On Monday, I decided to go and get most of my hair chopped off.
Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit—but that’s what it felt like. After over a decade of having long to super long hair, I was ready to quit dealing with it.
It takes for-freakin’-ever to wash long hair. To condition long hair. To wring out long hair. To dry long hair. To style it, no matter how you do it.
So I went in armed with pictures of gorgeous girls who had lob-style haircuts (that’s short for long bob, apparently) and got my own. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen it!
And I’m already way happier with this lower-maintenance look. Getting my hair cut in a way that’s easier (and faster) to deal with and manage is just one more step in my efforts to simplify.
How I’ve Moved Toward a More Simple Life
Maybe it just means I’ve officially realized I’m actually aging, but I recently decided that life is just too short to spend hours worrying about your hair as I was doing.
Life is also too short for me to choose to feel overburdened by material possessions, or to obsess over what other people have that I don’t.
Life is more fun and enjoyable when there is less to distract me from what’s important and what means the most to me: experiences I treasure and people I love to be around.
I’ve moved toward a more simple life by minimizing clutter, eliminating waste where I can, only buying what I need (when it comes to stuff), practicing gratitude, and appreciating something every day.
I don’t have any use or want for things that complicate life. The latest and greatest tech or gadgets? The few items I have are still working fine, thanks. Furniture I don’t use regularly? There’s nothing wrong with that room that no one goes into being empty. Single-purpose kitchen tools? The worst!
But what’s had a bigger impact on living simply, more than any action I could take (or not take), is my mindset.
That goes back to wanting not, wasting not, finding something to feel happy about every single day, and eliminating one point of stress every single day.
Here’s How You Can Simplify Your Life, Too
If you’re ready to eliminate the complication and find a more peaceful and simple state of being:
Ruthlessly eliminate the clutter in your home. Do what you can to embrace minimalism. If you need inspiration, head over to my friend Cait’s blog. Here are my suggestions for eliminating the clutter and enjoying a cleaner, less chaotic living space:
- Go through your home one room at a time. Make a goal to sort through all the stuff in one room per week.
- If you have anything valuable that you’re ready to part with, list it on Craigslist, eBay, or have a yard sale (if you have enough stuff when you’re done going through all your rooms).
- If you don’t have anything to sell — or simply don’t want to sell your stuff — donate instead.
- Once you go through all your rooms, give yourself a month or so. Then do it again. Seriously!
- Consider new house rules to maintain your version of minimalism. Set up a system that prevents clutter from coming in the door at all.
- Repeat this process at least once per year.
Develop some sort of routine. Being a “DINK” household with independent pets (read: cats), we get to do whatever we want every day. Cool! But having a total lack of a routine can lead to confusion and stress, so it’s important to develop even a bare bones routine to go through each day. Here’s mine:
- Make up the bed when I get up
- Work out
- Have Greek yogurt or fruit smoothie for breakfast
- Clean clutter and take care of a chore or two before starting my work day
- Decompress by reading before bed
That’s really only a morning routine and something to relax at the end of the day, but that may be all you need. Just having some sort of system helps to keep things simple because you know what part of your day will entail.
Decline to participate in the consumer rat race. One of the best ways to simplify your life is to avoid getting it crazy and complicated and cluttered in the first place! Ignore what everyone else is doing and focus on you. Align your spending with your priorities, stay attuned to your values, and do things that make you happy.
For me, that means not spending hardly anything on material goods. Most of my expenditures for a month will revolve around:
- Living expenses (mortgage, insurance, utilities, groceries, gas for the car, pet care)
- Travel (our current goal is to take 1 big international trip per year and at least 2 smaller, domestic trips; this doesn’t include day trips!)
- Events or experiences (this month, we bought concert tickets, tickets to a big food festival in Atlanta, and another fun experience I’ll share with you in a few weeks!)
- Food (yes, we love to dine out, but that’s okay– we try to go to fun restaurants and avoid chains, and we do things like walk the mile to the local bar to grab a drink and watch the Monday Night Football games)
We rarely buy things. That means we have older cars or older laptops. We don’t have much furniture. We don’t have a closet exploding with clothes or shoes (and I only have two pieces of “real” jewelry: my wedding ring and a ring my mom gave me).
Some people find that strange and weird. But I’m happy knowing I’m not tied down by stuff that needs to be maintained, cared for, fixed, repaired, or replaced.
I don’t worry about things. I spend time feeling excited about life’s next adventure instead.
Cultivate the right mindset. Ultimately, simplifying your life comes down to choosing to think a little differently about things. It means not getting caught up in what someone else says is important, as stated above. It also means being able to do you, whatever that means.
For me, it’s being outside, it’s hanging out with the people I enjoy spending my time with, it’s traveling, it’s enjoying a good drink, it’s inhaling a delicious meal and looking for seconds before thinking about dessert.
That’s what enjoy in life, so it’s what I do and I don’t really care what someone else thinks about it.
And it’s appreciating the good stuff. Expressing gratitude for all of it. Choosing happiness every day.
What’s your version of a simple, uncomplicated life? How do you reach it for yourself?
This article was originally published on Common Sense Millennial.
Photo: Nigel Lo / Unsplash