I recently hosted a 5-day simple living challenge. Here’s a recap if you want to participate, along with an in-depth commentary — so if you’ve already seen the challenge, there’s still lots of extra value in this episode!
In this Episode:
- Why it’s important to define “enough” in all areas of your life
- Your stuff tells a story, and how to use this to your advantage
- The hidden reason behind your decluttering struggles
- How to find time to slow down
- Why the best place to start decluttering is with your expectations
Featured In this Episode:
- Get your free Mindful Decluttering guide: simplyfiercely.com/freeguide
- Read the blog: simplyfiercely.com/blog
- Connect on Instagram: @simplyfiercely
- Clear Your Clutter is now open for enrollment: simplyfiercely.com/clearyourclutter
Subscribe to The Simply + Fiercely Show
Five Days of Simple Living Challenge
Here are the five days of the challenge for you—but if you want more in-depth commentary, please check out the podcast!
[DAY 1] How much is enough? If you don’t know, read this.
Let’s imagine that I asked you to help me with a party.
You’d probably ask how many people are coming, wouldn’t you?
But what if I said, “I don’t know, just prepare for anything.”
How do you think that would feel?
My guess is pretty stressful.
You’d never be completely done prepping. Instead, you’d constantly be second-guessing yourself —
- Do we need more ice?
- Maybe I should run to the store and grab more snacks?
- Should I call the neighbour and borrow more chairs?
Even once the party started, you still wouldn’t be able to relax because, in the back of your mind, there would always be something more you could be doing.
It sounds pretty horrible, doesn’t it? And I’d be a bad friend for putting you through it all.
But guess what? Odds are, you do this to yourself all the time.
By not defining (or at least thinking about) how much is enough.
Everything from how many towels should you own to how much money should you earn; when you don’t know how much is enough, you’re stuck running a race that never ends.
Which means you can never sit down and finally relax. Instead, you’re drowning under the constant pressure to do more and be more.
But here’s the good news.
You can simplify your life by simply deciding how much is enough.
And if you’d like to participate in today’s challenge, that’s what I encourage you to do.
Choose one area of your life and decide what “enough” looks like for you.
It could be anything, but here are a few examples:
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 2 workouts a week
- 8 hours a day at the office
There are no right or wrong answers, and you can change your mind later if you need to.
Don’t worry, the point of this exercise isn’t to be perfect. But I do want you to think intentionally about how much is enough—because when you know what done looks like, you can finally sit down and enjoy the party. 🥳
PS: This is the type of work we do in my group program, Clear Your Clutter, which is now open for enrollment. If curious to learn more, click here to have a look.
[DAY 2] Your “stuff” tells a story + you hold the pen
We are all storytellers.
Every time we say ‘yes’ to something—from a new purchase to a new career, or even a social engagement—we’re motivated by the stories we tell.
- If I buy those new jeans, I’ll look so much thinner!
- Once I get that raise, I’ll finally be happy.
- If I don’t go out with my friends on Friday, no one will like me.
- My life will be so much easier if I just had a [insert latest kitchen gadget].
- It’s rude to refuse a friend who needs help.
Are these stories true?
That’s not me for me to say because it doesn’t matter what I think.
But it is a question YOU should be asking.
Why do you own the things you do? Why do you do the things you do? Why do you buy the things you do?
Be kind, yet curious.
Do your answers align with what you really believe about yourself and life? If not, can you write a new story?
Here’s an example I shared in the last round of Clear Your Clutter, my decluttering program.
For years, I kept a blazer I never wore just in case I needed it someday.
Because a blazer is a wardrobe staple, right?
At least, that’s what all the magazines say, which is why I told myself the story that “successful” women own blazers.
So, of course, it was hard to declutter—because I want to think of myself as a successful woman!
But what if I flipped the narrative?
Now I tell the story that successful women wear whatever they want, and with this new perspective, it was SO much easier to let go.
If you want to give this a try, here is today’s challenge.
Choose one item that you’re struggling to declutter and ask “What story am I telling myself about this?” Then brainstorm ways to rewrite the story that support letting go.
This trick works with all types of clutter; try it with your to-do list or when you’re out shopping, and see what happens.
[DAY 3] The hidden reason behind your decluttering struggles
I’m a big wimp, and I can’t watch horror movies.
But when I was a teenager, there was a popular film called I Know What You Did Last Summer, and I went to see it because everyone else did.
It was a traumatic experience, but I bring it up because the plot reminds me of your clutter. 😂
Here’s a quick synopsis with none of the gory bits:
- A group of teenagers are involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.
- They don’t want to face the consequences, so they hide the body and pretend it never happened.
- A year later, they’re hunted by a killer who “knows what they did last summer”.
What if I put it like this:
- Last summer, you made an impulsive purchase from the Target clearance rack.
- You quickly realised that it was a bad decision, but you felt ashamed and embarrassed. So, you put it in the closest and told yourself, “I might use it one day!”
- A year later, you’re drowning in clutter, but you don’t want to face what you did last summer …
In other words, it’s easier to tell yourself things like “I love it, but I never have a place to wear it“, or “I’m definitely going to use it one day” than it is to say, “Wow, I wasted a lot of money on things I don’t like and will never use.“
Ultimately, shame is the hidden reason behind many of your decluttering struggles.
And in the short term, it’s easier to deal with *stuff* than dealing with tough emotions.
But with time, all that guilt, shame, and clutter add up until you’re slowly drowning in it.
So here’s my challenge for you today:
Can you give yourself the gift of decluttering something you’re keeping out of guilt, shame or obligation? Be kind and compassionate; do it for YOU because you deserve it.
No more skeletons in your closet, OK?
[DAY 4] How to slow down for the weekend
Have you ever been driving in traffic and noticed a car in a hurry to get nowhere fast?
You know what I mean, right?
It’s bumper to bumper, and no one’s going anywhere, but there’s one car that’s weaving in and out of traffic, hoping to shave a few minutes off their journey.
It looks like a lot of hard work, especially compared to the bloke in the car next to you, who’s cruising along, listening to some tunes. 🎶
And you know what’s really funny?
A half-hour later, you roll up to a stoplight, and who do you see next to you?
He put all that effort into trying to get there faster. But ultimately, there are factors beyond our control (in this case, other cars), and there’s nothing we can do about it.
We can try and fight it, or sit back and enjoy the ride.
This applies when you’re stuck in traffic and in your everyday life.
For example, if you have a giant to-do list, you can stress yourself out trying to get everything done (and then feel bad when inevitably, you can’t do it all).
OR you can set realistic expectations, take your time, and probably get the same amount of stuff done.
Because at the end of the day, we’re all just doing the best we can.
So my challenge for you today, if you choose to accept it, is to slow down.
The easiest way to do this is to linger. Find five minutes before you turn on your computer to drink your coffee and do nothing. Or sit in your car for five minutes and just relax before you head into the shops.
Challenge the idea that you “don’t have enough time”, and like Mr Speedy, you’ll most likely find there’s no real fallout when you take your foot off the gas.
You’ll get there when you get there. 😉
[DAY 5] The best place to start decluttering is with your expectations
This is the final day of 5 Days of Simple Living and if you’ve been following along, thank you!
I’ve really enjoyed hearing your feedback, and I hope that by the end of today, you feel a bit lighter.
But we’re not quite done yet.
For today’s challenge, you don’t need to ‘do’ anything.
But I invite you to think about something.
Clutter is what happens when you spend too long in the space between who you are and who you think you should be.
You and I, and everyone I know—we’re all struggling under the weight of expectations.
It might be self-imposed, or it might come from the people in your life.
(Most likely, it’s a mix of both.)
Sometimes the expectations are obvious, and other times, less so.
But regardless, there’s an undeniable pressure to live a certain way.
That’s not always a problem…
But what happens when our “shoulds” don’t align with who we truly are?
Clutter, my friends. Clutter is what happens.
- You buy clothes because they look good on your friends, but they never leave your closet because you don’t feel like yourself when you wear them.
- You start hobbies because they sound like a good idea, but then you never do them because they don’t genuinely interest you.
- You say ‘yes’ to invitations because that’s just what you do, but then you dread going because you don’t really want to be there.
You’re in the space in between, and it’s like having a foot in two worlds—until you find the courage and clarity to embrace who you really are.
The first step is just to think about it, so I hope you spend some time this weekend reflecting.
Because sometimes, the best place to start decluttering is with your expectations.
Clear Your Clutter is open for enrollment!
If you enjoyed this challenge, I invite you to join my group decluttering program, Clear Your Clutter. The program opens twice a year and you can learn more by clicking here.