Advanced English Conversation — Simplify Your Life

Nov 13, 2019 | 6 comments

I want you to feel confident and have advanced English conversations on topics that you love, like how to simplify your life. 

In this lesson you’ll get advanced level English vocabulary and easy conversation starters you can use to talk with friends, neighbors, and coworkers on this hot topic.

For example, some of the newest expressions in English like ‘to KonMari your home’ or what it means to live a ‘less is more lifestyle.’ 

Plus, I share one thing I’m very focused on right now: a digital decluttering process. Have you done this?

After you watch the video (you can read along with the transcript below), I’d love to know how you’ve started to simplify your life! Use the new English vocabulary from this lesson and share your answers with me.

Advanced English vocabulary and conversation starters for how to simplify your life.

Lesson by Annemarie

Advanced English Conversation on How to Simplify Your Life — Full Transcript

Hey, it’s Annemarie with Speak Confident English. This is exactly where you want to be to get the confidence you want for your life and work in English. Have you ever looked around your house and thought, where did I get all of this stuff? Why do I have so many things? Or maybe you didn’t really use that word stuff. Maybe you used one of these instead: crap, junk.

 I’m certain that you’ve had one of those moments where you felt that you had way too many things. Your life was chaotic and messy. You just wanted to throw away everything and get organized.

Not only is right now the time of year when a lot of us are swapping out our clothing because we’re in between seasons, but the whole art of simplifying your life is a hot topic everywhere right now. So whether you already follow a minimalist lifestyle or maybe you’ve already KonMaried your home, (if you’re not sure what it means to KonMari your home, we’re going to talk all about that in a moment), or maybe you’re just starting to think about how to get rid of or remove all the clutter in your house. This lesson is going to help you get the vocabulary you need and the kinds of questions you can ask to start conversations in English. I want you to know exactly how to talk about the same things that native speakers are talking about and the things that you are already interested in.

Let’s get started with this question. Have you KonMaried your home yet? To KonMari your home is a really new expression in English, but the truth is KonMari isn’t really a word in English. In fact, it’s the shortened reversed name of the author Marie Kondo, who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Have you read this book yet? It’s all about removing clutter from your home and from your life. Clutter is a word that we use to describe all the stuff that you have that you don’t really need. It just creates chaos and for those of us who want a simpler lifestyle, we often try to get rid of all that clutter to get rid of something means to throw it away or discarded.

In fact, that word discard is something you’ll see a lot in the English version of this book. Here are a couple of examples, sentences so you can hear exactly how we would use those words in English.

  • Number one: Over the weekend I got rid of a lot of clothes I don’t need anymore and I donated them to an organization.
  • Number two: Also, I discarded a lot of old notebooks that I just don’t anymore. In addition to those words to throw away, to get rid and discard.

We also have an expression to find something a new home. When we find something a new home, it doesn’t mean that we put it in the trash. We don’t throw it away completely. We give it to someone else who might want it or need it. So if you have a lot of books or clothing that you don’t need, you might donate them to someone else or to an organization that could really use them. And that is finding something, a new home.

Here’s an example of how I might use it. I have so many books that I love, but I really don’t need anymore, so I need to find them a new home.

Now, if you’ve done all of this, if you follow the KonMari lifestyle, then you could use expressions like:

  1. Over the weekend I KonMaried my home.
  2. It’s time for me to KonMari my life. I need to get everything in my life organized and remove all the clutter.
  3. Last week I tackled my mess and I decluttered my home. In this example, I use the verb to declutter, which means to remove clutter.

Now because of Marie Kondo and her book, there’s one more expression that has become really common in English. We use it in conversation and sometimes we even make jokes with it. That expression is to spark joy.

In the book, Marie Kondo says, you shouldn’t keep things that don’t spark joy, but what does that really mean?

I want you to think about how you feel just moments before your wedding or just moments before you go on your dream vacation or how do you feel when you walk into a home and someone is cooking something that smells amazing and all of those situations, your heart probably beats faster in a great way. You feel warm, excited, and wonderful inside.

That’s what it means to spark joy when something gives you those emotions very quickly.

So now you hear people often ask questions like, does this sweater spark joy for you? Do you really need it?

All right. Now that you’ve got some advanced vocabulary on the whole KonMari method, I want to talk about two more ways that you can work to simplify your life or live a less is more lifestyle.

That’s a great expression to know and it actually originates from the world of architecture and design. It’s the idea that simplicity and clarity lead to good design. So when we talk about a less is more lifestyle, it’s the idea that simplicity is going to lead to a better, more fulfilling life. And I’m curious, do you agree with that statement? Do you think that a less is more lifestyle is more fulfilling?

If you do, I’d love to hear about it and you can share a comment with me just below.

Earlier in this video I mentioned that now is the time of year when many people swap out their clothing. To swap out means to exchange one thing for another. So if you’re swapping out your clothing, you might be putting all of your summer clothes away because you don’t need them now, at least not where I live. And you’re getting all your winter clothes out of storage, all your sweaters and heavy clothing and this is the perfect time when you can begin to declutter and start creating a more, less is more lifestyle.

This is something I’m definitely doing right now and I’m contemplating a capsule wardrobe.

Have you ever heard that before? A capsule wardrobe. This is when you have a very small collection of clothing, just a few jeans, pants, skirts, sweaters, blouses and t-shirts and everything is very classic. It won’t go out of fashion. It’s not too trendy and as a result you can mix and match things very easily.

So even though you have a very small collection of clothing, you can create a lot of different outfits out of just a few pieces. This is a capsule wardrobe and I’m curious if you have one, have you gone through this process of removing a lot of things that you don’t need and have you created a capsule wardrobe? If you have, I would love your top tips on how to create a capsule wardrobe. As always, the best place to share your comments, questions and ideas with me is in the comments just below this video.

 The second way that we can work to begin simplifying our life and removing distractions so that we can be more present and focused is to start a digital decluttering process.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that this summer I went on a digital detox. I went away and I didn’t do anything with technology. I didn’t use my phone, no computers, no internet, and it was amazing.

Since that time I’ve been working to declutter my digital life. What that means is I’m removing or getting rid of all the emails I really don’t read or want to read. I’m unsubscribing from a lot of email lists. I have a lot of things on my computer, desktop images that I’ve saved or things that I found online that I’ve saved from the last 10 years of my life and I don’t need all of that stuff. So if I look at my computer, it just looks like a crazy mess. So I’m starting to remove a lot of those things so that when I open my computer, it looks simple, clean and organized.

I’m also being more careful about how much time I spend on social media because even though I love it, I have so many groups where I hang out with my students online. That part is really fun for me, but there are other things that are so distracting, so I’m trying to be more careful and I’m limiting how much time I spend online, particularly on social media. All of these things are part of the digital decluttering process.

Now that you have some new advanced vocabulary on the topic of how to simplify your lifestyle, let’s talk about a few questions that you could use to start conversations on this topic in English.

Number one, you can definitely ask other people, have you KonMaried your home yet or have you KonMaried your life? You might also ask someone are you into that whole KonMari thing?

I use that expression a lot to be into something are you into it and what that means is do you like it? Do you believe in it? Are you passionate about it? Are you into skiing? Are you into film or are you into the KonMari lifestyle?

Question number three is how often do you declutter your home or how often do you go through your closet and declutter it?

Number four, are you a pack rat or a less is more kind of person? What do you think a pack rat means? We know that someone who is a less is more person is into a simplified lifestyle without clutter. So the opposite is a pack rat. A pack rat is someone who collects lots of different things that they don’t really need and they never throw them away. So they just have a ton of stuff and crazy things all over their home.

And finally, the fifth question that you can use to start a conversation on this topic in English is do you believe in a less is more approach to life?

Now that you have the vocabulary and questions you need for conversations on a simpler lifestyle, I want to hear from you. This is your opportunity to practice some of the language that you’ve learned today.

So my first question is have you KonMaried your life or your home yet? If you have, I want to know all about it and be sure to use some of the vocabulary that we’ve talked about today.

My second question is what is your number one tip for creating a more simple, organized life? If you’ve done something that has really helped you, I really want to know about it because I’m trying to do all of those things right now as well.

So share your tips in the comments below.

If you found this lesson useful to you, I would love to know, and you can tell me in three simple ways.

Number one, give this video a thumbs up on YouTube and subscribe to this channel so you never miss one of my Confident English lessons. Number two, you can share this with friends and colleagues on Facebook, or if you have a friend who really loves talking about this topic, you can email this lesson as well. Thank you so much for joining me.

Have a fantastic week and I’ll see you next time for your Confident English lesson.

After you watch this video, I’d love to hear from you on this topic! 

I’ve got two questions for this week:

  1. So my first question is have you KonMaried your life or your home yet? If you have, I want to know all about it and be sure to use some of the vocabulary that we’ve talked about today.
  2. My second question is what is your number one tip for creating a more simple, organized life? If you’ve done something that has really helped you, I really want to know about it because I’m trying to do all of those things right now as well.

Share your answers with me below.

Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!

~ Annemarie

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