A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Live a Life Beyond the Box!

So many times in life, we limit ourselves. We put limits on our dreams, on our abilities, and our identities. We often explain it away by making excuses for our boxed-in lives. We claim it’s due to circumstances that our beyond our control:

  • If only I had a better paying job, I wouldn’t be in so much debt.
  • If I had more free time, I could write that book I always wanted to write.
  • I wish I was in better shape, but I just can’t lose weight.
  • My house is so cluttered, but I don’t know where to put everything.

I’m guilty of saying all those things myself. Maybe you have too.

No One Put Me in a Box

Then I realized something very important. No one put me in a box and no one put you in a box either. I crawled into that box myself. I put the mental restraints on myself that said I can’t lose weight, I’m trapped in debt, and I don’t have time for my life.

Sometimes my box felt nice and roomy. It was almost comfortable in there. It was familiar to me and I decorated it all nice and pretty.

  • This corner was for my dreams. It had nice squishy pillows in it where I could sit and dream for hours.
  • This corner was for my self-pity. It had a nice deep bathtub in it where I could sit and soak in it until my fingers got all wrinkly.
  • This corner was for my planning. I cut a window in the box and I would look out into the world and ponder all that I could do once someone let me out of the box.
  • The last corner was were I stored my busyness. I had a desk and my laptop and I made sure to stay busy. Once someone got me out of the box I could have the free time to enjoy my life.

Getting Out of the Box

Guess what? No one put me in a box and no was getting me out of it. It was up to me to find my own way out.

I had to look around and realize that my life is more that can be contained in a box. I wasn’t trapped a box of my own making. I simply needed to stand up and step outside of its confining walls. A single decision was all it took to get me started to living a life beyond the box.

  • I decided once and for all, that the clutter surrounding me was not worth wasting my time on. I started getting rid of things that stole my time and choked the enjoyment out of my days.
  • I decided that living in debt isn’t as scary as doing nothing about it. Every step of progress made to kill the debt is a victory to helps motivate me to take on another battle.
  • I decided that I hated the way I looked and felt about my body and no one can change that but me. Drastic changes don’t last but every thing I choose to eat makes a difference.
  • I decided that my dream to become a writer was as simple as sitting down to write.

Are YOU in a Box?

There’s no shame in a being in a box. The first step is simply realizing that’s where you are. The second step is deciding what you’re going to do about it.

Maybe you’ve never really thought about it. I spent many years not even bothering to question things. I know it’s not easy. Some days I just want to crawl back into my box and take a nap. It’s easy to fall back into old habits. Living life outside the box takes commitment and a lot of determination.

Be honest with yourself. If you’re stuck in a situation, then see your box for what it really is. If you are somewhere you don’t want to be, it’s time to take control! Don’t just dream and don’t just plan. Stand up and take that first step out of your box!

Are you living in a box? Do you need some encouragement today on how to get out of your box? Please share with us in the comments. If you’re free of your box, I’d love to share in your victories too.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for updates to Minimalist at Home or follow me on Twitter. Thanks so much for reading!

image credit

Article originally published on 03/02/2011

Sharing the Love and a Peek into the Future

With all the holiday happenings and lots of fun family time, my writing here will be lighter than normal for the next few weeks. Since I'll be taking a sort of digital sabbatical from blogging here, I wanted to leave with a BIG thank you to everyone … [Continue reading]

Ask the Readers: What are the Hardest Things to Get Rid Of?

In your pursuit of simple living, what has been the hardest thing to get rid of? Do you struggle with emotional attachments to sentimental items? Is it more challenging to pare down your children's toys? Perhaps it's deciding what hobbies and … [Continue reading]

Minimalism for Moms

Note: This post originally appeared as a guest post at Becoming Minimalist. Some of you may have already read it but for those of you who didn't, I thought I'd include it here as well. It's about tapping into your power as a mom and making a … [Continue reading]

A Bathroom a Minimalist Can Love

Today's target is the bathroom. It's amazing how much clutter can hide in even the smallest of bathrooms. My husband and I are currently sharing a bathroom with our three kids and my grandmother. The mess can really pile up when that many people are … [Continue reading]