Why simplifying your life is so frigging complicated
How do you ‘get on with it’ amidst a world out of balance?
(Thank you June Liu for your beautiful and simple Unsplash image)
If you have decided to start reading I am assuming it is because the title rang a very loud bell. I am not assuming it is because you had nothing to do, nowhere to scroll, no one to app.
Reading, as is cooking, has become a revolutionary act. Writers are off the scale revolutionary for insisting on it in spite of very few people wanting to read and even fewer people wanting to pay for what has been written.
As a writer and a reader you can imagine that I am living on a whole new level of self flagellation.
I love to read people who have everything seemingly figured out. Clear, simple yet elegant creative living whilst contributing to a regenerative not just sustainable economy. I love it. Yet, I always wonder how they manage to live up to their creativity whilst remaining simple? How they pay their bills regeneratively?
Books like Walden websites like Becoming Minimalist, Going Zero Waste
The Permaculture student the Story of Stuff Project make it seem so easy. They recommend to just set some guidelines and get on with it.
I have problems with both: how do you nuance and prioritise guidelines? How do you ‘get on with it’ amidst a world out of balance?
In one article I came across it as a gender thing; Men just aren’t as fussy.
In another it suggests to stick to a number of time saving rules that you incorporate in your day that may not always be a regenerative option but will give you time to dedicate to more significant projects. Let's call that the pragmatic approach.
According to Henry David Thoreau simplicity is achieved by owning less stuff. After decades of collecting more and more things many people end up paying a monthly fee to rent storage space to save stuff we don’t use or what about all the cubic meters in your house that are occupied by things? Would you get rid of everything and move into a tiny house where you would not need to earn the income to pay for the cubic meters you don't really need? It looks like a lot of our stories are actually about stuff.
Marie Kondo has helped many sort through their belongings with the KonMari method. Does the item sparkle joy? Great! you may keep it (in a colour coordinated, alphabetical and chronological orderly fashion of course). However useful it is, however expensive it was, if it gives you no joy, adios amigo.
She suggests to pile up everything you own in one place and then pick up each item for the joy test. I think this system was intended for single people living alone because I can only imagine the scenario when the rest of the family would come home after momma’s joy test to find everything gone, or the even more overwhelming one of piles of stuff in every room for ever waiting for the owner's procrastination to pass.
Fly Lady suggests setting a 10 minute timer and getting on with storing shoes, throwing out garbage, straightening the pillows on the couch, wiping down the kitchen tops, whatever, for a straight ten minutes non stop. I realise this is a very unsexy household tip but believe me, simplicity begins with a clear head and one can not think amidst chaos.
The problem seems to get bigger though, once I can think, which was kind of a disappointment as far as tips go but what can you do. You see, simple living, by my books, means a more basic and natural way of living which immediately rules out industrially produced foods and packaged stuff.
Finding your farmers market is fun, being at one is even more fun but the shopping will take you longer than a visit to a supermarket and the cooking longer than 2 minute meals in the microwave.
But then I think of Marie Kondo; does it sparkle joy? YES! And equally important, is there anything I would rather do than this? NO!
Simplicity? Nobody said it was easy.