20 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE AND CREATE MORE EASE AND SPACE
Modern life can be busy and complex but this doesn’t mean that we’re any happier or more fulfilled. If you’re looking for ideas on how to create more ease and space, here are 20 ways to simplify your life. Little steps to take the pressure off daily life and free you up for other things!
WHY LIFE GETS COMPLICATED
As we go through life it tends to become more complicated. Many of us are juggling family, work, a busy schedule, bills to pay and a daily list of things to do.
Our home, schedule, heart and mind fill with stuff and our focus is drawn away from the things we want to do towards the things that we have to do.
Life can feel complicated and overwhelming. How lovely it would be to press the pause button every now and then so you can slow things down and catch your breath (or catch up on housework or your To Do list).
However, that’s not so easy when you’re being pulled in different directions and it seems like everybody and everything needs your attention right now. Let’s be real here, simplifying life isn’t easy!
HOW TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
From every angle, modern life encourages us to do more, be more, achieve more, spend more. We end up trying to do ‘all the things’ and then wonder why we feel tired, stressed out or stuck on auto-pilot as one day drifts into the next.
If this feels familiar, I encourage you to pause and think…
- How do you really feel about your life and the days that make it up?
- Are you busy doing the right things? What would you like to be doing instead?
- Do you feel happiness and joy or unsettled and without focus?
When we’ve got a lot on our plate and feeling overstretched, then perhaps it’s time to find ways to slow down and seek a little space and ease – instead of just more chasing, stress and frustration.
Simplifying your life is about focusing on what’s important to you. It’s about finding easier ways to do the things that you have to do and giving yourself more wriggle room for the things you want to do.
Simplicity isn’t a magic wand for an easy life, but in my experience, it definitely makes things easier.
20 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
In this article I’d like to share some practical tips which have helped me simplify my own life.
Some of the suggestions are easy and quick, others may take a little more time to put in place or take effect. Just pick and choose whichever appeals the most to you and give them a go!
I’ve included some links to further reading or resources which I think might be helpful to you.
1. Simplify your meals
Once a week take a look at your calendar so you know what’s happening for the following week. Make a simple meal-plan based on that, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners for everyone in the family. Decide which meals you’re going to cook, write a shopping list for what you need and take it with you to the shops or order online for home delivery at a time that’s convenient to you.
2. Simplify your home
Your home is where you and your family want to relax and recharge. If your home is cluttered or untidy it’s more likely to be a burden on your time and stress you out. Think about decluttering your home, create some space and make it easier to manage with less effort needed from you. There are some amazing benefits of a decluttered home which many of us can appreciate far beyond just having less stuff to look after! For decluttering projects and tips to get started check out these 100 things to get rid of today to declutter your home.
3. Simplify your clothes
Every day we make thousands of decisions, big and little. One of the first of these decisions is deciding what to wear each morning. Make it quicker and easier to choose your clothes and be comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing by purging your closet and decluttering your clothes. For little tips on clearing out your closet, loving your clothes and finding a style that suits you, check out this post on how to declutter clothes in 10 easy steps.
4. Say no sometimes
If somebody asks you to do something you don’t want to do, or don’t have time to do, or isn’t in line with your priorities and values, then say no if you can! This is your time and how you choose to spend it is up to you. Saying no doesn’t mean it’s no forever, it could just mean ‘not today.’ Remember that every time you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you’re saying ‘no’ to something else. Always ask yourself what’s a priority for you right now?
5. Simplify your paper clutter
Set up a simple filing system in a cabinet, box, drawer, or even just a folder where you can keep all your important documents. Use clearly labelled dividers to separate out the paperwork by subject. Keep it somewhere safe and secure. Scan any documents for which you don’t need to keep the originals and save these onto your pc or cloud drive, again in separate, clearly labelled folders. Once a week, go through any piles of paper that have built up around the home and take a photo, file or shred the paperwork. For more tips on getting organised, check out this post on 25 ways to be more organised.
6. Own less
Sometimes we accumulate so much stuff that our stuff ends up owning us. It takes up our time, drains our energy and weighs heavy on our hearts. If you have a lot of stuff in your life, let’s see if we can simplify things for you. Try these decluttering tips for hoarders, these 20 reasons to own less stuff or where to start decluttering if you struggle to begin.
7. Simplify your time
Your time is precious but it’s easy to spend it like water! I don’t think we should be productive every second of the day because we all need time to just relax and recharge. However, I do think that whatever we do and however we choose to spend our time should be adding value in some way wherever possible. Think about your days and schedule, is there anything that you could postpone or say no to for now? Find the value in being less busy and give yourself more wiggle room. Prioritise what needs to be done and be more aware of the little things we all do which waste our time.
8. Define your priorities
Most of us have bills to pay, work, family and friends. Juggling the demands of modern daily life gives us little space for anything else. Defining your priorities means working out what’s most important in your day, your month, your life and focusing your time, energy and attention on these things. When we don’t choose our own priorities, life has a habit of choosing them for us! Assess your life, identify the really important things and the things that matter most to you (not just what’s on your To Do list) and focus your attention on these. Let go of what’s not a priority for right now and take heart in knowing that you don’t have to do ‘all the things.’
9. Simplify your finances
Simplify your finances to make it easier to keep on top of how much you’re spending each month and avoid the build-up of stacks of paper and forgotten bills to pay. Choose a quiet time when you’re unlikely to be interrupted and go through your income and outgoings for each month. Allocate what you can to a savings account, reduce unnecessary spending and make a plan to clear any debt. Switch to paperless billing, automate your payments where possible and create a monthly budget which you stick to. Try this post for more ideas on how to simplify your finances or this one on minimalism and money for ways that minimalism can help you save money.
10. Simplify your evenings
Create an evening routine that really supports you. Do a few little things to prepare for the next day so you’re not rushing around in the morning. Then focus on yourself and unwinding from today. Choose activities that relax and calm you so you’re more ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. Check out this post on how to create a simple evening routine that works for you, or how to make your bedroom into a sanctuary!
11. Simplify your mornings
Waking up a little earlier in the mornings has helped me so much. It gives me some precious quiet time to read my book, or enjoy my first cup of tea of the day in peace. As Henry Ward Beecher reminds us, “the first hour of the morning, is the rudder of the day.” Create a simple minimalist morning routine of your own that gives you a head-start on your day and sets the tone for how you’d like the rest of that day to go.
12. Simplify your health and fitness
I find that if I keep things simple then I’m much more likely to achieve them. Too complicated and it becomes unrealistic and off-putting. I think this applies to many things in life, but particularly when it comes to my health and fitness! Choose healthy meal options where possible, walk daily, get enough sleep. Cut down on stress and props to relieve that stress, such as too much sugar or alcohol. You don’t need to run a marathon or yoyo diet. Small but consistent steps are much more practical and sustainable for most of us.
13. Declutter your mind
A cluttered mind is one that’s not only full of thoughts and knowledge but also full of things to remember, worries and problems. Check out my post on how to declutter your mind to create a little emotional and psychological space. A decluttered mind helps you focus on what’s important, avoid distractions and helps you find clarity on how you’re really feeling. Your brain is meant for much more than just remembering the tiny details of daily life. Pop your thoughts and to do lists down on a notepad or in the notes section on your phone and give your brain a breather! Your mindset is key to getting more out of life.
14. Your relationships
Many of us have experienced relationships that feel a little one-sided or that are draining and difficult. Declutter the relationships in your life which aren’t built on mutual love, strength and support. It doesn’t mean you have to be rude or unkind, just find a way to maintain the relationship in a way that benefits and respects you both. Dedicate your time to nurturing the healthy, mutually supportive, real relationships that add true value to your life. Here are some tips to help you bond with your partner as just one example.
15. Simplify your self-care
If you have a lot on your plate, it’s all too easy to put yourself at the bottom of the priority list. When you do have time for self-care, it’s often too little, too late. Instead, think about some simple ways you can make looking after yourself a regular part of your routine. It doesn’t have to be costly, time-consuming or complicated. Little changes and a few minutes to yourself can make the world of difference. Try these simple self-care ideas that will take 10 minutes or less.
16. Prioritise happiness
Life has its ups and downs for all of us but how you think about things has a large part to play in how you feel about them. Simplifying your life is a great goal in itself, but it’s not the endgame. The ultimate goal is to give you more calm, ease, freedom and joy! It’s about finding ways to stress less and make life easier so you have more space for doing things you want to do, not just what you have to do. Here are 20 ways to be happier!
17. Simplify your chores and housework
One of the main burdens on my own time and energy is keeping up with my home. I have a busy family, kids, a dog and my home gets messy or dirty pretty quickly! Streamlining my chores, decluttering my home and getting systems in place to help us all be a little bit tidier and organised have all helped my home run more on auto-pilot. Here are some minimalist cleaning routines and how to spend less time cleaning.
18. Simplify your daily routine
How many times do you get to the end of the day but still haven’t achieved everything you set out to? Would you like to be more organised and use the time that you DO have in your day more productively, so that you get the important things done and still find time for you?! If this sounds good, I encourage you to create some simple little daily habits that help get things done as part of the natural flow of your day. For some suggestions here are 24 habits to include in your daily routine.
19. Clear your unseen clutter
Clutter means different things to different people. Clutter can also take different forms. It could be physical stuff that you can see and touch or it can be other things which confuse, distract and take up space in your heart and mind. We’ve already looked at how you can simplify the clutter in your home but think about what clutter really means to you and these 10 things to declutter that aren’t actual things!
20. Ditch the things that bring you down
Take a moment to think about every aspect of your life, the good bits and the not-so-good bits. What areas inspire, motivate and challenge you and what just brings you down and causes you to struggle? Find ways to improve upon the difficult areas, deal with the things that are within your control and learn to let go of old habits, negative thoughts, behaviour patterns and clutter that don’t support you.
Try this: For some more tips on simplifying your life, you might like this video from The School of Life.
A SUMMARY OF WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
We’ve looked at a few ways to simplify your life including…
- Your meals – Prepare in advance
- Your home – Declutter your stuff
- Your clothes – Streamline your wardrobe
- Say no – Say no more often
- Your paper clutter – Set up a simple filing system
- Own less – Your relationship with the stuff in your life
- Your time – Be less busy
- Your priorities – Focus on what’s important
- Your finances – Stay organised
- Your evenings – Keep a routine
- Your mornings – Wake up a little earlier
- Your health and fitness – Cut down on stress
- Your mind – Avoid distractions
- Your relationships – Nurture healthy relationships
- Your self-care – Are you a priority to yourself?
- Prioritise happiness – Keep it fun and light
- Your chores and housework – Get systems in place
- Your daily routine – Create good daily habits
- Your clutter – Defining clutter in your own life
- Ditch the things that bring you down – Learn to let go
RESOURCES TO HELP SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
If you’ve been encouraged by this article and are curious to simplify your own life, here are a few extra resources which you might like:
- What does it mean to simplify your life?
- 15 quick and easy ways to simplify your space
- Does minimalism make you happier? – the relationship between simplicity and happiness
- 30 simple living quotes – inspiration and tips to simplify your life
- How less can be more – the benefits of simplifying life
READY TO SIMPLIFY YOUR OWN LIFE?
If you enjoyed this article and feel like you’re ready to make changes in your own life, I’m excited for you! However, I also know (from personal experience) that making those changes can be anything but simple! How do you know what to change, where to start… let alone, how to find the time?
To help answer these questions, I created Simplify Your Life. This is my popular guided workbook to help begin your own simplicity journey. We’ll explore how you feel about your life right now, what needs to change and take simple, baby steps to help you make those changes – and keep them up.
Learn more about Simplify Your Life.
A FREE DOWNLOAD…
One of the most important ways we can simplify our life and create more ease and space is by clearing our clutter.
Clutter builds up in many ways, not just the stuff that we can see and move around. We can clutter our schedule, heart and mind, just like we clutter our home. This leads to a complicated and sometimes frustrating life – not a simpler life that gives us calm, peace, joy and space for the things that lift us up.
To tackle your clutter today, why not get your free copy of my Declutter Starter Kit to help you begin?
Pop your details in the box below to get started…
Monday 15th of August 2022
This is a great roundup of ideas to get started on the path to LESS-less stress, mess, and stuff. I agree that one of the best ways to get started is simply to pick a place and start. Usually it just takes a few small steps to get the momentum going and then it becomes a bit addictive to par down and keep working towards making life easier. Thanks for writing this article and providing us with great resources to simplify!
Balance Through Simplicity
Tuesday 16th of August 2022
Hi Janet, thank you for your comment! I agree, once we've started something then we can build up momentum and confidence. I'm glad you liked the ideas and resources!
Wednesday 10th of August 2022
It's really helpful
Balance Through Simplicity
Wednesday 10th of August 2022
Hi Sunday, thank you. I'm very pleased you liked the article!
Wednesday 25th of March 2020
Thank you so much for your 20 point chart. I found it on Pinterest.
Balance Through Simplicity
Saturday 28th of March 2020
Hi Joomi, I'm glad you liked it!
Friday 8th of November 2019
I have no children, do live with others who are border line hoarders. Where do i start to simplify?
Balance Through Simplicity
Friday 8th of November 2019
Hi Barb, Thank you for your question! There's so much I could write, but here are some tips which I think might be most helpful. 1) Start somewhere. Don't get overwhelmed and think it's too overwhelming. Pick one thing on the list and just start. It gets easier with practice. 2) Pick a starting point that affects YOU and is in YOUR control. Don't try to change things that affect other people or depend on others. Other people have different priorities so if you want something to change, YOU need to make it happen. 3) Identify WHY you want to simplify. If you work out your real and underlying reasons for wanting to make changes then you're more likely to keep motivated when things get tough or you hit an obstacle. 3) Declutter an area of your home that affects you and you alone. Try decluttering your wardrobe as it's a relatively small space and affects no-one else but you. Practice choosing what to keep, what to get rid of and feel the benefits of a wardrobe that's easier to find things and get dressed. I hope these tips help!
Tuesday 12th of February 2019
I feel like I'm continually simplifying my life. I like a lot of the ideas you've mentioned here, like scanning paperwork. I'm going to start working on scanning paperwork and getting it out of my house. And toys... I'm going do a trial and take some away to see if they even miss them. It seems like they only play with a couple different types of toys.(Blocks, transformers and costumes.) I don't think they'll notice anything is missing. Besides, they love a clean, open space to play in.
Balance Through Simplicity
Tuesday 12th of February 2019
Hi, I'm glad you like the ideas. If you get stuck with the toys, you could always try toy rotation. Put a selection of their favourite toys in a box and put it away for a month so your kids are only able to play with what's available to them that month. Then, next month, put these toys away and pull out the box you've had tucked away all the previous month. Your kids will have forgotten about them and will enjoy playing with them. Next month, rotate another selection and so on. It's a good trick if you/your kids aren't ready to declutter big time!