Simplifying our lives and classrooms can be a critical step in creating a sense of peace, space, and freedom in our lives.  Artist Hans Hoffman tells us that, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  So how do we eliminate the unnecessary?  Here are some possibilities and, as Rod Serling used to say on The Twilight Zone (because imagining a simpler world in this day and age sometimes feels like we’re entering The Twilight Zone), they are submitted for your approval:

1. Slow down the pace of your life.
2. Stop reading this and put down the device.
3. Limit your screen time.
4. Forget that there’s an Internet.
5. Cultivate a desire for less stuff.
6. Have a garage sale.
7. Throw away 10 things today.
8. Throw away 10 things tomorrow.
9. Throw away 10 things for every day thereafter.
10. Choose a surface in your classroom and clean it off.
11. Choose another surface and do the same.
12. Eliminate clutter in general.
13. Follow the 6 month rule (if I haven’t used it in 6 months, it’s gone).
14. If something comes in, something else must go.
15. Learn to say no to requests you don’t want to do or have time for (Yes, it’s hard. Do it, anyway).
16. Check email only a couple times a day (#crazytalk)
17. Reevaluate your sense of what’s “enough.” Make it smaller.
18. Stop watching dumb television.
19. Those clothes in your closet you haven’t worn since The (first) Bush Administration? Toss ‘em.
20. Create “white” space in the room. Clean lines and angles create a sense of openness and space.
21. Give stuff away.
22. Sell stuff. Become a regular at the local pawn shop.  (I’m known as “Spike” at mine).
23. Unsubscribe to stupid, useless email chains.
24. Find a place for everything. Put it there.  Keep it there.
25. Empty the cupboards in your classroom. Only put back what you use.  Toss the rest.  That ed. tech book with the psychedelic cover and wacky font?  Trash it.
26. Limit your classroom storage to a single file cabinet and one cupboard.
27. Insist on white space on both your home and work calendar.
28. Create time for you.
29. If you add an activity, take one out.
30. Create a stop-doing list.

By controlling our time, space, and finances we can increase our ability to “eliminate the unnecessary.”  Having less and doing less will reduce your stress and tension and allow you the time and freedom to do things that really matter.  By listening to artist Hans Hoffman, we can learn how to make our whole lives into art. TZT