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2 tricks to simplify your life

Written on Aug 19, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

When Rose Lounsbury started decluttering her life, she was simply looking to have less stuff around, but she ended up with better mental clarity. 

“A Princeton Neuroscience Institute study proved scientifically when you are in a cluttered environment, you are less able to focus and pay attention,” Lounsbury said. “If your desk is cluttered, or your inbox is cluttered and there's chaos in your environment, it's really hard to focus.” 

Lounsbury in 2012 shared with a friend her concerns about the clutter in her home, and the friend suggested Lounsbury look into minimalization. Now she owns her own business where she is a speaker, author and simplicity coach. 

“I started reading these books and these blogs, and I realized the answer is just to get rid of all the excess stuff you don't need,” she said. “And it seemed so simple. And I couldn't believe that I had never considered this; I thought the answer was to organize everything.” 

For those wondering how they can begin simplifying their life, Lounsbury suggests first starting with your own things – especially if you share space with others. 

“I always tell people ‘Be the change you wish to see in your house,’” she said. “If you desire to live in a home that feels more free, that has more open spaces, you need to be the one beginning that change with your own things.” 

These are items Lounsbury said you don’t need to ask anyone permission to remove, such as personal care items or clothing. If you’re unsure of what to get rid of, she said consider the vision you have for the space, and what you need to remove to help achieve that. 

The second tip is not to deal with items that have an emotional connection until later in the minimization process, as that can feel too daunting a task in the beginning. 

“When we think of letting go in our minds we go to the most emotionally difficult things, which are typically memorabilia or sentimental items,” she said. “Those are emotional minefields. Those are very difficult and emotionally draining to go through.” 

Lounsbury said when we spend so much of our brain power trying to locate things or navigating a cluttered environment, it has an impact on our productivity and focus. 

“The mental clarity you get from those open space environments you can bring into your daily environment,” she said. “If you want to feel more peace and calm in your mental environment, a lot of us think of things like meditation and yoga, which are all wonderful to do to increase mental wellness. But another thing that you can do is declutter and simplify your physical environment.” 

Hear more from Rose Lounsbury in the podcast episode “How to simplify your life to better pursue your goals.”