As many of you know, I have decided to live a life of voluntary simplicity. This lifestyle change is the main reason why I was able to start a business and pursue my passions in life.
However, a lot of people who I talk to are curious to know what simplicity means in terms of a lifestyle. So here is an in-depth look at the lifestyle and how you can start living it yourself.
What Is Voluntary Simplicity?
From my experience, voluntary simplicity means different things to different people. For the most part, choosing a life of simplicity means that you stop living the “modern-day lifestyle” that many of us have grown accustomed to. You stop focusing on accumulating possessions and whatnot and start focusing on getting as much value out of your time as possible. You remove the things you do not need in your life, whether they be physical or mental.
By removing the clutter from your life, you can spend your time pursuing your passions, hanging out with your friends and family, and doing the things that make you happy. You clear out all the junk for good and live a life of passion, freedom, and happiness.
Living a life of simplicity also helps you focus on living in the moment, rather than the past or future. None of us can travel in time as of date, so the only real time we have is now. This very second is your life as you read this sentence. By living in the moment, you can truly experience everything you do in your life.
Want a good example? The next time you sit down to eat, make it a goal to focus on what you are eating. Taste the food and actually enjoy the different flavors that each food has. It’s pretty amazing if I must say so myself.
Last but not least, a life of simplicity usually involves frugality. You start to focus only on the things you need (roof, clothes, food) and not on the things your television tells you to buy. By spending less money, you also open yourself up a lot more possibilities since you no longer need as much money to live from.
Where Should You Start?
Since voluntary simplicity is a personal choice, the best place to start is by deciding whether or not the lifestyle is for you. If it is, you should know that it does take time to transition into the lifestyle. It’s very difficult to make the switch overnight since you most likely have a lot of different things you will need to change in your life.
Here are a few things you can do to start implementing the lifestyle:
A great place to start is by doing an in-depth look at your expenses. Take the time to figure out where your money goes and see if you can reduce any of the expenses. If you have cable, think about ditching it. If you have a cellphone, think about getting the cheapest plan possible.
Have a ton of stuff lying around? If so, you might want to consider decluttering. Go through everything you own and decide what things you need and what things you could live without. Then make a plan to get rid of everything you do not need. You could try selling it on Craigslist or donate to a local charity.
Once you remove all the clutter, it is time to organize everything you have left. An organized home is an important aspect of simple living and makes it easier to keep your mind at ease.
Believe it or not, going green is a great way to save money and reduce the amount of things you need and use. For a list of things you can do, check out my post on going green and saving money.
A great way to free up more time in your life is by automating various tasks and chores. For example, sign up for automatic billing on any of your recurring expenses. This cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend paying them every month.
Just like automating, consolidating your tasks and chores can free up a lot of time. For example, instead of running to the grocery store on Tuesday and the laundromat on Wednesday, do them both on the same day. Start planning ahead so you can take care of all your errands at one time.
Cut Back on Email
Not only is email a time killer, but it is also a productivity killer. Try cutting back as much as you can and close your inbox if you need to.
Focus on What Works
I highly recommend taking some time to analyze your entire life at this exact moment. Figure out what is working in your life and what isn’t. Then make a plan to remove all the things that are not working so you can focus all your energy on what works for you.
Eat Real Food
One of the things I started doing a few months ago is eating real foods. By focusing on eating natural foods instead of highly processed foods (canned, boxed, etc.), you not only make yourself healthier but also reduce the waste you go through since most processed foods are heavy on the packaging.
By no means are these all the things you can do. These are just a good place to start, especially if you are new to the idea of living a simple life.
I must say that I truly enjoy this lifestyle. By no means do I feel like I am missing out on anything nor do I feel poor. Matter of fact, I feel rich since I actually have time to enjoy myself and spend time with the people I care about.
Do you live a life of simplicity?
Photo Credit: Katie@!