Simplify Your Life with These 5 Strategies
Inside: 5 tips you can implement immediately to simplify your life + a free checklist template and worksheet to get you started.
Quick wins you can tackle now to simplify your life
I felt frazzled as I frantically dug through my closet, looking for my cute black heels.
Where were they? Had I tossed them? They should be here! Tucked in along with my boots and my flats.
It wasn’t like I had hundreds of shoes. My closet was fairly organized. So where were they?
I stopped and put my head in my hands to think. Then, it came back to me. In my recent attempt at minimalism, I tossed my black pumps right out the door.
Why? Because when you simplify your life, you get rid of things you don’t need, right?
One common rule of minimalism: if you haven’t used it or worn it within a specific amount of time, it has to go!
And according to Marie Kondo method, if it doesn’t bring you joy, you don’t keep it.
I mistakenly thought I wouldn’t need cute black pumps ever again. And those black pumps certainly didn’t bring me joy.
So I let go of them in “The Big Purge.”
But now, eight months later and with a job interview two days away, I really needed those shoes! Now, I would need a new pair.
So ultimately, my attempt at simplifying at home cost me additional time and money.
Why? Because I didn’t do it my way. I used filters that didn’t necessarily apply to me.
My black shoe situation helped me realize that simplifying my life was so much more than decluttering or becoming a minimalist.
I eliminated a lot of material things in my life, sure. But despite cleaning out my house, I was still frazzled. Overwhelm still kicked my tail.
Simplifying Your Life Is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Program
To simplify, it’s important to recognize and understand that it’s not a one size fits all approach.
You may want to simplify your life to save time. Or you may simplify to save money. Me? I simplify in many areas to save my sanity.
What I’ve learned from trial and error (a lot of trial and error,) is that the key to reducing stress and overwhelm is to simplify my entire lifestyle.
Some life stages and seasons need more simplification at different times.
And while there are various degrees to which you might need or want to simplify, the point is that to simplify our lives, we need to get rid of things we don’t need in many areas of life, not just our kitchens and closets.
Why Should You Simplify?
So many reasons.
You should simplify if you feel like you’re not getting it all done. (Which probably means you’re trying to do too much.
Or maybe you’re incredibly disorganized. You can never find what you need when you need it.
It may be that you’re not living your life with joy and purpose. You don’t feel fulfilled; you feel like a hamster on a wheel.
Simplifying your life can help you in numerous ways:
Manage Stress. When you simplify, you can better manage stress in your life. Cutting out things that cause strain and keep you scrambling will help eliminate additional stress.
Reduce Overwhelm. Creating a more simple lifestyle will reduce those overwhelming feelings that keep you full of fear and anxiety.
Increase Productivity. Simplifying will make you more productive so you can get more done. You’ll have more time when you eliminate things you don’t want or need. And you’ll get more done because you’ll be more efficient and won’t have a million things to do.
Save Money. When you’re organized, you save money. You’re not buying things you already have because you can’t find them when you need them. You don’t have late fees because you’re juggling too many bills or forgetting to pay them.
Enjoy Life More. Life is more fun and just better all-around when you’re not scrambling all the time and just trying to stay afloat.
Simplify Your Life on Your Terms
If you’re like me, you struggle with simplicity, because you think it has to be done perfectly, or according to someone else’s standards.
Maybe you get caught in the weeds and feel like a deer in headlights facing all of the things you’re supposed to do.
Or maybe you take everything literally and follow someone’s directions to the letter.
You might be the type of person that makes simplification complicated, so you need to start small.
If that sounds like you and the idea of simplifying your lifestyle sounds overwhelming, know that you can simplify your life on your terms.
I’m going to give you 5 quick wins to get started with simplifying your life.
These are just simple steps to get started if you’re looking for direction.
You can take what works and tweak or forget what doesn’t.
And be sure and download the free worksheet and mini-guide to start simplifying your life right away.
5 Quick Wins to Simplify Your Life Right Now
Change Your Mindset
While you can make definite headway in a few days, simplifying your life is going to be a process. Shift your mindset to understand it’s okay to take one step each day toward your goal. You don’t have to do it all at once. A plan to simplify should be simple!
Use 15 Minute Time Blocks to Get Things Done
Break up tasks into 15-minute increments. Reduce clutter, put filters on email, set up an auto-payment, etc. If you feel you don’t have time for these tasks, it’s a sure sign you need to! Make a list of items to complete. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish.
Prioritize Your Starting Point
What area of your life stresses you out the most? A room? Your finances? Your schedule? Start there. Clutter – any kind – takes up mental energy that you can use for more important things. Choose one place to get started and get going!
Keep a Donation Box
Even after making that first (or second) trip to the donation center, you will still come across stuff that needs to go. Keep a donation box in an out-of-the-way place so that you can toss things in as you find them. When the box is full, take it to your donation center.
Buy One, Toss One
Make a new rule: when you purchase a new item and bring it home, get rid of something you have. For example, if you buy new home decor, promise yourself you will get rid of another home decor piece you already have. This rule works helps you simplify and it cuts down on impulse shopping.
Going Deeper – Simplify Your Life Further
Once you feel good about your five quick wins to simplify your life, you can start thinking about some of these additional tips.
Note: take what you need from this list and never mind the rest. Or come back to that when you feel like you can make it work for you.
Simplifying your life is a process. Take on what you can and don’t try to be perfect in the process.
Be sure and download the checklist at the end of this post that you can use to start simplifying your life even further!
Where Else Can You Simplify?
Simplify at Home
- Declutter – eliminate items you no longer need or use. Need some help? Check out this post on decluttering sentimental items. Or read about how clutter affects your mind.
- Cleaning Schedule – Create a schedule for cleaning and doing household projects. Break up your cleaning schedule by room or area of the house and tackle one or two things each day, or allocate one day for all cleaning.
- Use a Planner – Use your phone calendar to set reminders and enter plans and commitments. Or use a printable planner if you like to keep lists and actually write things down.
- Meal Prep and Planning – Creating a menu for the week will save a lot of time and money. Plan each meal, create a shopping list to stay organized, then take a half-day to prep food for the week. Clean and cut produce, cook the meat for lunches ahead and pre-portion, etc.
Simplify Your Commitments
- Cut back on your to-do list. Stop doing so much. Seriously. Take a hard look at everything you think you have to do. Can anything be eliminated? Are you adding more to your plate unnecessarily?
- Kids activities. Limit them. Being overrun by kids’ activities is a big problem. Choose one or two and keep it at that. Exposing kids to a variety of activities is great, but don’t run yourself ragged and take the joy out of their growing up because you’re spread too thin.
- Volunteering your time. Serving others and volunteering is great and I highly recommend it. But sometimes you have to say no. If you’re sacrificing your peace of mind or your family’s well-being by adding more to your schedule this way. Stop. Or let something else go to make room for it.
- Social engagements. Maybe this one is easier for me to say no to because I’m an introvert. But letting go of extra social engagements can help simplify your life. Decide how many social outings you can reasonably accommodate and keep it to that number.
Simplify Your Relationships
- Eliminate toxic people. This means staying away from people that drain you mentally and emotionally. The ones that nag, complain, and/or ask too much of you. If they bring you down, if they make life harder, let them go.
- Spend time with people that bring value, lift you up, encourage and support you. Positive people will bring positive influence and joy to your life.
Simplify Your Technology
- Limit screen time and social media. Consider a social media detox, whether it’s for a month or just a few hours a day.
- Cut back on mindless TV. It’s fine to have your guilty pleasures and we all like to tune out and watch the weirdness of humans. But don’t get too bingy. Try to limit your time in front of the tube.
- Streamline your email with folders and delete emails you don’t need. If you need to unsubscribe to some, then do so. Too much email clutter takes up a lot of mental energy.
- Sign up for ebills to cut down on the paper clutter coming into your home and help keep you organized.
- Automate your payments so you don’t miss due dates and accrue late fees (and hurt your credit score!)
- Pay off debts as soon as you can so you don’t have them hanging over your head and causing stress.
- Implement the envelope system so you don’t overspend.
- Track your finances with a budget so you stay on track and don’t get overwhelmed with forgotten expenses or overspending.
Are you ready to go further with the steps to simplify your life?
Below is a checklist template you can download for free. Use it along with this post to prioritize where you will take action to simplify your life.