Tiny Ways to Simplify Your Life

I love a simple life. It's actually a bigger process than you would think to get to the simple life that I have now - it's really not the norm today, so you're kind of fighting against the mainstream if you want to really embrace a wholly simple life. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing, because I love even just small moments of added simplicity. And that can be an excellent place to start, since it'll avoid the overwhelm of trying to overhaul everything at once. So today I have some tiny ways to test out simplicity in your life. Each one, on it's own, may not dramatically change your life, but added together they really can have a big impact.

Clean out your phone. Unused apps drive me bonkers, I'm the delete queen. You gotta earn your place on my screen. Visual clutter is still clutter and it leads to mental clutter and anxiety. The more you have to swipe and search for what you actually need, the more frustrated you get. Sometimes without knowing it right away, because the pattern is so ingrained as normal. Break the pattern. Spend 5 minutes deleting apps you haven't touched in months.

Unfriend and unfollow. This is the best way to simplify and also increase your personal happiness. Don't bother with people you haven't spoken to since high school or influencers who make you feel bad or guilty. Only follow content that inspires and uplifts. Your feed will be so much better for it and you'll likely waste less time on your phone. Which is good, because the next tip is to:

Limit screen time. There's a screen time feature on your phone and it's eye-opening, to say the least. We all have no idea how much time we're truly spending on that little device, which isn't even accounting for computer and television hours. And then times that number by 7? That's how many hours a week we waste on phones. It's usually brutal. Set a goal to work towards of a much lower number and then decrease each day until you hit it. There's even options now to limit by app. My instagram is set for 20 minutes and after I hit that 20 minute mark, it locks the app and I have to intentional decide whether it's worth it to ignore that limit and unlock it. It's usually not.

Make use of smart home tech. We have a security system, camera, electronic keypad entry, and smart thermostat, to name a few. Which can all be accessed from our phones, making it so easy to make adjustments. They also make adjustments themselves, like the thermostat which adjust the temperature if no one is home to be more energy efficient. Again, just so much less to think about and keep track of.

Delete, organize, and backup. I'm talking tech here still, and namely your computer. And delete is first for a reason. Stop wasting time scrolling through useless photos and downloads to find the one thing you're looking for. Delete the extra files and 15 of the same but slightly different pictures of your dog (guilty). Once the delete is done, organize what's left. Label it properly, put it into folders, whatever you need to do to get it sorted. And then backup anything important. If you've never done this, it'll be time consuming at first, but after the initial purge and sort, it's just a matter of keeping up with it. So schedule it regularly into your calendar as a task and then utilize the next tip to:

Set reminders. If you're constantly late or forgetting things, use the reminder feature on everything you schedule into your calendar. I use google calendar for this. When you enter the event, you can set the reminder to go off at any time prior. I set it a week before for birthdays in case I want to mail a card or gift, and the day before for any doctors appointments so I am sure to be up and out the door on time (I always pick the first of the day appointment, less chance of the doctor running behind and having to wait a long time.)

Deal with mail as it comes. I cannot stress this one enough. Mail piles are evil, don't let it happen - they get out of control in mere minutes and attract a whole extra pile of junk next to it. You'll start to miss important messages and bills and deadlines so if you're going to do anything, make it dealing with the mailing as soon as it comes. Get rid of junk mail (remove yourself from as many lists as you can), make the appointment it's reminding you of, pay the bill. Just take care of it daily.

Spend less time cleaning. I think we all have some unrealistic expectations about home cleaning. It doesn't need to be spotless at all times - you live in the space, that would be impossible. But these expectations cause us to create these super detailed systems for making sure every inch is cleaned frequently. But... maybe too frequently. I hate to sound like a celebrity talking about kids' bath time, but it's true - clean it when it's dirty. Not to the point of gross build up, but there's surfaces I do not dust every week because even on week two, there's no dust! Why would I do a job that doesn't need to be done? No sense making more work for yourself.

Put clothes away immediately after folding. The laundry trap is real and they will sit out forever if you don't implement the immediately rule. If you have time to take them out of the dryer, you have time to fold or hang things and put them away. It does not take as long as you think it does (and if it does, you're doing laundry too infrequently and/or have too many clothes.) To make this work, schedule the time in to do the laundry when it's convenient (from start to finish, letting it sit in the dryer overnight does you no favors in terms of wrinkles and actually makes everything harder), and then fold the clothes on your bed - can't go to sleep at night until the items are put away properly.

Use a color palette. Speaking of having less clothes, try making a capsule wardrobe by sticking to a color palette. All you need are 5 to 7 colors that you know look good on you and only get items in those colors. That way, everything in your closet can be mixed and matched. And it's easier to do laundry, because all your like colors will be washed together.

Practice packing light. This applies to trips and your every day purse (I'll be showing the contents of mine in a couple weeks). It's literal weight you're carrying around and often for no reason as most of it won't be used. So think hard about your actual plans and intentions before leaving the house and pack accordingly. Then, it won't feel like such a burden.

Stick with what works. There will always be a new 'best' product, but the best product is the one that you stick with and know works for you. This applies to makeup, skincare, clothing brands, cleaning products, and everything else. If you use it consistently already and you know that it works, stop the search and the accumulation and enjoy what you already know is the best for you.

Create healthy meal formulas. So many people struggle with meal planning, but I find that's because they're making it too hard. Instead, try a simple meal formula. Sort of like a capsule wardrobe but for your plate. The idea is having food basics that you mix and match to create a meal. A popular one is simple: a meat, a grain, and a vegetable on your dinner plate. For grains/starch, you may have rice or potatoes, for vegetables you might have broccoli or asparagus, and for meat you might have chicken or steak. (Or swap your favorite vegan options for protein in!) Make a list of your favorites in each of the three categories, and really you don't need more than 5 choices. Then you mix and match to create different meals every night, but the process of making decisions and shopping is suddenly so much easier.

Make annual and semi-annual payments. Not all bills can be paid this way, but some can, like car insurance. It can save money since companies will offer an incentive to pay all those months upfront, but regardless of savings, it's just one less thing to think about every single month.

Ditch the work commute. I think everyone realized in the past year and a half how many jobs can be done remotely. Not having a commute is a huge way to simplify and bring peace to your day. Work from home if you can or consider moving closer to your job if you can't. Not feasible for everyone, but if you can do this, it's so worth it.

Do you use any of these tiny ways to simplify your life? Which others would you add to the list that have changed things for the better for you?

Post a Comment