Using a SIMPLE mnemonic to aim for a more contented life
Invest in your own skills
Maintain what you already have
Lighten your load
Living a simple life when so many of us own so much stuff in this country can be difficult. Below are some thoughts on living a simplified life in a world of “stuff”.
S stop wanting—everywhere we go and everywhere we look we are bombarded with promotional material designed to make us want more whether it be adverts, mail shots, catalogues, “How to” TV programmes, Spam e-mail and plenty more. Do your best to reduce your exposure to these things. Don’t browse catalogues, window shop or impulse buy. There may be plenty of stuff in our homes which we did not invite in but there is plenty of stuff that we did, but shouldn’t have, invited in. Why is it there? Because we didn’t control our wanting.
I Invest in your own skills—Have you ever thought about increasing your skills so that you can make things from scratch? "I haven't got the time to do that Linda" I hear you say. Two things. You have more time than you think and the fact that things take time to make is the point. If you have spent time making your curtains you won’t want new ones every year or two—you haven’t got time to make new ones every year and you want your effort to last longer than a year any way! If you have spent time learning to cut your children’s hair you won’t want to spend more time and money taking them to the hair dressers every few months. There are so many things that you can do for yourself but we have got used to letting other people do it for us and for a fee!
M Maintain what you already have—We live in a throw away society. Every new thing comes in packaging and costs more to replace than the one we threw away. Learn to mend holes in clothes or sew on patches, buy some wood glue to mend that drawer before it becomes irreparable. Stick down the edge of the wallpaper before a child tares it off and you need to redecorate. There are so many simple things which can make a big difference.
P Purchase thoughtfully—Not thinking about what we are going to buy can add much to the stuff in our homes. Make shopping lists and stick to them. Food is one of the biggest areas of waste in British homes when people buy more than they need or only buy half of what they need for a meal and then it goes off before they get to the shops again to buy the rest. Make lists for all your shopping needs though, not just food.
Research the best buy for bigger purchases. Will the thing you want really do the job you want it for? Can you understand how to operate it to its optimum capacity? Will it last well?
Save up for what you want. You may well find you change your mind before you make the purchase, not just about which one you wanted but whether there was something you needed more importantly or even whether you needed it at all.
L Lighten your load—get rid off stuff you no longer use. If there is life still in it give it away, sell it, give it to a charity shop. Why not use the internet to sell or give away your stuff? Throw away rubbish (recycle where possible) Decide that you can’t keep everything and be ruthless about whether all that stuff put aside just in case you need a spare bit from it is really worth it. One good question to ask yourself is “if I was moving house would I really take it with me?” If the answer is no then get rid of it!
E Entertain contentment—Scripture tells us to be content at home. We do not need to be going out and gathering stuff to be content. We are often stressed when we have too much stuff because we are falling over it or we can’t find what we needed. We are not content when we spend every waking hour trying to gain control over our stuff. Can you be contented without being entertained and doing something? Live a more simple life.
This article © Linda Faber 2006-2009.