Thursday, September 16, 2010

65 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Time and again, I notice that when I simplify my life, it has the side affect of also saving me money (and usually stress too!). Here's 65 ways to do just that:
  1. Start your morning off my making coffee or tea at parking/waiting at the drive through, no waiting to order, no finding change in your purse, no getting the wrong get the idea.

  2. Make your breakfast choices simple: fruit, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal...nothing fancy, just a nourishing start to your day.

  3. If you can't list your day's meetings/activities in a small calendar book, you are too busy! Cut back on your obligations.

  4. Simplify your wardrobe...both the number of pieces you own and the color assortment of your clothing, it will make getting dressed in the morning faster and easier.

  5. Pay your bills online. Once you have done this a few times, it becomes quite quick and easy.

  6. Pick one or two hobbies/volunteer positions/activities and do them really well instead of spreading yourself too thin and trying to do a dozen different things.

  7. Clear your desk and only put back the things that you absolutely need...clear workspace, clear mind!

  8. Write down a "to do" list of the five things you absolutely must do the next writing down 50 things that will stress you out and that you won't be able to complete anyway.

  9. De-clutter your home. Make it as spartan and a third world orphanage. No clutter, no knick knacks, no junk, etc.

  10. Make your bedroom an oasis of tranquility--a bed and maybe a plant and that's it (no computer, no desk, no TV!).

  11. Go for quality--in your spartan bedroom, have 500 thread count sheets on the bed along with a down comforter that makes you feel like you are sleeping in a cloud.

  12. Clear out your bathtub. A friend has no less than 20 hair/body products lining her bathtub. It makes me stressed just looking at it! Pick a couple of quality shampoos and an olive oil soap and maybe a nice conditioner and that's it.

  13. Clean out your fridge every week and minimize there as well. If a food is just lingering there and not being eaten, toss it out rather than looking at it every time you open the door.

  14. Recycle as much as possible.

  15. Move closer to your job so you can walk or bike to work.

  16. Take the bus! You can't do 25 energy-draining and time-wasting errands when you are at the mercy of the bus schedule so cut down the number of places you need to go, hop on the bus, and relax.

  17. Instead of printing out everything on your computer printer that you think you may need in the future, save the info on your computer and keep a digital copy instead of a paper copy.

  18. Scan all of your important documents into your computer. When you need this info, it is easier to search you computer instead of running to the safe deposit box.

  19. Back up your files weekly (the stress-saving value of this simple thing alone will save you when your computer goes toes up).

  20. Consolidate! If you have eight email address, shift down to two. If you have six social networking sites, determine to only update one or two.

  21. Be "in the moment". If you are exercising, focus on your body and your exercise, not on your "to do" list or the big presentation at work.

  22. Read a book instead of being tethered to your computer or Kindle.

  23. Build family unity by working together: wash the car together instead of running it through the car wash, do yard work together instead of hiring it done, etc.

  24. Make up a fairly comprehensive first aid kit so you don't have to run to the store for provisions every time someone gets a sniffle.

  25. Make templates for things you need to do often (ie: a grocery shopping list, meeting agenda templates, etc).

  26. Don't use shopping for is expensive and it doesn't provide any educational/inspirational experience.

  27. Put your cell phone away when you get home. Unless you are waiting for a kidney, you don't need to be available 24/7.

  28. Have a garage sale, and sell more stuff than you usually would. When we were preparing to move we sold lots of stuff including furniture. We didn't end up moving and we didn't want to buy furniture to replace the stuff we sold, so we ended up with a more open, less cluttered home. Now we can throw a dance in the family room because we have no furniture in there, only rugs and huge pillows...simple.

  29. Make meal time a relaxing experience at home instead of a sprint through the drive through.

  30. Set aside work time, where you actually work. This is easier to do if you are self employed. I find that I can hammer away at work in four hour blocks and get lots more done than if I set an eight hour block of time to work where I get distracted with internet surfing, TV watching, calling friends, etc.

  31. Become a one car family. You pay less in insurance, you only take one car for service instead of two or three, you only wash one car instead of two or three, etc.

  32. Exercise simply. Walking, biking, and playing with the kids at the playground are free ways to exercise and much less stressful than waiting for a piece of equipment to become available at the gym.

  33. Wear sensible shoes. They are better for your feet, better for your posture, and better for taking the unexpected hike through the woods.

  34. Live in a smaller place. The time to clean a smaller place alone will save you untold hours of your life. Decorating and maintenance costs go down exponentially as well.

  35. Take simple vacations. Visit the family or go camping instead of going to Disneyland or Vegas...these places are much more stressful and cost lots more too.

  36. Focus on one thing at a time. When you are playing with your kids, don't be answering your phone, when you are working on a project, don't be tempted to surf the net or update your FaceBook status.

  37. Figure out how to use diet and exercise to cure "lifestyle diseases" such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol instead of taking a handful of pills each day.

  38. Make annual dental and physical exams a must. This simplifies the process of fixing problem that can become major issues if they are allowed to fester.

  39. Eat simple food. If you need a snack, eat a peach instead of a bag full of chips or cookies.

  40. Be your own therapist. Journal, talk to your dog, talk to your friends, get in some hard physical exercise or yard work, focus on others...

  41. Use only cash and cancel your credit cards.

  42. Pay off your debts. It's simpler to pay a few bills instead of a dozen or more.

  43. Spend time building relationships instead of surrounding yourself with stuff. $500 shoes will be so out next season but the time spent with your grandmother will be priceless.

  44. Realize that anything you buy will have initial costs, maintenance costs, cleaning costs, updating costs, time costs, etc. Buy accordingly.

  45. Have a date nite with your hubby and with each of your kids regularly. You don't have to do anything fancy, even baking cookies with your daughter will create nice memories of quality time spent together.

  46. Spend time on activities that have a payoff. Watching TV only results in a larger ass and a dent in the couch cushion. Knitting, baking, working in your garden, reading a "how to" book, and other such activities result in something tangible at the end of your efforts.

  47. Pray or meditate. This is free, it clears your mind, it focuses your thoughts, and it's relaxing.

  48. Buy clothes that don't need special care. If clothes won't pass the washer/dryer test, I don't buy them.

  49. Walk until something interesting happens. I have often heard travelers say this and it's true. If you just walk, something interesting is bound to happen whether you run across a patch of wild blackberries, stop and chat with a homeless person walking down the street by you, or you find something interesting to photograph.

  50. Focus on being a happier/nicer/better person. Good manners and a good attitude are free and make everyone around you happier.

  51. Eat your main meal at lunch. Breakfast should be super simple and dinner should be super small so lunch is where you can really shine with your cooking.

  52. Find free stuff to do in your community--you'll have fun, meet like-minded people, and enjoy some new experiences.

  53. Travel with only one bag. It's easier to keep track of your stuff, cheaper since you don't pay additional baggage fees, and easier to carry.

  54. Breathe. Go outside, inhale deeply, exhale deeply...this is an instant relaxer, it's free, and it's good for your health.

  55. Use simple (and natural!) cleaning products in your home. Marketers have people thinking that they need dozens and dozens of cleaning products for their home when you really only need a few things like rags, bleach, baking soda, vinegar, etc.

  56. Donate your books to the library. If you have stacks and stacks of books that you will probably never read again why not donate them then borrow them back again if you really need to read them (which you probably won't do because you have already read them!).

  57. Spend time at the library--read, take your kids to story time, borrow a video, use the internet--all free, enjoyable, simple things to do.

  58. If something bothers you, fix it or replace it. A squeaky door? Instead of listening to it squeak, put some oil on the hinges. A super slow, nearly dead computer? Replace it instead of babying it along.

  59. Make memories for people. Bring flowers from your garden to a neighbor, bake cookies for a busy single mom, take pictures at an event and give copies to friends who were there, etc.

  60. Disengage from people who make you angry, tense, stressed, or feel bad. Some people just won't be happy no matter what you do. Keep them as far away from you as possible.

  61. Have one inbox--for mail, kids school forms, work, etc--and clear it out regularly.

  62. Enjoy the holidays...simply. I have a few friends whose holiday preparations would put Martha Stuart to shame. You don't need to change your entire decor according to the season, you don't need a 20 foot Christmas tree that bulges under the weight of the decorations, doing simple things like carving pumpkins or putting a string of lights in your window will show just as much holiday cheer as something elaborate. Understated is good.

  63. How many phones do you need? Some people have an office phone, home phone, and cell phone when they could really get by with just one cell phone.

  64. Throw potluck get togethers instead of footing the bill at a fancy restaurant.
  65. Limit your online time--it can complicate, rather than help simplify, your life.

1 comment:

  1. This post reminds me; I've been wanting to get rid of our worn-out sofa and do not plan on replacing it with another sofa. They take up way too much space. I already got rid of the recliner and replaced it with an office chair with casters. I love not having to struggle moving a huge piece of furniture when I want to vacuum under it. The other option was to wait until my husband was available to move it out of the way ~ very frustrating at times ~ no wonder I tend to procrastinate:(