We could all use a little less distraction and more simplicity in our lives right? But how and where to start can be daunting. If you’re not quite sure how to create that simpler lifestyle you desire I’ve created a list of 10 things you can do right now to start on your journey to a more simple life.
Get rid of some (or a lot) of your stuff! I used to be quite proud of my organizational skills until I realized that all I was really doing was spending a lot of time moving the same stuff around. Now I declutter, which means purging and removing things that no longer serve me a purpose.
Start with an easy area first like your closet or kitchen. Then work your way to harder areas like sentimental items and photos. Ask yourself “does this item serve a purpose in my life or bring me joy”, if the answer is no then out it goes!
Once you get started decluttering your home it’s like a snowball effect that just keeps growing and growing. It’s become very therapeutic for me and like a weight has been lifted each time I make a trip to the local donation center.
2. Automate Your Bills
With online banking available right at your fingertips it’s so easy to set up automatic payments with virtually all of your bills. Set it and forget it! Just be sure to know when your bills are due to ensure you have enough money in your account. I do suggest having a monthly budget meeting to just go over your expenses and income, it’s also a great time to do some financial goal setting.
3. Clean Up Your Debt
I could go on and on about this one, but I won’t. You can read all about how to clean up your debt here using the cash envelope system. Debt can be a huge stress in our lives so make a plan to clear it up and move onward and upward. Imagine what your life would be like if you had no payments! I highly recommend checking out Dave Ramsey’s website or podcast to help you get on a plan to smash your debt. Take it up one step and attend his Financial Peace University classes to help not only your financial future but it can help your marriage/partnership in ways you never imagined! Check out how it helped us here!
4. Learn To Say No
If you’re like most people you feel obligated to do a lot of things you probably don’t want to do. Invites to parties, endless appointments, and gatherings of all sorts tend to keep us overstretched and entirely too busy. Realize that you don’t have to say yes to everything that comes your way. Take a month off from everything non-essential, just say no and relax. It’s okay to have a blank calendar every now and again, and it’s okay to stay at home in your pajamas drinking a glass of wine rather than going to another event you really didn’t want to go to in the first place.
5. Meal Plan
Living in America we are inundated with choices. Everywhere we go we have hundreds of thousands of choices to make each day. Did you know that the average grocery store carries over 47,000 products on its shelves??? That’s insanity! I don’t need to choose from 214 different cereals, I just want like 2 or 3 choices (as long as they are organic, non-gmo, vegan, and have ingredients I can understand and read haha). Too many choices can result in “decision fatigue” that can lead to poor decision-making. So I recommend creating lists for household products you love and especially when it comes to meal planning. This keeps you focused on getting only what you have written down and it also makes trips to the grocery store less time-consuming. Before you hit up the store just jot down what meals you plan on making that week and write down what you need to purchase, it doesn’t have to be exact with every single ingredient but just a general guideline will help you tremendously, plus it will save you money by purchasing unnecessary items.
6. Embrace Mindfulness
Mindfulness simply means living in the here and now, the present moment. Not worrying about the future or obsessing over the past. Being present and aware of whatever it is you are doing. When eating just eat, really taste the food and the flavors. When taking a shower feel the water as it touches your skin. So much of our daily routines are on autopilot as our minds wander from thought to thought so by taking those moments and being fully in them will help you appreciate them. Establishing a meditation practice will also help alleviate stress and can increase your overall happiness.
7. Routine Tidy Up Time
I love a tidy home, I feel like I cannot relax if there are things out of place or dirty dishes or a pile of laundry. I may try to sit down and do something I enjoy but the chores are looming in my head and keeping me distracted so I’ve learned that by doing a quick 10-15 minute tidy up every day helps. This means that instead of tossing all my stuff down in one place when I get home from work I take the extra second to put things back where they go. Just doing a quick walk through each day to put stuff where it belongs can help keep your home tidy and not turn into your entire weekend into taking care of household chores.
8. Make Your Own Household Products
Now I know this sounds the opposite of simple but I promise you that once you get started with a few basic ingredients its super simple! Check out my tips on using essential oils for all of your household cleaning needs here. It’s much cheaper and better for the environment and your health if you use all natural products that you can create for pennies on the dollar. Baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and castile soap can do wonders on an entire house!
9. Get An Instant Pot
This one seems a little silly among some of the other things on this list but I’ve recently discovered the world of the Instant Pot and I have got to say I love it! It has helped simplify meal time immensely! It is one of the easiest ways to cook meals, it’s basically a crock pot on speed. Being vegan I used to buy tons of cans of beans but with an instant pot you can literally put dry unsoaked beans into the Instant Pot and viola, in about 45 minutes you can have a fresh batch of cooked beans, and they taste sooooo much better than the canned ones. I will make a batch of beans and rice to use throughout the week for various dishes. We use our Instant Pot multiple times a week, making everything from soups, stews, lasagna, quinoa bowls, etc. Vegan or omnivore there are tons of ways to incorporate easy meals.
10. Turn Off Notifications
Our phones are a constant distraction to us. Americans pick up their phones over 80 times a day, spending on average 2 1/2 hours each day on them! By turning off all notifications you will not be as tempted to pick up your phone with each ding or alert you hear. Imagine what you could accomplish by cutting your phone usage in half, you would have over an hour of extra time each day to spend doing something you say you “wish you had more time to do”. I turned off all the notifications on my phone a couple of years ago so I don’t get any social media notifications, no email notifications, nothing. The only things I get now are phone calls and text messages (which I’ve actually debated whether to turn those off too but haven’t pulled the plug on yet) so that my time spent on my phone is more intentional, not just picking it up every time there is a new notification.
There’s so many other ways to help you create a more simple streamlined life, these are just a handful of ideas to get you started. Let me know what you think or what are some things you have incorporated in your life to make it more simple?