5 Questions to Simplify Your Life

shirts

The post-divorce life is nothing to write home about.

You’re grieving and in pain – alone and afraid. Uncertain of what the future holds.

But as I’ve found out, divorce can gift you a new life.

When you crash, burn and hit rock bottom, there’s no way to go but up.

It’s a mantra that I repeated during my divorce and it’s held up to be true.

Your life can’t get any worse; it can only get better.

It’s this time in my life that I further refined and doubled-down on simple living.

While I had been attracted by simplicity throughout my life, I couldn’t get as intentional about it as when I was divorced.

Over the past few years, I’ve simplified, reduced and minimized my life in many ways.

Out the door went clutter and overwhelm, so I could welcome in Zen and happiness. I want to share with you some of the tools that I used to simplify my life.

Here are the 5 questions that can help you on your journey to simple living.

1. What can you live without?

Look around your life. What’s in it that you hardly notice? What could you get rid of and never miss?

Look at items you never use and large pieces of furniture that have stayed in one spot just because you put it there. Look for equipment you no longer use, workout machines that are laying around the house and appliances you haven’t used in years.

If you haven’t used something in the past 6 months, strongly consider getting rid of it.

I’m talking clothes, gadgets, computer equipment, appliances, furniture, knick-knacks and anything you else that’s taking up room in your living space.

If your life can go on without it, give it away!

2. What no longer brings you joy?

This is a question inspired by Marie Kondo and her organizing principles in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She writes that anything which doesn’t spark joy in your life should be touched, thanked and ceremoniously sent away for a better life.

I would say expand this from clothes to everything in your life.

The divorce has released a person from your life who no longer sparks joy in you. Why not keep going?

Pick up clothing and ask if it brings you joy? No? Out it goes.

Pick up paintings and decorations. If it doesn’t make you happy, pack it up and donate it.

Shoes? Furniture? Kitchen utensils and appliances?

It may have brought you joy at one time, but if it doesn’t bring you joy today, send it on its way.

3. What is no longer useful?

I’ve found this tip helpful for getting rid of books, clothes and even furniture.

Can I use the item at hand?

Is there a practical value to it? Do you have two items that can do the same job?

Do you have a new laptop and an old laptop stored away? Do you have three lamps? Two filing cabinets? Eight sleeping bags? Seven irons? What about your 298 pairs of shoes?

If you’re not using something and it’s no longer of use to you, consider getting rid of it.

Give it away, donate it, sell or pass it along to someone who will find some use from it.

Question: “Is this still useful in my life”?

4. What reminds you of the past and needs to be released?

Look at what’s laying around? What’s left in your living and sleeping area that reminds you of your ex?

Photo frames that are no longer in use?

Trinkets of shared memories? Decorative items? Skis from your trips together?

If it’s your ex’s, definitely give it away. (Somewhat kidding here. Check with your lawyer first.)

If it’s a memory of your ex and continues to take you to happier days that no longer exist, consider giving it away.

Our past relationships and our life together include the things we shared and used. If the person has left your life, there is no point in holding onto those things that continue to remind you of your ex.

Oh, and as far as the kids, keep them, even if they do remind you of your ex.

5. What is taking up your energy and your time?

Look at the projects you’re working on, the meetings you’re attending and how you’re spending your time.

Just writing down what your typical day looks like will give you an idea of how you’re spending your precious hours. Once you analyze your schedule, see if it makes sense to you.

Are you enjoying it? Are there activities or people you could live without?

Once you ask yourself these questions, start making changes. How can you let go, move or say farewell to time and energy drainers?

Like relationships that no longer fit, there are activities and interests that no longer fit.

Find the courage to stop doing whatever it is you’re not enjoying. Break the default pattern, stop the people-pleasing game and make a new pact with your life. Only do those things that you’re absolutely passionate about.

Enjoyed reading this post? Check out my books page for more of my writing.