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Emily Ley Blog

Simplifying 2019: Part 4 - Simplicity

December 31, 2018

If you’ve been following along with me here for any length of time, you probably know I’m all about a life of simplicity. I’ve written books about it, I’ve built a business and line of products around it, and I’ve cultivated a growing community of people seeking the same thing. But for me, simplicity isn’t just a design aesthetic or trending keyword on Pinterest. It’s not just crisp white walls and an organized kitchen pantry. It’s not just cutting commitments out of my schedule or coming up with a more streamlined routine for my kids (though those things are great too).

In fact, I would venture to say true simplicity often isn’t even visible to others. Pursuing a simplified life is an internal journey, first and foremost — an opportunity for personal growth that also happens to add efficiency, and more importantly, joy and peace, to our lives. I’m passionate about simplicity because I believe it’s the precursor for so many things I want in my life. Pursuing simplicity means getting the clutter out of the way so we can set our focus on what matters most to us — our families, our friends, our careers, whatever lights us up. Simplicity is a mindset and lifestyle shift that makes room for the good stuff!

Because I know simplicity is the cornerstone for the life I want to create — the backbone for rest, grace, and wellness — I’m running after it more than anything else in 2019. If you’re ready to begin the journey toward a more simplified, joy-filled life, or you’re just hoping for a refresh in 2019, here are a couple of practices to incorporate into your routine.

Prepare yourself to be flexible. While routines and schedules pack a big punch in simplifying our lives, there’s no way to control our day-to-day. Life happens. Kids will get sick. The babysitter will cancel. The house will get messy. More clutter will magically emerge after you remove it. Part of simplicity is being willing to go with the flow when life gets tricky — and giving yourself loads of GRACE. As you begin to cultivate and implement routines that simplify your life, remind yourself that the best routines are ones that can be modified or scrapped, and life will go on.

Take stock of what you value first. Before you can begin removing things from your home, life, and schedule, it’s important to think about what you want to STAY. What are your core values as a person, and as a family? What brings you life? What are the absolute necessities for you to live a life of rest, grace, and wellness? What do you WANT your hours, days, and weeks to look and feel like? Carve out some time to journal and list the pillars of your life, or, if you’re a more visual person, get online and create a vision board. Once you determine what you want your life to look like, you can far more easily de-clutter AND build a routine that emphasizes these things.

Ruthlessly declutter your home. Organizing and decluttering your home (and office, and car, and iPhone … ) is a really practical way to create an environment that inspires you instead of overwhelms you. Fewer options (and less mess) make life more efficient, and honestly, more enjoyable. I get it: It’s SO easy to accumulate STUFF. Wrappers in the console of your car, kitchen gadgets you haven’t used in ages, clothes and toys your kids have outgrown. It happens to all of us. But what would your life feel like if that stuff wasn’t even part of the equation? If your senses and soul could really focus on the things that add color and beauty to your life? There’s no better time to ruthlessly declutter your life than the New Year. It’s the perfect backdrop for a fresh start. So grab your trash bags (seriously) and get it done. You’ll be surprised how amazing you feel in the absence of excess.

Remove anything that gets in the way of your joy. The Konmari method is great, but I think the concept of simplicity goes even further than removing physical clutter. If we’re seeking a life of simplicity and joy, we’ll need to eliminate anything that drains us, even routines or practices we’ve grown used to. If Instagram is distracting you and causing anxiety, delete it (or move the icon to another screen). If your kids’ twice-weekly soccer practice adds stress to your routine and keeps you from connecting as a family, re-evaluate. If home-cooking meals every single night puts you on edge until dinnertime is over, think about if it’s worth it. Every commitment and routine and expectation comes with a trade-off. Think about if the investment is worth the emotional and physical energy, and remove (or delegate) anything that doesn’t add a sense of vibrancy to your life and home.

Other suggestions for a life of simplicity in 2019:

  • In my experience, there’s no greater tool for simplified routines than a comprehensive (and colorful!) planner. I’m looking forward to finding new ways to use my Simplified Planner, paired with my favorite pen and washi tape, this year.
  • Going through your house with a trash bag? Easy. Staying simplified? Not always the case. Check out this blog post with suggestions for sustaining a life of simplicity after the excitement of the New Year fades.
  • If you’re looking for some support and encouragement in your own simplified journey, look no further than our Simplified Community on Facebook— a lively community of more than 25,000 simplicity seekers!
  • I absolutely LOVE reading books by women who have pioneered the journey of a life of presence. Shauna Niequist fits the bill. Present Over Perfect is a soulful, encouraging read that will surely shape your understanding of “less is more.”

xo,

Emily

Read the rest of our Simplifying 2019 Series here: Part 1 - Grace, Part 2 - Wellness,  Part 3 - Rest. If you haven’t picked up your 2019 Signature Simplified Planner yet, now’s the time! They're 20% off for a limited time! Get yours before they’re gone! Also, mark your planners for January 1. We'll be starting our annual Simplicity Challenge on Instagram. Join tens of thousands of women all around the world as we simplify our lives one step at a time, day-by-day throughout the month of January. Each step takes less than fifteen minutes and exactly $0 to complete. By the end of January, life is guaranteed to feel simpler. Follow along here!

Enter to win today's AMAZING giveaway! Today's giveaway includes a $100 gift card to The Container Store, a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, a 2019 Signature Simplified Planner (Mint Pineapple Daily Edition), and a "Simplify" Page Marker. Giveaway ends at midnight tonight. Winner will be contacted via email.

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