I don't know about you, but I just feel better when things are simple. The process of living everyday life can be complicated (even more so as we age I think!), so I'm always trying to find ways that I can be at my best and relieve the pressure of trying to get everything done on a daily basis. I'm certainly not an expert on the art of simplicity, but there are some tried and true ways that have really helped me out. I thought I would share some of them with you today. Some of these may be old news, new news, common sense, or seemingly complicated given how "busy" we are these days, but either way I hope they are helpful. However, I must preface this post by saying that while some of these are simple in words, they require discipline in thought and in deed. But it has been so worth it!! Here's what I know for sure works for me...
1. Implement and stick to a "One In - One Out" rule.
Keeping restraints on clutter is huge if you want a more simple life and lifestyle. I've talked about the One In - One Out rule a few times here on the blog because I swear by it. The rule is simple. When you buy one thing that goes in the house, one thing comes out of the house. This is the number one thing that keeps my house free of clutter. It keeps my closet organized (see a full post on that here), my kitchen cabinets, pantry, and fridge free of anything I don't use, and my bathroom free of any products I don't use.
And while we are on the subject of clutter...
2. I don't let snail mail make it past one room in my house.
I'm not a fan of snail mail, but I guess it's here to stay for now. So my rule is to not let it get further than one room in my house. For me, that is the kitchen because it's the first room I enter into when I get out of my car. I don't have a cute tray or basket that collects it because I think that invites clutter. Instead, I go through it within the first hour or so after getting home and shred and discard what isn't worth keeping - which is usually 90% of what I get. It takes a little discipline and time to do it sooner rather than later, but I think it's worth it.
3. Just say "no."
Simply put - outside of what has to be done (enjoyable or not) - I don't do anything these days that I absolutely 100% don't want to do. Gosh that might sound so negative, but I don't think it is at the end of the day. Spending my free time doing things just to please other people and focusing on what others think of me drains my energy and inevitably makes the most simple tasks more complicated and the things I really enjoy doing less enjoyable. Yes, sometimes there are exceptions. That's life. But asking myself first if I really want to do something is always at the forefront of my mind these days rather than at the back - and I'm a happier person because of that.
4. Make time for downtime.
This past Saturday morning after my workout and errand running, I came home, made lunch, put my pjs on and crawled back in bed and watched two movies on Netflix. I wasn't tired. I felt great. I had a ton of things I could have been doing. But I chose downtime instead. Do I always get to take hours out of a day to do nothing? No. Sometimes it's only 10 minutes. But I know my body and my mind appreciates times of not having to work or make any decisions. I know that because the I always feel replenished afterwards and look more forward to getting back to reality no matter what's ahead. Things get done faster and I do it with a better attitude. That = simple.
5. Automate bills.
So the older I get, the more responsibility I have and the more likely it has become that I forget to do things. Or maybe I'm just starting to forget things because I'm getting older. Either way, the less I have to remember to do, the better. Automating bills has helped me out a lot. I used to review every single bill via paper before paying it. But now I automate those bills that are around the same amounts each month (i.e. car payment, insurance, mortgage, cell phone, etc.) I still review bills that vary each month, but the majority of them are on autopay. It's so much easier...
6. Pre-schedule appointments that are recurring and try to keep them.
This also frees up space in my brain... Any appointments that recur on a weekly, monthly, bi-annual, or annual basis are easy to remember if they are scheduled in advance and put on the calendar. For example, my bi-annual dentist appointment that I have this week was scheduled at the end of my last dentist appointment that I had six months ago. Things like my hair appointments and recurring doctors appointments are also pre-scheduled. Sure, sometimes last-minute things come up and pre-scheduled appointments have to be changed, but I try my best to work around standing appointments before changing them. A lot of my providers have apps or websites where I can pre-schedule appointments, which also keeps things simple.
7. Aim to do one household chore a day - during the week.
I don't do anything serious like window cleaning or anything like that. When I don't use my housekeeper, I might vacuum one night, complete a load of laundry another night, fold the laundry the next night while I'm watching TV, clean a toilet one night... Simple stuff like that. I might be exhausted from the day while doing it, but little things like that really don't take that much time to do. They go a long way and make time for more fun things on the weekends.
8. Consistently adhere to a bedtime routine.
Because consistently following a bedtime routine pretty much guarantees a good night of sleep. A good night of sleep makes you feel better, think better, and do better. Feeling better, thinking better, and doing better automatically makes everything more simple. Just my opinion... You can see my bedtime routine here.
9. Sleep on it. Then buy it. Or not...
Debt stresses me out - even the normal kind like a mortgage or car payment, so I live debt-free outside of those things. So if I NEED something, I have to have to have the money for it. If I don't have the money for it or feel comfortable spending that money right now, I make a plan and start saving for it. Like right now, I need a new high-quality mattress - something I believe in because I use it 8-10 hours a day. I'm saving for it. If I WANT something, I put it in my cart (if its online) and sleep on it a day or two before buying it - sometimes longer depending on what it is and how much it is. The point is that I think before I buy at all times and I live within my means.
10. If I don't know it or can't do it, then I just ask for it.
I'm a very independent person. My mom would tell you that I was born that way. But doing everything on my own and doing it right is simply not feasible. I don't know everything. No one does. I've learned that YouTube and Google doesn't know everything either. Sometimes you just have to ask the right person for help. Doing so alleviates stress and saves so much time. I often meet new people and learn a lot by doing this, too.
Anyone else have any tried and true tips to living more simply?????
Image by me. Oprah's book, "What I Know For Sure" is here. (definitely a favorite of mine!)