I recently invited you to send me your simplicity struggles. With far more responses than anticipated, instead of individually responding, I’m going to answer your questions in a series of articles.
This article will help the struggle to simplify clutter, mind and clothes. In a future article, we’ll address busyness, food, paper (the biggest struggle of all according to your feedback) and money.
There were many common struggles, so you may not see your exact question, but I’ve framed them in a way so you’ll find the answer you are looking for. Scroll through, find what you struggle with the most and start there. You are welcome to search the archive for answers too.
I struggle to let go of my books.
If you love books as much as I do, remember why. It’s the experience of reading that connects with our hearts. We don’t need shelves full of books to be moved by beautiful words. If you want to find the real joy from reading, let go of your books.
What about hobbies?
Keep the things that support the hobbies you love and enjoy. Let go of the stuff that supports the hobbies you used to do or aspire to do.
Can you be too focused on decluttering?
Here are 5 signs that you should stop decluttering.
How do you simplify things like nails, tools, paper clips, and the little extras?
Even though they are small things, treat them as intentionally as you treat the big stuff. Do you really need 100 nails or paperclips? Keep what you will realistically use and let go of the rest.
It’s hard for me to let go of things because I want to save them for people.
It sounds like you want to make sure each thing goes to a good place. I understand why you’d want to do that, but zoom out and look at the time and energy you are spending on each thing. Wouldn’t it be freeing to put it all in a box and donate it? Then you can move on with your life and give in bigger and better ways.
I struggle with decluttering toys.
I recommend hiding all but the favorite toys. Like adults, children have their favorite things too. Let them enjoy a few things instead of having to manage all the things. Experiment and see how your children are with fewer toys. If they enjoy it, let them help you donate the hidden items. Here are a few reasons why fewer toys will actually benefit your kids.
How do I simplify my crafting/art supplies?
I recommend keeping the supplies out that you need for your current project and get the rest out of sight. When your project is complete, take out what you need for the next project and hide everything else. After a few projects, notice what you never use and let it go.
How do I get my spouse/partner/parents/friends on board with simplicity?
You can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. They have to find the inspiration. One of the best ways to encourage that inspiration is to let them hear it from someone else.
Instead of you pushing or nagging, watch this documentary together, or share a book, or have a conversation with friends who are simplifying.
What about skin care and cosmetics?
Less is more. The best things for skin care are water, nourishing food and sleep.
What do I do about well-meaning friends and family who won’t stop buying stuff for my children?
If a gentle conversation doesn’t help, donate the items or return/exchange for something you need.
What about the pressure of other people’s expectations (parents, siblings, friends)?
Their expectations were never yours to meet. You don’t get to decide or manage what other people expect, or how they feel or deal with things. That’s not your job. You can stop now.
How do I manage my thoughts and the emotional baggage that comes along with lack of self-care?
Stop trying to manage your thoughts and take better care of yourself. Taking action is going to help you move forward and focus on something besides the guilt. I assume emotional baggage means guilt here. Start with this challenge that will only take you five minutes a day.
How do you suggest simplifying the gossip or negativity clutter when it is simply unavoidable?
I’m struggling to let go of comparing myself to others and what they have going on in their lives.
This might help and take a break from social media if that’s part of the problem.
How do I protect my time and energy without being rude?
Ask yourself if you are being rude or if you are just afraid other people will be offended? We often think of boundaries as harsh or mean, but they are kind. Boundaries aren’t designed to shut others out, but instead, when you set a boundary, you are giving yourself permission to take care of yourself.
How can I simplify my thoughts, when I’m feeling like it’s just craziness in my head?
Here are 10 ways to quit the crazy.
I struggle to let go of the past.
How is it serving you to hold on to the past? If there is something you can fix, fix it. It you can’t, write it down and give yourself permission to finally be free.
How do I simplify big decisions?
Eliminate the small ones. Often, big decisions are so challenging because our minds are simply tired of making decisions. Look at the tiny decisions you make on a daily basis and streamline or eliminate them.
I am struggling with letting go of the clothes I like and would love to wear, but never do.
Try minimalist fashion challenge Project 333.
I keep several sizes in my closet because of weight fluctuations.
Only keep the clothes that fit you today in your closet. Seeing clothes that don’t fit on a daily basis is stressful. Hide the rest.
Paying debt is a priority so I don’t have the funds to replace or purchase clothing for a capsule wardrobe. Would you still reduce to 33 items and then when you can, slowly replace some of those 33 items?
Yes. Even if you had the funds, I wouldn’t recommend buying new items until you spend three months with a small capsule wardrobe. You’ll better understand what you want and need in your wardrobe if you dress with less for a while.
I struggle to let go of things I paid so much for.
A common excuse for holding on to clothing is “I paid so much for that” but holding on to something because you paid for it once will only ensure that you keep paying. If you don’t let go, you will pay again and again.
You will pay with your money and time and you will pay with your heart. This is the worst payment of all. You pay with your heart and emotions by holding onto the past, and punishing yourself for old habits. You pay with guilt, anger, shame and indecision.
You’ve paid enough.
Of course, this is only what I’d do if I were in your situation. Take the advice that works for you and leave the rest behind. If you’ve found a helpful solution to any of these struggles that may help others, please comment here.