Why Simple Is So Much Work

The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom:

simple stairs
credit: Jan Faborsky

Mandi set a blistering pace with her Simplifying for Fall Challenge in August. I followed along, even got a head start the week before, and it still took me two weeks to simplify a half dozen areas of our home.

Simplifying my home, schedule and commitments has been a blessing to me and my family. It’s helped us pay off over $80,000 in consumer debt, allowed me to stay at home with our son and given us something you can’t buy: time.

Simplifying, however, is not simple. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work.

When I first embarked on a journey to de-clutter our home I thought it would take two weeks to get things in order.

I was a stay-at-home mom with a 10 month old that was finally starting to nap consistently. Our home was a modest 1100 square feet.

I thought it would be a snap to sell, donate, give-away or recycle everything we didn’t want.

I was wrong.

It was months of sorting and culling and listing things on Craigslist. There was a permanent pile in our dining area of things I needed to donate or list on eBay.

Simple can be hard.

Removing the clutter from your life is no easy feat.

If it took decades to accumulate it will take months, or years, to shed.

De-cluttering is a journey, not a destination. It can take many rounds of culling your possessions before you find that sweet spot of having just enough.

When the big stage of de-cluttering is over, much like hitting your goal weight on Weight Watchers, you start a maintenance plan. Putting a critical eye to your wardrobe and the kid’s toy collections will now be in your future a few times a year. Things you would once just throw into your shopping cart will be deliberated over.

Simplifying isn’t a one time process.

Simple is counter-culture.

We are bombarded daily with messages to consume more and more. Hamburgers, sheet sets, magazines and all the supposedly wonderful things you can buy that will make your life easier and better are waiting for you.

Resisting the call to consume goes against the grain. It’s not the norm.

Simple does get easier.

The good news is that the hard work put into simplifying does pay off.

Five months after I started simplifying our home I was able to sell several pieces of furniture that we no longer needed. Selling the furniture was a milestone. We no longer needed all that extra storage.

Our home felt spacious. Our home was easy to clean.

Simplifying had paid off.

Be patient with simplifying your possessions. It can take weeks and months, even years, to lift the layers of things you really don’t need in your life. Some projects will be harder than others and some areas will linger and take many Saturday afternoons to pare down.

The good news is that it’s worth it. The work you put in will be repaid exponentially in the years to come as you find more space and time in your life for the activities and people that you love.

What has been your biggest challenge in simplifying your home?


Rachel Jonat is a world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, loves taking the bus and is attempting to become a tea drinker.