A Guest Post by Ruth Soukup

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels like stuff has completely taken over their lives. In my home, the catalyst for chaos was an actual natural disaster (thanks, Hurricane Charley!), but ultimately the responsibility for the mess lies in the choices I’ve made along the way. And so it is for each one of us. We each have our own hurricanes. Some are just a little more metaphorical than others.


In my new book Unstuffed, I offer practical advice for decluttering all the things—the things of your home, mind and soul. To tide you over until you can pick up a copy for yourself, here are 5 quick ways you can simplify your life—right now!


  1. Ruthlessly purge. You must only keep what is currently useful. If you haven’t used it in the past year to 18 months, stop holding on to it. If you don’t love something or if it doesn’t bring joy or value to your home, don’t let it stay.


  1. Cut down on social media. Facebook and other social media platforms have become such a pervasive part of our lives and daily habits that we hardly even think about it anymore. Most of us probably have no idea how much time we actually spend interacting online rather than in person, but suffice it to say it is a lot. Enough that most of us feel lost without our smart phones by our side. Limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to be distracted by newsfeeds will simplify your life in the best of ways.


  1. Learn to say no. Why is it that one of the most common words in the English language is so difficult to say? I forget that saying yes too many times makes me feel overwhelmed and stressed-out. It causes me to neglect the rest of the things in my life that I really should be doing and could be doing if I had just said no. You can learn how to say it nicely and graciously, but just say no.


  1. I don’t think there is any one factor that can contribute more to stress than a lack of sleep, and no one solution to help alleviate stress than a good night’s sleep. A well-rested brain is not only happier, healthier, and more productive; it is better equipped to handle stress, regardless of where the stress comes from. Sleep changes our perspective, and it is one thing you can do right now that may just make all the difference in the world.


  1. Set limits on what comes in. One of the most effective ways to simplify your life is to set limits on what you allow in it—what you allow in your home, on your schedule, and in your heart. Be vigilant to choose these things based on purpose and quality—not quantity.


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