7 Principles To Keep Life Simple

Simplifying your life doesn’t have to be complicated but it does require thought. In Keeping Life Simple, Karen Levine shares 7 guiding principles to help us have more time to do the things we love – and to figure out what those things are.

keep life simple

You Can’t Buy Peace Of Mind

It was Saturday morning and Kelly woke up in a foul mood. She was tired of juggling a demanding job, a house that was in constant disarray, and a husband and children that always seemed to need something – forms completed, lunches packed, arguments settled, and on and on.

Although she didn’t really need anything specific, she decided to give herself a break and go shopping; it seemed to be one of the few outlets available to her to make herself feel better. She left her husband in charge of the house and children and headed for the mall.

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How To Be Well-Enough Organized

Being well-enough organized does not mean you have all your possessions stored picture perfectly. It does mean you have a place for everything and everything is in its place . . . mostly. Well-enough organized means you are able to find what you need when you need it. It means all your spaces bring you pleasure and a sense of control. And it means no stressing about things you forgot to do.

From Perfect To Well-Enough

Once upon a time, I had the idea that I would become a professional organizer. I enjoyed turning a cluttered closet or room into a neatly organized space and this seemed like an interesting profession. So I bought a book on becoming a professional organizer from Maria Gracia at Get Organized Now and I became a devoted reader of her newsletters. I began working on the exercises in the book and drew up a business plan of sorts. I even purchased a truck with the idea that I could use it in my business to cart away discards when I helped clients organize their homes.

But as you can probably tell, I never did launch that professional organizing business. Somewhere along the path, I realized my visions of turning a messy, cluttered space into a picture from House Beautiful had a flaw. A picture perfect room or closet or garage was not worth the effort, nor necessarily even functional. I moved from the idea of being perfectly organized to being “well-enough organized” . . . clutter-free and able to find what you need when you need it.

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Bound To The Past

Leftovers from yesterday, last week, last month or last year clog up your space and keep you from living in the present moment. Clear up the open loops from past projects and you are better able to deal with your current projects and activities. Live in the present moment, not bound to the past by items cluttering your space and your life.

Holdovers From The Past

Here is a thought that occurred to me the other day as I contemplated the stacks of papers, files, books, and other detritus covering my desk and work space. This clutter, these holdovers from the past, keep me from living fully in the present.

The unfiled papers, the books that haven’t been put away, and all the other clutter and debris keep me bound to the past and make it difficult to function in the present moment. As long as those stacks are there, I have open loops [1] — unfinished business. It is difficult to remain in the present moment, in the Now, with so many open loops.

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Paraphernalia

The law of abundance says that things flow into our lives and things flow out of our lives. To experience true abundance, you must keep the flow going. It’s difficult to do if you get clogged up with paraphernalia.

“Messy surroundings and an untidy life reflect a weakened metaphysical and psychological state. If you are powerful, you will dominate your life, you will find time to clean up and order things, and you will want to do that as a part of your personal discipline. Mess is the external manifestation of the ego’s disquiet and laziness.” ~ Stuart Wilde

Well Equipped Backpacking

My friend, Spock (no, not the Spock), and I did a lot of backpacking when we were younger. Now, when you are backpacking, generally you are concerned with how much weight you are carrying. I usually went with the basics – sleeping bag, canteen, pot and spoon, dried foods, stove, soap, matches.

Spock, on the other hand, loved paraphernalia. He had 3 or 4 metal water bottles – in different colors. He had a dozen carabiners that he used to hook stuff to the outside of his pack. Besides that stuff, he had an extendable aluminum rod that he used as a hiking stick. And he had his camera with an assortment of lenses.

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An Orderly Life

“As within, so without.” Our external world is a reflection of our internal world. If your external world is peaceful and ordered, then your inner life is peaceful and ordered. If your inner life is chaotic, your external world is likely to be a mess.

An Experiment In Decluttering

A number of years ago, I devised an experiment. In an effort to remove clutter and begin living an orderly life, I decided to get rid of — toss, give away, or recycle — two items every day. And for 60 days, that’s what I did.

I kept a record of what I cleared out, which I still have on my computer. Analyzing it, I see that about 40 percent of the items – 47 – went to Goodwill and 41 items were tossed in the garbage. The rest were recycled. The most items I discarded were books (22) and clothes (19). Other items were memorabilia of various sorts, old medications, and just plain trash – broken things, old receipts, outdated product manuals, and some papers I could no longer identify.

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A PLACE For Everything

“. . . most clutter enters our lives through the ‘more is better’ door. It comes from the disease of materialism, of looking for inner fulfillment in outer possessions.” ~ Joe Dominquez

Gazingus Pins

In the book Your Money Or Your Life, Joe Dominguez introduces the concept of the “gazingus pin”. A gazingus pin is that thing you can’t pass by in a store without buying. It can be anything, “from pocket calculators and tiny screwdrivers to shoes, pens and chocolate kisses”. [Robin & Dominguez, p. 25]

When you see your gazingus pin, your eyes glaze over, your mind goes on auto pilot, and you forget that you already have 10 or 100 or 1000 gazingus pins at home that you never use. All your attention is focused on this fresh, clean, lovely, new and improved gazingus pin. And “before you know it, an alien arm (attached to your body) has reached out and picked up the gazingus pin, and off you go to the checkout, still functioning like a windup zombie.” [Robin & Dominguez, 25 – 26] When you finally come to your senses, you find yourself adding a new gazingus pin to your drawer that is already full of other gazingus pins.

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