Simple living is often misconstrued as being boring and utterly devoid of material items that spark joy. And that’s a shame because anyone who has taken steps to declutter their life knows that the exact opposite is true. Having less stuff, fewer commitments and more time for things that are important to you can make you feel happier and less stressed.
That’s not to say that simple living is easy. Decluttering your life is a process, and a lengthy one at that. The key is to set realistic goals and take small steps towards simple, low-waste living. Read on for 12 easy ways to live more simply and create a life that brings health, happiness and contentment.
1.Conquer your clutter.
Decluttering is exhausting, we know. But you know what else is exhausting? Dealing with the lack of sleep and chronic stress caused by a cluttered home. To make the task of decluttering seem less overwhelming, start by tackling one area at a time.
Having trouble getting rid of stuff? Ask yourself this one, simple question: Does this item add value to my life and align with my morals, ethics and goals? If not, donate or properly dispose of it.
2.Simplify your recycling — say no to plastic.
Recycling can be incredibly complicated. There are so many rules on what you can and can’t recycle — plus, the rules vary from city to city. Why not limit the hassle altogether by going plastic-free whenever possible? Whether it’s grocery shopping with a reusable tote bag or washing your hair with plastic-free shampoo instead of bottled shampoo, there are plenty of smart ways to cut down on plastic. An added bonus? It can save you money!
3.Tame your social media use.
Social media is a huge time suck that steals your attention away from your family, friends and hobbies. If you aren’t ready to quit social media altogether, look for ways to limit your usage. Some ways to wean yourself off social media include disabling push notifications, setting a timer and deleting certain apps off your phone.
4.Start a capsule wardrobe.
If you have a weak spot for fashion, a capsule wardrobe is a game-changer. The idea is simple. For three months, you’ll wear a set number of basic clothes that can be mixed and matched to create a wide range of outfits. At the end of the three months, you’ll swap out that season’s clothes with pieces that are suited for the next season. A capsule wardrobe is a great way to buy less clothes, save money and help the environment — all while maximizing your style!
5.Automate, automate, automate.
Ever find yourself wishing that there were more hours in the day? While you can’t magically add more hours to the day, you can make the most of the hours you do have with automation. You can automate just about anything, from setting up autopayments for regular bills to keeping all of your digital devices synced to save time. If you have room in your budget, outsourcing tasks — like cleaning and grocery shopping — is another option that can help free up your time and mental space.
6.Pack an on-the-go kit.
Planning a weekend getaway? If you’re a forgetful person, consider packing an on-the-go kit with must-have essentials — like SPF lip balm, mini dental floss and a travel-friendly shampoo bar — well in advance of your trip. With a ready-made kit, you’re less likely to have that nagging feeling that you forgot something!
7.Learn to say no.
It feels good to help other people out, whether it’s taking on an additional project at work or volunteering with friends in your community. But if you feel obligated to say yes to every social event and work project, you’re going to get burned out — fast.
Rather than say yes right away, try this instead: “I’m interested, but let me check my schedule first.” This buys you a little more time to think about the request and, potentially, come up with a polite way to decline.
8.Seek out multi-purpose items.
Buying items that serve multiple functions is an easy way to reduce your possessions without sacrificing convenience in the process. For example, buying chairs that double as storage can maximize space and reduce clutter in your home. Vinegar is a magical ingredient that seems to have a million uses. And if you don’t own a crockpot already, get one! It can make almost anything, from tasty stews and spaghetti to cinnamon rolls and apple cobbler.
9.Unsubscribe from promotional emails.
Waking up to a cluttered inbox is stressful, especially when it’s full of emails urging you to buy more stuff you don’t need. Avoid the temptation altogether by unsubscribing from your promotional newsletters all at once with an unsubscribe tool such as Unroll.me or Mailstrom.
10.Keep your meals simple.
Do you ever stress about planning and preparing dinner? Go back to the basics. Using fewer ingredients in your meals can make cooking far more enjoyable while also saving you time in the kitchen. There are plenty of simple yet delicious recipes that are bound to please the entire family.
11.Use the ‘One In, One Out’ rule.
Decluttering your home is difficult, but the real challenge is keeping stuff from accumulating once again. To avoid filling your house with unnecessary items, follow one simple rule: anytime an item comes in, one must go out. This will help keep your living space clean and clutter-free.
If you can, make time for daily meditation. Mindful meditation is all about slowing down and focusing on the present moment, helping you savor life and live more simply. It’s packed with other benefits, too, such as reducing stress and improving sleep.
Live Life with Fewer Complications
These ideas are all good ways to start simplifying your life, but keep in mind that there is no universal way to pursue simple living. Some people think that limiting screen time is important to simple living, while others rely on digital devices to help them live simply. Figure out what works best for you and start simplifying gradually.