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Why Simplifying Life Isn’t Easy and How to Overcome This

Why Simplifying Life Isn’t Easy and How to Overcome This

Simple living is meant to be easy, right? You declutter your unwanted stuff and decide to say no to a few invitations so your schedule is a little less busy. Pop in place some habits and routines for your day and your home and you can live a simpler life with less stress and more ease.

But that’s not quite the end of it. Although these are all part of creating a simpler life for yourself, there are so many other factors that come into play.

In this article we’ll be looking at some of the reasons why simplifying life isn’t easy and how to overcome them.


Here are some reasons why simplifying life isn’t easy plus a few ways to overcome them. I hope you find them helpful!

1. Simplifying life is atypical

Many of us are conditioned to be more, buy more, have more and do more if we’re to have a meaningful, rewarding and successful life. We’re led to believe that if we have more clothes in our closet, bigger cars in our drive and a high-flying career that takes us places, then we’ll have made it in life. We’ll be happy, content and fulfilled.

However, once we’ve strived and chased for all these things, what then? Often we just want more to keep us satisfied or we burn out trying to keep up with this successful and rewarding life.

How to overcome this: Simplifying life is counter-cultural. It takes courage and confidence to admit to yourself and others that you don’t want this kind of lifestyle. You’re happy with less stuff and having more time, space and freedom for what really matters to you.

Action point: Take a moment to brainstorm in your notebook what makes you REALLY content and happy, in your head and your heart. Are these things material things and are they just the things that busy, modern life encourages you to have?

2. Simplifying life requires confidence

As simplifying life isn’t the norm, then it requires confidence to go against the grain. You might be making decisions to do less, get rid of some stuff, stop shopping (or shop more intentionally), choose a slow life instead of life in the fast line. When many around us are buying more and bigger, deliberately choosing less might raise a few questions and a few eyebrows. Why would you give your kids fewer toys? Why wouldn’t you want another pair of shoes to go with that new dress you’ve got your eye on?

Taking decisions that might be different to others requires courage of your convictions and sometimes you’ll get asked why you’re daring to be so different.

How to overcome this: Simplicity doesn’t have to be extreme. You can start with baby steps so you build up confidence and courage as you go. The most important thing here is to be super clear on why you’re simplifying your home and life in the first place. If you have clarity on your why then it will make it easier to find the confidence to put it into action.

Action point: Grab your notebook and think of some small steps you could start today to simplify your life. Here are some ideas and 20 ways to simplify your life if you need them!

3. Simplifying life and knowing where to start

I asked you to brainstorm little ways you could start simplifying your life and build up confidence. It’s not easy though is it? Knowing where to start with anything in life is often the most difficult part. It takes practice and decluttering and simplifying is a skill that improves with both practice and confidence.

However, the honest truth is that we have to start simplifying somewhere. Instead of just reading about it and planning it, we need to take action otherwise life will continue to be cluttered and complex.

How to overcome this: Start simplifying life with some small projects to help you get used to the concept of getting rid of things, whether that’s physical stuff or stuff in your schedule. Build up those decluttering muscles and get familiar and comfortable with asking yourself some key questions to help you decide what’s adding value to your life and what’s getting in the way.

Action point: Read these 5 easy ways to start simplifying your life.

4. Simplifying life makes us feel guilty

When so many in the world don’t have enough, we often feel guilty for getting rid of our own stuff. It seems like we’re being selfish, ungrateful and wasteful. We spent good money on the items in our home or loved ones have kindly given us these things as gifts. What does that say about us if, instead of appreciating them in our own homes, we get rid of them to somewhere or something else?

How to overcome this: How you think about things determines how you feel about them and that applies to the stuff in your life too. Instead of focusing on the guilt or waste, reframe those thoughts. You appreciate the gift but you don’t have to keep it. You could donate it to someone else who could get even more benefit and joy from it than you. The thought was in the gift itself and if that actual gift doesn’t make your heart sing then you’re not obliged to keep it.

Your home is your living space, not a storage space or place to make you feel bad. Feeling wasteful about decluttering and simplifying is very common and it’s a common source of tension in the household when you’re trying to declutter.

Action point: For more tips, read this article on whether decluttering is a waste of money and how to declutter without feeling wasteful.

Why simplifying life isn't easy

5. Simplifying life when your family’s not on board

This is probably one of the most common problems I hear readers struggle with. What do you do when you’re ready to declutter your home and simplify your life, but your family, partner or spouse isn’t on board? It can be a cause of frustration and resentment when you’re having to answer a load of questions about why you’re doing it and what you’re planning to get rid of.

Family members might worry that you’re getting rid of their stuff, that you’re wasting hard-earned money (see the point above) and what will happen if you need something you’ve thrown out? Answering these questions and still finding time, energy and motivation afterwards can leave you feeling drained, overwhelmed and demotivated. So, we give up and put it off (or declutter and face the consequences!).

How to overcome this: This was a problem I faced for many years. My husband is a hoarder and keeps things ‘just in case’ we need them. Although he understood why I wanted a simpler life and a home that was easier to manage, he couldn’t understand the benefits of decluttering and how simplifying my home and life would achieve that. In his opinion, I was just throwing away money and the baby out with the bath water.

Over time, I decluttered little by little. I left his stuff alone and decluttered the parts of the home that had my stuff and were in my domain. I cut up credit cards I didn’t need, slowed down my schedule so I focused on quality time not quantity time with my family and felt less stressed and more present because of it. He began to see the benefits to me of living with less and he gradually understood the relationship between clutter and stress.

Action point: Here are some tips on decluttering when your family’s not on board.

6. Simplifying life takes time

One of the reasons you might be wanting to simplify your life is because you’re fed up of rushing and stumbling through the day, only to repeat it all again tomorrow. Time is squeezed and YOU are probably feeling squeezed even more.

Let’s say you press pause on today, work out what’s complicating your busy life and then you have a week or a month to slow it all down by being less busy and decluttering your entire home, top to bottom. Then you can press the play button on life. Now, that sounds easy doesn’t it because not only can you identify what’s cluttering your life, but you have time to declutter it.

Unfortunately, as we know, there are no pause and play buttons in our life. Our days keep on coming like big tidal waves that threaten to sweep us off our feet. Simplifying life takes time but time is a resource we don’t always have. So, we put it off, carry on with heads bowed low and grim determination on our faces to just get on with things and stop complaining.

How to overcome this: Decluttering and simplifying doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Break down the different areas of your busy, overstuffed life into manageable bite-sized chunks. Take action on these in short bursts, in between other things and in short windows of time that you can carve out.

It may seem difficult at first, but once you gain confidence and momentum, you’ll begin to both see and feel the benefits of simplifying life and feel encouraged to keep going. It’s tough at first but gets easier with time.

Action point: Here are some tips on how to declutter when you don’t have time to declutter.

7. Simplifying life requires motivation

Like anything in life, to do something you need to be motivated to do it. Unfortunately decluttering and simplifying requires oomph because it’s not easy for all the reasons we’ve mentioned above. You might get asked why you’re doing it? You might not have time or energy. You might not be totally clear on what you’re hoping to achieve but you know you need to change things in your every day life. As a result, you might procrastinate, put things off, make excuses, blame everyone else whilst your life remains complicated and unfulfilling.

How to overcome this: Nothing will change unless you make the first move. It doesn’t have to be a big leap. A simple decision to clear the surface of your nightstand or unused apps on your phone is still a start. One little step after another will still get you to your end goal and as you take those steps you’ll feel easier, happy and more empowered to continue.

Reward yourself for each decluttering session, however big or small. Make decluttering fun, get family or friends on board to support you. Keep in mind why you’re doing this and what you hope to gain at the end.

Action point: Here are some more tips on finding the motivation to declutter.

8. Simplifying life requires a clear goal

One final but possibly the most important point is that you need be crystal clear on WHY you want to simplify life. If you know what you want your life to be like afterwards and how your life and yourself are going to benefit and feel different then this will spur you on to overcome many of the obstacles I’ve shared here.

How to overcome this: Take your notebook once more and write down your perfect day. What will you do, who will you share it with, how will it make you feel? Provide as much detail as you can. You don’t have to go on a big adventure, it could just be a day at home with the kids, your spouse and no housework. There are many ways to enjoy life, be present and relish the simple little pleasures in life. Read this description of you perfect day back to yourself often and continue to reflect on what simplifying life could mean for you.

Action point: Creating a regular gratitude practice and/or journaling are wonderful ways to reconnect with yourself on a regular basis.


As Steve Jobs once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

I hope you found this article helpful. If you’re keen to explore what decluttering and simplifying could mean for you, I encourage you to just try it, one baby step at a time.

Try my free Declutter List with 100 things to get rid of right now to help you make space in your home, schedule, mind and heart. Pop your details in the box at the bottom of this article to get started…


I’d love to hear from you if you’re in the process of simplifying life. Did you find it easy or difficult? What was the most difficult part of the process for you? What has changed and how have you and your family benefitted? What tips would you share for others? Leave a comment below!


Sunday 19th of May 2024

Hi Antonia, I love this article! Even my ADHD brain can apply these principles. LOL. Thanks!

Balance Through Simplicity

Sunday 19th of May 2024

Hi Laura, thank you for reading and for your comment. I'm so pleased you found the article and tips helpful!