In our search for a better life, some of us have stumbled upon a little secret: simplicity. So many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking "more is better" only to later realise that the more material goods we have, the more time we have to spend on maintaining it.
For example, purchasing a yard blower. We think it's going to save us time. But in reality, these things have to be stored inside, cleaned, maintained, and repaired. Also, many people forget to factor in the time taken in earning the money to pay for the blower. In contrast, a broom is cheap, doesn't require maintenance, can be stored outside or inside, and is cheap to replace rather than having to spend time and money down at the repair shop. Not to mention the money saved on gym fees by just being a little more physical!
So how do we achieve simplicity in our lives, and thence take a step towards better living?
The first step to take is to declutter the home and yard. This can be done in one big job or can be broken down into smaller jobs. For example, some like to do it one cupboard or drawer at a time.
Now, what to do with the clutter? There is always the garage sale. Larger or more expensive items can be listed on craigslist, while smaller or cheaper items can be donated or sold in a garage sale.
If you haven't used an item in the last 12 months, perhaps you don't need to keep it around. As a rule of thumb, calculate how much an item would cost to replace. If it's going to cost less than $5, it doesn't need to be taking up space in your home .. you can just go to the shop and get one whenever you need one.
Dealing with a clutterbug family? One method is to remove every single item from a room, one room at a time, and place it on the lawn. Then direct your family to go and select the items they wish to keep, but stipulate that the items must be PUT AWAY. It's remarkable how little stuff people decide to expend the time and effort on then! All items then left on the lawn can be donated or sold.
Many charitable organisations will come and pick up your items if they are large or numerous. This is a time saver. However, some prefer to earn some pocket change by selling the items .. but you need to implement a rule where if the item is not sold within a certain time, say a week, then the item must be donated, or you end up with a house full of items waiting to be sold for a long time.
Another alternative to a garage sale is a swap meet organised with friends and family. This is not necessarily the best thing though as you're just replacing your current junk with other people's junk. However, if you are getting rid of clothing that no longer fits, it doesn't hurt to swap it for clothing that DOES fit.
Have a filing cabinet near the entry door of the house. If it's not worth being filed, it's not worth keeping - don't keep piles of junk mail accumulating. Not only is it messy, it also entices you to purchase more so called "labour saving items".
Get rid of your steam mop, go back to the ordinary mop. There are only a few labour saving devices worth having, such as a washing machine.
In theory, it should be possible to clean your entire house inside of an hour. This is the essence of simplicity; not being a slave to your possessions. They should work for YOU, not the other way around.