Over the past several years I’ve been on a quest to “live simply.” Just scroll to the top and it’s in my blog’s header! I want to enjoy each day. I don’t want to feel rushed. Life is stressful enough without adding unrealistic expectations, busyness, vanity, and consumerism. I want to learn the art of slow simple living.
So, I’ve slowly been taking portions of my life and trying to figure out how to simplify them. This includes my time, what I eat, my skincare and beauty routine, my morning and evening routine, my possessions, my prayer life, my thoughts.
I haven’t “arrived” by any means. I still have days I get sucked into the Instagram hole only to come out 30 minutes later feeling worse about myself. I have paper clutter on my dining room table I’m not sure what to do with. And I have days where I still feel overwhelmed.
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But at the same time, I feel like I’m a great place with my house and my “stuff.” I’ve really downsized our possessions to a point where it’s easy to clean the house because it’s fairly clutter-free. I’ve created a morning and night routine that saves me time. And ever so slowly, I feel like I’m tackling unnecessary stresses and anxieties in my life.
How? By applying the below principles of Slow, Simple Living. If this sweet simple life sounds appealing to you too, then I encourage you to try a few of these in the upcoming months.
My 10 Commandments of Slow, Simple Living
1.) I will “declutter’ twice a year.
There are a few misconceptions about minimalism out there. The first is that we “minimalists” don’t own anything. Not true. The second is that once you declutter and organize your home, it’ll automatically stay that way. Also not true.
According to the law of disorder (entropy), everything goes from order to disorder. That’s not only your physics lesson for the day but applies to our homes as well. Life happens. Things get moved around. We constantly bring new items into our homes. Thank you, Amazon.
Because of this, we need to declutter and organize frequently. It’s a never-ending project, but one that does get easier the more you do it. While I clean and organize on a weekly basis, I like to do a deep declutter and re-organization at least twice a year – preferably spring and fall.
Here’s a basic yet effective skincare routine to get you started.
2.) I will get rid of items I don’t use and not feel guilty about it.
One of the hardest parts about decluttering and downsizing is the feeling that we will “need” something in the future. Here’s what Marie Kondo in her book “Spark Joy” has to say about that:
“I have bid farewell, at least temporarily, to countless things that didn’t bring me joy and, to be frank, the absence of a discarded item never caused a catastrophe.
“For example, one day I threw away a vase that was chipped, only to miss it the next day. I made a perfect substitute, however, y covering a plastic bottle with a favorite piece of cloth. After discarding a hammer because the handle was worn out, I used my frying pan to pound in any nails. Since getting rid of my stereo speakers, which had sharp corners and simply didn’t bring me any joy, I’ve used my headphones as speakers.
“…It might come in handy.” Believe me, it never will. You can always manage without it.”
To further relieve yourself of guilt, either sell your items to make a few bucks, donate to someone in need, or give your items to someone you know would really enjoy them!
3.) I will think twice about each new purchase.
I’ve been on a “no spending” or at least “spending less” kick. I realized a lot of things I kept buying I didn’t end up using.
The last month alone I bought a few baby items my baby hated, a bathing suit that didn’t fit, shorts I stained on the first day I wore them, and candy that made me feel sick. None of the items were expensive. In fact, they were all cheap or on sale. The problem is that I felt I “needed” them. Now, I’m learning to decipher between “need” and “wants.” I’m not only thinking twice about each new purchase but even praying over them too.
Also, the less “stuff” we buy, the more money we’ll save, and the less we have to declutter in the future.
4.) I will simplify my skincare, beauty, and household products.
There is something so freeing about having a small, yet clean and organized drawer full of makeup, skincare, or cleaning products. No more digging around for something. No more expire products. You don’t have to stare at that mess of spilled makeup/cleaner/face scrub because it’ll be easy to keep clean.
This may take some time though, and also trial and error. I had to experiment (and I still do) with different companies to find natural yet effective products for my skin, makeup, and home. (Please send me your favorites!)
I’ve also created a basic yet effective skincare routine that keeps my beauty routine simple.
5.) I will create a morning and evening routine.
This is my favorite commandment lately. I just finished reading the Miracle Morning and I love having a routine every morning that I follow. I get up and know what to do! It also allows me to prioritize my devotions, prayer time with God, exercise, and getting me in the right mindset for the day. Having a morning routine also saves so much time and lets you feel productive right from the get-go while still enjoying the slow simple living lifestyle.
Although the author promotes himself a little too much in the beginning, it’s well worth the read and one I’m actually keeping for my bookshelf. Trust me, that’s a big deal.
Inspired by my new morning routine, I created a night routine that helps me sleep better.
6.) I will watch TV less and read more.
Part of my Miracle Morning Routine includes a few minutes to read. Because of that, I’ve been plowing through books this year. I’d also recommend reading right before bed to help your mind shut down.
7.) I will take time to be silent each day.
Whether you call it meditation or I call it prayer, take a few moments each day to be silent. When I get up in the morning my mind is attacked with all the thoughts for the day. My to-do list, worries about things I have to do, feeling tired – all these thoughts wrestle each other before I even get out of bed. Now, I push them away and focus on God. I thank Him for the day, pray over my to-do list, explain any worries to Him, and ask for direction.
8.) I will create a budget, adjust accordingly, and stick to it the following month.
Money causes a lot of stress in our lives so it’s good to get a handle on it as soon as we can. The first step of budgeting is just seeing where your money is going. After the necessities are out of the way (housing, childcare, etc) follow the money. Do you spend most on eating out? Amazon? HomeGoods? Clothes?
Then, create a goal that you’d like to save for. Maybe it’s a house, trip, college, or even to pay down debt.
Create a budget by cutting back on what you already spend (if you hope to save more and who doesn’t want to do that?). Then stick to it. Create a plan to eat at home more, unsubscribe from Jcrew emails, don’t go to Target – whatever you have to do. Then, watch as your debt goes down and savings go up.
Here’s a post on budgeting to get you started.
9.) Compost & Recycle
This is an area I’m just starting to explore. About a month ago I finally got a recycling bin and am inspired to fill it up each week instead of my trash. I’m no tree hugger, but I like the thought of not filling up landfills and instead, allowing companies to make cool things from our trash – like composite wood to make decks!
Also, I’m finally making use of my compost bin we inherited with our house. I can’t wait to use the nutrient-rich dirt it creates on my plants next year.
Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Composting if you’re getting started like me.
10.) Take at least one day a week (even for 30 minutes) to completely unplug.
Do something you really enjoy. Call it self care, call it time to taking up a new hobby…the point is to get away from technology and do something you love and brings you joy. It is to enjoy the slow simple moments of everyday life.
Also, don’t take a picture of it to post on social media. Just enjoy the moment. Each week, I use this time to create one of my new DIYs or work on my home decor.
Which slow simple living commandment is your favorite? Do you already follow some of them?