25 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 10 Minutes or Less

While we’ve established that simplicity is a practice and not a destination, there are practical things you can do every day to simplify your life. And the good news is, there are practical things you can do quickly.

25 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 10 Minutes or Less

Set a timer for 10 minutes. Choose any of the following tasks. Stop after 10 minutes. Then celebrate your simpler life.

  1. Donate any shoes you haven’t worn in a year.
  2. Write three thank you notes.
  3. Turn on soft music, lay down and close your eyes.
  4. Read this: How to Complain Less
  5. Remove any glasses, dishes, silverware, serving dishes or cooking utensils from the kitchen that you haven’t used in the last 6 months. Box it up and write “kitchen stuff: donate after 30 days” and then put it out of sight. If you miss something, go get it. If not, donate it.
  6. Open any email that you didn’t sign up for, or signed up for but don’t need/want/like anymore, scroll to the bottom of the email and click “unsubscribe”.
  7. Bring two small bags to your car. Fill one with trash and the other with anything that doesn’t belong in the car.
  8. Put the things you collected from your car where they belong.
  9. Read this: Get rid of the things that make you feel bad.
  10. Dump the contents of your junk drawer or desk drawers that you don’t open frequently into a paper bag. Close the bag. If you don’t need anything in the bag in 30 days … get rid of the bag and everything in it. If you do need something in the bag, remove it and put it where it belongs.
  11. Bring a box into your bathroom and fill it with anything that has expired or that you don’t use or that will be expired by the time you use it. Learn more about disposing of unused medications here.
  12. Donate all of your formal occasion dresses that you haven’t worn more than once. Yes, all of those dresses that you bought for something fancy and justified the purchase by saying, “I’ll be able to wear this again.”
  13. Read this: Reset to Zero.
  14. Clear as many counter tops as you can while still taking the time to put things where they belong. Have a donation box close by incase that is where they belong.
  15. Find capsule wardrobe inspiration on Pinterest.
  16. Remove all expired, stale, unwanted items from your pantry and refrigerator.
  17. RSVP with a “no thank you” to any requests that you’ve been sitting on for a week or longer. If you are still thinking about it, you aren’t excited to do it.
  18. Read this: Unthink Everything
  19. Unfriend your Facebook friends who aren’t your actual friends or delete your account.
  20. Turn off your phone and computer. Repeat.
  21. Store your books in the cloud.
  22. Read this: 12 Rules for Being Beautifully Human
  23. Write down how much money you are spending to store your stuff. Decide what you would rather do with that money every month.
  24. Empty the cabinet under your sink. Wash it and then only put things back that you use.
  25. Schedule all annual medical appointments like physicals, mammograms, dental visits or other routine medical things.

Any of these suggestions can help you move forward on your simplicity journey but don’t wait until you think you’ve arrived to experience the benefits of simplicity. Skip the guilt-dwelling, soul-sucking process of focusing on everything you didn’t do, or how far you still have to go.

  • If your closet is a disaster but your kitchen counters are free of clutter, celebrate that.
  • If your morning was stressful and hectic, but you were able to sit quietly for 20 minutes after lunch, celebrate that.
  • If you went to the mall and overspent on stuff you don’t need, but came home and filled a box with clothes that don’t fit you to donate, celebrate that. (And about your mall binge … You can return that. )

Turn your focus to the ways you’ve made progress on your simplicity journey and use the momentum of how that makes you feel to tackle the next thing.

Simplify and seize the joy!

 

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Comments

  1. Talia says

    What a fantastic list! So many helpful things you’ve listed.

    Thank you for taking the time to compile and share!

  2. Thomas says

    Ideed, a fantastic list how to move forward living more simple. This is rocketfuel for the journey. Thanks for compilation!

  3. Dawn says

    This is a wonderful list, but especially thank you for #25! So important, yet so often pushed to the bottom of my to do list until something routine turns into something big.

  4. says

    This is a great way to start managing anxiety as well. I have found that when we work to simplify our lives, our anxiety and stress levels decrease.

  5. Xanthi says

    Dear Courtney, 2014 so far sounds like your year!!!!you surprise us ,amaze us every single day, wowowowowowo, thank you so much for putting all of our thoughts,maybes, to dos or not to dos, in a simple yet so much inspiring list….Thank you

  6. says

    I really love this list! Thanks so much for posting it!

    #11 is going to be a tough one for me since I used to work in skincare and have so many products I don’t use yet am loathe to toss out!

    I’m in the process of moving at the end of this month (eek!), and I’ve found that minimalizing my life has made the packing process soooo much easier! I’ve been leaning on blogs like yours (especially this post!) to help me figure it all out. I’ve made 3 rounds through my closet in the last 3 weeks and I don’t think I’m done yet! :)

  7. says

    Thanks! I needed that! I’m still going through the links but the first one, How to Complain Less, was just the splash of cold water I needed! Feeling a bit sorry for myself and this article reminded me why complaining is not only self-defeating but self-fulfilling.

  8. says

    I popped over to read Reset to Zero and every night before i tuck myself into bed i try to make sure my kitchen is reset so when i get up it looks like the magic fairies have been and cleaned for me.

    I have spent 2 years clearing and cleaning 15 years of clutter and although there are some thing i need to keep, such as enough cutlery, crockery and glassware for when all my children and grandchildren come over i have just one shelf in my crockery cupboard where i have two of everything, which is enough for me and a friend.

    However minimalist living comes slowly in ever decreasing circles and with each sweep there is less to put back, but my weakness will always be books but i do have a home for them i just have to train them to return there when finished with.

  9. says

    Just done the car – that is one of my Friday jobs! It is astonishing what turns up in there.

    Fantastic list and lots of great links. Thank you.

  10. quent says

    Your blog is inspirationally fantastic. If I had anything left I’d chuck it. Now. You are a star.

  11. Marla says

    Courtney,

    I notice, in a discerning sort of way, that your blog keeps getting better and better. Wow, you’re rockin’ whatever you’re doing. Thank you for sharing your inspiration.

    Marla

    • dipti says

      i stumbled into your blog while looking for ways to get minimalist, and have been reading you since october 2013 –
      and and its almost like deja vu – i think and you key it for me, to read my thoughts my struggle my desires in your words – its eerie spooky but its very you cause you are living it and i am a lie . . .
      come 2014 i am moving from my comfort zone from a spectator to actually follow that voice in my head – many voices leading to a big noise – and your silent voice helping me to pick up the right thread and pull myself in the right direction, this note is out of gratitude and to seek your blessings to ensure that i stay sustained in this path that i am desiring to choose…

  12. Rose Cole says

    Thanks to you Courtney I am already doing a lot of the list, but now I am inspired to expand my goals for attaining the simple life and going even farther!
    Loved Reset to Zero. That is something I have learned to do the hard way, but it sure does work!

  13. says

    Thank you for the great advice! Sometimes it is daunting to think about the work involved in getting rid off stuff. But 10 minutes is manageable… If you do just 10 minutes a day imagine what you can accomplish in a month, or a year! And you’re so right about how should celebrate the small victories (instead of blaming ourselves for our shortcomings…). I think I will apply your 25 tips one by one, one per day (lucky for me, I can already cross some of them out, as already done! ;))

  14. says

    Hey Courtney,

    I love this!

    I have to admit that I have a problem with #21. I love simplifying things and constantly work at it – I tend to do so as I go along in life, constantly questioning how I can make things simpler (I love the famous Einstein quote: ‘Make it as simple as it can be and as complex as it needs to be’) – but I am somehow attached to books – even though I read everything on my Kindle.

    I have so many books that I will probably never read but I just might, plus I like the look, the feel, the possibilities that books have – I somehow feel romantically attached to them. Weird I know. Everything else, fine, but books have some extra meaning for me, even if I’ll probably never read them. I did give lots of my very favorite books away to my list recently – particularly because I have digital versions of all the best ones – but then I still have many, many books left – most of which mean something to me but wouldn’t to anyone else (e.g. lots of French books to practice my French – which are difficult to get digitally without paying full price for each one again).

    On #19, I’m a little sick & tired of Facebook actually, but on any social media, I’m happy to ‘connect’ with people who want to connect with me, just because I believe in networking, being open to ‘connect’ etc. – but my system is that as soon as I get some evidence that I’m just a number to that person, that they just want to pitch to me or that I’m going to get spammed (e.g. lots of invites from someone I don’t know to those ridiculous games) then I’ll disconnect/unfriend them.

  15. Flor says

    I have been facebook free since 2012 and never felt happier, the noise it produced in my life made me deaf to what is real, there is no substitute for meeting a friend at a coffee shop. People only put their best self in this digital world. Now i pick up the phone to call my cousin as oppose to checking her status.

  16. Johnd24 says

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful &amp it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me. bedeacedaeea

  17. Lois M says

    Thanks for all the wonderful, helpful advice. Dumpster number three is in the driveway, filled about three quarters. I still have clutter but LOTS has been removed with only a very few things missed and so far all very replaceable. I did not know how ‘attached’ I was to ‘stuff’ until I tried to let go of it. It is brutal (for me) but worth it. My mantra is: ‘I am not my stuff’, and my motto is: ‘This can be replaced by something new if need be’. This lets me throw it away (or donate but that is another explanation) and go forward with my mission which is to learn to live with less or no clutter.
    Courtney, you rock as the queen of clutter-free living! (and helping the rest of us get there too!) Thanks again for all the encouragement and advice.