Why not simplify your life?

Last Friday, we had a fun intergenerational gathering. Not a costume party; but, nevertheless, a Hallowe’en party complete with jack-o-lanterns, bats, and spooky music by Mannheim Steamroller.
The guests brought wonderful snacks for the party table, and one late arrival came dressed as a real witch with everything but a broom.
We spent the day of the party sprucing up the house. It was unusually spotless, with much of our usual clutter pushed into a spare bedroom.
Since we were having the guests take their coats to our bedroom, I even decided to put pillow shams on the bed—something I haven’t done for a couple of years.
Unfortunately, after 15 minutes of searching, I had to admit I probably gave the shams away last fall when de-cluttering the house. But I have no idea why!
For years, our bedroom has been decorated with a favourite Wildflower Society pattern—drapes, bedspread, sheets, pillow cases, and pillow shams.
Expecting the pattern to be discontinued sometime, I even purchased extra sheets and pillowcases. My expectations came true and the Wildflower Society pattern was indeed discontinued. This means there are no replacement pillow shams available.
Occasionally, de-cluttering backfires.
But think about it—what did it matter that I had no pillow shams? I’m sure our guests didn’t miss them. And having pillow shams only would have meant more work.
I would have had to put the shams on the pillows before the party, take them off after, and then find a place to store them until next time.
In retrospect, I’m sure I made the right decision last fall.
When we have more things, we end up spending more time dusting, cleaning, and sorting. And more time looking for things. Having too many belongings negatively impacts our quality of life.
“Do you ever wish your life could be a little bit simpler?” asks Elaine St. James, author of “Simplify Your Life.”
“A giant step on the road to simplicity is to eliminate the odds and ends that clutter up your home, your car, your office, and your life,” she said, advising readers to begin with their clothes closets and branch out from there.
“If you haven’t used it in a year or more, get rid of it,” says St. James.
Clutter robs us of our energy, our time, and sometimes even our happiness. The secret to happiness is not in getting more but in wanting less. So don’t think of it as denying yourself the things you want, rather as freeing yourself from the things you don’t want.
When we reduce our belongings, we’re more able to focus on the truly important things. We discover there’s more time for fun, family, friends, and new growth.
The full title of the book by St. James is “Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter.”
Slowing down and enjoying life more—that’s the reason it pays to simplify. So how about you? Do you ever wish your life could be a little bit simpler?
If the answer is yes, why not get rid of the possessions you don’t want or need right now, so that you can concentrate your energy on the things that really do matter?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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