When you start on your own path to simplicity, you need to consider those things that are most basic to life first. Once you figure those out, you can move on to more “advanced” simplicity techniques. So when you start, consider what you need, rather than what you can live without.
Most people start on this path by trying to purge stuff. I recommend that you take a different approach instead: pick what you need most and separate that out from the rest.
Pack your Bags for Adventure!
When you pack a bag for a trip, you don’t pick up and consider everything in your house. You don’t sort through everything you don’t need first, you start by packing the most essential items you possess. You pack the “must haves” first.
That’s the same approach you should take when simplifying your life. Pull out the good stuff first — the essentials, the defining items that make your life easier, better, more enjoyable. What remains will be easier to handle, because you have already determined that none of it is essential.
Imagine, if you will, that you have this great adventure opportunity in front of you. You have a golden ticket to travel anywhere, do anything, and see everything this wide world has to offer. You can enjoy the trip for six full months and you can take anything with you that you want. You can take as many bags as you like, but there is no valet, there is no one to help you manage your bags. The only requirement for this all-expense paid trip is that you must care for and maintain your own things.
Would you do it? Would you go on this amazing adventure? How much would you take? How much would you have to lug about through museums and art galleries, on the beach and up mountain sides, on city streets and country roads? How important would those things you though you had to have be by the second week? What would remain?
Well, you already are on this amazing trip. It’s called life. If you approach your life with the same sense of adventure you would for a six-month long trip to places you have never seen, you will view all the things you own and all the responsibilities you assume differently.
How you choose to spend your time: making money (to pay for food, shelter, clothing, utilities, automobiles, memberships, and other “stuff”), cleaning and maintaining your house, caring for your clothes, personal hygiene, mowing the yard, watching television, reading a book, cooking, eating, exercising) that is your adventure. That is your life.
It’s a limited, timed adventure, so make sure you are enjoying every minute you can! Take steps now to ensure the bulk of your time isn’t wasted juggling things that don’t really matter, instead of spending your time doing what matters most to you: Spending time with family, friends, on hobbies, and simply enjoying your life.
It’s never too late to start… but I recommend you begin today! Here are the basic categories to consider first. (You can move on to more advanced simplification techniques later.)