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.
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Choose any of the following tasks. Stop after 10 minutes. Then celebrate your simpler life.
- Donate any shoes you haven’t worn in a year.
- Write three thank you notes.
- Turn on soft music, lay down and close your eyes.
- Read this: How to Complain Less
- 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.
- 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”.
- Bring two small bags to your car. Fill one with trash and the other with anything that doesn’t belong in the car.
- Put the things you collected from your car where they belong.
- Read this: Get rid of the things that make you feel bad.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Read this: Reset to Zero.
- 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.
- Find capsule wardrobe inspiration on Pinterest.
- Remove all expired, stale, unwanted items from your pantry and refrigerator.
- 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.
- Read this: Unthink Everything
- Unfriend your Facebook friends who aren’t your actual friends or delete your account.
- Turn off your phone and computer. Repeat.
- Store your books in the cloud.
- Read this: 12 Rules for Being Beautifully Human
- Write down how much money you are spending to store your stuff. Decide what you would rather do with that money every month.
- Empty the cabinet under your sink. Wash it and then only put things back that you use.
- 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!