Throughout the past few years, I’ve been moving towards a more simple life. I’m seeking less chaos, less clutter, less shopping, less spending, you get it – I want less so that I can have more of what really matters.
More freedom, more mental space, more peace, more time.
But that last one is interesting. What if simplifying leads us to do things…that take up more time?
How simple can get complicated
For starters, let’s make it clear: I don’t have any more hours in the day now than I did three years ago. None of us do.
But I have found myself allocating those hours so differently these days, and not in ways you might expect.
I clean more often (although it takes less time), I prepare food constantly (or at least it feels like I do), and I spend more time planning days than I have ever done before.
So, what changed? Isn’t one of the driving factors of minimalism getting to the point of doing fewer chores? I think I figured it out:
My values have evolved.
Doing more of these chores isn’t counterintuitive to my minimalism journey. In fact, they’re a direct result of it.
I’m cleaning more often because I love a clear, clean space (and with two bunnies, dusting & vacuuming are imperative). I make my bed, I clear counters and desks, I even do laundry more than I used to. Because a clean home and fewer clothes have become important to me.
I’m also cleaning more because I’m cooking more. Food used to be filler – something to literally get me from point A to point B. Now, food is everything. It no longer just “takes up space” in my stomach – I truly value it as my source of life and energy. That’s why it’s become complicated – soaking beans, shopping two times a week for fresh produce, adding useful kitchen gadgets and even more tupperware for leftovers, etc.
Marketers have convinced us that pre-packaged food is simple: just throw it in the microwave! That’s not quite right – it’s convenient, not simple.
“Convenient” is for when we don’t have the time, “simple” is for when we can make the time. Which brings me to my next point.
Planning a simple life
Now for the planning – I wouldn’t have a simple life without planning for it. Or at least being intentional about my time.
Some days, I don’t take the time to jot down a few goals while I drink my morning coffee. I can feel it for the rest of my day. I feel less grounded and more hectic, which is not a recipe for a happy Emily.
Do you feel it too? If so, I challenge you to take note of it next time you feel that way. Stop, drop and write down your three next steps. Is three too many? Even one will do. Even if it’s “put on a pot of tea” or simply “shower”.
Intentions and a podcast worth listening to
I’ve been learning a lot about intentions and values lately, and it’s helped to put some things into perspective. It’s helped organize my outcome-based goals into long-term guiding values.
If you’re simplifying, remember to always ask yourself why. Reminding yourself frequently of your “why” will help you if you get frustrated about something being just a little more complicated than you thought it would be.
And your “why” might change!
To start finding out more about your gut instincts, check out Jess Lively’s tips on setting intentions. Then check out her podcast, The Lively Show. Start at the beginning, because each episode is filled with inspiration and intentional living tips!
Simplify to your heart’s content. But don’t be afraid when commitments or projects arise because of it.
If the project really does fit into your life or with your values, you now have less of the “other stuff” to stop you.
So, clean that kitchen every day and be proud that you’re using it. A simple life is not some fantasy of never having chores – it’s a life where the chores we do actually support the life we want.