For me, Minimalism isn’t about throwing all your stuff away and seeing if you can manage on what you’ve got left. That sounds like torture rather than the key to a balanced and happy life! Instead, my interpretation of Minimalism goes beyond just material possessions and can easily be applied to other areas of your life. By simplifying your life you can be more intentional about what you let into it and really focus on what’s important. Check out this post on 8 ways to simplify your life.
In the words of Annie Dillard,
‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’
Jump off the hamster-wheel of motherhood, declutter and simplify your life with these 8 ways to simplify your life and feel a changed Mum because of it!
8 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
#1 Simplify your home
Your home is where you and your family want to relax and enjoy being. If you’ve got too much stuff that you don’t need or don’t use, then spend some time decluttering. Once you’ve got less stuff in your home then you’ll spend less time cleaning it, tidying it up after it’s being used and moving it around so you can find other stuff.
If you declutter the space around you and instead create a peaceful environment, your mind will calm and you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
There’ll be less to clean, less to tidy, so you can spend your time doing other things without worrying about what state the house will be in by the end of the day.
Set yourself a timer for say, 30 minutes a day, or whatever suits you. Go through each room at a time, starting with the one you feel is easiest (the bathroom is a good place to start), and remove anything that you don’t use, don’t need or which you don’t love. Throw away, recycle or donate these items and find suitable storage for the stuff you’re keeping so it can be kept neat, tidy and easy to find.
To find out more about how to declutter your stuff and simplifying your home, check out the links below to some of my other posts:
#2 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 time to sit down and go through your finances when you’re least likely to be interrupted by the kids.
Create a spreadsheet of your monthly income and outgoings. Cancel any monthly payments that you no longer need (yet another gym membership anyone?!), set up direct debits to pay as many bills as possible online and switch to paperless statements. This will avoid the chance of you forgetting to pay something and prevent the build up of paper bills if you’re not too good at filing them when they arrive in the post.
Create a monthly budget which involves putting some money aside for savings if you can, plan to get rid of any debts you might have and choose to spend your money on experiences with your family to create memories for the future rather than on material possessions.
Check out my post on how to simplify your finances.
#3 Simplify your calendar
What does your calendar say about you? Busy for the sake of it? Busy because you feel you should be or busy because the number of commitments has grown without you really noticing? Do you feel frazzled and in a constant rush from A to B with no wiggle room in your calendar for when you’ve been thrown off track? The kids are ill, the car’s broken down, you’ve double-booked yourself or one of your kids, forgotten a birthday party or a commitment overran by 10 minutes and has made you late for something else.
Sound familiar! We’ve all been there and being busy is, to some extent, just part of being a Mum. But, we can make it SO much simpler for ourselves…
Look closely at your calendar and remove any activities or commitments that no longer serve you, add value to you or your family’s life, have grown out of and/or that you no longer enjoy. Limit the kids to maybe one or two after-school activities per term (or however many you feel is right as this is different for everyone).
Learn how to say no to things you don’t want to do in a way that doesn’t upset anyone or make you feel bad for saying no and try to only say yes to the things that are of importance to you and your family.
Guard your time closely and keep some time free each day to relax and just go with the flow.
Read my blog post on how to simplify your calendar and be more intentional with your time.
#4 Simplify your priorities
Have you ever sat down and taken a moment to think about what your priorities might be? As a Mum you would probably put your kids at the top of that list. But then what? Having a nice home, car, holidays? The most fashionable clothes?
Or would your list include laughing, spending time together, having fun, exploring nature, silence to sit, think or write in a diary, time to watch your kids play, the freedom to do something on a whim without worrying about the consequences?
The difference between the two lists depends on how highly you rate material possessions as a measure of success, happiness and priority.
But once you’ve got your nice new car, the chances are that it won’t be long before you become dissatisfied and want to trade it up.
If you were given only a few memories to keep for the rest of your life would they involve your car or home? Or would they be hearing your child’s giggle or watching them swim the full length of the pool on their own.
The memories we cherish are often the simplest ones and that don’t cost much money.
Simplify your priorities and appreciate the intrinsic greater value of the simpler but more important things in life. Don’t take on more than you can handle, appreciate that life comes in stages and what you can’t prioritise now you might be able to prioritise in the future (if it’s still a priority).
You’ll immediately find yourself more happy, peaceful and content and your bank balance will thank you for it too!
#5 Simplify your goal-setting
Do you ever set goals for yourself and then wonder why you never achieve them? Or do you flounder through life, buffeted by outside forces and not knowing where you’d like to be in 5, 10, 20 year’s time?
Simplify the process and make it easier to follow through and hold yourself accountable for what happens in your life and the direction it takes.
Grab a notebook and pen and choose a quiet 20 minutes to sit down and reflect on what you want from life.
Sketch out three sections and brainstorm where you want to be in the short, medium and long term future and what you want your life to look like at each of these stages and what you’d like to have achieved.
Break each section down into the top five goals for each stage and make a list of three action points per goal for how you’re going to achieve these.
Put them into practice today to get the ball rolling. Go back to your notes every now and then to re-assess your goals and see whether they are still important to you.
Don’t be afraid to dream big and aim high.
Goals are things that you work towards and although it’s great when you achieve them, a lot of our personal growth and learning comes from the journey towards them as much as achieving the goal itself.
Making a note of your goals with specific actionable steps at each point will help keep you focused and accountable. Simplify your goal-setting in this way will make it much easier to set goals in the first place and even more likely you’ll achieve them.
I’ve written a whole blog post on how to set goals (and keep them) and there’s a free toolkit on goal-setting which you can download and work through yourself.
Click here to read my blog post on how to set goals and keep them.
#6 Simplify your routines
Do you have regular routines for all the mundane stuff that needs to happen around the house in order for your family and home to run like a well-oiled machine (at all times!)?
Or, do you run around like a headless chicken at the end of the week when you realise that none of you have got clean clothes, or there’s no food in the fridge, or the house hasn’t been cleaned for weeks?
Every home with a family requires a bit of attention now and then, even minimalist homes get dirty and messy without regular attention.
You will always have dirty laundry to wash no matter how big or small your wardrobe. And none of us feel like food shopping, cleaning or tidying up when we’re ill or had a busy week at work.
Get some regular routines in place and stick to them and your home will function as you need it to every day without you running out of food, clean clothes or having to do a 24 hour deep clean session.
Here are some routines you might want to think about:
Laundry – get in the habit of putting a load on daily (more or less depending on how big your family). Where possible, make sure this is dried, folded and put away before you go to bed at night.
Cleaning – make a list of all the rooms in your home that need cleaning and what you need to clean in each room and how often they need to be done (weekly, monthly, six-monthly etc). Decide to clean a different room or two each day and stick to it. Manageable bite-sized chunks that won’t take long and will keep your home clean enough.
Dishes – load your dishwasher after each meal or snack and switch it on to run overnight and then empty it first thing in the morning. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash your dishes etc by hand straight after every meal, dry them and put them away there and then. Don’t let the dishes pile up so that you end up doing this in the evening when you could be doing something much more fun and rewarding!
Click here to check out some of my popular posts on routines and how to stick to them.
- Why developing routines can make your life simpler and your home easier to manage
- How setting up a morning routine saved my sanity
- Why a great evening routine can save you time and stress for the next day
#7 Simplify your wardrobe
Do you have loads of clothes in your wardrobe but still can’t find anything to wear in the morning, particularly when you’re in a rush to get the kids to school and yourself to work? Do you just grab the nearest thing (which you may have worn yesterday for the same reason) and hope no one will notice the food stain down the front?
Simplify your wardrobe by removing anything that doesn’t fit, is damaged or worn out and that you don’t love to wear.
Draw up a list of items that you would like to buy on your next shopping list to fill any gaps. Go for quality rather than quantity on staple wardrobe basics but switch it up with the season’s favourites to make you stand out.
Identify what clothes you go to often and which you know look good on you and make these into your very own ‘uniform’, the look that you love and which people will instantly recognise you for. Sticking with this ‘uniform’ will reduce the amount of time you deliberate on what to wear in the mornings so you can throw something on and still look put together even in just a couple of minutes.
Click here to read my post on how to declutter your wardrobe and love your clothes. You can also download my free Simplify your Wardrobe toolkit.
#8 Make peace with yourself and stop trying to be anything different
One of the biggest and most important ways to simplify your life is to accept yourself for who you are and what you have.
Stop trying to be somebody different to change yourself because you think that somebody else has it better or more together than you, or you wish you’d done this or done that.
Your life is just that – it is the life that you created and you are in charge (for the most part anyway) on which direction it takes.
From now on take ownership of yourself and everything you have, be proud of it.
Make your life the best it can be and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing with theirs. Simply focus your time and energy on you and your family rather than complicating your thoughts and mind with envy and regret.
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