“Elegant Simplicity” represents a lifestyle choice than allows you to increase the quality of your life right now.
You don’t have to wait until your house, car, or credit cards are paid off. You don’t need to get a promotion or even a raise. You don’t even have to spend a single dime.
This version of “Elegant Simplicity” begins with the original idea of elegance. Not only does art use this lovely word, but math and science do too. It refers to the quality of being ‘unusually simple and effective.’
If something is going to be unusually simple and effective, it makes sense that you can start using it right away, yes?
In this article, you’ll discover two guidelines for living a life of elegant simplicity, one big concept to help you get and stay motivated to follow through on the actions you can take to make sure your new and improved lifestyle ‘sticks’, and three places you might want to pay extra close attention.
When easing in to your new, refined lifestyle, you will be well-served to recall these two important guidelines:
1. Your standards reign supreme. Make wise decisions to suit yourself. These are your surroundings, and what’s important to you is what matters.
2. Your decisions, therefore are based on your values and your goals.
Let’s take a closer look at what this means to you.
Some people are all about having the very best of everything, from coffee, to clothes, to cars. Fine, if you like the best of these, help yourself. Just remind yourself that being in credit card debt is not an elegantly simple lifestyle. That’s a lifestyle of indentured servitude. So, the best of everything works in this definition as long as you can pay it off as you buy it. Fair enough?
Other folks like to go extreme in the other direction. Now, we’re talking about extreme frugality. Elegant simplicity definitely refers to living below your means, but it stops short at anything that is extreme in that it takes more trouble than it’s worth to you.
Here’s an example: An extreme frugalista once suggested when the toothpaste runs out of that last squeeze, use a straight razor to slice open the tube and scrape out the last bit.
Hmmm… Does that sound elegant to you? Remember, Simple and Effective.
Let’s now turn to the big concept to help you get and stay motivated to follow through on the actions you can take to make sure your new and improved lifestyle ‘sticks’. That’s the idea of knowing exactly what’s in it for you to adjust your habits in order to live a more elegant, gracious, lovely lifestyle.
You need to know WHY you want this result. I call these your “BFW’s.” That stands for Big, Fat Whys.
Why are you willing to get rid of excess that doesn’t serve you? Use as many reasons as you possibly can so that when you feel the need to bring something into your space that doesn’t fit you new elegant lifestyle, you can recall it just doesn’t belong with the new you.
Here are three places where you might want to pay extra close attention as they tend to collect clutter like crazy:
1. Your closet
2. Your paperwork
3. Your “collections”
Let’s start with your closest. Go through alone, or if you are buoyed by emotional support, with a friend who loves you enough to tell you the truth, and examine each article of clothing. Try it on if you are thinking of keeping it.
Ask yourself these tough questions:
* Do you look great in this?
* Do you feel great in this?
* Is it easy to care for? Wash and wear with no ironing is jackpot!
If you get a big yes on each of these questions, this item is part of your “A List” wardrobe.
Not an “A Lister”?
Why keep something that you don’t feel and look great in? Think about that.
Are you saying that it “used to” fit and now it doesn’t? One day you’ll be that size again, perhaps? Well, you know what’s reality about yourself better than anyone. Just ask yourself this question: When you get down to that size again, wouldn’t you love to go out and get yourself a brand new outfit? Of course you would. Let that one go for now, and allow your closet to house the items that reflect your current reality.
The second area of concern is all that paperwork. Make brutal and very quick decisions about ever allowing paperwork in your house. Look at your mail before you come in, and if you can reach a trashcan before you get inside, don’t even grant it access to your inner sanctum.
Ask yourself, am I legally, morally, or ethically bound to keep this paper? If I were to lose it, how would I replace it? Then, toss it. Only about 20% of your paper needs to be kept anyway.
And finally let’s look at how “collections” stand in your way of an elegant lifestyle. Did you start a collection by accident, and then all your friends and family found you have a collection and now all you ever get at gift time is another doo-dad?
Simple solution. Tell them, thanks for always thinking of me. I’m no longer collecting widgets.
Crystal Jonas, author of “The Power of Purpose: The Art of Living in Excellence” helps people all over the world raise the quality of their lifestyles by helping them to identify their purpose and how to achieve their goals.