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Yesterday was National Simplicity Day, in honor of Henry David Thoreau, who is best known for his book “Walden” and lesser known for his “Civil Disobedience” essay on disobedience in an unjust state. Both his book on living simply, in harmony with nature (Walden) and essay are prescient and worth checking out right now at your local library.

And in keeping with Thoreau’s experiment in purposeful living out in the woods, I thought I would share with you some habits that help will help you simplify your life and live more mindfully.

I guess you found out, like I did, that home is not the balanced oasis we wish it would be, especially when we are working remotely from the dining room table. Trying to navigate work-life balance amidst learning new platforms (ours and our children’s’), meal-planning, and unnecessary (?) trips to the fridge has been fraught with stress and anxiety.

How do we bring calm and serenity back to our lives?

Many people have been clearing out the clutter for one. On my street, it has been amazing how much stuff can come out of our relatively small homes on trash and recycle days. Gazing out of my windows each morning as I start my workday, I marvel at all of the piles. I too have sent many boxes to the Veterans and American Red Cross – for re-use, resale and release (for me).

De-cluttering is one of the many ways in which to simplify our lives. And some of the easiest ways is to just get started, one room at a time. That is what I have been doing, and I have the third floor of my home pretty clear now. My tactic in deciding whether or not to keep something was to put in piles:

1) Keep

2) Consider

3) Definitely toss

That way all the stuff I was going to keep, I put away and all the things I was getting rid of I boxed up or put in the trash or recycled right away. Now I only had one pile to deal with – the “consider” group.

Then I Kon-mari’d that pile! That is, I used a combination of “does it bring me joy?” from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, the definitive guide on decluttering, and something I probably heard or read about getting organized – “Have you used this in the last 18 months?”. If something didn’t light me up or I couldn’t remember the last time I used it (if ever) – away it went.

It was liberating! Why hadn’t I done this sooner?

Have you also started de-cluttering and re-organizing now that you spend inordinate amounts of time amidst all your stuff at home?

Creating more space in our homes frees us up to be more expansive and creative. Simplifying our living area allows us the freedom to be more contemplative and relaxed, without feeling overwhelmed by all of the distractions on our desk, tables, floor, and dare I say it – the bed.

Speaking of which, make your bed every day. It sounds simple but rich with intent. It signifies getting on with your day, while honoring your comfort and self-care. When you get into a well-made bed at night, you know you are loved. It even makes you feel “happier” according to Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project.

Here is another tip. Do some cleaning every day. Wait a minute, what? Can’t I leave that until the weekend? Nope. Quick cleans in 15 minute bursts give you an opportunity to keep the high-traffic areas in your home pretty straight, and gives you an excuse to blast some music and get a workout. And we all know we need to get up off of our a—regularly throughout the day, don’t we?

Finally, you may want to de-clutter your files on your computer, your phone apps, your emails once and for all. And keep up a regular purging schedule after that. Get rid of things you have in multiple locations (on your hard drive, flashdrive, googledrive) and get rid of all the downloaded apps you don’t use. Yes, I know you want to save all those emails, just in case – but really? Can’t you just ask the person to forward it to you again?

So these are my tips for de-cluttering. I hope you find them useful. If you do, please share.

And, Keep It Simple, Sweetie!

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