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  • Kimberly Norton

How I Chose to Simplify My Life to Find More Joy

Updated: May 11

How to Simplify Life and Find Joy

In this episode you will learn why I have decided to focus on simplifying my life for me and my family and what this has done to change our lives for the better. You will find out what three areas I focused on to achieve success in calming the chaos and finding a more peaceful life.

Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all aspects of life? Do you ever think about how awesome it would be to just simplify my life?

If sounds familiar, then I invite you to check out my latest video where I discuss how and why I have found myself looking for ways to simplify my life. I will walk you through my journey to living in a season of less and state my case as to why I think you should consider doing the same.

Want the quick version? No problem.

Let's dig into why I chose to Simplify My Life to find more joy and why I think you should too!

So, first things first, let me tell you what led me to this season where I looked for ways to simplify my life.

Like most young adults I spent my twenties focusing on trying to acquire more things in life. More friends, more money, more possessions, you get the idea. I truly equated my success to all the things that I had. I worked ridiculous hours and continued to climb the ladder of success. I filled every waking moment trying to find fulfilment in acquiring more stuff in hopes that it would make me feel good about myself.

In my mid-twenties, I met my husband, started a family and together we continued to build a life full of stuff. With this life full of stuff came lots of chaos, clutter and eventually, burn out.

For me it was getting pregnant with my second child that was my breaking point. I had a difficult pregnancy, and I was exhausted. I knew that adding a second child was going to bring another layer of complexity to our life and there was no way that we would survive if we kept on the path that we were going.

I found myself craving simplicity. I wanted life to be less complicated, less chaotic and less demanding. To do this I had to dig deep and find answers to the hard questions that you may be asking yourself in life right now.

How on Earth do I go back and undo the complexity of life when I have all these balls up in the air already?

How do I stop a moving train?

The answer for me was slowly.

Creating that complex life didn’t happen overnight, so as bad as I wanted to click my heels three times and magically undo all the chaos, I had to be patient with myself and take it one step at a time.

Step #1: Have Less Stuff

Naturally, like most people, I started with the one thing that seems most obvious to begin with. I started by getting rid of all the excess stuff. I was going through every inch of my house reassessing everything that we owned, and this really was a great start.

Having less stuff made life easier in some ways, but it didn't take me long to realize that this alone wasn't going to solve all of our problems.

So, having less stuff was a big first step to simplifying life...but I eventually realized that having less stuff wasn’t a cure all. I did feel lighter and overall, and the atmosphere of our home had improved which made me happy, but I didn’t suddenly feel like all the chaos had cleared.

I continued to seek simplicity and tried to do a lot of self-reflecting to see what besides our stuff was making me feel unhappy and one day, out of nowhere I found an answer while driving my daughter to school.

Step#2: Having Less Choice

I remember the incident very distinctly because it was a big aha moment for me.

I was stuck behind the garbage truck on a narrow street. I didn’t have a clear way around so I sat there watching as the men went from house to house throwing each can into the back of the truck.

Then, out of the blue I caught myself feeling envious of them.

At first, I was taken aback by these feelings, but once I started assessing them, I realized it was something about the repetitive, simplicity of loading can upon can of garbage into the truck that was just so appealing to me.

It was like they were on auto pilot and honestly, they all seemed pretty happy and carefree singing and laughing together the whole time.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that slinging trash cans all day is strenuous work and I have serious admiration for how physically taxing it is. I am by no means saying that it is an easy job, nor do I think I could be good at it. I came to realize that the appeal for me in that moment was the fact that they had very few decisions to make as they worked which is very different from the mental load that I and many women carry throughout the day.

Again, this was me craving simplicity, but not in the form of possessions. This experience helped me to realize that it wasn’t just the physical items that were wearing on me. The astronomical number of decisions that we must make in a day as a woman really is ridiculous. I now knew what the next area of my life to improve would be,

I immediately began to focus on finding ways to make less choice.

I took on a new prospective and I started reassessing my day-to-day life and began identifying areas where I could eliminate or minimize choice.

I started by simplified parts of my wardrobe. I found one type of sock and one type of underwear that I love, bought enough of each to get me through a full week and got rid of the rest.

No longer did I need to decide which socks or underwear to choose each morning. I could just grab any pair and go.

I even started buying all of the family’s everyday shorts and leggings in only black or grey. Now, it doesn’t matter which color shirt we grab because they all pretty much go with black or grey. I no longer have to waste energy deciding for myself or arguing with a 6-year-old about her fashion choices.

Once you start looking at your life through this lens you will be amazed to see just how many decisions you make in a day for yourself and those around you. No wonder we are all so exhausted.

Do yourself a favor and take some time to lessen that load.

This step was great, and it worked wonders in giving me back time and mental capacity, but there was still one glaring pain point that was still fueling the chaos.

Step#3: Having Less Steps

As a family, we were still struggling to maintain our newly decluttered home.

At first, I thought maybe I had wasted my time. I made all this effort to simplify our lives, and we still can’t get it together.

After I got over my initial frustration, I came to my senses and started to look at the things that weren’t getting done around the house from a new perspective. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they all had one thing in common, they were all way more complicated and had too many steps to complete.

Things that were being left on the counter were usually things that lived in a different room. The piles of empty boxes that were left in the kitchen for days after every grocery trip were ignored because throwing them away required multiple steps like putting on shoes, opening the garage and going all the way outside to put them in the can.

Unloading the dishwasher was daunting because our kitchen cabinets weren’t set up to make the process of putting the items away easy. I was having to bounce all over the place to put things away.

And once I realized this, the real progress was made.

I was always good at giving everything a home, but I had no clue at that time that how and where things were stored mattered so much. Now that I have a new perspective, any time there is an item that isn't making it back to its home regularly I think about why it isn't getting put away and adjust.

I moved that outside trashcan to live in our garage so I could toss boxes without having to put shoes on. I took out a shelf and bought a pot rack that made it easier to store our pots and pans apart from one another, so I didn’t have to undo the entire cabinet to put back a pot from the dishwasher and I store the lids on top of them, so I don’t have to figure out which one fits each time I cook.

While these things seem minor and silly, they all add up. Just like having too many choices brings on decision fatigue, having to take all those extra little step’s day in and day out really do take a toll on you.

So, when I tell you that I am in a season of less, I hope you understand what I mean. Taking the time to rid your home of excess of all three of these things, stuff, choices, and steps is not necessarily an easy process, but I will tell you that it is 100% worth it simplify life, clear the chaos, and make your home even more enjoyable for you and your family.

Tell me, which one of these three things do you think that your family could benefit most from having less of? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Okay, so now that I have told you what I have done to simplify my life I wanted to provide you with a great resource to help you get started decluttering your things.

Get my 25 Things to Declutter Cheat Sheets designed to help you get started on your decluttering journey.

Download them here: 25 Things to Declutter Cheat Sheets

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