A Quick & Easy Guide to Simple Living

Simple Living

Less is more. Or is more, more? As my grandmother used to say, “A little bit of sugar is plenty but an extra teaspoon is even better!” It’s more! So then, what is plenty? Is enough really enough and who’s to say? Such as how high is up or is there no high to up?

On the other hand, if you have a yen for simple living, excluding everything that is pretentious, complicated and grandiose, because that’s the life you want, then that’s your plenty.

Simple living is similar to the process of minimalism. But it’s not all about getting rid of stuff or minimizing. At first it may feel like it’s an attempt to make your life easier or lessen a mental and physical burden. However, simple living comes down to knowing what’s most important to you. And then structuring your life in a way that allows more time for those important things.

Sometimes that means shedding the unnecessary. The letting go of physical belongings, emotional states, toxic relationships, or poor mindsets that no longer serve you. What you’re left with is space. The space and freedom to choose what you fill your life with. This is the bliss of simple living. Unfortunately, reaching this level of simplicity is not always that easy.

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Why Less is More

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘less is more’ at some point or another. But this simple expression holds so much meaning and truth. You can apply this logic to almost any of your life but most of us are unable to do so.

Simple living may call to us, but to actually put it into practice is another story. Just like you, I find myself getting overly attached to the inanimate objects in my life. Those random things we attached some profound sentimental meaning to. But the truth is I don’t need the object to keep the memory alive.

We live in a consumerism-based society and materialistic world where clutter overwhelms us and anxiety is our constant companion. This is why the minimalist lifestyle and simple living has become so appealing. We crave simplicity. Seek more of what’s important in life and less of what is trivial. There’s a longing for less in a world filled with too much.

Simple Living

How Much is Enough?

Besides the things that meet your basic human needs, what else do you need? On the quest to find simple living the question of “how much is enough?” is sure to arise.

I for one believe that simple living doesn’t mean going without. It doesn’t mean forgoing luxuries; creature comforts and items that bring you joy. Rather, simple living means being intentional with what you fill your life with. It means not just buying things for the sake of ownership but instead prioritizing belongings that serve a purpose; whether it is functional, aesthetic or sentimental. If it doesn’t serve a purpose in your life then it’s too much.

Simple living should unburden you, make life easier, and offer freedom from attachment. When you reach that point, it’s enough. So, how much is enough? I can’t say. Enough for me may not be enough for you. And enough for her may not be enough for me. Reaching a point of simple living is truly a subjective and personal experience that will be different for everyone.

10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Even though simple living looks different for everyone, the main idea is to simplify. That means getting rid of any extra mental and physical clutter to make space for your priorities. This takes consistent effort though which is why I’ve included ideas that are relatively easy to implement. So, here are some ways that you can simplify your life:

Set Goals

Simple living is a lifestyle. One designed by you, for you. This means it needs intentional goal setting on your part. Think about why you want to live more simply and what you hope to achieve through it. Defining what simple living means to you is a way to ensure that you accomplish it. Once you’re more aware of your reasons for choosing this lifestyle, you can set goals to that will help you reach it.

Create a Schedule

One of the biggest reasons why people want to try simple living is to have more time for the important people and things in their lives. And that means good time management. Instead of filling your day with an endless list of tasks, create a schedule around your priorities. With your priorities scheduled, you know you’ll never miss the important things. This gives you the opportunity to release other commitments that just take up your time and aren’t in life with your greatest values. Grab a day planner or notebook that you love and schedule in the important tasks. Everything else on your to-do list can be done when you feel called to do it.

Recommended Reading: The Amazing Power of the To-Do List

Create Routines

Routines offer a path to simple living. Creating routines and habits for your life is a way to ease stress and promote stability. Whether you design a night time routine that allows you to fall asleep faster or a morning routine that helps you be more productive, the process invites simplicity. These go to systems are not only a source of comfort but a way to deal with difficult tasks or stressful situations. Part of the appeal of simple living is the decrease in stress and routines are an easy way to accomplish that.

Focus on Single Tasks

I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again (because it’s important), multitasking is not productive. Splitting your attention is not the way to get things done properly. If you desire to live more simply then you must learn to focus your attention on one task at a time. This can be done by deciding on what’s important and scheduling time for it; and then giving your full attention to it. By focusing on one task at a time, you can improve your concentration, complete tasks faster and ensure that the task is done properly. Simple living means focusing on a single task instead of multitasking.

Organize Your Digital Life

In our modern age, our lives are not only filled with physical clutter but digital junk too. Our phone memory cards and computer hard drives are constantly full of messages, photos, emails, videos, memes, GIFS and documents. It’s enough to overwhelm even the most organized people. So, just like you’d declutter your home, you need to sort through your digital clutter too. Create files and folders that are clearly labelled. Then use that to clear your clogged up desktop. Delete double and triple copies of documents and photos. Save important items to the cloud or back it up somewhere else. Clear your email inbox and get rid of apps on your phone that you don’t use.

Declutter Your Home

If you want to simplify your life, you need to declutter your environment. This is the first step to take when you start simplifying. However, this doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking that gets done in one day (but you can definitely do that if you want). Rather, take on this challenge systematically by tackling one room at a time. Keep only items that you use or that serve a purpose functionally, aesthetically or sentimentally. The rest can be recycled, donated or thrown away. As you start this process, you’ll notice how much lighter you feel as you get rid of clutter and unwanted belongings.

Recommended Reading: How to Quickly Clear that Clutter from Your Life

Simple Living
Buy Quality over Quantity

One way that you can avoid a collection of clutter in your home is to start being intentional about the items that you buy. When you start focusing on making quality purchases it automatically reduces the number of purchases made.  Not only are quality purchases more valuable, but they will serve a purpose. This is because you’ll think more carefully about what you purchase before spending the money. You’ll start buying only the items you need and that will last a long time due to the high-quality. Many people who embrace the minimalist philosophy get rid of most of their low-quality belongings at first. Once they have cleared space they replace the many belongings with a few high-quality products that serve a purpose in their life.

Credit: Joan Muss
Start a Capsule Wardrobe & Organize Your Closet

Simplifying your wardrobe may seem like it would be a difficult task but it can actually be quite liberating. If you find choosing what to wear each morning is a chore then it may be time to simplify. One way to do that is by starting a capsule wardrobe full of versatile pieces. A capsule wardrobe consists of about 25 – 50 pieces that include clothing, shoes, and accessories. You can have a capsule wardrobe for each season. This process will make the morning simpler and will help you to organize your closet. You can simplify it even more by building a custom closet with EasyClosets that is designed for your seasonal capsule wardrobes.

Recommended Reading: The Best ideas for Organizing Your Closet

Prepare Meals

If you’re serious about simple living, you can take a minimalist approach to eating too. Simplify meal times but planning for them ahead of time. Preparing for meals in advance helps you avoid frantic grocery store runs to buy an ingredient for dinner you’re making tonight. It also takes away that frustrating feeling of trying to decide what to make when you’re feeling tired after a long day. Instead it streamlines the process of making meals because it’s already been decided and the ingredients have been bought.

Recommended reading: Insanely Easy 3-Ingredient Recipes that will Surprise You

Take Time Off

The goal of simple living is to have more freedom. So, once you create that freedom, embrace it. Take time off to do the things you enjoy, or to do nothing at all. Use this extra time to do yoga, meditate, go for walks, and spend time in nature. This time is yours to fill (or not fill) as you please. Get creative, try new things or volunteer to help a cause close to your heart. Whatever you choose, make sure it enhances your life and feels like simple living to you.

Simple Living for Peace of Mind

Simple living is not a destination, but a journey. Along the way you may encounter challenges and struggles, but as you progress you’ll discover an unexpected reward – peace of mind. The more you simplify, the more peace and joy, you’ll find.

What ways have you found to simplify your life?


Simple Living

Comments 10

  1. I love that both you and Lisa are talking about focusing on a single thing at one time. When I see a message repeated multiple times in a day, I tell myself, “You better pay attention.” I find multi-tasking very tempting, even though I know it isn’t productive. Great reminder this morning!

    1. For sure, I cannot multitask for the life of me. I mentioned to Lisa that I could probably fold laundry and listen to music. It’s amazing how many times my husband reminds me that I am not paying attention to some thing we are watching on TV when I look at my phone because a message just came in. And, he’s right. He’s right because I have to ask him what just happened. So annoying!

  2. I started buying quality over quantity a few years ago. When I was younger, I usually could only afford the less expensive items, which eventually needed replacing. Time goes so much faster now that I’m older that it felt like was replacing things every time I turned around, so fortunately, I’m also at a place where I can afford to spend a bit more and get something that will last.

    1. Generally, not always, quality shows and lasts. Above, I spoke about something my dad used to say. When it comes to quality, my mom used to always say, “good is good.” Simple and to the point!

  3. It’s fascinating, but during the pandemic and stay-in-place orders, there was a level of “simple living” that happened naturally. There were no activities or places to visit. Less stuff was coming in and going out. Other than the food, which needed to be replenished, we had what we needed. There were things I stopped doing, like getting my nails painted, going out to eat, and seeing clients in-person. Of course, there were things I started doing like virtual organizing and having Zoom and FaceTime calls loved ones. But this time has felt simpler. We did some editing and letting go, like this past weekend, when we cleared space in our greenhouse for our daughter’s upcoming wedding. I like the idea of right-sizing and having just enough. Less is plenty. I’d like to continue doing more so that we have less.

    1. Oh I love the concept of right-sizing. That’s a new one and it’s totally descriptive. It reminds me of what my dad would say when I was very young and I would fret over something. Such as finding the right job. He would say, “it only takes one.” Meaning, you only need one. And in that instant, the angst would morph into right-sizing.

  4. Wonderful tips! Simple living takes a little planning, but it yields tremendous results. These are such no-nonsense suggestions, but so many of us overlook them and miss the many benefits that come from implementing them in our lives.

    1. I know what you mean, Sheri. It’s important to understand the benefits simplicity and then live it with intention. Of course it will have a different meaning for each person.

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