"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo DaVinci
And there you have it, from the master himself. Simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication. But it is becoming a dying idea. People crave simplicity, but it almost seems unachievable in our world. We are always connected and demand speed and efficiency in every aspect of our daily lives. There are even people today who couldn't make it from home to work without a GPS. I firmly believe that if simplicity were a staple of our lives, the world would be a better place. People would spend more time contemplating the more important aspects of life. Families would spend more time getting to know one another. The world of bureaucracy would not thrive in a simple society. There is no need to complicate things to the degree they have been.
First, you must simplify your home. This is the most important place in your life. You come here at the end of every day. You bathe here. You eat here. You sleep here. You recreate here. This is the most obvious place to begin the journey of simplicity. If you are like me you have piles of things lying around that you have been meaning to get to, but your life is far too complicated to deal with it. Let me give you an example of one thing in my house that has complicated my life and the steps I will take to simplify it. I have a few stacks of magazines, one in my bedroom and the rest in my attic. I received these as giveaways from my library and from a person who no longer had need of them. There are mostly cooking and travel magazines. I bought them mainly for my scrapbook, but I have also collected recipes from these magazines. So in an effort to clear it away, I am going through each magazine and tearing out the pages that contain a picture or phrase I want for my scrapbook and those go into a folder. The recipes I want go into my recipe folder. And viola! No more piles of magazines. Throw the scraps into your recycling bin. Do the same for anything else in your house. Organize your bookshelves, movie cases, etc. Organizing your media can create simplicity in the fact that you can go straight to the item you need without having to dig or spend too much time looking for it. The same goes for your kitchen. This should be self-explanatory. Keep all of your can goods in one spot, spices in another, you get the idea.
You should also simplify your life outside of your home. After all, this is where you spend most of your time. I will not go into too many details, except to say that there are things in life that we have been lead to believe are necessary for our convenience, happiness, and to be a regular part of society. I beg to differ. Our predecessors lived quiet happily without what we consider regular 'luxuries'. Technology is one of them. Cell phones are over-rated. I own one, and I will share my reasoning behind my opinion of the cell phone. I spend a lot of time outside my home, and with kids in one place and a husband in the other, it is necessary that I can be reached in an emergency. Beyond that, I have no use for a cell phone. If someone wants to call me, they can call my home and if I am not there, I have an answering machine. I always check my messages and return calls. My cell phone is only used when I am not at home. It sits next to my purse and keys.
As I mentioned above, many people cannot live without their GPS. This leads me to believe that map-reading is a lost skill. Let me tell you a little story. When I bought my first car, GPS was just becoming available. I went on a trip to a place I had never been before, through winding roads and forest. I didn't even have a map. Instead, I paid attention to the signs. If you drive frequently, then you know that almost nobody reads signs anymore. Learn to read a map and sell that GPS! In most short trips, you won't even need the map. Enjoy the scenery, not the yappy mouth on the GPS.
Another way to live simplify. Be debt free! I am one of the anti-credit card people. The credit card is a trap put in place by financial institutions who prey one citizens who they know, and rightfully so, that they have no self-control. They will spend money, even if they do not have that money. Use cash or a debit card whenever possible. If you use a credit card, you complicate your life. Beyond not having the money, you are actually paying to use that 'invisible' money, so you are losing money anyway. If you can learn to live your life with utter simplicity, then you will not have need for a credit card. Yes, you may be poor, but so am I. I am perfectly happy doing what I do. I have learned to live within my means and with a touch of creativity, we have everything I need.
And monetarily, I am poor. But I am rich in what really matters: A husband who loves me above all others and two beautiful children who are healthy and love to learn.
Simplicity offers us peace that modern life seldom offers.