A simple life really is different for everyone. It could mean minimalism, so that it allows you to travel and get away more often. It could mean creating a relaxed and soothing home so that more time can be spent there unwinding and de-stressing. It could mean decluttering so that more meaningful activities can happen (and you can manage them easier) such as family meals or entertaining friends.
Take some time to really sit still and think about why you want to simplify your life. Is something causing you angst? What keeps you from doing the things you love? What are the time suckers in your day? How do you want to contribute more in the world around you? And therefore, how can simplifying your home help you alleviate, remedy and accomplish these things? One of my favourite bloggers, Leo Babauta from Zen Habits provides an excellent article for further contemplation.
Regardless of your reasons for simplifying, one thing is needed for all of us to simplify our lives successfully: getting rid of clutter and too much stuff. Stuff that is not functional and used, or beautiful and meaningful just gets in the way and takes up our time, space and resources (mental, emotional and financial). Beyond organizing and decluttering, we really just need to not own so much stuff. Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist does a good job of explaining why we should de-own - its worth a read.
So this weekend, make it a goal to declutter and de-own, by getting rid of one garbage bag of stuff. You may want to actually use a garbage bag and a bin, so that you separate things that can be donated or recycled.
Quickly go through your whole house (or start with one floor if doing the whole house is too daunting) and put in the bag anything that is not productive in reaching your vision of a simplified life. Obviously trash must go: old kids' papers, broken crayons, pens or toys, clothes or linens beyond repair, dried-up nail polish, expired food in the fridge. Then look closer at anything you've not used in 6 months - shoes, bags, appliances, games, outgrown kids clothes, plastic containers without lids, dusty exercise equipment, un-used cords and gadgets.
Don't get overwhelmed if you think this task could require a month on its own and 100 garbage bags! This is just a first once-over to get rid of the things that are quite obviously in the way of having space to breath, move and be happy.
This task is a bit cathartic - time spent on defining your simple life, and removing things from your life that you may have had for a long time can be emotional. Take time to be still, reflect, have a coffee or tea and allow the emotions to come. Then simply accept them and move on.
Have a simple and lovely week my friends.