Talking to the other women in our community, I’m convinced that simplifying your life is one of the best things that you can do in your 60s. As we get older, we often find ourselves surrounded by years of accumulated possessions. Some of our possessions are connected to a beautiful memory, a special person, or a significant time or place. Other things are, well, just… things.
Many baby boomers say that physical possessions no longer hold the same pull that they did when they were younger. But, despite our changing priorities, we still end up surrounded by stuff. The problem is that a disorganized environment contributes to a cluttered mind. When we are surrounded by meaningless possessions, our lives seem less meaningful.
Do you ever feel weighed down by your past possessions? Do you ever feel emotionally or physically tired or overwhelmed by the “stuff” in your life? Perhaps it’s time to simplify.
Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. You’re not going to sort through a lifetime’s possessions in a single day, or even a single month. It’s also important to remember that prioritizing your possessions shouldn’t be stressful. By simplifying your life, you are saying “yes” to the things that you love. Saying “no” to the things that you don’t is just a means to an end.
There is no need to rush. Simplifying your life takes time. Do a little bit of sorting every day and spend time with the treasures that you find. When you find an item of significance, allow yourself to be drawn into his unique history. Immerse yourself in the memories of your family and friends. Sink deeply into the smells and sounds of the places that you have visited.
Most of all, take the time to appreciate how lucky you are to have had a complex and wonderful life so far.
Make space for the truly special items that you want to see every day and display them with pride. They are a part of your unique history and deserve to bathe in the light of your life.
I find it helpful to create three piles. The first pile is for items that I love or need. The second pile is for items that I definitely do not need or want. The third is for items that I don’t know whether I will need at some point in the future. Ask yourself: “Did I use this item in the last year?” “Does it make me happy?” “Would someone else benefit more from it than I do?”
If you’re feeling a bit emotional, or just need a little support, don’t be afraid to call a friend to help you. Don’t try to do too much at once. Even sorting a single shelf can help you to feel calmer and more in control. Take regular breaks. Breathe. Remember, the goal is to make space, both mentally and physically, for the items that you love.
While you are sorting, don’t miss the opportunity to make the world a better place. Giving away items that you no-longer use makes you happy twice. First, it clears space for the items that you love. Second, it gives you the satisfaction of knowing that someone else will benefit from your generosity. Selling unwanted items is also an option. If you do, try to spend the money on experiences rather than more stuff.
As you sort through your possessions, you will find treasures, new and old. Celebrate them. Present them proudly and think of them often. Remember: simplicity does not mean living without things. It means making room for the things that matter. As William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I couldn’t agree more.
Once you have decluttered your home, it’s time to ask yourself, “How can I prevent this clutter from returning?” The best way is to develop a simplicity mindset. Teach yourself to avoid buying things that aren’t necessary.
Focus on your passions – people, places, hobbies and experiences. Spend freely on the things that you love, knowing that you have earned it by reducing your consumption on the things that don’t matter.
Simplicity brings power and freedom. Ironically, it also creates abundance by giving us more money to spend on the things we care about. What things have you done to exercise your simplicity mindset? How does that make you feel?
Take a walk around your house and pay attention to the items that surround you. Do the items in your home make you happy? Or, are there some things that are, well, just things? Make a list of the items that you no longer use and decide if there is a better use for them.
Do you agree that simplifying your life is one of the keys to happiness? What have you done to simplify your life? Have you downsized your home? Or, have you sorted through your possessions? Please join the conversation.