Simplify Sunday- A More Streamlined Life

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” Lin Yutang 

I was going through an old book where I have written down quotes over the years that have touched me. A friend wanted some quotes, so naturally I flipped through my book. I selfishly kept this one for myself, and for you.

As much as I am a doer, someone who must accomplish and be on top of everything, someone who will never forget your birthday… I am also a firm believer in keeping life simple and trying to let things go.

Don’t misunderstand- I often SUCK at letting things go. However, I have made a large effort over the last year or so to do just that. Love and let live. Say no more to things that I just don’t want to do. Stop creating ridiculous tasks for myself that just don’t need to be done. I do still have a running to do list, but I don’t force myself to not relax until everything is done. Sometimes (okay, often) I just sit at home and enjoy the company of my Shibas.

A critical part of my success is minimalism. I have never been able to relax in a messy environment. I’m sure anyone who is into minimalism already knows about Marie Kondo’s book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In the spirit of minimalism, I put it on hold at the library (I almost never buy books. I read very quickly, and just don’t like having things sitting around that I no longer need. I always end up donating them, so I try to not waste my money.) and waited for a few months. This week, it was my turn and I was excited to pick it up. I haven’t finished it yet. I got too excited about going through stuff, and went and did that instead!

Really, her philosophy is very similar to what mine has been for a while- get rid of as much as possible. You don’t need it, you won’t miss it. If it doesn’t give you pleasure, get rid of it. In the YEARS I have been doing this, I know there have been one or two things I have missed, but I literally cannot think of what they have been.

I consider my “things” to be pretty parred down. Still, I regularly go through them and almost always have a bag in my closet where I place things to be donated. This time, I filled six bags. Four will go to Teen Challenge and two will go to a women’s shelter. I noticed I was getting rid of several pieces of warm clothing and a blanket. Honestly, I’m lazy, but my conscience won’t let me out of making that extra stop in the dead of winter. It makes me sad to think of others being cold and wet. So, there were a few items that I was on the fence about getting rid of; but once I realized I would be making the trip to to shelter it was easy. I may get pleasure from looking at this scarf, but I have worn it once. It can make someone else warm, so let’s get rid of it! This post on reallifeofanmsw.com inspired me to try to make better use of the things that I’m donating.

I want to live in a cozy, peaceful environment, and for me I can do that best with no clutter. Then I can cuddle my dogs and be happy with all of the warmth and love in my life.

Jillian

Simplify Sunday- Minimizing the Apartment 

gorgeous kuma For some reason, I’ve been feeling a little more anxiety lately. When I saw this picture of Kuma the Shiba, I instantly felt more calm. He’s just so fluffy, happy, and relaxed. He’s literally laying in a field! What’s more relaxing than that?

A weird thing that calms me down is purging my stuff. I read a post this week by Anne this week that really resonated with me. She touched on how getting rid of physical things can help clear emotional space. That is so true for me. I think some of it probably is based on my anxiety, because I get over the top and sit around thinking about things like “there are too many unorganized pictures in my photo albums. They need to be in order. I’m sure there are even duplicates.”

I know these thoughts are a bit irrational (maybe “a bit” is generous?). However, there is definitely truth to the idea that physical things can hold me back. I love to know exactly what I have and where it is. If I need something, I have it instantly because I know how to find it. If I need to move, I can do so pretty easily because I don’t have a lot of stuff holding me back. I love that concept, I don’t know why. I just know that it gives me peace.

All of this to say- I went through most of my stuff last night. I did everything except my pictures (and, of course, that’s why they’re mentioned above. I’m still thinking about it.) and my one under the bed storage box that I allow myself for sentimental things. Cards, journals, the corsage my great grandmother made me for my prom- that’s all in there.

I found four bags of things to donate. Some highlights include extra throw pillows that are always on the floor instead of my bed and seriously who needs that?!, clothes that will never ever fit again, a tennis racquet I’ve literally used once (and I was so bad that my partner almost strangled me), and a record that I have never heard of and don’t even remember owning. I have a bag of papers to shred from my safe, and threw away a few things.

What’s amazing to me is that I always find clutter that I don’t need. How does it find its way in, and why is it so hard to let go? I’ve talked myself out of getting rid of that d*mn tennis racquet so many times, thinking I might play again. Really?! It’s not.going.to.happen. I love sitting on the couch, and I have the hand eye coordination and attention span of a drunk, blind, one armed squirrel.

I tend to make goals for far longer amounts of time then are manageable. For me, for this week, my goal is to feel peaceful- whatever that may require.

❤ Jillian