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20 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Create More Ease and Space

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

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

We all need to eat but, for many of us, deciding what to make, having the ingredients we need, putting it together and cleaning up afterwards, even several times each day, can take up a lot of bandwidth – planning, preparing, cooking and clearing up.

Here are some tips to simplify your meals:

  • Keep your kitchen cupboards, pantry, fridge and freezer as tidy and clutter-free as possible. This makes it easier to do a regular inventory of what you’ve got, what needs using up and what needs re-stocking.
  • 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 make, write a shopping list for what you need, having checked your current stock levels, and take it with you to the shops or order online for home delivery at a day and time that’s convenient to you.

Simplifying your meals through meal-planning and meal-prep can help you enjoy making dinner more too.

2. Simplify Your Home

Your home is where you and your family want to relax and recharge but if your home is cluttered or untidy it’s more likely to be a burden on your time and stress you out.

Here are some tips to simplify your home and think about the stuff in your space:

  • Clutter costs us in so many ways, depending on the different types of clutter that can build up in our home, often without us really noticing. Why not explore how to declutter your home to create some space and make it easier to manage with less effort needed from you.
  • A clutter-free home is often a more relaxing, welcoming and enjoyable space for family and friends, it’s easier for other members of your family to help with chores and housework and look after their own spaces too.
  • Everything in your home sends out messages about what that stuff requires of you – for example, to wash, clean and, even (in the case of potted plants), water me! Whilst not all of these messages are unwelcome, they do all contribute to our mental load.
  • Finding ways to let go or get rid of clutter, especially if it’s a source of tension and conflict, can be freeing.
  • There are some amazing benefits of a decluttered home which many of us can appreciate far beyond just having less stuff to look after. Decluttering is good for our mental and physical health too!

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, and over the course of the day, it’s not uncommon for decision fatigue to set in. This is where the quality of those decisions diminishes with the quantity.

So, putting it another way, important big decisions are best made earlier in the day, if possible, when you have more mental clarity! One of the first decisions of the day is deciding what to wear each morning.

Here are some tips to simplify your clothes and make this quicker and easier:

  • You could declutter your clothes and get rid of pieces that you don’t like to wear. Maybe they feel uncomfortable, don’t fit well, they’re damaged or your style or body shape has changed.
  • If you’re feeling brave and ready for action, try these tips on how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes, or tread more carefully and ask yourself some simple questions to help you decide what to keep or what to get rid of as you purge your closet.
  • You could explore the benefits of a capsule wardrobe with a more limited number of items that mix and match. Here are some capsule wardrobe tips to help you build your own more minimalist wardrobe easily and simply.
  • Another idea is to identify and/or create a personal uniform or individual style that you feel comfortable wearing on many days. That doesn’t mean sticking with exactly the same type of clothes but more about knowing what you like and feel good in and using that as the basis for building a wardrobe that easier and quicker to choose from each morning. You can also use this idea to help you stop buying clothes you don’t need or wear!

Simplify Your Wardrobe And Declutter Your Clothes

 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! Here are some tips to help you say no sometimes:

  • Remember that 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.’
  • 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?
  • Think about different ways you could say no. “I’d love to help out but I can’t right now.” “Please ask me next time.” “I can’t do [xxx] but I could do [yyy] instead.”
  • Saying no gets easier with practice.

5. Simplify Your Paper Clutter

Even though we’re moving to paperless, paper clutter is a problem for many of us. Not only is it the sheer quantity of paperwork that comes into our homes daily but it’s also keeping on top of dealing with it and where to store it – not just on our kitchen counters or piling up on the hall table!

Paper clutter could be letters, junk mail, brochures and leaflets, documents that need actioning, or that need to be kept for legal or tax reasons, or that you want to keep for reference or that you might need in the future.

That’s a lot of paper with different purposes and organisation and storage requirements. No wonder paper clutter easily gets on top of us!

Here are some tips to help you simplify paper clutter.

  • Choose one place in your home where all incoming paperwork can be placed until you deal with it. This could be a drawer, a filing tray, or a box. A container of some sort keeps the papers neat, tidy and looking (and feeling) more manageable.
  • Once a day or week, go through this pile of paperwork and deal with each item. You could sort them into different piles for actioning (paying bills, confirming appointments etc), filing, recycling, shredding.
  • Use a box or tray for paperwork that you want to keep for short or medium term reference and that you can review regularly. For example, I use this box for seed catalogues for my garden, or for vouchers that I need to use before they expire.
  • Set up a simple filing system in a cabinet, box, drawer, or even just a folder where you can store all your important documents you need to keep, once you’ve dealt with them. 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.

For a more in-depth guide and how I deal with paper clutter in our home, read this article on how to declutter paperwork.

6. Own Less Stuff

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.

Here are some ideas:

7. Simplify Your Time

Your time is precious but it’s easy to lose track of, especially when we’re busy. There are various ways to simplify your time.

Here are some ideas to think about:

  • There’s a difference between being busy and productive. Being busy doesn’t always mean you’re productive and being productive doesn’t mean that you’re busy. Sometimes it’s just a question of working out what you need to do and finding ways to get those things done in the most effective way possible.
  • That could be setting up systems to get more organised around the home such as giving everything a ‘home’ for when not in use, setting up filing systems, creating a command centre (Pinterest can give lots of examples!).
  • Decluttering to boost your productivity so you can work more easily, find what you’re looking for and reduce distractions.
  • Identifying things that waste time in your day so you can find ways to avoid or overcome them if needed.
  • Getting clear on your priorities and making time for what matters most to you. Knowing what’s most important helps us understand where and how we want to spend our time.
  • Planning your daily, weekly or monthly schedule to help you get ahead of what you need to do and when.

Simplifying your time isn’t just about being productive and getting things done though. It’s about finding time and space for self-care, relaxing, having family time, slower living, being present and enjoying life.

20 ways to get rid of digital clutter

8. Define Your Priorities

Most of us have bills to pay, work, family and friends. Juggling the demands of modern daily life often 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 track of your spending, saving and avoid or reduce debt. These can complicate life and put stress on ourselves and our relationships.

Here are some tips to simplify your finances:

  • Choose a quiet time when you’re unlikely to be interrupted and go through your income and outgoings for each month.
  • Create a monthly budget, allocate what you can to a savings account, reduce unnecessary spending and make a plan to clear any debt.
  • Switch to paperless billing and automate your payments where possible.
  • Set up a filing system for any financial documents (paperwork and/or electronic versions).

Read this article 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.

Simplify your finances

10. Simplify Your Evenings

Your evenings are important because they signal to your brain and body that the day is over and it’s time to start unwinding and preparing for sleep time.

Our busy lives and homes often mean it’s difficult to switch off and many of us struggle to get good quality, restorative sleep.

A consistent evening routine supports us to relax from the day and get ready for bed. Here are some tips 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

Getting 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!

Here are some tips to simplify your health and fitness:

  • Choose healthy meal options where possible
  • Move your body regularly in a way that feels comfortable
  • Get enough sleep
  • Create some healthy self-care habits
  • 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 a super strict 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. In our complicated lives it’s no wonder that our mind feels overstretched and overburdened!

Here are some tips to declutter your mind to simplify your life:

  • Brain-dump your thoughts and get them out of your head.
  • Practice regular habits for positive thinking, self-talk and consider the words and tone you use for yourself.
  • Think about your mindset and how you think affects your choices, decisions and actions.
  • Check in with yourself regularly and how you’re feeling through journaling, meditation and quiet contemplation.
  • Limit your use of social media and focus on building strong relationships with others.

Check out my article on how to declutter your mind to create a little emotional and psychological space and more helpful tips.

14. Simplify Your Relationships

Many of us have experienced relationships that feel a little one-sided or that are draining and difficult.

Declutter and simplify 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.

20 Ways to Simplify Your Life

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. In many ways we can’t control our external environment, but we can control our response.

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 for some ideas.

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 tips to simplify your chores and housework:

declutter your routines

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 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…

  1. Your meals – Prepare in advance
  2. Your home – Declutter your stuff
  3. Your clothes – Streamline your wardrobe
  4. Say no – Say no more often
  5. Your paper clutter – Set up a simple filing system
  6. Own less – Your relationship with the stuff in your life
  7. Your time – Be less busy
  8. Your priorities – Focus on what’s important
  9. Your finances – Stay organised
  10. Your evenings – Keep a routine
  11. Your mornings – Wake up a little earlier
  12. Your health and fitness – Cut down on stress
  13. Your mind – Avoid distractions
  14. Your relationships – Nurture healthy relationships
  15. Your self-care – Are you a priority to yourself?
  16. Prioritise happiness – Keep it fun and light
  17. Your chores and housework – Get systems in place
  18. Your daily routine – Create good daily habits
  19. Your clutter – Defining clutter in your own life
  20. Ditch the things that bring you down – Learn to let go

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Does your life feel busy and complicated? Perhaps it used to feel that way but you’ve made some changes. Do you have any suggestions that you’d like to add to this list? What area of your life did you find most difficult to simplify? I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment below!

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:

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 Jump-Start Plan to help you begin?

Pop your details in the box below to get started…

Janet

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!

Sunday Ukuesan

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!

Joomi Lee

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!

Barb Killnas

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!

Jo Lynn

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!