Image by: jarmoluk
By Tallulah Ray
There are a number of people who have made it one of their life goals, to minimize their carbon footprint. What does this mean? It means that they’re doing their best to not leave a mark on the world while they are living in it. They do this a number of different ways including environmentally friendly products, recycling, and by minimizing waste and pollution.
Their decision to live simpler lives (at least most of these changes amounts to living simple lives) was mostly environmentally-driven. However, they are also impacting their own lives in healthier ways.
Changing your life for the better will often mean living a simpler life which is uncluttered by a lot of possessions and which isn’t rushed and crazed like most peoples’ lives these days. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will live like a nun either.
When you de-clutter your home, you also de-clutter your mind. Getting rid of the unnecessesary stuff is a great way to start fresh. That’s why spring cleaning is always one of my favorite times of the year. Yes, that may sound silly but hear me out.
After I am done cleaning (and donating a lot of) my possessions, I rearrange them and usually change up the color palate. I splash a different color on the wall. I reupholster. I find different colored linens. These are the only things that I buy *new* for the spring cleaning season. This keeps me interested in my house (I used to be a nomad and would go from apartment to apartment when I got bored), saves me money, and helps to clear my mind and start fresh. It’s like the reset button on my life.
#2) Checking Your Priorities
Letting go of things can be hard. These days, we often put unwarranted amounts of value on our possessions. These possessions are one of the ways that we place a value or dollar amount on our lives. But that’s not what it should boil down to. I’m not a better person for having the latest iPhone. Just like your friends aren’t more or less valuable because of their skin color.
None-the-less, it can be difficult to start letting go of things and of activities. So I suggest letting something go for 3 weeks. Not sure if you can live without your collection of vintage purses? Pack up the ones that you don’t use (if you haven’t used it in more than a year, it definitely needs to get packed up). Put them away – tuck them under the house or in the attic.
If, after the three weeks, you find that you still miss it, then bring it back into your life. But if you didn’t even notice that it was gone, it’s probably for a good reason. Consider giving them to a local charity or selling them to a second-hand store. Sell them at a garage sale. If you think you may have some use for it in the future, ask a friend if she wants it. If she says yes, let her know that you may ask to borrow it in the future. If none of your friends want it, it’s probably time to let it go.
After you have done this with a few things, you will notice that the things you are focusing on keeping, fall into your priority list of values or necessities.
#3) Personal Improvement
Letting go of something like cable TV or a game console may be hard as well. Try this on for a little test run…
Look into suspending your cable bill for one month. Tell them that you’re going on vacation or something and that you’ll be back in a month. Some companies will say yes and some won’t. Either way, suspend your cable watching for an entire month. That means, no cable TV. You can watch the DVD’s that you have at home if you want, but no cable.
Some people will panic. “What do I do without TV?” There are plenty of things to do without TV and they are generally all healthier for you. Read a book. Pick up a new hobby. Spend quality time with your man and/or your family. Workout a little. Spend some extra time in the kitchen cooking instead of just buying take-out. Take a class on a subject that you are interested in.
#4) All that Empty Space & Time
All of this clutter and distraction can be mind boggling. Sometimes our brain just needs a break from stimulation in order to calm down and sort out the information that it has been soaking up all day.
Now it’s your turn. How do you live more mindfully? How do you live simply? What does “living simply” mean to you? Could you imagine yourself minimizing your possessions or not? Why? Let us in on what you’re thinking by writing your ideas and questions in the comment section below.