Getting organized and embracing simplicity is achievable for anyone. The true challenge is recognizing that this is what you want, and believing that you have the power to get there. I know that—despite the challenges along the way—simplifying my life has opened me up to accomplishing more and stressing less. If you’re up for the challenge, simplifying can only lead to great things for you, too.

Ready to simplify, but need a little help? A Fresh Space is ready to help you reclaim your time and your home. Contact us today for the help you need along your journey to living simply!