The trouble with the rat race is, even if you win, you are still a rat.
– Lily Tomlin.
So – where to start?
Thats a tricky question really- and it depends on you, your personality, and whats important to you…
As I’ve said before – this is the beauty of simplifying – it can look as many different ways as there are people doing it!
Whether your interests are in having a simpler meal-time routine, with simpler foods
or you’d like a home thats simpler to live in, and simpler to look after,
perhaps you’re looking for ways to save money,
or maybe you’d like to have a garden that provides you with not only nourishment for your belly – but nourishment for your soul too.
Maybe you want it ALL!?!
And whether you want a little or a lot – its all good, but you need to start somewhere…
The biggest mistake – I believe – is in thinking that it is about retreating to a mud hut somewhere off-grid in the back-of-beyond and eating beans and rice.
But perhaps the hardest thing to do is to change our attitude and mindset.
We have to rethink our priorities and rethink the way we approach life and all thing in it.
However you choose to start though – I believe that there are two main takeaway lessons to remember:
1] Learn slowly, and build up your skills as you go.
2] There are no failures, just experiments to learn from.
The most difficult thing might just be a change of mindset!
After all, most of us have been conditioned from our earliest memory, that having ‘more’ is a sure sign that you’re “making it” in Life.
We constantly compare ourselves with others.
What they have, what they do, what they’re achieving.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of: “Keeping up with the Jones’”.
Its that whole status business
We’re constantly looking for more, better ,shinier ,faster…
For me, starting began by ‘de-cluttering’.
And I quickly learned that I needed to start small.
Deciding that I wanted start my decluttering journey by simplifying the kitchen, just had me standing frozen in the middle of the room, not having a clue of what to tackle first.
I was so overwhelmed with feeling like I had failed before I had even begun, that I ended up first making myself a coffee and drinking that, and then going off to the local chain store to buy a few more items of crap “for the house” that I didn’t need, or even really want!!
Procrastination much?!!? 😐
(I actually ended up donating said crap, to a local charity shop, just a few short weeks later! A stupid waste of money – but an invaluable lesson once I got around to seeing it!)
So as I said, I needed to start small, and for me that was by cleaning my kitchen sink.
Not many people really enjoy cleaning, but most people can do almost anything if they know that there is an end in sight – so with that in mind, I put on a timer for 20 minutes, and set to work on that dull, grimy, food-smeared sink.
I rinsed off everything in and around it, and then I scrubbed and wiped that sink until the stainless sparkled, all the water marks were gone, and there was not a dish to be seen.
The fact is – the dirty dishes were all in the dish-washer – where they were actually supposed to be, and I had even turned it on, and it was running through a cycle while I was scrubbing the sink.
I was so darn proud of my sparkling clean sink, and the uncluttered bench tops on either side – that it gave me just the encouragement that I needed, to see that it really didn’t take long to get some fantastic clearly visible results!
After standing back and viewing my gorgeously clean sink for a few minutes – with a very smug grin on my face I might add(!!) – I wandered away from the kitchen, and from memory was in the midst of putting on a load of laundry at the other side of the house, when I heard a noise…
I didn’t initially realise what it was, but on heading back toward the kitchen to investigate, I realised it was the timer I had set!
It was right about then that I clued onto the fact that I had cleaned up the sink, put a load in the dishwasher, stood for a while gawping at my amazing handiwork and was part way through doing a load of laundry in waaaay less time than the timer had been set for.
I’d easily done the kitchen chore I had set myself, and as it turned out – with bucket-loads of time to spare!
Now don’t get me wrong – its not like every time I set myself a twenty minute timer with a goal in mind – that I achieved it, but I have definitely learned that I can get a lot more achieved in 20 minutes than I had ever imagined!
And I also know that I can blow a simple ‘project’ waaaaay out of proportion in my mind, if I don’t break it down into bite-sized pieces.
For example – the next job on my kitchen list a few days later, was that I wanted to get all the unused stuff out of the drawers.
I had planned to keep only the stuff that I had used in the last 3 months, and either toss or donate the rest.
So I tipped out the first three drawers onto a sheet that I had covered the dining room table with.
As it turned out – those three drawers held a LOT – and I was barely 1/3 of the way through the pile, when my timer went off.
And as you can probably guess, I felt pretty bloody disappointed in myself, and actually – I was pretty pissed off!
How was I supposed to ever get anything achieved if I couldn’t even clean out a couple of drawers in a decent amount of time?!?
But on looking back, those three drawers were never going to be a 20 minute job.
I should have just started with one.
Well – not quite – I did exactly the same thing when I went to tackle the storage shed.
I dragged out numerous boxes of miscellaneous tools and such – and was then quite surprised when 20 minutes later when the timer went off, to realise that I’d barely scratched the surface of going through them.
That was when the lesson really did sink in properly!! lol
Whether you’re doing a shed or a kitchen – the way around it is the same.
Break it down into little ‘bite-sized-pieces’.
Do a little at a time, and don’t move on until you’ve sorted that small area.
If there is stuff that needs to go to another area, put it in a box to take there later – ‘cos you can guarantee that if you wander off to take it there – you’re going to get sidetracked by something on the way, and not get that small chore finished.
What we aim for is to seek a life filled with more passion and purpose, meaning, fulfilment and happiness.
A life to look back on with fewer regrets.
In living simply and deliberately, we reclaim our lives…
Have you begun your simple Life – or have you begun decluttering?
Tell us about it in the comments below!