Simple living, the once-lofty ideal for #vanlife proponents, minimalists and digital nomads, has made its way into mainstream consciousness. From Scandinavian hygge-inducing interiors to the Marie Kondo craze, the tide is changing from more + bigger to less + better. And our mental and emotional health is better for it.
Decluttering and clearing your schedule is just the start of a simpler lifestyle. The real magic begins when you use your newfound space (physical or mental) to be intentional about how you want to live your life.
Do you want to travel more? Free yourself of debt? Dedicate more time to self-care? When you simplify your life, there’s more room for what really matters.
25 ways to embrace simple living
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to simple living. You’ll have to experiment and figure out what works for you. Most importantly, don’t let simplifying become another source of pressure sitting on your to-do list. Start small and see where it leads. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.
Simple Living At Home
1. Commit to a system. Don’t just declutter once and let stuff accumulate again. Create habits around how and when you’ll bring things home and where you’ll store them.
2. Go cable-free. With endless online streaming options, it there really any need to spend money on cable in this day and age?
3. Cook at home. It’s healthier, cheaper and often tastier.
4. Cook once, eat twice. If you’re not into meal planning, simply cook double what you need for dinner. Store leftovers in mason jars to just grab and go to work the next day.
5. Schedule your closet cleanouts. Revisit your wardrobe seasonally and/or when purchasing new items.
6. Live by the one-in/one-out rule. For everything you buy, one thing of that same nature goes. If you buy one dress, one dress gets donated.
7. Give everything a place. When every item has a home it’s 100 times easier to stay organized and stop buying things you already have.
8. Stick to multi-purpose tools. Question anything you buy that serves only one purpose, especially in the kitchen, bathroom or garage where those must-have tools and gadgets seem to multiply on the regular.
9. Go paperless. Nix those paper statements and just say no to mail clutter. This one’s a no-brainer.
10. Save automatically. Prioritize savings by putting money away automatically each month before you have a chance to spend it.
11. Digitize everything. I love the Kindle + Kindle app for books, Asana for project management and to-dos, Google docs for work and photo storage and Mint for personal finances.
12. Clean up your inbox. Stay on email lists that spark joy (ahem) and use unroll.me to unsubscribe from the rest. If you want to take it further, this method for inbox management is all the rage.
13. Clean up your computer. Your computer needs decluttering too! At the end of the day, file away anything left on your desktop. Organize photos in folders using the date and event in the name. Delete any downloads you don’t need.
14. Read the news all in one place. The Feedly app aggregates website articles so you can stay on top of current events without the overwhelm of social media or web browsing.
15. Be intentional about social media. Social media not only hijacks our productivity, but it can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression too. Stop scrolling aimlessly and set designated times to check social media during the day, then close the app.
16. Use just one credit card. Put recurring charges and daily purchases on one credit card with bonus airline miles. It’s easy to see where the spending goes, and you get to rack up the miles for free travel. (Of course, always use credit cards responsibly.)
17. Time-block. Organize your day by similar tasks and level of effort. For example, use time-chunks for emailing and phone calls, running errands, creative work, etc.
18. Single-task. Multitasking isn’t actually helping you do more. Concentrate on one task at a time for maximum productivity (and sanity).
19. Prioritize your values. Get clear on what’s important to you and let go of the rest.
20. Set boundaries. With each invite or request, ask yourself if it’s something that feels aligned with your intentions or only serving other people’s priorities.
21. Workout at home. Hit up YouTube for awesome (free!) workouts to save money, time and excuses.
22. Try car-less living. Are biking, public transportation or car sharing viable options where you live?
23. Think quality over quantity. This applies to clothes, furniture, beauty products, food, exercise, friends, work, everything.
24. Simplify your beauty routine. Instead of expensive lotions and potions that don’t actually work, keep a few multitasking, non-toxic skincare items and ditch the rest. Your skin will be better for it too.
25. Build in buffer time. When we’re rushed, we’re reactive instead of proactive. Schedule in time to take breaks during the day. Give yourself extra time to make it to your destination. Come back from a trip a day before you have commitments.
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