I've been striving to simplify my life for more than 20 years, and for the last 18 months I've been writing about it. I've learned that little changes in our environment, habits, and attitudes can have a big impact.
So I thought I'd compile a list of ways to simplify. Of course, not every item on this list will work for every person who reads it. But I hope that you will find something that inspires a change, however small. I'd love to help you save time, space, energy, or money, and to show you ways to find more serenity and satisfaction every day.
Part 1 - Around the House
1. Ditch the TV (or simply turn it off).
If you're like the average viewer, you could save well over 100 hours every month, leaving you with time to do things that add value to your life. And as a bonus, less exposure to commercials makes it easier to buy less, leaving you with more money and less clutter.
2. If you do watch TV, save it for after dinner.
Don't turn it on as background noise or "for company," and give your family time for distraction-free dining.
3. Cancel magazine subscriptions.
Read the content online, and avoid accumulating a pile of reading material.
4. Read news online.
Ignore the sensationalism of TV news, choose a trusted source, and save time and trees by reading only the articles that interest you.
5. Stream music and movies.
Eliminate clutter and have easier access to entertainment.
6. Use the library.
Whether you borrow physical books or e-books, you can learn, relax, connect, and be inspired every day without increasing your belongings.
7. Get rid of excess furniture.
Give yourself more room, and get more use and enjoyment from the pieces you keep.
8. Get rid of excess décor.
Save time dusting, and put space around each item so it gets the attention it deserves, rather than going unnoticed in a crowd.
9. Don't start collecting.
A collection is like an organism – it grows. Don't feed this habit! Save money, avoid clutter, and put your time and imagination toward something more worthwhile. Remember that one high quality item can stand in for a multitude of dust-catching knickknacks.
10. Go green.
You may be fortunate enough to have a tree right outside your window, but it's a good idea to bring some nature inside as well. Many studies show that indoor plants reduce stress, CO₂ levels, and airborne dust. Don't create an indoor jungle, but a few easy-care plants such as sansevieria, aloe, pothos, dieffenbachia, peace lily, or English ivy will calm and beautify your home.
11. Don't just put it down, put it away.
A lot of clutter represents procrastination. Put things away when you're finished with them – it takes a lot less effort than cleaning up piles of stuff later on.
12. Make a place for everything.
Save time finding things and putting them away.
13. Clean as you go.
Wipe up spills, take care of little messes before they become big ones, and live in a cleaner home every day.
14. Practice "one in, one out."
When you purchase something new, don't keep the item you're replacing.
15. Do regular purges.
Take 15 minutes every week for every family member to remove clutter. Make it a light-hearted ritual rather than a heavy-handed punishment.
16. If you don't remember it, it can go.
As a rule of thumb, if you "discover" something you forgot you had, donate or toss it. If you were able to live without it before, it's safe to say you don't need it.
17. Store hobby items in designated containers.
Keep all supplies together so they're on hand when you need them, and easy to clean up and store.
18. If you start a new hobby, drop an old one.
You time is finite. If you're putting your efforts toward something new, remove equipment and supplies that will otherwise sit in a closet.
19. Place a limit on toys.
Reduce arguments, stress, and overwhelm and increase peace, contentment, and creativity by limiting the number of toys your children own. Keep favorites and items that are transformative and open ended (such as art supplies, building toys, and pretend/role play items). Remove the rest.
20. Figure out your best laundry schedule.
Save time, water, and energy by washing full (but not jam-packed) loads, but don't leave yourself with huge piles to do all in one day. Better to run a load every day or two, if needed.
21. Wash towels less often.
Don't just use a towel once and then put it in the laundry. You're clean when you use it, after all. Always hang towels between uses so they dry properly and don't get musty.
22. Keep everything off the floor.
This is an easy cleaning rule – nothing belongs on the floor except rugs and furniture. It's so much easier to vacuum, too.
23. Create a working entry.
Ditch the morning ritual of a frenzied search for your keys or sunglasses. Consider a hook for keys, a tray for the mail, a small bulletin board for a calendar or reminders, a mirror for last-minute appearance checks, and a table to anchor it all.
24. Make your bed.
It's the focal point of your bedroom, and it can either be a mess that says you don't care, or a neat and pretty spot that sets the tone for your house and your day.
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
to be continued...
Photo by Minette Hand on Apartment Therapy