There are many ways to simplify your life but if you try to do them all at once, you will complicate your life. I used to try to do everything all at once so I know what’s it’s like to feel inspired and jump into a big change. Every time I did it, I seemed to give up, exhausted mid-way through. Consider one change at a time and give it as much time as it needs. Take the pressure off and change the way you change.
In this article, I’m going to share 24 ways to simplify your life and while I think they are all helpful and significant, they may not all be for you. These 24 ways to simplify your life definitely won’t work if you try to do them all at once. If I’m being repetitive it’s because I had to be reminded over and over again for years before I finally started honoring my own time and energy availability.
I used to go for the do it all or die trying approach and I usually ended up burning out and not doing anything very well. Once I started to focus on one thing at a time, I had more energy, attention, and commitment to see things through and discover the benefits.
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to simplifying your life, review these ways to simplify your life and be selective. Ask yourself, “What do I want less of in my life?” and “What do I want more of in my life?” The answers to the these questions will help you know where to start. If you still aren’t sure, take a look at the different elements of your life and identify what causes you the most stress. It might be clutter, health, money, work, relationships or something else. It may even be all of those (it was for me) but still one was always the most stressful. Simplifying the most stressful thing naturally removes stress from the other stuff too.
Try one or more of these 24 ways to simplify your life.
You can simplify your life in lots of different ways. Here’s a helpful list, and another, and another. While it can be inspiring to get different ideas, when too much input starts to feel overwhelming, go with what you know, what you are curious about and simply start somewhere. You can always come back to the other stuff.
Some of these ways to simplify your life may need a month of focus or more, and others just a few minutes. Choose the one thing that will best serve you right now and give it your attention instead of diluting your efforts by trying to do all of them at once.
1. Under Schedule Your Life.
Traditional advice will tell you if you want more hours in the day, get up earlier but I know most of you are getting up as early as you can. If you want time to simplify and consider what to hold on to and what to let go of, it’s time to review your planners, calendars and to-do lists. Look at your kid’s activities too. Start by creating an extra 30 minutes a day by removing or delaying any non-essential commitments or appointments. Review again in three months and see if you carve out another 30 minutes so you have a bonus hour each day.
2. Curate your social feeds.
Review your social media accounts and unfollow pages and different people that make you feel bad or don’t support how you want to feel. Add more simplicity inspiration by following me here on Instagram or Facebook. If you can’t slow your scroll or you feel depleted from time spent on social media, delete apps from your phone and take a break from the internet.
3. Simplify your closet with Project 333.
A new season of minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 begins on January 1st. In my experience, a simple closet is the gateway to a simple life. Once you experience the benefits of simplicity in your wardrobe, you’ll want it everywhere. Here’s how to get started. Creating a capsule wardrobe removes decision fatigue, reduces expenses and long-term, will change your relationship with stuff and shopping.
4. Create a morning routine.
If you aren’t a morning person, call it a wake-up routine. Simple routines give you time to take care of yourself. Set aside the chores, hobbies and different things that pull your attention away from the way you want to practice self care. Choose a few things that feed your heart and practice them for a little while each day. You might include journaling, walking, meditating, enjoying a tea or coffee while you send love letters to your best friends or something else. You can’t do this wrong. Choose activities for a morning and/or evening routine and see how it feels to prioritize you.
5. Start a shopping ban to simplify your life.
Stop shopping for a while. You can’t shop your way out of the pain of the past, or shop your way into a secure future. Instead come back to right now. Do you have everything you need for today? If you feel bad about overspending, try these judgment-free ways to change your shopping habits.
6. Don’t be so attached to your stuff.
When it comes to ways to simplify your life, this takes the least amount of time and has a big impact. If you have trouble letting go of something because of the feelings you’ve attached to it, hide it for 30 days. If you don’t miss it, let it go. I recommend hiding an entire bag or box of things that you aren’t sure about because someone gave it to you, or you spent a lot on it or you think you need it “just in case” — all of these thoughts are valid but they are a reaction to your emotional attachment from seeing the items all the time. The saying, “out of sight, out of mind” applies here.
7. Journal your thoughts to simplify your mind.
Embrace journaling and move your swirling thoughts from brain to paper. It’s easy to believe everything we think and to worry ourselves in circles unless we move the thoughts into real words on paper. That process will simplify your mind and your life. If you don’t know where to start, here are some journaling prompts.
8. Take back your inbox.
If checking your email turns information consumption into information overload, consider a different approach. Set 2X a day to check email and when you open your inbox, click “select all” and uncheck anything you want to read. Delete the rest. This will free up time you spend on your desktop or device and get you out of your inbox and into your life.
9. Reclaim your right to rest.
If you didn’t get the memo, please take note: You do not have to earn your rest or work really hard to deserve it. I know we had that mixed up for a while but now (as one of the most powerful ways to simplify your life), it’s time to embrace these 10 rules and reclaim your right to rest.
10. Make room to be happy.
If you’ve been holding on to things that make you sad, like clothes that don’t fit, a gift from an x, or artifacts from a past life that don’t lift your heart, let them go. If they offer nothing but sadness, when you let go, you’ll make space for light and joy. You’ll make room to do things that make you feel happy. Start by letting go of these 7 things for a happier life.
11. Get some peace around money.
I spent most of my adult life in debt. Some of that debt was my carelessness and some was necessity. As a divorced mom, struggling to make ends meet, I couldn’t see a way out of debt. It took me several years to become debt-free (and that was with a partner and a more income). I know it’s not easy but the peace I have felt since makes me know it’s worth it. Start slowly with a debt-free plan. This will help. P.S. Don’t take advice from experts who shame you.
12. Put a stop to the go, go, go.
When you find yourself rushing around getting things done all day, stop. Take a timeout and go for a walk, ride your bike, make a special lunch, or engage in a creative non-work activity, I produce better work, and feel healthier and more energized when I take thoughtful breaks instead of pushing through. Try some of these 99 inexpensive ways to slow down.
13. Declutter to simplify your home.
Simplicity is not all about decluttering, but getting rid of what doesn’t matter, helps you to discover what does. Start with these 5 ten-minute decluttering projects. You don’t have to declutter everything at once. Start with one shelf or one drawer. Of all the ways to simplify your life, this is one you’ll come back to again and again. Take simple steps and go slowly. These tiny tasks will help you declutter your home too.
14. Get creative to have fun and relax.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to simplify your day is to make something. Write a poem, start a book, get out the finger paints and a big piece of paper, and express yourself. Make. Create. Enjoy the process with no expectations.
15. Simplify digital photos and piles of paper.
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with simplifying and organizing digital photos, this monthly routine will help. Go paperless. Being less frustrated with paper doesn’t mean organizing it, it means getting rid of most of it. Scan the stuff you need and let go of the rest. Here are 2 questions that will help you let go of your paper clutter.
16. Release Regret.
When we are living in the sadness and disappointment of regret, it’s likely we’ll make other decisions that we’ll eventually regret. This list of things we’ll regret when we are older may bring light to some things you want to consider now to avoid a build up of regret later.
17. Do absolutely nothing.
You might be surprised that this is one of the ways to simplify your life. You may want to do nothing for a couple of reasons. First, if you are very content with the way things are for you right now, you may want to ignore the other recommendations and simply do nothing. Or, if you’ve been doing too many things or trying to change in too many ways, doing nothing may be the thing that simplifies your life the most. If seeking is overshadowing your seeing, choose nothing today. Sometimes your soul needs time to just hang out with your heart, and your truth.
18. Turn towards gratitude.
Shift your attention from what you want to what you have. Use gratitude and presence to appreciate what is right in front of you.
19. Reset your home.
Every day, or at least once a week, take a few minutes and reset your home. Start with your surfaces and enjoy a clear desk, kitchen table and countertops. Put away things you aren’t using. As you pare down, declutter and embrace simple living, resets will take less and less time.
20. Let nature simplify your life.
Get outside. Go for a walk, lay down in the park, or take a hike. Getting outside and connecting with nature helps to simplify and renew. If you can’t go outside, take a care of a plant.
21. Turn off your phone.
There are lots of tips and tricks to reduce screen time, but the one the works the fastest with the least amount of effort is turning off your phone whenever you can. If you can, leave it at home when you go out once in awhile.
22. Create a simple meal plan.
Every Sunday, Friday or another day that works for you, make a simple meal plan and a list for grocery shopping. I avoided meal planning because I thought it would take too much time but it actually saves me a lot of time. I choose the same breakfast and lunch all week to keep it really simple and plan 5 dinners. Sometimes I’ll try a new recipe or I’ll stick with some of my favorites.
23. Help someone else.
Life gets complicated when we can’t stop thinking about ourselves; our needs, our struggles, our pain. If you are caught up in that, the quickest way to shift out is to give. Think about someone else. Ease their pain. Look for volunteer opportunities in your community or give to an organization you care about. I give here.
24. Join me and a beautiful simplicity community.
Join The Simplicity Space. This membership program is designed to help you simplify your life with a supportive (not on Facebook) community, live Gatherings with me and weekly inspiration to add meaning and joy to the changes you are making in your life. Learn more here and sign up to be notified when we open again in January.
I can’t wait to hear which ways to simplify your life resonated with you the most! Use the momentum from completing your one thing to fuel the next. Create a ripple effect of simplicity that turns into waves of space, time, ease, joy, and love.