Life has become busier, fuller and more complicated than ever before. We are constantly trying to be our best self, while simultaneously slowing down to take stock of all we have. The enormity of this lifestyle is overwhelming and impossible to manage. So where do we go from here?
Acceptance and Change
When I meet with clients I encourage two principles: data collection and simplification. As we previously discussed, success in goals and productivity comes from recognizing your present situation. To fully understand where you are starting you must take stock of what you have, both within your physical space, as well as your habits and routines. Next, I encourage my clients to simplify. Focus your energy on one specific area of your life at a time, otherwise known as Single Tasking, and make small changes to improve your everyday systems.
The idea of simplification is the basis behind the Minimalism Movement. Minimalism is intended to encourage simplification, often by the reduction of physical items. However the more modern version of minimalism also touches on streamlining daily routines, extracurriculars, and finances. This movement has gain popularity during a time of excessive consumerism and an obsession with busy-ness.
Striking a Balance
Balance will always be the basic ground rule when making lifestyle changes. While many of the more popular figures promoting minimalism live in tiny homes with 33 pieces of clothing, that lifestyle doesn’t necessarily fit the masses. I encourage my clients to take one or two pieces of minimalism advice that sparks their interest and try to incorporate it into their day routine over 30 days. What happens most often is that that change encourages analysis of daily systems that could be simplified and gets the decluttering ball rolling.
The rules for minimalism are simple. Take stock of one area at a time, keeping only the things that get consistent use and bring you frequent joy. That’s it! The goal is to focus on the positivity of what you own, not the uncomfortable feelings that may come up as you minimize.
Need a little more direction? Try starting with these four areas:
Clothing is usually the easiest place to begin this journey. Somehow we acquire massive amount of clothing, either through the enjoyment of shopping or by societal pressure to constantly wear something new. Following Mari Kondo‘s principles, only keep items that you know you love and wear. If you remove the unworn and uncomfortable items, you will begin to appreciate what you already own. I also highly encourage you to re-wear your outfits as often as possible gain the full value of your clothes and reduce decision making. You’ll be surprised how little other’s notice your repeat attire
Toys are a collection of unnecessary items that we keep for enjoyment. However, as humans we are terrible at projecting the actual use an item will get over it’s lifetime. We often overestimate the need of something to justify a purchase. As you take stock of the toys you own, it’s important to assess everyone’s items – including adult toys, such as athletic gear, crafting supplies, and tools. Toys should be limited to those that produce the most enjoyment and get the most frequent use. Limited access to excess toys also encourages creativity, focus, and persistence.
If there was one thing I could encourage all families to do it would be to minimize their schedules. Your calendar should make room for the things that are most important to your family with as little excess as possible. Maybe this means that the kids are only signed up for one sport per year or it’s time to quit the book club you always forget to attend. By reducing the number of appointments on your calendar you can give your full energy to those at the top of your priority list, including yourself. Remember, only keep the events are consistently attended and bring you frequent joy.
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box are great options for storing your documents. There will be rare occasions where paper documents must be kept on file and for this I recommend keeping them in a safe, as they must be quite valuable to be kept in their original form.