Simplicity is the essence of happiness. ~Cedric Bledsoe
In our consumer driven society where infinite options and opportunities abound, it’s easy to get caught up living a stressed and complicated life. Several months ago, I’ve opportunely unearthed the virtue of simplicity in a book I’ve stumbled upon and end up purchasing for fifty pesos. Such a valuable lesson for such a menial price. Like the quote above, I’ve realized that the principle of being a minimalist is the core not only of happiness, but of peace.
Living simply means focusing on what really matters
According to Steve Maraboli, the greatest step towards a life of simplicity is learning to let go. This is because in the process of simplifying our lifestyle, we clear the clutter to make room for true values. We do this by identifying the most important thing to us and eliminating everything else. Anything we possess, tangible or intangible, that do not contribute to our goal becomes an unnecessary burden. Since our time is our life, we also make the most of our time when we unburden our life and live more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with what we are supposed to be doing.
Living simply is a step-by-step process. We start by sorting out our things. We keep only those we need and worth keeping. Everything left that are usable can be donated and given, otherwise, they should be thrown away. For example, we can allot a whole Sunday sorting out our clothes, shoes, books, documents, CDs, etc. We should pick few but decent and quality apparels. The same thing with eating and drinking. We must only consume food and beverages with nutritional content in adequate amounts. Little by little, we can start simplifying our cupboard, stockroom, refrigerator, and the like. In our computer, we may delete files (documents, music, videos, etc.) that aren’t compatible with our goal in life. We can also start cleaning our realm in cyber space by minimizing our web presence and interaction that eat up so much of our precious time.
Living simply means exercising character
When we commit to a life of simplicity, we learn to exercise at least three aspects of a godly character which are: self-control, gratitude, and resourcefulness. We learn self-control as we strive to live within our means with simple wants and desires. Self-control is also strengthened as we try to focus on our goal and resist the distractions. We practice the attitude of gratitude as we count our blessings and not the things we lack. We manage to be resourceful as we make the most out of what has been given to us. It doesn’t mean that we are to become misers or that we do not dream big. It is about setting the right priorities and recapturing true values. In the long run, we then replace vanity and materialism with contentment and humility.
Living simply means having an organized life
Living a simple life also entails being disciplined enough to maintain an organized life. Having a place for everything and everything in its place is the rule of the thumb in keeping our stuff organized.
First, it is my loving advice that you secure yourself a handy dandy planner. You can go by the traditional pen-and-paper which I personally prefer. There’s a wide range of choices to choose from in Fullybooked. Or, if you’re the tech-savvy type, you can use a to-do list app, such as Swift To-do list (for an offline list) or Astrid Task (for an online list that can be synced to your smartphone). These two apps are by far the best I’ve tested out of a handful of free apps in the market.
Second, it is best to keep track of your expenditures so it’s wise to have a money organizer and a savings system. Again, you can have the tangible one, like the one shown in the picture or you can download an app such as the Expense Manager. For a savings system, you can go as far as creating a savings account in the bank or simply relive that piggy bank days of childhood. I use a ten-peso worth coin bank which can be bought from tiangges to save ten-peso coins. It’s almost full now!
Third, in order to keep your web life safe and secure, you can have a password keeper and a website blocker. I use the Free Password Manager to keep all my account info such as username, passwords, and URL. This way, you can keep track of how many web accounts you have and more importantly, have the liberty to vary your passwords per account which is much safer. For the website blocker, I use the Microsoft Windows Live Family Safety. This way, you can align your web activities to your values and goals in life.
Lastly, for those extreme OCs like me, you can use a closet app. After sorting my clothes and giving away most of them to typhoon victims, I’ve made an inventory of the very few left by having them photographed one by one. It may sound a bit troublesome but after that one-time, big-time task, you’ll be able to simplify all of your dress-up days.
These are just tips drawn from my personal experience. It doesn’t matter which ones you use as long as it works for you. As you can see, we can never totally go back to basics and get rid of modernity because aside from the fact that it’s all around us, it also has some advantages. The key is to strike a balance. What’s important is for us to learn the art of living simply for it saves us time, money, and energy while getting us closer to our purpose in life. After all, living an organized, good, and clean life is simply the best.~
Photos: Google Images, Cosmopolitan magazine, and blogger’s own