Why Simplifying Changed My Life (And How to Let it Change Yours)
How many times have you heard the phrase “less is more” and agreed, but shrugged it off and kept on shopping? How many times have you been psyched up to go all Marie Kondo on your home, but got frustrated half way through? How often do you open your closet and say “I have nothing to wear?” when you have 100+ options?
I was there too.
The truth is, we live in a world of more, more, more. Did you know that most Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day? And that the average American household is $137,000 in debt?
We can’t deny that there is a serious materialism epidemic in modern day America.
Is your immediate response to that bitter? Are you angry? Do you feel like getting defensive? Good. That means we’re on to something. It means you need to read what’s next.
In 2019, my life was radically changed when I downsized from a 2,000 square ft home to a 97 square ft van.
I was previously ruled by my “stuff” (whether I want to admit it or not), fully convinced that my clothing, home decor, and beautiful things would bring me true joy. I had everything you’d think I could have wanted. Yet I was really, really depressed.
I felt my heart stir, crying out for change, as I sat with tears running down my cheeks one afternoon of September 2018. I’d had enough of doing and having what the world said I should do and have.
So my husband and I sold our home and the majority of things in it. Yep, the one we’d only lived in for three months. Yep, our second home sold in one year. Yep, it felt like giving up a chunk of my heart. Nope, I don’t regret it one bit.
I have never been so grateful, yet I own less than I ever have.
The path to living more is owning less.
OKAY - so you definitely don’t have to sell your house and move into a van to simplify your life. (Although I highly recommend it.)
Here are some baby steps to get you to a clearer mind, grateful heart, and more organized, simple life:
I. Assess Your Heart
Simplifying will only work if you understand that things do not define you.
What really matters in life? Make a list. No seriously, go get a pen and paper. Write down what really matters to you! (For me it’s faith, my husband and family, friends, loving people, staying true to myself + my business.) Good, now tape it to your mirror, your fridge, or the door of your closet.
Simplifying begins with gratefulness and intention.
So focus on those things that really matter and learn to fully appreciate them!
II. Actually Go Marie Kondo on That Ish
Do I really need to explain this one?
(For those who have magically escaped her new Netflix show, read this.)
III. Practice the Art of “No”
Simple doesn’t stop at stuff. Not only do we live in a country of more, more, more, but we also live in a country of hustle, hustle, hustle. It’s simply not healthy! Burnout is a real thing, guys. Stop overdoing it.
Remember that list you made earlier?
Every time you need to make a decision, come back to that list. If your decision doesn’t in some way serve one of the items on your list, say no. Just say no! I promise the world won’t end!
IV. Think On It
Stop committing on a whim.
This especially applies while shopping. I like to practice the “think on it” method —- aka, I never purchase anything right when I find it! I like to wait at least two weeks after finding an item to decide whether or not it is a worthwhile investment. This weeds out a lot of purchases I’d otherwise regret.
When it comes to life, learn to pray and meditate on big decisions. Don’t say “yes” or “no” immediately (your initial reaction is often illogical, fueled by guilt, or ruled by current emotion.) Instead, try to revisit your piece of paper and ruminate on whether the decision serves your list. Because you can’t simplify without intention and focus.
V. Tell Someone
Let’s be honest, even when we are truly striving for change, we still slip up every once and a while.
I’m a big believer in having someone to hold you accountable and encourage you! My husband Zach has been a huge blessing to me, gently reminding me when I am drooling over another white linen shirt that “Kasey, you don’t need that. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a nice dinner?” (Even though sometimes the answer is no - oops!)
But really, grab your bestie or S/O and tell them you’re ready for a heart change. A good friend will be a great support when it comes to changing the way you live.
VI. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Because no one is perfect.
I hope this gave you a few ideas on how to move towards a simpler life. If you took anything away from this post, I hope this sticks with you.