Do Less, Live More: 10 Tips To Simplify Your Life

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I have so many amazing things to say about this book. I honestly can’t even remember how I came across it, but I loved the simplicity of the cover, and the words caught my eye: Do Less. Don’t we all want to do less yet still live a successful and fulfilled life? If you say no, I’d call your bluff. ;)

As you may have noticed from a couple of my most recent posts, my priorities are shifting and I’ve been giving more and more thought to fully embracing a minimalist lifestyle. No, not to the extreme. I don’t mean everything all stark white and 1 lamp with nothing else.  I just mean quality over quantity, and living what what I need instead of buying things that stem from emotion, rather than purpose.  It’s been a crazy journey for me over the last couple of months, really tuning into myself and hearing what I have to say. I’m in some ways broken after the loss of my dad. It changed me more than I’ve realized up until recently, and I’m so grateful for the wake up call.  (more on this in a near-future post) I’m coming to find more and more that what I need to truly heal is calm, simplicity, and routine.  I don’t have much of that at the moment, so I’m taking an active step towards making this a part of my every day life – both in and out of the home.  I plan on sharing my steps to simplicity here on the blog, and I hope you’ll come along :)

Okay, okay. Back to the book!

I purchased the book without even really hesitating on Amazon, and when it arrived a couple of days later, I read it from cover to cover within 2 days flat. I was hooked. This book had so much amazing, helpful insight as far as how to live the best life possible, all while staying profitable and not having to live life paycheck to paycheck, full of clutter.  Here are the top 10 things I took away from this book:

1. “Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” – Oscar Wilde

“As a lifestyle, minimalism is using the simplest and fewest things to create the maximum effect possible. It’s about removing whatever isn’t contributing to the desired outcome.” // This can relate to both materialistic items as well as people in your life who may be doing you harm emotionally, and preventing you from living your best, healthiest life.

2. Why would someone need minimalism? A few scenarios that show minimalism may be right for you: 

– “You’d like more times for your hobbies and rest, but you seem to lose most of your daylight hours to work, commuting and keeping your home organized and all your stuff in it’s place.”

– “You want to be in the moment and have meaningful conversations with your closest friends, but your cell phone keeps buzzing with text messages, email notifications and calls.”

– “When you try to stick to a budget, you end up just seeing more sale signs in store windows and in your inbox” (uh, preach?!)

3. A minimalist wardrobe doesn’t mean dressing in all black or wearing the same clothes for days on end. 

“Look through your closet and consider what you feel good in and are complimented on often. Make sure it’s a combination” (of colors and textures and create a peaceful wardrobe that can be mixed and matched.) * My trick? I hang all of my clothes with the hanger tip facing towards me. once I wear the item, I flip it around. After 3 months, I check to see which items haven’t been warn, and more times than not, I’ll donate that item.  (my closet is still a total work in progress as far as minimalism goes)

4. What is a need and what is a want? 

“Count everything that you don’t truly need. It can be astounding to see how the small extra’s – the upgrades, the things we often think of as being needs rather than wants – up your dollars.”

5. Wait thirty days to buy something. 

“One way to reduce your spending and avoid adding more clutter is to wait thirty days before buying something. If you think you need an item, promise yourself you’ll buy it in thirty days if you think you still need it.” (unless of course you actually do “need” the item – say, a new phone charger.)  Also consider creating a 30 day buy list, say on Pinterest. When you think you need to buy something, anything that’s not consumable or an emergency, put it on your list. (I have a list labeled “my wish list”) // The thirty day practice is awesome, and one I’m still working on. Trent is good at this – he tends to leave things lingering in his shopping carts online, and if he forgets after several days that he has items in there, he clearly doesn’t need the items that bad. 

6. Ask yourself, “what do you really want to do?”

We’re so busy that the causes, people and activities we really love, the ones that we find most rewarding, often get the least amount of our time. // For me, this would be yoga and working out, spending time outside whether it’s riding my bike or walking Jasper, and taking photos just for “fun” // “We’re so busy running from one thing to the next, saying yes to every invitation, every request for our precious time, reading every update from every acquaintance, that we don’t have the focus or wherewithal to use our time wisely and with intention.”  

7. You don’t need to get more things done faster; you need to do few things better.

Enough said.

8. Get rid of junk mail. 

“Paper clutter is insidious. One way to reduce the work involved in staying on top of clutter is to limit what comes into the home.” // Mail has always been something that’s overwhelmed me, since it comes every single day, and it’s such a waste of paper and clutter.  Do you rid of it? Do you need to keep it? I always feel strange throwing things like mail away. So I created a system.

– I stopped receiving any bills or invoices that can be handled online.  This cut down my paper and mail by at least 60%

– I never give out my address, unless completely necessary (say, at a doctors office)

– We invested in a good shredder, which lessens the stress of getting rid of forms that have important information on there, but isn’t necessary for keeping. At the end of every month (or so) I have a shredding party.

– A 2 drawer file cabinet hosts all of the important stuff (like tax documents, client contracts, etc) and each subject has a file folder with a label. At the end of the year, if it’s still necessary to keep, it goes into a binder marked with that specific year.

9. It’s so tempting to think that more is better, when in fact more just complicates your life. 

10. Quality over Quantity. 

Buy less, invest more. “Be patient when you do have to buy something and wait until you have found something that will do the job, that you like, and that will last. Buying fewer things of better qualtiy is a long term strategy for reducing clutter – and it saves money. Think repair instead of replace, and recycle instead of throw away.”

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