YOU DON’T REALIZE THE POWER OF YOUR WORLD UNTIL YOU RELEASE THE CLUTTER AND INCREASE SAVINGS POWER
The other day Mrs. CBB and I were driving in the truck when all of a sudden she says to me, “I just want to live a simple life” which was surprising but given recent events in our lives, not really.
After her father passed away it was constant trips to her parents house to sort out all of his stuff and boy did he have lots of stuff. It took us weeks of travel and hours of hard work just to get through what we did and we’re still not done.
There wasn’t a time throughout the process that we didn’t complain about how much stuff there was and how we would never do this to our son. It was tough, we’ll admit it over and over again and I think it has taken its toll on us both.
Over the last month we managed to take our entire 10-year-old living room set and binned it because it was that pleather material (fake leather) which was peeling and getting on our nerves. I had it in my mind to chop it up and recycle it myself because I thought it might be a great way to let of some steam but I ended up sending it to the city dump. There really isn’t much you can do with a couch like that especially one that is cheaply made.
It was at that moment that our simple life world opened up, or our living room because the amount of space we now have is wonderful. Our son loves his new play area and we enjoy kicking around on the ground with him playing and doing other fun things rather than watching television.
To be fair we didn’t watch much television in the first place so the living room set was really just a giant dust collector or lazy lounge for us. Friends of ours thought we were nuts and family had a good laugh about where they would all sit when they visited. They soon realized how comfy the carpeted floor was and that we weren’t joking around.
Now that a month has passed we still don’t miss our couch, love seat and big comfy chair one bit. In face we now sit at the dining room table each night and chat, play games and eat dinner. Yes, we were one of those families who would plunk on the couch to eat dinner and turn on the television even if it were just cartoons. GONE.
You can’t live a simple life when you have a cluttered world around you, no matter what anyone says. Getting rid of stuff in your space is like losing weight and you’ll feel 100 times better than you did the day before. All those memories from holidays, knickknacks dust collectors, doubles and triples of items you own are a waste of space. If you have stuff in your house that hasn’t been used or you think you will use it in the future but haven’t in years chances are you probably won’t.
Living A Simple Life with No Debt
Whether we bought something for a great deal, had stuff given to us for free or we found it on the side of the road and thought we could refurbish it and resell for money we didn’t stop to consider the impact the clutter would make on our lives. Sure, we made extra money on the side when we moved products in and out the door but for those items that were pushed aside they became the beginning of our life with too much stuff.
You might be in the same person we were and have been working on changing since the beginning of this year and I can tell you thus far it has been a blessing for us. Since becoming debt free back in 2014 when we paid our mortgage in full we’ve continued our frugal ways but there are some things that needed to change.
When I read that Michael Bowden from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia was auctioning his 5 bedroom house and everything in it including his two vehicles for $200,000 the other day I knew there the simple life without the stress of debt, clutter and wasting time sorting and cleaning it all up was going to become a trend. Perhaps not to the same degree as Micheal but we can all do our part while we are alive to grasp the simple life to simply live.
If you think about it clutter costs money, is a time-waster because you have to clean it, move it or get rid of it after you’ve brought it home and in many cases it can take over your life. For those of you who struggle to control your shopping habits and keep buying stuff on credit for example to furnish your home, re-furnish your home, renovate too much or simply spend too much buying stuff for yourself or family you’ll feel the clutter and debt pain.
What is the real problem?
Not only does stuff build so does the debt if it’s not paid in full and most often people who tend to shop too much are diverting other problems in their life to the enjoyment of shopping. It doesn’t have to be new stuff or even cost money but just having stuff that is new makes some people feel good. This can become addicting and for those who crave that feeling it can become a daily or weekly obsession to bring home happiness even at the cost of their financial health.
How do you turn this type of behaviour around?
I’m no doctor (well sort of) but the best way for us was to stop shopping, stop looking and to concentrate on getting rid of what we do have so that we could spend more time as a family doing other things. Now that my father-in-law is gone we’ve brought home a few memories but we’ve donated almost all of his things to those in need or charity shops in the area. There simply was no need for the amount of things he had near retirement age and given his health status no ability to get rid of it all.
Ideally, if you want to live a simple life then do it now, not tomorrow or the next day. Minimize what you own by sorting through what you don’t use or haven’t used then sell or donate it. The best way is to go room by room and start a checklist of what you must get rid of.
You will be amazed at how good the extra space feels in your environment and if you are one of those shoppers like we were you’ll most certainly love the feeling of watching your bank savings grow. Simple organized living can literally turn your life around especially if you renew the way you observe life. Take the small things that you may overlook as meaningless and find meaning it such as enjoying a coffee out on the front porch listening to the birds chirp.
We were huge savers with coupons but over the years once we limited couponing we noticed there were many items we bought, stockpiled and never used. They still cost us money which meant we spent money to get something as cheap as we could because we thought we would use it but we didn’t. I know there are some of you reading this who can relate and it doesn’t have to be just the coupon clippers.
You might be the guy or gal who spotted a bin full of spray paint on sale for a buck and bought the entire sale bin thinking you’d use it but 10 years later you still have it. All of you shoppers who commit to living a simple life and knocking those habits on the head will look back and understand just where you went wrong.
Your Space Your World
The best part is that living a simple life doesn’t mean you have to reduce what you own to almost nothing like Michael is aiming to do by auctioning off his home and belongings. What simple living means is finding what’s important to you and opening up the space you live in to free your mind from stress that can take over lives.
If you live in a home that is too big for you then consider downsizing and stop spending money you could be saving. I know there are many people who don’t use rooms in their home or rarely go in them because they don’t need to. This space is wasted space that you are paying for just because.
As you get older you will realize that life isn’t about stuff it’s about simple living and enjoying the time you have on this earth while you can. There is no impressing anyone with your fancy job, clothes, hairstyles, nails, cars, boats, cottages no that slowly dwindles into waking up is joy, nature, friends, family and experiencing life. In other words, you don’t give a rats about stuff or what others think.
Some of you might learn this earlier on in life and others later in life but if we could all just take a moment to realize that all we need is a simple life we would be smiling a bit more each day. You don’t have to wait until you retire or are near retirement to downsize your living arrangements or the stuff you own, do it now. Do it while you have the opportunity to decide where you want everything to go. The tough part about doing it after someone dies is that you feel this guilt inside not knowing what to do so most often items are kept in the family.
Eventually, someone has to deal with it as it gets passed on from generation to generation. My father-in-law had lots of his parents possessions after they passed away. Living with too much doesn’t mean a lot in comparison to the memories you hold in your heart and your mind. The only space that takes up is inside of you and even as you age photos and videos are all that is needed if you want to hang on to treasures of memories in the past.
How do you live a simple life?
Often the less you own or have to pay for means it frees up time for you to volunteer in your community, help family and friends, retire early, change jobs, go back to school. Of course everyone is different as some of you may have families but for the sake of living a simple life consider the things in your home and life that are unnecessarily taking up space that you can claim back.
Start with one area of your life and you will soon find that the simple life is addicting and you will want to shred the past for something new.
Below are just a few simple living ideas that can help you on your journey to be free of ‘stuff’.
- Hold memories in your heart and get rid of dust collectors
- Downsize your home
- Stop spending money you don’t have and live with-in your means
- Discontinue getting stuff for free that you don’t need
- Spend more time with friend and family who add value to your life
- Limit the amount of shopping that you do even if for leisure
- Control the size of your hobby and collections
What do you get out of living a smile life?
- Less clutter
- No more added consumer debt
- More time with family or exploring the outdoors
- Opportunity to give back by helping others
- Pursue other goals you have
- Releases negativity and thoughts that add no meaning to your life
Ask yourself, “What will make me Happy?” and go from there.
Deciding what your simple life will be is your decision and most certainly will not reflect that of others which means you choose to eliminate what you feel is crowding your space or stalling your financial success. Perhaps you may want to do some travelling and soul-searching with the money you save from selling stuff you no longer need.
The choice is yours.
Oh, and yes we plan on buying another living-room set but it was one part of our simple life journey that made us realize how important it is to limit what we have in our space.
Happy Simple Living everyone!
Discussion: What have you done to live your simple life? Leave me a comment below.