How to Live With Less

May 29, 2014

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"Simplify Your Life"

Whether for the sake of their paycheck or the sake of their sanity, many people are choosing to start living with less. “Less” can refer to owning fewer objects, spending less money “for fun,” scheduling days with more spare time, etc. In a world where we are bombarded with advertisements and the constantly feel the need to do and be “more,” living with less can seem overwhelming. Here are a few ideas for decluttering your life and learning to live with less:

Literally live with less “stuff”

The first step to living with less may be to clean out your home and eliminate items you no longer need. In her blog andreabcreative, organization expert Andrea Battaglia suggests asking yourself a series of questions while evaluating which items in your home stay and which items go:
1. Do we love it?
2. Do we use it all of the time?
3. Does it still work well?
4. Was it duplicated with something else?
5. Could we do without it?
If you answered “no” to the first three questions and “yes” to the last two questions, it may be time to say goodbye. Donate or sell the items you no longer need.

Recognize that being busy doesn’t improve your value or self-worth

Don’t misunderstand—it is a great thing to be productive. If you are employed or have people counting on you to get a certain task done, by all means, work hard. It is okay to be busy with necessary things, but it is important to recognize that “busy” is not always synonymous with “better.” Many of us have become experts at multitasking and taking on a handful of projects at once, but there is a point where it all becomes too much. Take care to not over schedule yourself, and eliminate things from your to-do list that are not necessary for that day. Leave time for relaxation, for relationships, for rejuvenation, and for rest.

Make a financial budget and stick to it

Living with less ultimately means spending less money (or learning to simply live with the small amount of money you do have). It is fun to drive new cars, go out to eat, and see all the latest movies, but often these things are neither practical nor possible. Make a budget, and stick to it. Eliminate the “fun” things you cannot afford or do not need. If your life still seems too complicated or expensive, reevaluate the “necessities” on your list. You may find that things you once thought you needed are now luxuries that you can do without.

Evaluate your time

Take a close look at your daily schedule. Of the time you spend “working,” “cleaning,” and even “sleeping,” how much of it is really taken up by other, unnecessary things? By cutting down on Facebook breaks, TV watching, napping, procrastinating, and simply wasting time, you could probably “finish” all your responsibilities in a fraction of the time. Pick a task and do not stop until it is finished—you will likely find that you both work more efficiently and have more quality time leftover.

Living with less, although challenging at first, can result in a more meaningful life. As you eliminate clutter and focus on what is most important, you are able to use your time more wisely and accomplish more during the day.

Check out the Simple Living Manifesto for more suggestions on how to live a more basic life.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Benner and Creative Commons.

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