When I was starting my transformation process from a clutterbug into an unclutterer, I wanted a checklist to tell me what I needed to do to live simply. I wanted there to be a clear line that told me if I did X, Y, and Z then all of my stress and anxieties would instantly be relieved. I wanted there to be zero ambiguity and I wanted someone else to make the hard decisions for me.
I never found such a list, and I’m glad that I didn’t. How I define simplicity and how I put it into practice in my life is very different than how you see it and live it. We’re complex human beings, and, ironically, that makes our definitions of simplicity complex.
When I was seeking my definition of simplicity, I repeatedly turned to three quotes for inspiration. If you’re looking to define simplicity and what it means to you, maybe these quotes will spark your process:
“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” — Albert Einstein
“Simplicity is an inward reality that can be seen in an outward lifestyle. We must have both; to neglect either end of this tension is disastrous.” — Richard J. Foster
“I can explain it best by something which Mahatma Gandhi said to me. We were talking about simple living, and I said that it was easy for me to give up most things but that I had a greedy mind and wanted to keep my many books. He said, ‘Then don’t give them up. As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, you should keep it. If you were to give it up in a mood of self-sacrifice or out of a stern sense of duty, you would continue to want it back, and that unsatisfied want would make trouble for you. Only give up a thing when you want some other condition so much that the thing no longer has any attraction for you, or when it seems to interfere with that which is more greatly desired.'” — Richard Gregg
These quotes aren’t dictionary definitions and they’re not precise, but they serve me well. How do you define simplicity? What guides you toward simple living?