Sacred Sanctuary

How to Start Living the Simple Life

You’ve made the decision to leave the rat race and all the commercialised waste land that goes with it – the coffee shops, lunches out with the girls, and spending up your weekend time “retail therapy(ing)” thereby exhausting the credit cards and yourself in the process.

So where do you start in wanting to live more simply?

1. Get Organised

This is by far the most important step in starting your life over again. Simple living is in fact, not so simple. It’s hard work but it will be far more satisfying than anything you’ve ever done before. So, step 1 is to start a Home Journal. I would suggest a 3 ring binder with dividers for each day of the week to start with. (Home made dividers could be business sized envelopes hole punched on one side of the long end and the day of the week written on the other long end that will show on the open edge of the binder). Each sheet that represents each day of the week should be uniform so that you make one template and simply write in the day of the week on it.

You can in theory turn the paper over after the first week and use the back of the sheet for the second week. After the second week, you can shred it and add it to your compost bin or recycle it on your curbside recycling set up or the local paper bank.

You’re going to be doing a lot more than you used to so finding ‘the time in your day’ is going to be your first challenge.

2. Getting to grips with time management

The essence of living more simply is that you will be making the things you need or want in life more than you will be just going out and buying it already made for you. Convenience is therefore going out the window. Your time is now what is costly – not the items you used to purchase.

Most of us can’t afford to spend all of our time making everything we need in day to day life so it’s important now to figure out what you can spend time on and what still needs to be purchased to fit into your schedule. Don’t beat yourself up over this. I can assure you anything you start doing for yourself that you used to pay someone else for, will make your day! The feeling of empowerment and self-reliance can never be underestimated.

3. Decide what to do first

If clutter is your thing, by all means, start de-cluttering first. When your house is filled with ‘stuff’, your mind is filled with ‘stuff’. The strain this is putting on you is far worse than you can imagine. What you are dealing with here is a whole host of issues from bad chi (or energy in the house from all the blockages of stuff) to guilt for letting things get to this stage, to embarrassment in not wanting anyone to come over to the house, to fear that people have found out and are talking about you behind your back, to exhaustion – it’s so bad you can’t even look at it without feeling tired. If taking one room at a time is still too much, literally take one corner of one room at a time. Fit this time into your schedule and know that you are now making really positive steps towards your de-cluttering project.

Maybe your issue is home cooking. Can you cook well balanced meals? I know a lot of people who can’t. It’s not hard though and anyone can follow a recipe book (make sure it isn’t a gourmet book though!) I love cookbooks like ‘Farmhouse Cookery’ and ‘More with Less’ because they use basic ingredients that all well stocked kitchens should already have on tap. If you don’t have a well stocked kitchen, then get a cookbook that you think is going to work for you and your family, look at the recipes and devise your own list of what the basics are.

4. Start having fun

Now give yourself a challenge. Fancy making your own homemade soap or your own jam? Maybe you’d like to restore a piece of old wooden furniture with loads of character you found for pennies at a charity shop? Ever thought about knitting a dish cloth for hand washing your dishes? Find something that will excite you and look it up on the internet (I could give you all the answers here but this is about self-reliance so best you take up the challenge on your own).

Once you start, one thing will lead to another and before you know it, you’ll be living the life you always wanted.

Jenni Ovington is a designer and manufacturer of organic cotton textiles as well as owning her own business, HomeMattersMost, which also carries hundreds of products for every room of the home.

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