The Golden Rule of Simplifying

Life can get pretty complicated, can’t it? So why add a messy house to the mix? That’s what I tell friends when they comment on how clean and tidy they always usually find my house. “But how do you do it?” they wonder.

By following my Golden Rule of Simplifying!

Which is to constantly get rid of stuff! I’m not a fan of shopping, I actually hate it. But stuff still seems to accumulate. Perhaps my house secretly creates it in the night or maybe the dust bunnies drag it in when they come. I really don’t know!

At any rate, I respond that my secret is to not keep stuff we don’t use or isn’t adding value in some way.

I’ve had plenty of these conversations since starting on our minimalist journey. Because most of my friends would love to keep their own home tidier.

So I share what I’ve learned and am still learning about simplicity. And in sharing all the benefits, most see it as wonderful. Who wouldn’t like easier cleaning, debt-free living, greater peace of mind and heart, and time to pursue more meaningful things?

But the only way to simplify (that I know of) is to cut out nonessential commitments or activities and eliminate unnecessary clutter. Yet two facts usually emerge in these conversations:

  • Most people see the need for simplifying.
  • And most don’t think they can do it.

“I could never get my house decluttered,” is the oft-repeated answer. So I thought it might be useful to look at the reasons for this.

4 main reasons people have a hard time getting rid of things:

  • A lot of their stuff has been given to them by friends and relatives.
  • They don’t want to give up precious mementos.
  • They worry about possibly needing the item at some future time.
  • And it all sounds like too much work!

But the biggest reason I hear is this: “But what about all the money I spent?”

We went through these same struggles. And I guess you could say my liberating moment came with getting rid of my shoe collection. An absurd story in and of itself, that shoe collection, but for another time…

But I spent so much on it all…

Let’s just say that one day I just got tired of dusting over 300 miniature shoes that I never wanted in the first place! Mostly gifts from people everywhere. Shoes I never wanted, from a collection I never started!

Ah, but to get rid of them and offend practically everyone I knew? Oh my! Until I finally decided that true friends would understand. (Or at least try to.) And family? Well, they go on being family, even when they don’t always understand our nonconformist steps!

But back to people’s biggest decluttering obstacle…

Many people fret over the fact that they’d never get back what they spent. Which is true. And which should perhaps make us think twice before spending it! What we spend is gone and we can’t recoup it.

The key is to look at what we can gain in decluttering! By selling things we could recover part of the cost. Or by gifting them we have the joy of knowing they’ve gone to others who need and will use them!

People often don’t declutter because they worry over how much they spent on all their stuff. The key is to focus on all the benefits!

But the main benefit is that by getting rid of stuff we don’t keep paying for it!

Let me explain. Everything involves a tradeoff. We love a paycheck but must work for it. We love owning a home but it needs upkeep. Every single thing we have or do requires some amount of work or maintenance. We continually pay for it in some way.

Kitchen counters get messier when full of stuff. Kids struggle to keep their rooms in order. Living rooms get more disorderly. Dirt and dust accumulate more easily. Keeping up with it all takes a lot of work and eats into our time. And the disorder can start to steal our peace of mind.

But by letting go of things we free ourselves of excess work, worry, and responsibility!

So really my Golden Rule of Simplifying is to remember all the benefits!

Don’t think about what you’ve spent. Think of all you’ll gain! And remember…

You can do it by remembering that you’re bound to love your new simplified life!

IMAGES: Flea market by stux. | Flower vase by Pixabay. | Shoes by Photorama.

Published by Signora Sheila

Missionary blogger, wife, mom, nonna. Join my simple life journey of faith and missions in small town Italy!

4 thoughts on “The Golden Rule of Simplifying

  1. I love how you boil simplification of our homes down to one rule: get rid of stuff! Every few months my husband and I can at least fill a big bag for the Vietnam Veterans of America. But there’s still room for more simplification! ‘Think I’ll try to fill a bag once a month in 2020! You’re right: purging does feel good! Merry Christmas, Sheila!


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