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I’m on a mission to simplify my life in 2022. You could say that it’s something that’s very long overdue. This is coming from the perspective of someone who has very much been a hoarder all her life, and who is on a journey to find simple living and beauty in the simplicity. Not only is this a post to share tips and ideas, it’s also my own journey that I’m currently on too, so what better way to do it, than do it together.
But this doesn’t just mean simplify your life by decluttering, no, it’s also about getting in touch with nature, setting yourself boundaries, simplifying the things you do and eat, such as home cooking, making things yourself, and getting back to basics. It’s about slowing down, taking time to fully live, to take the time to look at everything around you, all of God’s wonderful creation, paying closer attention to the little things in life, and living a life that you enjoy and brings happiness.
Below I have listed 5 things that you can do this year to simplify your life.
1. Simplify by Decluttering
As I mentioned above, I’m a bit of a hoarder! I’ve collected and acquired so much stuff over the years, and for me personally, it’s hard to part with. But it’s become a little bit of a problem, where I just don’t know what to do with it all. So I’ve been making it my task to simplify all that I’ve got. I remember reading something ages back, a quote that said something like, ‘If you’re not going to miss it, then just get rid of it!’ Recently there have been many things bagged up for charity. The things that I no longer use, didn’t even realise I had, but have no need for, and the clothes that don’t fit, the shoes that are too small and all the bits in between that someone else may make good use out of.
I love a quote by Marie Kondo, “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go”. I don’t know about you, but I feel so much more motivated when I’m not surrounded by stuff! It’s not just the physical stuff that gets decluttered, it’s the mind too. I feel that when the space around me is clearer, my mind feels clearer too. I’ve been looking at how I can make space for the things that do matter, and taking Marie’s advice about the things I no longer need and letting them go. Marie Kondo has some great tips on tidying, which you can find over on her website, ‘6 rules of tidying’. Her Instagram is also packed with lots of inspiration too on how you can simplify your life by decluttering.
A part of my room that is in desperate need of decluttering is my wardrobe! Anyone else? Since last year, I have been slowly trying to declutter and simplify it, and clothes that I know I am no longer going to wear, have been going to the charity bags, so hopefully someone else can make use of them. It’s mostly clothes that no longer fit, clothes that I’ve picked up in the past and have just kept them in a drawer not to be worn again, and just clothes that I don’t really wear anymore, clothes that someone else can give a new lease of life to. A great video that I enjoyed watching is by Jessica Rose Williams, you can watch it here. She talks about having a capsule wardrobe and sharing her own tips and advice. It’s about simplifying your wardrobe, having clothes that you can keep on wearing, mixing and matching and creating a whole new look, just by having a few simple pieces of clothing. I definitely recommend checking out her blog too, I’ve really been enjoying reading her posts.
“I wholeheartedly believe that life is better with less and simplicity is the key to a life that’s jam packed with meaning and true to who we are.” Jessica Rose Williams.
There is so much beauty in simplicity. And this is something that I am currently looking at in my own living space, to simplify it. As you’ve probably already guessed I love stuff! As I’m getting married soon, I’ve really got to start and reduce the amount of stuff I have. But there definitely becomes a point where it just becomes too much, and I think that’s the conclusion I came to recently, especially with sorting it all out, and when it seems to be never ending. It’s being able to create that cosy, homely feeling, but with a minimalist approach.
Jasmine from PrettyLittleLineArt, very kindly gifted me 2 of her beautiful prints. Sometimes keeping things simple can be really effective – beauty in simplicity. This is what really drew me towards them. I love the silhouette style of both. The shade of the background in both, reminds me of what Jessica was saying in the video I watched, linked above, how certain shades of colours are perfect for mixing and matching, a colour that seems to go with anything.
I’m very excited to see more prints from Jasmine. The two prints I have shown in the images, are the Fashion Bow Back Dress Line Art Poster Print, and the Dancer Line Art Poster Print. My Ballerina younger self definitely loves the Dancer Print. To find more prints, you can visit Jasmine’s online Etsy shop.
2. Get in touch with nature
Sometimes we live life at such a fast pace, that we miss out on what is around us. We have endless amounts of technology, we have access to things with the touch of one button, and we can end up spending most of our time glued to a screen. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we become so consumed with material things and information, that we miss the simple pleasures of being outside amongst nature. One thing that has always fascinated me is looking back at how our ancestors once lived. They didn’t have the things we have today, but they lived and they thrived and flourished. Embarrassingly, even I’ve asked myself in the past how did one manage without a mobile phone, but the thing is they did, they had to. So I think it’s even more important that we get back to our roots, and go out to the great outdoors and get in touch with nature.
“When you live by the seasons, life is simple and seems to boast a deeper sense of purpose; if nature has existed in this way for thousands of years, then why shouldn’t we? Instead of resisting what we see as complications and inconveniences – the heavy snows in winter or the sticky heat of those few summer days, for example – it’s much less complex to simply embrace the weather and seasonal patterns we are presented with.” Creative Countryside.
Seasonal living is about embracing the seasons. Taking in your surroundings and adapting to each season. There is so much beauty to be found in nature throughout all the seasons. I find that being amongst nature helps me to slow down and to fully appreciate all that is around me. “Following the rhythm of nature feels like returning to an ancient and traditional cycle; it makes me feel calm and still and yet at the same time so voraciously full of life.” Eleanor Cheetham.
Through nature, God’s wonderful creation, He speaks to us, provides for us and teaches us. So what better way to fully appreciate it, than to be amongst it, whilst exploring and learning along the way. I feel that especially during these past couple of years, it’s helped me to connect with nature on a much deeper level, to fully appreciate all that it has to offer, along with all the physical and mental benefits.
“The mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature have been well documented, and include reduced feelings of stress or anger, a stronger immune system, increased energy levels, and a faster recovery from illness.” Elise Christian.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10.
3. Set boundaries
Like I said at the beginning, this is also a journey for me too, one that we can do together, and setting boundaries is one of those things that I am establishing in my own life. Setting boundaries can produce healthy habits. It’s recognising which boundaries are helpful and healthy, and which ones produce beneficial results. Setting one boundary, which seems very easy but can be probably one of the most difficult, (I know this through personal experience) is looking at how much time we spend daily online and aimlessly scrolling. It’s a boundary that can produce healthy results, enabling us to focus our time on other things, the things that matter and that bring positive results.
“Boundaries are important because they stop you saying yes when you’d rather say no. They allow you to focus on the important things to you in your life and not get distracted by things that aren’t that important after all. Of course, we all have to do things we don’t want to do from time to time, that’s just life. But boundaries help you keep on track generally.” Antonia, Balance Through Simplicity.
Setting boundaries is not just about saying no to things, but they are a way of producing positive results in our life. For example, the time that we spend on the activities that are not bringing positivity and happiness, the things that bring a negative impact to our lives and wellbeing, it’s during that time that we could have spent it doing what is more productive instead. It’s knowing when to stop, when to slow down and being more in charge with how we spend our time.
So one of the boundaries which I am setting is to spend less time on social media, and more time on responding to messages and emails, not getting lost in endless scrolling of Reels on Instagram, and focusing my time and energy on the things that bring positive results, those helpful and healthy habits. I’m also setting more time aside to read my Bible daily, to study God’s Word and His Truth. To not get sucked into the negative things, the things that bring no joy and happiness, but to set my eyes on the things that matter, that are important and the things that will help me in the long run.
Have you set yourself any boundaries this year yet? What are your thoughts on using them to simplify your life?
4. Simplify what you eat
“Make the most of what’s growing in the fields around you or in backyards throughout the country” Creative Countryside.
A little project that my mum and I started a couple of years back, is growing our own fruit, veg and herbs. It’s definitely been an experience and it’s had its ups and downs, but it’s been very rewarding, and we’re learning along the way. There’s just something so fulfilling and satisfying about simplifying what you eat, whether it’s growing your own fruit and vegetables, cooking from scratch, keeping to as pure ingredients as possible and connecting with what you eat and knowing where your food comes from. So far, my mum and I have grown raspberries, strawberries, potatoes, lettuce and cucumber, and a few other things that we have planted too, along with different types of herbs. My mum also has a patch of nettles that she uses for nettle tea which has many different health benefits.
From the very beginning of our relationship, my fiancé, David, and I both said how we would love to have a self-sufficient life, to live simply, slowly and seasonally. David constantly inspires me with all his homemade bread and cakes and all the meals he cooks from scratch. In a world where we can get instant meals, meals ready made for us, food that we can stick in the microwave and have ready in 5 minutes, I feel that we’ve lost that creative spark of cooking from scratch. I know this is something that I am currently working on myself. There’s something so special and gratifying about being more aware of what goes into our food, connecting with what we eat and spending time making a nutritious meal. I’ve found that it makes me so much more thankful and grateful for the food that I eat, to know that God provides, that He takes care of us and to really appreciate what we have.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26.
I’ve been very interested in reading and seeing how people go foraging for their own food, the food that not only is widely available and free, but also has tremendous amounts of health benefits and medicinal properties. An account that I recently followed on Instagram you can view here. I feel that this strongly takes us back to nature too, connecting with it on a much deeper level.
As someone who has Crohn’s Disease, over the years, I’ve had to become very aware of what goes into my stomach. You wouldn’t believe the amount of ingredients that goes into what looks like a small simple meal, it’s quite concerning to be honest. When I simplify what I eat, it allows me to be aware of what I consume, what goes into my body, and to avoid the things I know will trigger a flare-up.
Photo by David Barton.
5. Go back to basics
What matters most to you in your life? This is a question that I ask myself more and more. I think when going back to basics, this is an important question to ask ourselves. Asking it can really put things into perspective, the things that matter most, the things that we think we need but don’t actually need, and the things that deep down really bring us joy. Little things such as being creative, exploring and even reconnecting with our inner child can definitely help and to help simplify our our life.
Being creative allows us to think outside the box, to experiment and create and make the things that we’ve so often thought about making, but haven’t. It helps us to learn and develop new skills, as well as the skills that we already have but don’t often use because of a fast paced life. For so long now, I’ve said that one day I want to learn how to sew, crochet and make my own clothes. It’s making use of what we do have, recycling and bringing life back into something that we think we have no use for.
I personally think that getting back to basics, can help us to be so much more thankful and appreciative of what we have. We can automatically take so many things for granted, we don’t realise how lucky we really are, and I think exploring can help us to do just that. Exploring and traveling can allow us to take in our surroundings, the places that we never knew existed and to just be present in the moment. To enjoy time out of our busy day to take it all in.
I know I’m one for always saying how things seemed to be much simpler when I was young! But even though we’re grown up, there’s nothing wrong with reconnecting with our inner child. If you loved using your imagination as a child, why not use that imagination again and use it in a creative way, for example, writing, creating stories and going on an adventure. I also love thinking about the things I would do when we didn’t have computers, we didn’t have email and we didn’t have mobile phones. Who else had a pen-pal when they were younger? Why not get back to basics and write handwritten letters to your family and friends. David and I have often sent each other handwritten letters since we have known each other. There’s something so wonderful about receiving a letter through the post that someone has taken the time to write, a letter that has so much love and care in it.
“Living with less allows us to make more of our lives than we would have otherwise imagined.” Simple As That Blog.
I would love to know your thoughts, and if you are looking to simplify your life in 2022? Let’s be on this journey together. If you have any tips and advice on how to simplify your life, please let us know in the comments below.