It’s About Time
Ruth Wong

Simplifying life
brings freedom

Has your life become cluttered, complex and exhausting, with too many possessions and obligations?

If so, take heart. Simplify Your Life Week is Aug. 1-7. This is a week to slow down, identify that which is most important to you and clear out the nonessentials.

Simply put, here are some key actions you can take to simplify your life:

S Say "No" to nonessential things.
I Imagine the relief a simpler home and life offer.
M Make do with what you have.
P Pare down your possessions.
L Lighten up your load of care.
I Identify those things that add meaning and enjoyment to your life.
F Forgive the past.
Y Yearn for the freedom that simplicity brings.

Among the dictionary definitions for "simplicity" are "freedom from difficulty, freedom from useless accessories (and activities), freedom from luxury, freedom from show or pretense, and freedom from pride and ostentation."

In other words, simplicity brings freedom from things and activities that you don't need, use or love, and the freedom to be you.

But is it possible to decrease the scale and maintain or even improve the quality of our lives? We all need a certain amount to live, but too much can become counterproductive. Our possessions can end up possessing us.

COLLEGE GRADUATE Sara Yap recently returned from serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco. She lived there as the locals did, with just the basic necessities. She said that her town was poor and that homes were empty and without clutter, allowing residents to focus on other things, like socializing.

Yap said it was refreshing to be among people who didn't value material things, causing her to realize people really don't need much to enjoy life. "It's so freeing NOT to have things," she said.

Sometimes our emotions need to be simplified, too. A friend of mine says, "'Less is more' is true psychologically as well as materially -- the less psychological baggage (fear, resentment, worry, etc.) I have, the more happiness I will enjoy."

I invite you to get a head start on Simplify Your Life Week. Slow down, identify that which is most important to you and clear out the excess. If you do, you might be ready to sell your excess on National Garage Sale Day, Aug. 13.

See you in three weeks!

"It's About Time," by Ruth Wong, owner of Organization Plus, runs the fourth Friday of each month. Contact her at "It's About Time," care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail features@starbulletin.com

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