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Keeping it Simple

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One of the reminders on my dry erase board is: Keep it simple

I like to think of myself as a minimalist. To an extent, that is true. Back in 2010, I got rid of most of my belongings to the point that I could fit everything I owned into my car (a Honda Fit – cute, eh?).

Since then, I have fluctuated between gathering things to me and then paring down again later on. When I got married in March 2016, I gathered to me a husband, a dog, and an apartment full of stuff. My husband, the dog, and I have pared down a couple of times since then, but the process and experience of this expanding and contracting has caused me to re-evaluate what my relationship with “stuff” is.

For one, I find that I don’t mind buying things and increasing the quantity of things I own if the items are useful. Living simply for me has become less about the quantity of stuff and more about the quality of it. This is one of those things that seems obvious when I think about it, however, I have done my fair share of spending on stuff that seemed cool in the moment and then end up sitting somewhere and collecting dust and then being donated or sold at a loss because it served no tangible purpose.

I’m not saying I beat myself up over not using my money in the best ways, but when I realize that I haven’t, it makes me want to be more conscious in my choices.

To bring consciousness to my choices, I have to have some way to measure whether something is worthy of purchase or keeping. I want my dollars to serve my long-term life goals and not just my whims (which can be too easily manipulated by colorful advertising and catchy phrases). And I don’t want clutter. For me, I look at what my perfect day or perfect life would be like and see how the item fits into that vision.

And that seems to be working fairly well for now. My life vision hasn’t changed in many, many years so I’m not particularly concerned that I will switch it up and make my current lifestyle obsolete. It feels like a pretty strong place to operate from.

I find it is also a good place to operate from as far as what I am willing to take on in my life. It gives me a good marker to determine when to say no to people and when to move forward with an idea. Very empowering when your time and resources are limited.

And, when your time and resources are limited and you’re in the mode of keeping things simple, I find you get really creative in how you get things done. Keeping things simple becomes maximizing what is available for the best result. That is the awesome sauce, people!

If you are an evolving person, and learning and growing, you are going to expand your life and things will try to get complicated. Heck, I’m starting a small, independent publishing company next year, and when I think about all the things that I want to get done, it seems like a lot. But, when I look at what I want my life to be like and what I want the company to be like, a lot of the distractions fall away because they don’t line up with that and it becomes simple and manageable.

I like that. And I’m grateful for my daily reminder.

Note from Sheila Lee Brown:  I feel that the best way people connect and learn are through each other’s stories. I share what I share because this is part of my story and I hope it contains some usefulness for others. I would love to see your comments on this topic – your successes or failures – so that I can learn from you as well.

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