My Quest for Simplified Living

Posted by Courtney Frye on

Shauna Niequist says it perfectly in her book Present Over Perfect when she compares the swirling mess around us to that of the dust swirling around Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown. And most days, I feel like I'm living in a big, huge pig pen.


Yes, part of it is just this season of life - two working parents of 6 yr. old & 2 yr. old boys with week night commitments out the wazoo. But let's be honest here. Some people are born with that cleaning gene and you know who you are! You always have a cloth in hand and you wipe down counters every time you pass one by. You sweep your floors at least once a day, you keep only the bare essentials on your countertops and your garage cleaner than my counters.

Unfortunately, I didn't get that gene. It's just not in my genetic make up! And at the end of the day, when the boys finally fall asleep and I sit down on the couch with a huge exhale of all the chaos that has transpired during those witching hours, the last thing I want to do is clean. And on those rare occasions when I do get a bee in my bonnet about cleaning up around here, I'm so overwhelmed with picking up all the things, ALL THE THINGS, that I don't even make it to the next phase of cleaning - the DEEP CLEAN. ( <-- please repeat those last two words in your deepest, most daunting voice because that is exactly how it came out in my mind!)

{Breathe. Inhale. Exhale!}

While shopping at LifeWay a couple of weeks ago, I got a wild hair and purchased Emily Ley's book A Simplified Life. (It was on sale, you guys!) And I thought it was pretty! Naturally I was drawn to the preppy navy blue, pink and green cover because clearly I judge books by their covers. I finally cracked it open over the weekend and I cannot put it down!! I've only just begun but it is speaking to me on so many levels. 



Truth be told there are hundreds of self-help, get organized, and do more with less books out there. But you have to find the one that speaks to you. The one that gets you. And Emily Ley's Simplified Life just gets me! She gives practical ways to declutter your space while offering permission to let go of those things you might one day wear or use. And she tackles more than just your personal space (which in my life right now, is the one that needs the most work) in her chapters that help you simplify your style, finances, schedules, meals, TECHNOLOGY, hospitality, motherhood, faith and your self! She helps you create space in your overall life that gives you room to breathe. 

It's a workbook. You work through this process and she gives you space to make your mark while on your journey. And it takes time! I can't do this overnight. Shoot, I could spend an entire month on chapter 1 - Simplified Space (aka my home) -  and still not be finished. But that's ok! Baby steps. Like last night when I decided to clean off my night stand. It's one tiny space in my bedroom but one that was stuffed with just... stuff!  I had two drawers full of junk and a shelf loaded down with books I've read and likely won't read again (even my precious collection of Nicholas Sparks books... the autographed ones!) I pitched the junk and bagged up the books for donation and just seeing less stuff on my nightstand made me feel a little less frazzled last night when I went to bed. This afternoon, I came home from work and tackled Anderson's closet. I had mostly 12-18 month clothes hanging up in his closet! He's TWO! And a big two year old at that! 

We live in a world of stuff! And we often find our worth in things. And all this stuff begs for our attention. It distracts us from what really matters. And I'm at a season of my life where I feel that less is more. I want less stuff taking up my time. I want fewer distractions clouding my mind. I want less stress from all the things that dampen my mood. 

Maybe I'm rambling to myself here (hellloooo - hot mess! Party of One) Or maybe you, too, feel like you are living in this pig pen of life and you just don't know where to begin to dig yourself out. I get you! I am your kindred spirit! This book may or may not speak your love language but I guarantee you it's worth the read! It's entertaining, it's practical, it's eye-opening, it's convicting and yet encouraging all at the same time. 

If you've read this book before - TELL ME! Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite take away(s) or the chapters that really spoke to you! I want to hear all about it!

xoxo- Courtney

*This post is of my own opinion and accord. It is in no way affiliated with the author of this book. This is simply my own personal review.*



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  • Both of Emily Ley’s books are fantastic. I’ve listened to both and now need to pick up the books and read them (they have been on my side table for weeks). Great, easy steps that we can all follow. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, go find her. Great reminders as you scroll through every day.

    Kathryn on

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