Getting rid of stuff definitely helps to clarify what is important in life. The excess things in your home can actually cause your brain to experience stress, and we all want our homes to be a place where we can relax and enjoy ourselves.
However, minimalism isn’t about constantly decluttering or owning a specific number of items. It’s about removing the excess in our lives, in order to focus on what matters most. And even if you’re working towards paring down the material clutter, there are many areas to simplify beyond the physical things.
Here are 5 areas of life that are good to simplify and use intentionally:
1. The Calendar.
It feels like an endless list can be added to the calendar all the time. Examine what is really important and essential for you and try eliminating other activities. If you are a ‘yes’ person and are feeling overwhelmed or tired, try saying no to a few things and slowing down your schedule.
It’s hard at first, especially if you feel you are disappointing others. But ultimately you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others and give things your best effort. And you might make someone else realize that they have the freedom to say ‘no’ too. We can do a lot of things, but we can’t do everything all the time.
2. Social Media.
Social media is a wonderful tool to connect with people all over the world. However, it’s been found that we generally only have really meaningful relationships with a limited number of people at a time. Once the circle becomes too large, the closeness you have with people begins to decline.
We run the risk of spreading ourselves too thin if we spend a disproportionate amount of time using social media. So it’s good to be mindful of the types of relationships you have. If you do love social media, make sure you have meaningful, valuable, face-to-face relationships with the people you love.
3. Screen Time.
Whether it’s on a phone, TV, movies, games, computer—there are so many ways screen time can eat up our time. These things can add value, but sometimes they become time-wasters or a way to escape. My family has chosen to live without television, and we experience so many benefits including more time for play, hobbies, reading, and more meaningful conversations. We’re also exposed to less advertising and distraction.
Our phones can also be a source of screen time. How many of us check our phones first thing in the morning? Do you get an impulsive twitch to pick up the phone right away at the sound of a notification or text message?
While there are so many advantages to having technology at our fingertips, perhaps it’s good to step back and see if we could be spending less time glued to a screen. Try reducing or eliminating screen time for a set amount of time and see what the repercussions are. I’ll bet you’ll find that there’s suddenly more free time and less distraction.
Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Speak using less words, and be clear. We can fill space with superficial conversations and never really get to know someone who you may ‘talk to’ often. Always be honest, although try to also be tactful.
“If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothin’ at all.”
-Thumper from Bambi
Let’s think about the things that really matter, and chose to put people ahead of things in our conversations too. Rather than gossip or idle conversations, let’s find words of encouragement, affirmation, and love.
This area is a huge one for me in my journey to simplify. I’ve had to learn to let go of worry. Although I’m not the best at this, I have come a long way. Worry doesn’t add anything to our lives. What good does it do me to worry? My husband is really good at not worrying and this is something I’ve been learning through his example. Don’t worry about the things you can change, because you can change them. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change, because you can’t change them.
Simplifying “stuff” can mean more than reducing the number of things in our home. A more minimalist life leads to less stuff and more life.