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,” I tell them.

My Golden Rule

My golden rule for simplifying is really quite simple. Just continually get rid of stuff! Because perhaps you didn’t know, but stuff just has a way of showing up and accumulating! Even though I’m not a fan of shopping, (I actually dislike it), stuff still piles up. 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!

I’ve had plenty of these conversations since starting on our minimalist journey. Mostly because many 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?

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 response. So I thought it might be useful to look at the reasons for this.

5 main obstacles

People often list these 5 reasons for why they have a hard time decluttering and getting rid of things:

  • They’re afraid of getting rid of stuff from family and friends.
  • They don’t want to give up precious mementos.
  • They worry about possibly needing the item at some future time.
  • It all sounds like too much work!
  • They feel remorse over the money they spent on it.

But the biggest reason people seem to have for not decluttering is, “But what about all the money I spent?” And I understand. I went through these same struggles.

But I found that there’s only way to overcome the remorse of having spent money on stuff we didn’t really need or that didn’t really matter. And that is to realize that we’ll never get that money back. By selling the things, we could possibly recoup a portion of it. But once it’s spent, it’s gone. And that should help us think twice before spending!

But I spent so much on it all…

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. 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!

A trifold rule

My golden decluttering rule is trifold:

  1. KEEP VALUE: Keep only things you actually use or which add value to your life in some way.
  2. CUT THE NONESSENTIAL: Cut out nonessential commitments, activities, and clutter.
  3. REMEMBER THE BENEFITS: Keep in mind all that you will gain by decluttering!

Decluttering Benefits

  • By sellling unnecessary stuff we could recover at least part of what we spent.
  • Or by gifting them we have the joy of knowing they’ve gone to others who need and will use them!
  • 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.

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! Because you’re bound to love your new simplified life!

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!

Images Flea market by stux. | Flower vase by Pixabay. | Shoes by Photorama.

Published by Signora Sheila

I am a wife, mom, nonna, blogger, and missionary in Italy. But really, I'm just an ordinary woman on a journey, trying to slow down enough to hear the still small voice of God and live for all that is truly important in this world.

6 thoughts on “The Golden Rule of Simplifying

  1. Ciao Sheila!! How is it that I’m not following your blog already!? I thought I had at some point. I see I’m going to have some catching up to do. This was a good place to start. COVID has been good for us in that way… we’ve been ‘out n about’ much less and have therefore spent less as a result. Less stuff and we’ve managed just fine with what we had! (Whooda-thunk!?) 🙂

    Dominic is taking over the office as a bedroom which gave me the opportunity to go through stuff that had just accumulated over time in there. There’s still some ‘chucking’ to do… but it felt so good to start!

    Dio ti benedica!


    1. I know what you mean. It always does feel good to chuck some stuff. It is amazing how long we can make do with what we have, isn’t it. We always rediscover that when we go down to our summer base. We take few clothes, but always have plenty! I’m convinced that sometimes the WordPress bots (or whatever does such things), unfollows blogs for us sometimes. That’s happened to me too. Anyway, it’s great to have you back on board. I hope to get caught up with some blog reading next week too. We just got back from the summer base, where internet is sketchy – at best! Take care and stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 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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