by visiting your grocery store and bringing home a few big boxes.
These are your garage sale or donation boxes. Start with your
closet. Most of us have more than we can possibly wear, or clothes
that haven't been worn because we don't feel comfortable or
confident in them. All of those can go. Donate them, or have
a rummage sale and use the proceeds to buy a few pieces you
Books. How many books do you have right now
that you have been meaning to read? How many books can you read
at one time? If you have stacks of unread books you are only
adding clutter to your life. You may also be wasting money if,
by the time you are ready to read those books, your interests
change and there is a new book you would rather read. Simplifying
is all about one thing at a time.
Tackling the stuff. Stuff equals stress. The more stuff you
have the more you have to maintain, clean and repair. The basic
key to simplifying your life is to simplify your stuff.
Think of everything you do in terms of priorities. What
are your priorities in life? Do you long to have more time with
your children? Is there an unfulfilled dream you would like
to pursue? Identify your top few priorities and then observe
how your actions affect them.
For example, if your top priority is spending time with your
children, does buying a new outfit achieve that? If you have
a comparable outfit, could that money be better spent?
Cutting down. Simplifying isn't about being
frugal. It's about deciding what's important to you and what
makes you feel better about yourself and your life. It's about
doing more of the things that make you feel good — by
cutting out the things that don't offer as much gratification.
The free item. How many things do you collect
just because they were free. Newspapers, brochures, catalogs
— enough to wallpaper your office twice. When you see
something that’s free, think twice and don't take it unless
it's something you’re positive you’ll use.
A Crash Course in Simplification
• "Use it or lose it" is the golden rule of
simplifying one's life.
• If you can't figure out what a gizmo or gadget does,
then all it's doing is taking up space.
• Take ten minutes every night to un-clutter. Have a race
with your kids to put everything away. If you do this nightly
as part of your bedtime routine you avoid the danger of letting
your house get "out of control."
• Tackle one project at a time. Whether the project is
cleaning, organizing, reading a book or working on a craft project,
finish each project completely before purchasing or starting
• Limit junk drawers to one in your entire home.
• Teach "the art of simplicity" to your kids.
• If you don't have a place to put something, don't buy
it. Avoid making space for more clutter.
• Donate your books to the local library when you are
finished with them. (Ask for a receipt as the donation may be
• Don't become obsessed with saving everything for a later
use. How many plastic and paper bags does one person need?
• When you are organizing and come across something you
kind of like, but don't really use, try to think of someone
who not only likes the item, but also will use it. Make that
person's day by giving it to them.
• Every couple of months, tackle the sock drawer. If there
isn't a match now, there probably won't be one later. Toss solo
socks or make sock puppets with your kids for some inexpensive
• Don't waste time looking for warranties, manuals or
important receipts. Create a special drawer where only these
things are kept. Using a drawer eliminates the chance of the
papers never making it to a file or being misfiled.
• Bill systems. Try the following for a quick way to manage
your incoming mail and bills. Purchase three magnetic envelope
size holders. Place these on the side of your refrigerator.
Use the top one for bills you need to pay with your first paycheck
each month. Use the second for the bills that come out of your
second paycheck. The third is for all outgoing mail and a roll
of stamps. When you pick up your mail each day, sort it right
by the bill-holders. Throw out envelopes, special offers and
all the clutter that comes with bills these days. When it comes
time to pay your bills, remove the top holder and find a quiet
place to do your paperwork. Then return that holder below the
other one and make it for your next paycheck.