Is your life simple or are you feeling a bit overwhelmed?
Is your home full of things you no longer use?
Wouldn’t you rather be deliriously happy in an almost empty space?
I cannot emphasise enough the value and beauty of living a simple, uncluttered life.
I began my journey of personal growth a decade ago and the single most important thing I did initially was to simplify and declutter my life.
It was amazing what a difference it made when I started doing fewer things and most importantly when I dramatically reduced the amount of physical stuff in my life.
Indeed, when I take on a new coaching client, one of the first things we look at is how their life can be simplified and how they can declutter their homes.
In recent years, more and more people have begun to wake up to the idea of living simpler lives with fewer things and recycling as much as possible.
There are a number of resources available online for living a minimalist life and I shall discuss these in a future article. But for now you can start with this excellent “Minimalist Guide” from my blogging mentor and friend Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.
A few months ago, I spent an amazing 2 weeks in India. Whilst visiting some villages in Gujarat (where my family originates from) what struck me was how happy the people were. They had so little in terms of all those material things which in the West we believe we must have to be happy.
I wondered whether the relatives we were visiting in their simple homes even had any idea of just how much stuff we had in our UK homes.
It certainly was a wake up call to not only appreciate what privileged lives we lead, but also realise just how much superfluous our possessions really are.
At the same time, it was sad to see that in the Indian cities there is now a growing desire to consume and collect stuff, so as to be like the “enlightened” West.
It just doesn’t make any sense to me in buying, collecting and hording things we don’t really need and not ever likely to use.
So often we keep things in case one day they are useful. I bet right now you can mentally recall the things you in your home for this very reason.
We all keep things for some day and one day – and that day never comes.
I shall never forget how whilst helping my late father with some old paperwork, I found that he had kept cheque book stubs going back over 30 years!
“As you focus on simplifying your life, make sure your approach to the process is a loving and accepting one. Know that you are now doing all that you can do right now, and that is all anyone can do. When you stay in the moment, you have all the time in the world, and whatever needs to be done will be completed in the exact right time. ~Deepak Chopra~
Today, I am going to urge all of you to start simplifying your life – and start decluttering. Sometimes it feels as if I am on a crusade to create a simpler world and I apologise for being so directional!
But please believe me that once you have begun to de-clutter your life, you will begin to notice amazing shifts in your energy and your thinking.
Clutter is not just those physical things hoarded for years. It includes relationships, time commitments and other things that use up more of your energy than you can afford to give them.
For example, you can easily create an extra hour a day in your life simply by decluttering.
So here are my 20 questions which will transform your life forever. The idea is to answer NO to as many questions as possible.
Wherever you have said YES is an area for further work:-
1. Do you hang on to clothes that no longer fit you?
2. Do you have in your wardrobe items bought years ago and not worn since?
3. Do you own shoes that hurt your feet?
4. Do you own spectacles for old prescriptions?
5. Do you have toiletries or cosmetics which have dried up or are half finished?
6. Do you have a pile of papers /unopened mail/junk mail awaiting action or filing?
7. Do you have a pin-board with more than one layer of papers on it?
8. Do you keep old newspapers or magazines as there is an article you want to read?
9. Do you have so many books there is not enough room on your shelves?
10. Do you own gadgets you never use?
11. Do you have a drawer stuffed full of plastic shopping bags?
12. Do you have half finished projects stashed around the house?
13. Do you have hundreds of photos in boxes, unfiled or not put together in some order?
14. Do you have old medicines and pills stored in a cupboard?
15. Do you have things awaiting repairs for months?
16. Do you keep things purely because they were a gift?
17. Do you keep things in case one day they come in handy?
18. Do things fall out of your cupboards when you open the doors?
19. Do you have problems finding things just when you want them?
20. Do you have in your kitchen any items in cupboards or fridge/freezer past their use by dates?
As I said, wherever you have said YES is an area for further work. Start clearing out that area today, even if you get rid of just one item.
I have learnt that life really is simple if only we can apply this principle in all areas.
Even if you just do a tiny little thing today to declutter your life, it will make a huge difference to you – and the world.
Spring has finally arrived here in London and traditionally that’s been seen as the perfect time to declutter our homes – but it can be done anytime – start today wherever you are in the world and whatever your season!
How will you begin to simplify your life from today onwards?
Please do also share below your own questions and tips for decluttering and creating simplicity.