keep it simple

“Bigger is better.” “Don’t belittle yourself––bebig yourself.” “Think big.” With all the press about thinking big and being big and doing big things, it might be hard to imagine there being any value in thinking small and doing small things–and keeping life simple. But there is. And when you reach the second half of life there couldn’t be a better time to practice it.

Consider the wisdom of the following actions and how they might lead all of us toward a simpler, cozier, and less stressful life-style.


When you’re sorting through your possessions and wondering what to keep, toss, or give away, think small. For example, go through one closet, drawer, or cabinet at a time. When you’re comfortable with that increment, proceed to the next small goal. You’ll be more relaxed and less apt to make decisions you may regret later.


It’s easier to clean up a cup of spilled water than a bucketful. Small steps cut down mistakes. And if you make one, it’s not a big deal—it’s just a small one. You can make necessary corrections simply and easily. A miscommunication, a misstep, a misunderstanding, is more likely to be noticed. You’ll have time to correct it. Think small and take small steps with people, as well as things.


When you feel fatigue setting in or anxiety gripping you, don’t pile into bed and pull the quilt over your head. Stop what you’re doing immediately. Cut off the stress and fatigue before it gets the best of you. Think small. Stretch. Smile. Sip water or tea or nibble on some fruit or nuts. Take a small walk or a short nap. You’ll return to your routine refreshed and ready to continue.


As you learn to think small, you’ll also notice small changes. Your confidence will heighten. You can learn a new computer program after all. You’ll meet new people more easily. You’ll surrender old obligations so you can investigate new opportunities and take better care of yourself while doing so.


Notice the little victories that make your home life pleasing and satisfying. Instead of dashing here and there, forcing yourself or your mate to reach a desired goal,  focus on a smile, a hug, a word of encouragement, a compliment, and a bit of gratitude toward the other. And start acknowledging yourself, as well, whether or not anyone else notices what you do. Pat your own back. Give yourself a small reward: that new book you’ve been eager to read, a cappuccino with whipped cream on top, an art movie, a new CD. Then when you least expect it, you’re likely to realize just how sweet and cozy your new life really is.



Think Small — 13 Comments

  1. I needed this post, Karen. I tend to stay with a project too long so will take your good advice. Have a great summer.

    • Thanks, Marie. Glad my suggestions are useful to you. I’m speaking to myself, as well!!

  2. So much wisdom here, Karen. I could feel my blood pressure drop as I read through your suggestions. Now…I’m off to do a small chore. 🙂

    • Kristi, thanks for letting me know my comments are useful to you. I’ve been applying my own advice to my life and it’s working. My blood pressure has decreased, as well. 🙂

  3. Karen, this is wonderful advice and MY advice is to start NOW !
    I used to say that the first half of your life you spend collecting things and the last half trying to get rid of them! I am 86 years old, was never a “pack rat” but have been a saver of precious cards, letters, books, “things” I have received from my family and friends. I became a widow in 2002,missed my husband but still led a full life, THEN I developed some physical problems that brought on a move to live with my daughter and son-in-law. My house sold much quicker than I had planned so we had to hurry and get everything sorted and packed – my walking/standing problem really WAS a problem as the only thing I could do was make decisions! Time was limited ! No time to wonder ‘if I will need/want this or that’ !! So, my advice is to start now and ‘stop collecting’ ! HA!
    Life is good and I am pleased to report I have no real regrets but did let a few things get away that I wish I had~~but HEY~~ they are only material things! It is the love we have had and still have that is important. Enjoy life while we have it!
    Thanks, Karen, Love to you. Margaret

    • Margaret, you are so right. I see many folks in our retirement neighborhood with garages packed to the hilt with so much stuff I doubt the owners even know what they have. I’m a ‘tosser’ and always have been. Now we are buying less, giving away things we no longer need or want, and enjoying the open spaces and empty shelves and drawers. We are only keeping what really matters, and no longer ‘adding.’

  4. Wonderful advice for all, Karen! I’m finding that I’m enjoying “small” and “simplicity” more and more. You’ve widened my perspective of the applications with your post. Thank you!

    • Jan, good to hear from you. I see you and I are on the same wave length–focusing on small and simple so we can concentrate on what really matters–the things of the Spirit.

  5. Thanks so much for your comments Karen. I just recently retired and my motto is to live simply,focusing on my faith, family and friends. Its amazing how ‘things’ don’t matter as much as relationship with people.

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