By Brianna Wiest

When you arrive at the solution to a problem, the answer is always simple. If you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself. All things in life are inherently simple, but we create complexity where we are uncomfortable with a particular reality.

When it comes to physical objects – household items, clothing – where we create complexity is where we are not comfortable with who we are. In an effort to avoid accepting a part of ourselves, we weave our way through a self-created labyrinth which we hope may bring us a different reality. Or, more honestly, we just pretend to be what we’re not and hope that we can validate ourselves by convincing others. (Cue endless, compulsive consumerism.)

Many people oppose ideas of simplicity and minimalism because they confuse them for being “boring” or “lifeless,” when they are in fact pathways for only having in our lives things that are beautiful, purposeful or meaningful. Simplicity is not code for nothingness, it is code for moving out the ego-generated need for “more” in favor of something genuine and truly fulfilling. If you’re on a journey toward streamlining your life, here are a few little mantras to help you out:

1. “All things are simple. Where I create complexity is where I am not comfortable with the simple truth.”

2. “I do not choose things for my space based on how perfectly they fit together. I choose them based on how perfectly they fit me, and it’s for that reason that they feel beautiful.”

3. “If I didn’t already own this, would I buy it again?”

4. “Do I know this thing to be purposeful, do I feel this thing to be meaningful, or do I find this to be beautiful? If not – then why do I have it?”

5. “Am I buying things for someday, or using what I have today?”

6. “When I experience discomfort in my life, it’s because I am not clear on what I want. When I am clear on what I want, I realize that it is simple.”

7. “When I look at this, how do I physically feel?”

8. “If I had to leave the house with only what I could fit in my car – would I choose this to go in?”

9. “Does owning this non-necessity make me more like myself, or more like someone else I think it’s better to be?”

10. “What are three things I’d love for my money to go toward, other than needless spending?”

11. “What are three things I could do to replace my ‘consumption’ habits?”

12. “Things don’t make people happy – the meaning assigned to things do. The more I have that I buy out of feeling insecure, the more insecurity I have in my life.”

13. “Could someone else benefit from this more than me?”

14. “If I were blind, would I want this, need this, or keep this?”

15. “‘Just in case’ will most likely never happen.”

16. “Does this thing actively make my life better or easier?”

17. “If all that is left at the end of life is what is in your heart – what will I be left with?”

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