Simplify. It sounds so, well, simple! This is a posting that I wrote a while ago and is closely linked to the post I just published 'Throw it out'.
When we were in Vanuatu recently I was struck with how few 'things' the people living in the villages have. The Ni-Vanuatu people just don't understand why we have so many unnecessary things in our houses. On islands like Tanna each family have a property and are completely self-sufficient, eating vegetables and occasionally a pig. Each time I return from holidays I feel overwhelmed by how complicated our lives are here. There are things that we have done that have been great decisions. Planning 15 years ago to make sure that neither of us work full time with kids, that we don't do huge renovations and over-extend ourselves financially, that we live and work in the same suburb. All of this hasn't just fallen into our laps...but has been the results of years of intentional living. I am aware that this isn't possible for everyone. But I digress. After returning home this time both of us decided that we REALLY wanted to simplify. I found a great source of inspiration: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/ and have put some of these things into practice.
1. Throw out stuff we don't need. I have thrown out at least half of my clothes. This is an ongoing one, and linked to no. 2.
2. Smaller=simpler. In our decision not to extend our house, we are trying to make the absolute most of what space we have. I've written about that here. This means less financial stress and more time to spend on holidays with the kids!
3. Turn off all screens (computers, phones, TV) after 8pm. This has been amazing. Because Miles and I both have very flexible work, we tended to work at night. Even if we don't work, we have busy minds and tend to look up things on the internet or organise photos or read blogs (I see the irony). Or watch DVDs of The Sopranos (it helps that we have finished them all now!). We feel like we are living in the 1940s! We talk, read, and just feel as if we have a much less stressful existence than we had 6 weeks ago.
I wanted to write more, but these three are achievable for now. Not too overwhelming.