Simplify by Sarah

Why Simple Living? | An Introduction + Hello

Simple LivingSarah Anne Hayes2 Comments

Three years ago, in 2014, my life flipped upside down. Twice.

In January, I accepted a job at a missions non-profit that moved me from the bustling D.C. metro area to a quiet lake town in northeast Georgia. In October, I picked up Jen Hatmaker's book 7 from the bookstore. Life hasn't been the same since.

The two incidents might seem like they have no connection, but they do. You see, I moved to Georgia in mid-May, four months after I accepted the job. Four months after that, I moved again. And then I bought Jen's book and, surrounded by countless boxes full of stuff (some of which I hadn't even unpacked from the move four months prior), I came face to face with the reality of American consumerism and the excess that had permeated nearly every area of my life.

A JOURNEY TO SIMPLICITY

Three years later, I've reduced my possessions by literal thousands and my perspective on life has changed so drastically, it feels hard to even describe or quantify.

At first, it was all about the numbers and just getting rid of stuff. Then it grew into a desire for less noise in my life, so I started unsubscribing, unfollowing, and unfriending. Then it became about identifying what was really important to me and paring down my schedule and commitments to the things that made me feel the most alive. Then it became about improving the quality of the things I purchased, so I started researching ethical and sustainable fashion. That led to an awareness of how the products we purchase and use impact our lives and our planet, which led to switching out cleaning products, makeup, and skincare for natural options. Most recently, my research into sustainability has led to the decision to transition to a primarily vegetarian lifestyle.

It's become about so much more than just minimizing my possessions. It's transformed into a desire for simplicity in every area of my life.

Somewhere along the way, people started asking me questions — How did I curate my wardrobe? How did I decide what was the right number of things to keep? How did I declutter my home while still keeping a sense of style and coziness? How did I keep my life organized and myself sane even during seasons of busyness? How did I find ethical clothing and natural makeup brands? How did I simplify my schedule?

We live in a world that is always GO GO GO — a world of mobile ordering apps, same-day delivery, and instant downloads. Our culture tells us that more is always better, no matter the cost to you, anyone, or anything else. It runs us ragged, burns us out, then shames us for feeling like we're perpetually behind. I've learned there is a different way, a better way.

I am not here to proclaim that simplicity is the answer to every problem in life, but I know this — after nearly three years of simplifying my life, I am healthier, happier, and more at peace than I've been in years because I stopped pursuing things the world told me should matter and started asking myself what actually mattered to me. 

Chances are, something in life is overwhelming. It could be as small as your wardrobe, as big as your small business, or as all-encompassing as the entirety of your life. Chances are it got that way because, like me, you spent years letting other people tell you how you should live, instead of asking yourself first how you want to live. I'm here to help you fight that overwhelm and find a life filled with the things that matter most to you — the things that are probably buried under all that extra stuff.

I have always loved helping people. There are a lot of things I love in this world, but helping and encouraging people makes my heart come alive like almost nothing else. It is out of that desire — to encourage, inspire, and help others on their journey toward simplicity in whatever way I can — that Simplify by Sarah was born.

If you were around about six months ago, this all might sound a little familiar. So before you ask, yes, I did start a blog dedicated to minimalism in January and promptly combined it with my personal blog just a few weeks later, and some of the initial content you'll see will look mighty similar as a result. In the last three months, a lot has changed, but my desire to have a space fully dedicated to helping people pursue a life of simplicity never went away.

Someday we might get into all those nitty gritty details and winding turns that have led me to where we are today, but for today we'll stick with the important points. Keep it simple, you know?

WHAT TO EXPECT

At this point you may be wondering, "What exactly is Simplify by Sarah?" Is it a blog? Is it a resource? Is it a business? Is it something more?

The answer is yes. It's a blog that acts as a resource for anyone — individuals and business owners — looking to simplify their life, their home, their business, or all of the above.

Whatever area of your life you're looking to simplify, I want this to be a resource and source of encouragement for you. True to the name, we're starting things off simply with blog posts here twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays and, at the moment, that's all there is. Once my transition to Florida is complete (roundabouts the end of July), I'll be adding in regular video content as well (because, let's be honest, some topics are better to discuss on video than in a blog post). I've also got plenty of ideas ruminating for other more comprehensive and personalized resources to help you simplify your home, your wardrobe, your schedule, your business, your routines — all of it — from a brand directory and further reading to workbooks, courses, and one-on-one coaching sessions, so be on the lookout for those in the months to come as well! (And if you're interested in testing out some of those products, let me know!)

I know simplicity isn't a magic fix to all the difficulties of life, and I also know there are times in our lives when things look or feel like simplicity is an impossibility. But I do believe we're living life at a faster pace than we were ever meant to and I believe it's negatively impacting us far more than we realize.

I hope by me sharing my journey, you can find the encouragement you need to slow down, to say no to the unnecessary, and to build a life that's intentionally crafted for you to give your best to the world and the people in your life.