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Dialing Down Stimulation Can Increase Contentment

Kickstarting The Simplistic Lifestyle

If it doesn't make you feel fabulous: don't do it, don't buy it, don't keep it.A few weeks ago I wrote the post, How Purging Can Lead To A Meaningful Life of Fabulousness. This post was partly due to the outcome of my recent experience cleaning out my mother’s apartment when she was transferred to a long-term care facility.

Going through another person’s belongings to determine what to keep and what to toss is difficult. Sifting through and organizing mounds of paperwork was time-consuming yet necessary. Eventually all loose ends were tied but I was left feeling the need to significantly reduce my possessions.

Posing in a seated position, legs crossed on my bar stool.

The way I approached the purging process was two-fold; tangible and virtual. Breaking each of these segments into smaller portions made the associated tasks less overwhelming and I had the benefit of seeing immediate progress.

Beginning with furniture and decor, I gave away or tossed several pieces. Tackling clothing in closets, dresser, and chest of drawers was probably the most challenging areas but once I got past the “I’m holding onto this why” phase I could let go.

I'm posing in a standing position facing the camera with my white cane in my right hand.

The feeling of narrowing two drawers (one for tees and one for camis) to one was bliss. With the first drawer done, gathering clothing, handbags, shoes, and coats was a cinch.

It was liberating to get rid of linens, towels, china, glassware, flatware, vases, CDs, DVDs, jewelry, makeup, and toys. Everything I don’t use became history. With the exception of food, the decision to no longer buy anything without discarding or giving something away is a good one for me.

Standing rear view holding my red handbag.

Given too many choices, indecisiveness caused me to short-circuit and become paralyzed to the point of despair.  While I still have a long way to go before I’m fully satisfied, limiting spare items is making life a little easier.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m actually excited at the prospect of having less, especially shoes and clothing. Eliminating closet stress will leave room for more productive thoughts.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to reap some of the benefits of purging. For example, the red shoes I’m wearing in today’s pictures I’ve had them for several years but have only worn them once. Getting rid of other shoes narrowed my choices and I’ll enjoy them until it’s time to get a new pair.

Outfit Description:

  • Navy tee with three-quarter length sleeve
  • Dark rinse skinny jeans
  • Beige flyaway jacket
  • Red patent leather shoes with black kitten heel
  • Navy & white paisley print long scarf
  • Multi-strand long necklace

When I began this purging process my intention was to make things easier for my kids should something happen to me. As I kept going it was more about simplicity, leaving me with only those things that bring me joy.

In my next article I’ll discuss virtual purging and organizing. Until then have a great weekend!!

39 thoughts on “Dialing Down Stimulation Can Increase Contentment

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve always like simplicity and order in my home. But I also think we can do some purging with our habits to increase contentment, like browsing online retail and social media. I wrote more about contentment in this blog post. http://www.ajourneyofprogress.com/2016/11/14/10-practical-tips-obtaining-maintaining-contentment/ I really enjoyed your post!

    1. Hi Heather, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’ll swing by to read you thoughts on the subject ad well. Have a good one!😀

  2. *Sigh* I so need to do this. I feel so much lighter when I’m not surrounded with “stuff.” Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. My pleasure. I hope to do my followup piece this weekend.

  3. Love the heels Steph!

    1. Thank you Chantelle! 😃

  4. Yep, decluttering is a good thing and helps you detach from worldly possessions.. After all we can’t take it with us when we’re gone and while we are in the present, we can’t be walking around with things of sentimental value all the time.. Time to make new memories(Particularly more good ones!)!

  5. I wrote a blog post long ago about the journey through my Mom’s drawers and cabinets after her death, called “Drawer by Drawer”. It is a powerful journey.

    I love getting rid of stuff, whether physical/tangible stuff, webpages I’ve bookmarked, documents and other stuff saved on my computer. It is a freeing feeling. I’m glad you are enjoying it, too.

    1. I’ve always loved getting rid of stuff but after dealing with my mother’s place I felt the strongest urge to get rid of all but the essentials. Is your post on your blog? I’d like to check it out.

      1. It is but way back in early 2000’s….”Drawer by Drawer”. I felt crest fallen when I got to my Mom’s last shelf to clear out as I knew there were no more clues to her being and life.

        I did have an estate sale with her stuff left as I didn’t know what else to do with it, but felt badly as she was very private and would not have wanted small town gossips trolling through her house and belongings.

      2. Ok thank you. I’ll try to find it tomorrow. Even though my mom is still here I was surprised at how badly I felt when the last few pieces of her life were packed up and given away. She was so independent and stubbornly refused to be assessed for Alzheimers way back but she did it her way and held on remarkably well.

      3. I understand. Sending on a hug! BTW…you are looking stunning in your outfits you wear in your blog photos.

      4. Thanks Katelon. Checking it out now.

  6. You look so beautiful in this picture!

    I really appreciate this post. It echoed so many of my own thoughts. I am purging, too, both at home and in my workplace as I have been reorganizing and de-cluttering my client’s apartment. Thank you for sharing this!

    Blessings,
    Theresa

    1. Hi Theresa, You’re welcome and I’m so glad you like the post. Thank you for coming over and commenting. 💗

  7. Purging feels so good! My parents in law were hoarders…what a nightmare it was after their deaths. I have been purging this week because I bought a few bargains. Something comes in, something goes out. Love the shoes, too.👠

    1. Something comes in, something goes out. I like this Kerry. I’m gonna have to file it away so I can remember why I’m going all in with purging. Just the thought of hoarding makes me break out in hives.😱😖

      1. Sometimes I can’t even bear to watch those Hoarder Reality shows…

      2. I watched a couple episodes of that show when it initially came on but I couldn’t take it. I actually felt bad for the people who allowed themselves to be profiled and I can’t remember but did they offer any type of mental health services for them? My thing was helping someone clear out is okay but unless you get to the root of t g e problem it would still be an issue.

      3. Some of them do offer counselling/therapy because most are repeat offenders.

  8. I’m loving your red patent shoes!

    1. Thank you Christy!😄

  9. Nice bonus that you’re breathing new life into those great red shoes! I’ve been procrastinating, but clothing drive folks are coming by on Monday…motivation, yippee!

    1. Woo Hoo!! Good for you Caroline. What would we do without motivation?

      1. Done…at least the clothes. It feels good!

      2. 👍Well done. I still have some clothes to go through but I’m getting there.

  10. Being able to get into drawers again sounds blissful. Mine are so stuffed full of old socks, tee-shirts and whatever, I the only way to open them is with a crowbar.

  11. Great advice but I am beginning to look at my clutter as future revenge for all those teenager’s rooms I had to clean back when.

    1. Oh my goodness!!! Yours is a genius plan!! Wish I would have thought of it. 😉

  12. We have been forced to live a simpler life through my husband’s job and our moving around. It started with getting rid of items that were too bulky to keep lugging from one place to another. At first I admit I did feel a bit deprived, but now it feels great to only live with what we truly love and use. Plus, it makes cleaning up and laundry much easier to manage! Something that helps me to let go of stuff is thinking about how it will go to a new home and be loved by someone who might not have it otherwise. Love the outfit and the shoes. 🙂

    1. Hi Camie, I agree with you on the cleaning and letting go. It’s probably just a mental thing but I seriously feel like I can breathe easier, like a burden has been lifted. Thanks for the compliment too!😊

  13. When I was younger, purging items would literally send me into an anxiety attack! I would force myself to do it but it was very difficult because there was too much emotional attachment to THINGS! Over the years I whittled my items down, to what I thought was a minimum.

    Then 4 years ago I went through a divorce and lost at least half of my furniture (things I had even before the marriage, but fearing for my safety I left them rather than taking them.)

    What belongings I took were put into my daughter’s garage. In those 4 years I further reduced my belongings. My daughter bought a house this summer so I gave her the furniture I had.

    When I move out into my own place I’ll have my clothes, art supplies (those weren’t whittled down, sorry!) and a few linens and household items.

    This will be the lightest move since I was a teenager! I need to buy all new furniture, dishes, pots and pans, plus other household items, yet as scary as it feels it’s also very freeing!

    So much of what I had were things I had dragged around with me move after move. Things I may not have wanted, but my FEAR of doing without kept me holding on.

    Had I not gone through what I did, I would have held onto things long after I should have let them go!

    1. I hear you Tamara! That’s the way I was with my filing system. When they first began talking about a paperless office years ago I almost had heart failure. While I was never a hoarder I would hold onto notes and such fearing I would need them down the road. Thing was I can’t recall a time when I needed those so-called important notes. After I began having eye problems handling paper was too difficult and I made the switch to doing everything online. Its amazing what we can do when pushed into a different direction.

  14. What a great idea! I need to do the same. Love the shoes.

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