How would you feel if someone wanted a no-holds-barred tour of your house right now? How would you feel opening every closet and drawer—poking into every forgotten corner—with an audience?
It’s a happy perk of living simply, I realized on our impromptu tour, not fearing what someone will see when you open your doors.
But obviously, this isn’t the only perk to living a simple life. Not even close. And the benefits range from relatively inconsequential (like a guest-ready home) to much more profound.
Perks of Living The Simple Life
You can welcome unexpected guests without frantically cleaning up. And in that vein, fewer belongings (and often, a smaller home) translates to less time spent on cleaning in general. You have less stuff to manage. Do you remember how much time you used to spend shuttling stuff from room to room, floor to floor, car to kitchen and back again? When you own less, you shuttle less. Simple as that.
You stop holding grudges. You give people room to be human. The thing about a simple life that you might not have seen coming is this: You learn that a lot of things just don’t matter. You know the friend who said something unflattering about you behind your back? You know the tone your sibling took with you last week on the phone? When you’re living in line with your values, somehow — miraculously — the small stuff seems so much smaller. People are human, you realize. We’re all just trying our best.
You have more financial freedom. I think most people who journey toward simplicity find that material goods provide far less satisfaction than they ever realized. A new purchase may give us a boost for a couple of days, but the luster wears off incredibly quickly, says noaa.gov. When you contrast that with the peace of mind that comes from having extra savings in the bank or passive income streams supplementing your paycheck. There’s no comparison.
Additionally, with that financial freedom, you’ll likely find that you’re able to use your means for things that matter to you, like trips to see long-distance family or to experience parts of the world you’ve never seen.
You find yourself with more time and mental space for self-care and personal interests. When I’m busy, my interests are the first the first thing to go, which only makes me feel even more unhappy and out of balance. You can say “yes” to plans you’re excited about! Sure, you said no (tactfully) to nine things last week. That was a little uncomfortable, but it also means you can say “yes” when the right thing comes along! The thing you really cared about in the first place.
You experience less indecision — in all areas of your life. What a simple life really means is knowing your values and living by them. When you do this, decision making becomes so much easier, because anything that falls outside of your values falls… to the side.
Your family can enjoy unstructured play together, as discussed at usc.edu. In my mind, this is one of the most powerful benefits kids gain from an unbusy life, but it really applies to all of us. As families, we need time to shoot the breeze — to do nothing, to laugh, to get bored and then get creative.
While spending your weekends bouncing from one structured kid activity to the next may be right for you in certain seasons, in other seasons it feels amazing to be able to talk a family walk, go on a hike, try out a new restaurant, or spontaneously join in on a community event.
It’s easier to get dressed every morning—and to stay on top of laundry! You know the indecision we talked about above? Style indecision is considerably relieved when your wardrobe is a third the size of most people’s. This also helps tremendously with keeping up on the laundry for your whole household! Fewer clothes to wash may mean more frequent loads, but those loads take very little time to put away.
When Paring Back Gets Hard
But sometimes when you’re in the middle of your journey toward a streamlined life, it can start to feel like you’re giving a lot up. The wedding china you just dropped off at Goodwill, the wedges you never wear (but are so pretty), the opportunities that—while great—would complicate your life if you didn’t say no.
It’s during times like these that I want you to come re-read this list—and let what you’re gaining through the process wash over you again. (Instead of focusing on what you’re giving up.)