There’s a new movement afoot and it’s known as voluntary simplicity. It’s a way of life that rejects a materialistic lifestyle, over-consumption of goods, and over-extending your time. It places value on who you are, not what you own.
It’s not so much a new theory, as it is a resurgence of a simpler way of life. Gautama Buddha, Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus all lived simple, spiritual lives.
Their spiritual legacy led Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Saint Francis of Assisi, and others to live in simplicity.
We’ve been conditioned by society and the media to measure our worth by the amount of new and expensive things that we acquire.
Being first in line to buy a new gadget has become a source of pride and bragging rights. Having a good job that allows us to rake in piles of money is supposed to make us happy. But, does it?
We may have a brief period of pride and elation after our latest purchase, however, that soon turns to worry and stress as we scramble to earn more money so we can make the payments on an object that soon turns into more of a burden than a joy. Keeping up with the Joneses has become a full-time job.
Voluntary simplicity doesn’t mean you have to do without, just do with less. Less clutter will lead to less anxiety, less illness, and less stress. With fewer things to worry about, you’ll have time to focus on more important things. You’ll have the freedom to spend more time with friends and family, pursue hobbies, or volunteer.
Making a change to voluntary simplicity should be done in small steps so that you can adjust slowly. You can decide to keep only what you need to survive, or just reduce the things you have and the amount of money you need to live. How much you want to give up is a personal choice. Different things are important to different people.
Clean out your purse, garage, and the entire house. Remove anything you haven’t used or touched in a year, unless it has deep sentimental meaning. Sometimes it’s easier to clear out the entire area and replace the things you really want or need. Keeping things feels more positive than tossing things.
Organize the things you’ve kept. Think of the old saying, “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.” If you’re forever dealing with a pile of laundry, consider the idea that you just might have too many clothes.
Get your finances in order and get out of debt as quickly as possible. It may seem undoable, but when you aren’t spending money on the stuff you used to, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it can be accomplished.
Don’t get carried away and toss necessities. You’ll always need things to ensure the health, safety, and security of your family. Expect the family to balk at the idea at first, they’re not used to living without their stuff.
You may find that voluntary simplicity is just what you’ve been searching for to maintain a content, happy lifestyle.