“My goal is no longer to get more done, but have less to do.” - Francine Jay
I recently read Lightly by Francine Jay and loved its practical tips and inspiring message for lightening up your life. It not only covers the physical stuff that burdens us, but dives into our schedule, our commitments, how we impact the planet, the food we eat and so many other areas. I appreciate that you can open up to any page of this book and are presented with tips to utilize right away. The process is not overwhelming and you are able to make a small change from where you are right now. One of my favorite takeaways from the book is incorporating the mantra “lightly” throughout my day. When I am about to make an impulse purchase or say yes to yet another commitment, I repeat the word “lightly” to myself. I am reminding myself that I want to live a more simplified life with less physical and emotional burdens.
Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:
When sorting and decluttering, round up all items that are in a similar category to get a true understanding of how much you have of a particular item. Take out all of your shoes from your closet, the garage, the hall closet (and anywhere else they may be stored) and assess whether you really need all of them. This can be a very eye opening process since we normally don’t view all of these belongings in one place. How many pairs of boots do you actually wear or need? What about sandals or sneakers? Once you get the hang of this in the first category, do it with your t-shirts and sweaters. Move into the kitchen and find how many duplicates live there.
Set up an Out Box in a central location of your home (the hall closet is a great spot). Anytime someone wants to donate something, they can put it in the Out Box. This is a great tool for staying on top of clutter. When you know something no longer fits or works in your home, put it in the Out Box. Then when the box is full, take it to a donation center. This helps avoid spending an entire day decluttering, because you are doing the job in small amounts each day. This works really well when your whole family participates.
Reign over your house. This is simple, but so very important. Put things back where they belong. Keep counter tops and tables clear of clutter. Ways to help you with this daily task include buying less stuff, monitoring the items coming in (gifts and freebies), and practicing gift free holidays.
Practice restraint when it comes to shopping and exposure to advertising. We are surrounded by messages telling us to buy and consume more. We are constantly told through advertising and marketing that what we have isn’t good enough, what we are isn’t good enough. Limit your exposure to advertising as much as possible. These messages are sneaky and you may not even realize that they are influencing you. Only shop when you need something. Make do with what you have and only shop for necessities. Before making a purchase, consider how this item may weigh you down.
Choose a disposable item that you use daily and replace it with a reusable item. Some ideas include water bottles, napkins and sandwich bags.
Keep a list of all items you purchase for the next month. Review at the end of the month and determine where you could lighten up your consumption. I’m currently doing this right now. Just knowing I have to write down the purchase makes me think twice.
Lightly decline. Practice how you will say no to a common request. Example: “Thank you for thinking of me, but I don’t have the time in my schedule right now.”