People frequently tell me that I live a simple life. I don’t know if they intend this to be a compliment, but I take it as one. By simple, I mean slow-paced enough to enjoy the things that matter, soak in life’s small pleasures, and lead an un-cluttered lifestyle. Here are small ways I try to keep my life simple. I’d love to hear your own tips too– please leave them in the comments!
1. Only buy the things you really, really like. Things that you see and instantly think, “oh yes, that’s coming home with me.” If you’re on the fence, don’t buy it. If you might not use it, don’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit quite right, don’t buy it. You will end up with fewer belongings and the ones you have, you will enjoy very much.
2. Use multi-purpose cleaning products. This cuts down on the amount of bottles under your kitchen sink. I like this one from Mrs. Meyer*s.
3. Sweep through your home and remove anything that you don’t like or don’t find useful. Put it in a box and hide it in your closet for a month. When the month is over, if you didn’t miss the items, bring them to Goodwill. I like to do this several times a year.
4. Say no to things you don’t want to do. We have limited time on this earth, so let’s spend as much time as we can doing things that make our heart happy.
5. Gift experiences. Everyone loves a nice scarf or a bottle of perfume, and there’s definitely room for those kinds of gifts in our lives from time to time. But don’t buy a gift just because it’s someone’s birthday and you have to. If they already have everything they need, get them something else that they will remember for a long time to come. Like a hot air balloon ride, an apple-picking excursion, a song written just for them, or a trip to Glacier National Park.
6. Make food from scratch. Buy local and seasonal ingredients. Is it just me, or do you tend to eat healthier and waste less of the food you buy if you know it is from the farm down the road?
7. Get rid of your TV. I haven’t owned a TV since college, and I’m happy with that choice. I can watch any program I want online if the mood strikes.
8. Keep digital records and back them up. Shred and recycle your paper records as much as you can.
9. Four times a year, take all your clothes and accessories out of your closet. Donate or sell the things you haven’t worn lately. Only put things back on the hanger that fit and that you feel suit your personality. Obviously this is an ideal scenario and you have to be practical, too. I have quite a few clothes that I loathe but only keep because they are necessary for the office.
10. Spend more time with positive people. People who are consistently negative or high-strung will make your life feel complicated and stressful. Shit happens to everyone every now and then, but there are people who always seem to be complaining about something. Avoid them when you can.
What are your favorite simplifying tips?