How Pursuing Simplicity Added Value To My Life (and how it can to yours too)
There I was, standing in the home goods section of Target with an over tired 4 year old. I was fed up with the clutter in my closet and had filled a shopping cart full of stylish storage containers that were going to be solution to all of my problems.
As I stood there realizing the cost of the storage bins stacked in my basket was approaching $100 I thought to myself "how ridiculous is this?! I am here with a child who should be home taking a nap buying more plastic to drag into my house to get organized when what I really need to do is go home and GET RID of stuff!"
And I left there empty handed still feeling fed up but with a lot more clarity. What began as an afternoon of purging my closet has since led to a pursuit of simplicity in all areas of my life.
As an empath who is very attuned with the energy that surrounds her, I have found that I am happier and more productive when my life is less complex. A clean well put together home. Simple decor with everything in its place. 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to enjoy a cup of coffee. Less of anything that demands too much of my time and energy.
When my life and home are in order not only do I feel better but I have more clarity. I feel more at peace when I am surrounded by calm and clean spaces, but let's be real...as a mom of two busy boys, wife and full time business owner, living the reality of simple with less mess and stress is anything but easy.
Most days I am swimming in a sea of plastic toys and scraping unrecognizable gunk off my wood flooring. There are times I cringe at the thought of lifting up a couch cushion for the fear that something might be growing there and being the only female in the house any time I walk into a bathroom there is a 50/50 chance I may need a hazmat suit.
And then there is my own dirty little secret. No matter how hard I try to declutter and stay on top of unwanted and unnecessary stuff, I still manage to fill drawers until they look like a bottomless pit. Papers I need to go through but never in the mood to deal with, lost gizmos that belong to something important my hubby or kids are sure to ask about as soon as I toss it out and I procrastinate way too long on sorting my email inbox.
So how do we balance this need for a more simple life and slowed down routine with the unpredictable realities of life staring us in the face?
Choosing a life of simplicity seems so simple, doesn't it? "I will slow down, live with more intention, be more mindful and live a simplistic life with less stress." If only it were that easy, right?
I consider myself to be a resourceful, creative, figure it out quickly kind of girl but there are few things in my life that have required such hard core focus than what trying to live a simple life has demanded of me. Living with intention requires a daily commitment. Unfortunately, its not a one time affirmation that instantly yields the result of an uncomplicated blissful life free from hiccups or hardships.
I can wake up on a Monday morning, pour myself a cup of coffee, look around feeling pretty good about things with a little strut in my step while I silently exclaim "I got this!" but by 11 a.m. something has gone terribly wrong in the form of unwanted distractions and unplanned interruptions leaving my whole world spinning out of control and just like that...my day is running me.
Confession: I am an introvert who doesn't always handle a lot of stress, excessive noise or being pulled away from her to-do list very well so when my life feels like its busting at the seams, I become a cranky fun sucker leaving my poor boys wondering who kidnapped the woman they call mom.
From our hectic unpredictable schedules to overflowing drawers and closets, to my multi-passionate projects (a nice way of describing my ADD self with too many irons in the fire) I have come to terms with how important it is for me to not just want a simplistic life but to fiercely pursue it in order for it to be a reality for myself and my family.
Living a life of simplicity is not something you can haphazardly throw out into the universe, "hey I think I will start living a more simple life today" and POOF! there you go. What I have learned through stumbling my way through this journey is it requires all or nothing moment-to-moment awareness and dedication.
• Every time I check the mail, adopting a "touch it once" principal and sorting it vs. letting papers stack up for days in a pile until they become an eye sore and make their way into a drawer to deal with later.
• Cleaning out the kids' backpacks at the end of every week and reorganizing binders and folders to to teach them organization and simplicity at an early age.
• Scheduling one day during the week for errands and appointments while keeping an organized list to cut down on running the roads which kills my productivity especially if that involves taking little people with me every where I go. (I don't know about you but getting my youngest in and out of a car seat qualifies as a bonafide work.)
• Cleaning out the fridge and pantry before grocery shopping so my job of putting away and organizing is easier.
• Taking one day during the week to sit down and schedule out social media posts and other tasks for my business instead of bogging myself down with it every single day freeing up time for other activities I love and enjoy.
When you intentionally choose to live a life of simplicity, it becomes a joyful habit. I can't always control what life throws my way but I can make life easier on myself and those around me when I make simplicity a non-negotiable part of my daily routine. As a result, I have more room to breathe. When my life feels less cluttered so does my mind and emotions. I feel better, have less things to worry about, am more fulfilled and less stressed which in turn allows me to wing this motherhood + mompreneur thing a little easier.
Living simply is a personal decision and what works for one person won't work for someone else. We all have different personality types and lead different lives with unique problems and circumstances so there is no one-size-fits all solution but it all starts with looking inward. A few moments of deep reflection is all that should be required to identify areas of your life where some purging and pruning is in order.
Next step is to let go of anything that is weighing you down, both physically and emotionally. We moved into our house 5 years ago and I had boxes I was avoiding going through filled with old cards, pictures and letters. Its hard to let go of sentimental things but when its not adding any value to your life its just taking up space. I vowed to go through the boxes one. last. time. I kept what was really, really important and personal throwing out the rest resulting in one small shoe box. Talk about liberating!
You intuitively know the areas where there is excess junk weighing you down and causing you stress that you don't want or need. Listen to that voice of reason and take action to do something about it so you can experience a more light-weight version of your own life.
I continue to pursue opportunities for more simplicity. I have learned to say no more in order not to over extend myself and the kids and I are going to tackle the plastic jungle that is overflowing out of their rooms while they are on summer break from of school.
There are going to be some serious discussions about the value of less is more and making birthday parties and other holidays gift free, or at least limiting the number of gifts, to avoid the constant revolving door of toys they rarely play with or show any interest in long term. I find they too are much more happier little people and content when their world is minimalistic.
Choosing a more simple way of living is not magic but I will admit that every time I find a way to make my life easier or clean out a drawer full of useless junk, I feel like something magical just took place.
And I bet you will too.
April Williams is the #CreativeMomista of two boys • Storyteller • Coffee Addict • Woman Warrior Of God • Texas Country Girl • Creative Expressive • A vintage soul passionate about inspiring mompreneurs to embrace their enough.