HOW LESS CAN BE MORE: THE BENEFITS OF SIMPLIFYING LIFE
In this post I’d like to share with you how less can be more and the benefits of simplifying life. I hope it encourages you to really think about what you let into your life. I also hope it gives you courage and inspiration to choose less of the things which bring you down to make more space for the things that lift you up. Have less to have more!
THE BENEFITS OF SIMPLIFYING LIFE
So many times, in my own life, I’ve found that simpler is often easier. Whether it’s choosing food to feed my family or choosing what clothes I want to wear that day – simpler is often easier.
When things are easier, they’re usually more enjoyable and rewarding. Better still, they usually have less stress and overwhelm attached to them too.
I’d like to share this quote from Courtney Carver. It helps me when my own life gets too full and busy and I need a little less rather than yet more…
“When you are overwhelmed, tired and stressed, the solution is almost always… less. Get rid of something. Lots of somethings.”
EXAMPLES OF HOW LESS CAN BE MORE
Example #1 – Food
Choosing food for my family to eat is simpler when I have fewer menu choices, less decisions on which meals to cook, less ingredients needed to pull the meal together and less pots and pans to cook it all in.
I’m a great fan of cooking a select number of meals (that we all enjoy eating) on rotation. I also meal plan every weekend for the week or sometimes month ahead. I tend also to cook one-pot dishes or foods that can be baked in one tray in the oven.
Every now and then, mostly at the weekends, we do more intricate and special meals, but my weekday meals are simple, healthy and time-effective.
Less complicated meals mean that I can feed my family nutritious food, without it being expensive and it doesn’t take an age to prepare the food or clear up afterwards. All of which means more time for other things!
Meal and food prep are one example I’ve found how less can be more. Another practical example is my wardrobe…
Example #2 – Clothes
If you’ve read my story already, then you might know that one of the first simplifying projects I ever embarked upon was decluttering my clothes. I was juggling a young family with working full-time and didn’t have much time in the mornings to faff over getting myself ready. I needed to look professional and put together for work, whilst overseeing breakfasts, teeth-brushing and school runs for the kids.
I was fed up of looking a mess. It wasn’t actually so much about what I looked like though, it was more about how it made me feel. I was frustrated, resentful that I didn’t have much time for myself and I didn’t really like what I looked like! Not a great start to the day…
So, I simplified my wardrobe, donated or recycled the clothes I didn’t want to keep and actually only kept my favourite items that I felt good in. I set up a budget and over the coming weeks and months, began to curate a wardrobe of clothes that I loved to wear. It made finding something to wear each morning a real pleasure rather than a point of pain!
Less clothes meant less decisions, less wasted time, less stress and frustration. It also meant more choice, more enjoyment, more time and calmer mornings for us all!
HOW LESS CAN BE MORE
My meals and my clothes are two examples from my own life of how less can be more. I live these benefits every day and I never feel that I’ve missed out by not having more meal options or more clothes!
I like food and clothes and still get to enjoy both fully. Sometimes I like to cook lovely food or try out new recipes and sometimes I like to go shopping for new clothes.
It’s not a question of missing out by going with the option of less.
Instead, it’s just a conscious decision for my everyday life that less of some things can give me so much more of other things… more of other things which are generally more important to me anyway.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF HOW LESS CAN BE MORE
There are many more examples of how less can be more and the benefits of simplifying life. Here are a few which might speak to you in different ways:
1. Less clutter = more space
One of the most obvious starting points to simplifying life is to clear your clutter. For many of us, that’s clutter in our homes. Clutter means different things to different people but generally, if you don’t use something, don’t need it or it doesn’t serve a purpose or add value in some way, then your stuff is maybe just clutter?
Think whether you really need that stuff and what it takes to look after it, clear it away, clean and store it.
- Could that space be used in a better way?
- Could you save yourself time and energy if you didn’t need to look after that stuff anymore?
To learn more about clearing the clutter and creating more space, check out the links below:
2. Less to do = more time
You can declutter your schedule like you can declutter your home. Create some space in your diary so that you have more free time to do what you want, when you want. Choose carefully what you say yes to and remember that time is a very precious commodity, which we all have a tendency to waste or prioritise in the wrong way!
Listen to yourself and what you need. If it’s more time, say no to an invitation, postpone an appointment, prioritise your To Do list and give yourself more time.
To learn more about decluttering your schedule, check out the links below:
3. Less stress = more calm and ease
Research has shown that too much clutter causes an increase in stress, lack of focus and more distractions. Think about how you feel when you walk into a cluttered, messy room or your desk is covered in paperwork and you can’t find what you need to get your work done.
Simplifying life won’t wave a magic wand, but generally when things are simpler, they tend to be less stressful. You don’t have so many pulls on your time and energy or so many things competing for your attention. Instead you tend to have a little more calm and ease.
To learn more about how simplifying life can give you less stress and create more calm and ease, check out the links below:
4. Less juggling = more wiggle room
In freeing up time in my diary and really prioritising what I needed to do (instead of everything that I felt I had to do), I had less to juggle in my day and in my mind. I was no longer trying to squeeze so many things into my day or remember what I had to do next. I had more time to get things done and do them properly. If I wanted to sit down and read my book, then I had a little bit of time to do just that. I had more space in my brain because it wasn’t stuffed full of things to remember, do or people to see.
In short, I had less to juggle and more margin for error – I like to call this wiggle room! I wasn’t stretched so thin that an over-running appointment or forgotten PE kit (that I needed to dash back home to get) would throw my whole day out. If I felt ill or tired, my life wouldn’t come to a grinding halt. If we wanted a family day out, we had plenty of scope to do just that.
Less juggling ‘all the things’ means that I had more wiggle room to allow for emergencies, unplanned events, day to day problems that required me to be somewhere or do something I hadn’t anticipated.
And, of course, with wiggle room came flexibility, less stress, more ease and a much happier me!
Check out the links below for ways you can create wiggle room in your own life:
5. Less spending = more saving
When I began to explore simplifying life, clearing the clutter and generally living with less ‘stuff,’ I noticed a real difference in how we spent our money. That’s not to say for a moment that I stopped shopping but I did shop more mindfully. I thought carefully about whether I really wanted or needed something or was I just shopping because I was bored or it made me feel better?
Instead of trips to the shops to buy yet more things, we went for day trips out. We spent our money on experiences rather than tangible stuff.
We made do with what we had, looked after it better and valued it more highly instead of just buying another because it looked nicer or worked better.
It’s still lovely to go shopping if I have some money in my budget and buy something new for my wardrobe, or a toy for my kids.
Simplifying my life wasn’t ever meant to be about removing all the enjoyment from life. However, it IS about exploring other ways of enjoying life without needing to cram my home with stuff and drain my bank account in the process!
So, what we actually found was that we did more things together as a family and spent our money on meals out and day trips etc, rather than a pair of shoes I didn’t really need but liked the look of in the shops.
Careful spending on things that really add value to our lives became the key to less wasted money and more prudent saving.
If you’d like to explore more about simplifying your finances and how less spending can mean more saving, check out these links:
6. Less rushing = more love
If you’ve got a busy life, a busy family, a busy job or even a mix of all three, then I’m sure you’ll be familiar with rushing! I know I certainly am!
The problem is, when you’re rushing from one place to another, or even one thought to another, you’ve got little time for anything else. Life becomes a hectic mad dash to get things done, achieve more, tick things off the list.
When we stop rushing we can stop to think, look, reflect, appreciate, be grateful, enjoy, support, encourage, learn and… love. Whether that’s loving the colours of the sky above you, the sound of the birds in the trees, that coffee and cake you might want to try, that phone call with your best friend, that last cuddle with your kids at bedtime.
Less rushing means you have more physical, emotional and psychological space to listen and love the world around you, not just what you catch a glimpse of as you rush on by.
For more inspiration on how to rush less and love more, here are some links you might find helpful: