How do you live more simply and in ways that are right for you? Read on to find out.
Do you sometimes feel like life is more complex than it needs to be? Do you feel like society expects you to buy more than is necessary, own more things than you need, or do more work than you want? Then you may want to find ways to live more simply.
Wikipedia defines living simply as voluntarily engaging in several practices to simplify one's lifestyle. Others define this lifestyle as “a tool to eliminate life’s excess, focus on the essentials, and find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom” (Millburn & Nicodemus, 2016).
Some argue that living simply (or minimalism) is a reaction to materialism (Par, 2021). Others propose that it is a part of "alternative hedonism"—or a movement that arose in response to the destructive models of capitalist consumption (Caruana, Glozer, & Eckhardt, 2019).
Here are a few different approaches people have proposed to help us live more simply:
Your definition of living simply can involve a mixture of some or all these approaches. In fact, it may be helpful to try different approaches out to see how they make you feel so that you can adopt the new habits and lifestyle that you feel will best boost your well-being.
Why Might You Want to Live Simply?
A lot of people choose to live more simply after discovering that consuming and buying things doesn't make them happy. They find a greater sense of well-being from owning fewer things, reducing the amount of pressure on themselves to work to buy more things, and gaining extra time to spend doing the things that bring them true joy. Indeed, living simply can result in a variety of positive outcomes including:
How to Live Simply
Does the idea of living simply seem like a good fit for you but you're just not ready to (or you don't want to) change your entire lifestyle? Here are some tips to live simply while still living in the modern world.
1. Say "no" more often
Our lives often get cluttered and busy when we say yes to everything. Maybe we say yes to eating junk food we don't want to eat, to participating in consumer holidays that we don't want to participate in, to doing more than we handle, or to accepting invites to events we don't want to attend. By learning how to say no, we get back more of our time, and we take back power over our lives. So, take some time to think about the things that you let into your life that don't need to be there, and start saying no to them.
2. Disconnect from technology
Whether it's turning off notifications on your phone, taking a break from social media, or just disconnecting from the Internet for a few days, you'll quickly discover how much extra time and headspace you get when you set limits with technology.
3. Do the wardrobe challenge
To start, put all your unused clothing items in a box, leaving out just enough clothing to wear for 1 month. You're not yet getting rid of your extra clothing, but just putting it in a box. At the end of the month open the box and decide what to keep and what to donate. Once you get used to the idea of living without all the extra clothing, it'll be easier to get rid of the extra stuff.
4. Set yourself a budget
Setting a budget can help you live more frugally and prevent you from filling up your spaces with more stuff. Try decreasing your budget each month until you're down to just the bare essentials. For example, you might keep your food and medicine budgets but get rid of your clothing, online shopping, or coffee budgets. Then you'll end up with less stuff and more money for the things and people that matter to you.
Living simply can be a great way to boost your well-being. Luckily, there are lots of small things you can do to start living more simply. Hopefully, the information and tips provided here gave you some ideas to help you create your perfect simple life.
Pamela (Pami) Parker currently serves as a holistic practitioner, coach and teacher. Her intention is to be a compassionate guide to those who choose to experience a healthier, happier and more peaceful way of life.