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25 Ways To Simplify Your Life

Written by Mindy White

Photography by Photo via The Merrythought

Get Rid Of Unnecessary Possessions. We all have trouble downsizing, but if you find yourself keeping items that serve no purpose, it’s time to declutter. We know that some things have sentimental value, but it’s important to remember that our memories are within us, not within our things. Try adopting the 1 for 1 rule: If you bring in something new, you donate something old.

Surround yourself with good people. It can be hard to recognize a toxic relationship. Decide if you have unhealthy people in your life, and if so, work on eliminating. Keep a small circle of good, genuine friends around to focus your time and attention on. Remember it’s quality, not quantity. If it’s a family member that’s keeping you down, try to love from a distance. You don’t always have to cut the relationship out completely, just keep enough space to keep yourself sane.

Time Commitments. Your time is valuable. Spend it on the things that matter to you and your loved ones. It’s easy to say “yes” to everything you’re invited to (sometimes simply out of guilt), but realize that you also jeopardize time with your loved ones by doing so. The truth is, you will never be able to make it to every event, function, party, or birthday. Send a small gift or make a phone call instead—it means just as much.

Stop Worrying And Think Positive. Many of us spend entirely too much time worrying about the past and future instead of living in the present, and by doing so, we miss a lot of important, happy moments. It’s okay to have general concern in life, but if you’re constantly making “what if” situations in your head, you’ll never find peace. Force yourself to look at things with a hopeful, optimistic heart. When things go wrong, work on making them better immediately instead of dwelling.

Save Money. Start a savings account and stash away a few dollars each week to put towards debt or future endeavors—you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up. The longer you wait to pay debt off, the deeper you get and the harder it becomes to climb your way out. We never know what the future holds, and for some, it’s a loss of a job, a new baby, broken down car, and so on. You should always have some money set aside for these situations.

Sort Out Your Goals. We all have a bucket list of things we want to do before we’re “x” years old. The best way to start is to make a list of things you want to accomplish and to decide what’s most important to you. Put these things in order and give each goal a target date, allowing yourself time to complete each task, but not enough time to slack. Don’t start more than one goal at a time, as that can tend to get overwhelming and be more time-consuming. Have a spouse or friend join you if possible, to help you stay on track and hold you accountable.

Clean Out Your Closet. Let’s be honest—do you really need your old prom dress from senior year? Will you ever wear that sweater that grandma sent you (besides when she comes over for Christmas dinner)? It’s just as hard to get rid of clothing as it is to get rid of other possessions. Try turning your closet hangers backwards. Every time you wear an item, turn the hanger forwards. At the end of 6 months or a year, eliminate any clothes that are on hangers that haven’t been worn (aka, that haven’t been turned forward).

Eat Cleaner. We’re all guilty of indulging a little too much on treats sometimes. Make a note to buy only good-for-you foods next time you’re at the grocery store, so there is less temptation at the house. Cut down on eating out, because it’s much harder to eat well at a restaurant. Opt for natural sweets when the sugar-tooth strikes, like banana ice cream or 2 teaspoons of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips.

Don’t Gossip. Life shouldn’t feel like high school after, well, high school. If you have people around you who love to gossip, cut them out, or at least don’t fuel the fire. Plus, there’s a good chance that they’re gossiping about you behind your back. Make a point to only spill great words about others and keep your negative thoughts to yourself (or your spouse, if you must vent)! Gossiping only brings trouble, and a drama-filled life isn’t a happy one.

Unplug. The world we live in today revolves around technology and social media. Whether it’s for your job, school, or just fun, most of us use the internet daily, not realizing how much time we spend in front of a computer instead of with our loved ones. Some of us have become addicted to social media, which studies are now finding to make people stressed, sad, and depressed. Vow to do a “digital detox” and take a break from it all. Turn off all electronics whenever they’re not absolutely essential. Teach the kids that life outside the screen can be just as fun, if not more!

Build And Maintain The Relationships Around You. We know how difficult it can be to sync up schedules with all of your friends. Sometimes it’s impossible just to find an hour to get together, but it’s truly essential. Our friendships keep us sane, make us laugh, accept our quirks, and listen to us vent. Make a point to get together anytime you can, even if it’s just for coffee or to grab dinner. Build them up, keep them involved, and know when to hold your tongue and apologize.

Take Things One Thing At A Time. As humans, we’re able to balance many things at once—or so we think. When you spread yourself thin, each task is done with less focus and care, which sometimes ends up badly. Multi-tasking also creates stress, which can make things more difficult. Instead of trying to play superhero, make a list of tasks in order of importance and cross them off one-by-one. This way, you can complete your work with confidence and ease.

Stop Holding Grudges. There’s no way you can live a happy life while holding onto things from the past. Negativity has never made anyone truly happy. Make peace with your friends and family and forgive them for their imperfections. Life is short, and there’s a good chance you might regret letting those grudges take time away from friends or family members later on in life.

Knock Bad Habits. We’ve all got them, whether it’s a bad habit like biting your nails or an addiction like smoking, make a conscious decision to quit once and for all. Deciding to make the change is half the battle. Make a commitment to yourself, set a goal, and ask for accountability and support. Watch out for urges and and don’t give yourself exceptions. Once you quit, never look back.

Learn to say “No.” A lot of us tend to be people-pleasers simply because we hate to let others down. Learn that it’s okay to politely decline if you just don’t want to do something. Be honest—you don’t have to make up excuses. Stop agreeing to do favors for someone if you don’t have the time. Don’t force yourself to go out if you don’t feel good. Quit wasting time doing things that aren’t an absolute necessity.

Simplify Your Work Routine. It’s tempting to play catchup or work ahead when you have free hours at home, but remember that any extra time you spend working at home is time you lose with your loved ones. Learn to leave the office at the office (unless it’s an emergency). Try to find other ways to stay ahead of work, if you must, and try to focus all your time at home on family.

Slow Down! It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life, but make sure you’re not speeding through it. When you find yourself running through the day, take a breath, and pump the brakes. Life is nothing without purpose and meaning. Stop to appreciate the little things and special moments throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll pass them by, and those are moments you can never get back.

Create A Routine. If you’re a list-maker, you probably already have this one down, but if not, you might consider adopting the idea of creating routines. Life is so much easier with organization and planning. Yeah, it’s great to be spontaneous as well, but if you set a morning routine before work, you’ll be ready for the day on time. If you create a workout routine, you’re less likely to skip the gym. If you plan a day for grocery shopping each week, you won’t find yourself scratching your head in front of the fridge and hungry with no time to shop when it’s time to make dinner.

Complain Less. Not everyday is going to be a great day, but that also depends on your mind set. You determine how you view the world. You and only you can create your own happiness. If you keep a negative outlook, you will see the world in a negative way. Try to stay positive and look at the bright side!

Want Less. As humans, we often chase things and items that we assume will make us happy. Especially with the rollercoaster of comparison that social media can bring. While it’s easy to compare ourselves to others and want what they have, strive to forget about The Joneses and focus on being content being you. As parents, we need to remind our kids that people are not defined by what they have, but who they are.

Me Time. Let’s be honest—we lead crazy, busy lives. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to find time to ourselves. And by “me time” we don’t mean folding the family laundry or washing the dishes alone, we mean doing what you want to do, in silence. Implement a routine (above) and find a break in your schedule, once a day if you can, to steal some quiet time. It could be 10 minutes or an hour, but whatever you can get is essential to staying sane. Try taking up yoga and meditation or escape in a great book.

Stop Being Late. We know things happen, but if you’re frequently late, there’s more than just accidents and traffic keeping you from being on time. Lateness is a sign of disorganization and carelessness. Besides tardiness and putting yourself in a bad mood due to rushing, it can actually effect others’ schedules and plans. Instead, make a point to be five to ten minutes ahead of schedule everyday. This way if something disrupts your morning routine, it won’t make you late.

Clean As You Go. Nothing is more irritating than spending hours in the kitchen making a huge dinner and having to clean up a mountain of dishes afterwards (or coming home to a huge mess in the kitchen from the kids). Instead, try cleaning as you go—wipe up spills and take care of little messes before they become big ones. This way, while dinner is cooking, you can knock out those dishes. Make sure this rule applies to everyone, not just you.

Opt For Download. We live in a digital world these days. Instead of renting and/or buying movies or dvds that clutter your living room and take up space, opt for downloading all of your movies, music, and media. This will avoid the hassle of finding storage, picking up and dropping off rentals, or carrying cds around in your car. Plus, kids these days seem to know how to operate the Apple TV or iTunes better than an actual DVD player!

Organize Your Entire Home. You may have done this when you first moved in, and from the busy schedules, kids, and everyday usage, things have started to wander into other places. Set a weekend (or few days off) aside to begin organizing and giving everything you own a place. If it has no place, it’s probably a good idea is to get rid of it.  Sort by category, for instance, color-coordinate your closet, designate a drawer for little things like chip-clips and various utensils, create a medicine cabinet, store shoes in a shoe rack, etc. This will make your life so much easier and you will always know exactly where to find the things you need.

Have some more tips on how to make life simpler? Let us know in the comments below.

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