Ease, simplicity, peace. Do you desire this in your life? Does the rush, rush, rush, of the world around you feel like the only way to live, the only reality?
This is something I've worked on over the years since my first child was born. I felt all the demands of being the best college instructor I could be, the best mom I could be, the best friend, wife, community member, the list goes on and on. I was tired. I had so much to be grateful for, so much around me, yet the image that kept coming to mind was a mouse scurrying around in a box from one corner to the next, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. And with what? Deep inside I felt like I wanted time to dream, to sit and watch my baby without guilt that I should also be folding laundry or checking work email. I wanted peace.
A few things helped me over the years as I devoured books on spiritual principles and simple living and pleaded with calm looking people for their tips on how to incorporate this into daily life. Some things really stuck with me as practical and easy to do. I hope they bring you some simplicity as well.
Since I like to start simple, and not overwhelm with a long list, let's begin with some simple tools for ease in the home. The home is where we live. Where we nourish our bodies, recharge our energy, rest our minds, and embrace our emotions. It's important that this space provides a simple, tidy surrounding to do so. Try the following and see how they work for you:
1. Look at how you move through your home and gardens.
What is working for you, and what is feeling like a drain? Perhaps you once had time for a huge flower garden, but now it feels like a chore to water and weed it. Perhaps you can't get fully in your house without pushing past backpacks, shoes, and piles of magazines. Perhaps, like my dear friend used to, you have 30 spatulas across 5 drawers in your kitchen yet cannot find one when you need it. Don't let ego get judgy on you here, just bring awareness as though you were a sociologist walking through your home. What feels simple, and what feels like it just takes too much energy? Then choose one area to begin with and make it work easily for you.
2. Don't put it down, put it away.
This tip was a lifesaver for me. Here's how it works: When you have something in your hand you are about to drop on the counter, the floor, the table, or any other surface, instead walk it to where it goes. Or have a basket on the stairs that you carry up at the end of the day. Try it. It's was a game changer for me for feeling like my home stayed clutter free.
3. Walk across the home with your arms full.
This too has helped me keep the clutter down. When I get up to leave a room, I look to see what I can take with me to the new room to put away. The idea being, since you are heading there anyway, you may as well bring your folded clothes, your magazine, your computer, etc. with you and put it back where it "lives."
4. Clear out what no longer serves you.
Recently, Oprah did a huge clearing of her studio closet of things she no longer feels attached to and that no longer serve her lifestyle. Let your surroundings reflect who you are at this time. Take it one room at a time, and start with what feels easiest. Donate, sell, or give to a friend, what is just taking up space in your home. There is a feeling of freedom and fresh energy when letting it go to someone who will use it.
5. Organize your kitchen, closet, bathroom, and docking station for ease.
How much time do you spend looking through cupboards to find what you need, or searching for your keys before you leave the house? If there is a designated place for where these go, it's so much simpler to grab what you need.
6. If it needs to be dealt with, touch it once.
This one I'm still working on implementing fully. As I get more practice with it, I do feel freer. When I pick up the same thing over and over it feels like a burden. For example, when mail comes in, have a day or time that you manage it. Some people like to do this daily, others weekly. The goal is to touch it once, not open it, pile it, look through it, and pile it again.
7. Bring in some simple comforts.
The simple pleasures can remind us to stay present, see the beauty in the moment, and bring a moment of quiet. For me, this means fresh flowers, or a moment to enjoy a warm cup of coffee while listening to the birds after a spring rain.
These tools have helped my home life feel simpler. Thanks to all the teachers along the way for sharing them with me. I hope they serve you well also.
Wishing you ease!