The path to simplicity begins with a refusal of the nonessential and unproductive.
It's been several decades since Americans were first introduced to the idea that they should "Just say no." While the context of this was originally about saying no to drugs, I believe this recommendation has even greater potential for those of us looking to simplify our lives in one way or another. In my ongoing effort to simplify my life, I have found that there are two general categories to which I offer a steadfast and gracious "no" when I can: nonessential external demands and unproductive internal beliefs.
It is important to emphasize that saying no is not negative or selfish or uncaring. Instead, saying no to one thing is equivalent to saying yes to what is more important to you.