While I don’t think there is really anytime of the year that you CAN’T benefit from living a simpler life, often times after the holidays, we really need to allow ourselves some time to pair down our routines as well as our stuff.
Bringing our lives and our things back to the basics can really help not only clean up our indoor environment, but can also help declutter our brains and helps us function at a higher level. I know for me personally, after the holidays and with the start of a new year I’m invigorated to start new habits, transform my living spaces and get back to simple routines.
If you’re going to add new habits, I suggest doing them just one at a time. Make sure you’ve got it down so it sticks before tacking on a new one. When you layer habits and new systems that you’ll be implementing in a slow and steady fashion, they’re more likely to become permanent changes.
The beauty of having a home in today’s world is that we have the opportunity to slow things down and simplify the way our grandmothers did — living a simple life. But we also have the benefit of technology and implementing organized systems to help us create a really simple, yet efficient way of living.
If you’ve gone through and decluttered your house, these next steps to simplifying will really bring your home to the next level in living a simple life.
HOW LIVING A SIMPLE LIFE AFFECTS YOUR HOUSE
When your home is cluttered with items, we eventually become what is referred to as a “stuff manager”.
I have felt this way myself in my own home. Our unfinished basement turned into a catch-all for memory boxes, outgrown clothes and toys that didn’t get used as much. Eventually I noticed that every few months I was going through the basement, trying to clean it up. As I cleaned and organized, I would move one category of items to another area and rearrange our stuff. Finally, after the third or fourth time doing this, I realized the problem was not that I didn’t have it in the right spot. The problem was I had too much stuff. I was spending hours just trying to figure out how to organize it and cleaning it.
This left less time for me to enjoy the things I had because I was so preoccupied with cleaning it and moving it. Less stuff means you’ll have more time on your hands to work on other areas of your home and more time to truly enjoy the spaces you’ve worked so hard to create.
SIMPLER DAILY ROUTINES
Here are some ways you can simplify your daily routines and embrace living a simple life. Remember, anytime we’re pairing down on products, we’re eliminating a potential toxin source from our home as well.
Pair down personal care products to just the essentials. Sometimes our skin and hair thrives even more with just a basic routine. I switched some of my morning routine items to the evening to simplify my morning and give me more time. But I’ve also paired my products down to just one oil for my face instead of layers of products.
Clean the kitchen every night. Waking up to a clean kitchen will start your day fresh and moving forward, not catching up.
Set out Items the night before. If you’ve got kids, layout backpacks and outdoor clothes the night before. We even lay out our clothes the night before to make mornings a cinch.
Bring a water bottle with you. Everyone feels better when they’re hydrated. This will also help prevent you from having to make extra stops to get a beverage if you’re out running errands.
Create a capsule wardrobe. This will help you by pairing down your clothes to the basics. It saves time picking out clothes and can really help by reducing the number of synthetic fabrics you own.
Unsubscribe from emails. You know you have a list of emails that you don’t actually read, but instead just delete. Unsubscribe from sales emails or emails that you never read. You’ll declutter your inbox and free up your brain in the process.
Write a to do list before bed. Having your next day planned out will offer more time for enjoying it as well as give you a better night’s sleep.
Create a system with paper. Paper that comes in should find its rightful place immediately. Don’t let it sit on the counter or on your desk too long without having a place to put it for good. Paper around the house causes dust and clutter.
SIMPLER MEAL TIMES
Living a simple life doesn’t mean it has to be boring, and that’s especially true when it comes to meal time. Meals can be fun, tasty and healthy, yet still simplified.
Plan a meal menu. I guarantee you’ll eat healthier and it will make dinnertime so much easier.
Keep recipes in one spot. With technology, this may be easier said than done. I try to keep all my recipes in Pinterest, so I know just where to look. You could also print out recipes and keep them in a three ring binder with plastic sleeves if you’re one that needs the physical copy.
Food prep once a week. Preparing food when you get it home from the grocery store can help you make meals more efficiently and quickly. It will also help you stick to your meal plan as the prep is already done.
Make one pot meals on busy days. Let’s face it, cleaning up after dinner isn’t always fun. If you’ve got a busy day or night, use a recipe that requires one pot and save yourself some clean up time.
Batch cook once a week. What I mean by this is choose one meal each week and make a double recipe. Put one in the freezer and next time you need dinner in a pinch you’ll have something super simple to make.
Have a backup meal planned. Remember that idea of having a freezer meal ready? That applies here. We also use salad nights as a backup meal plan. Every now and then a day just doesn’t go as planned and we get to dinner without enough time. These back up meals are a great way to still eat healthy without feeling stressed for time. This is one of my favorite ways to live a simple life while stressing less.
Have breakfast in the freezer. Freezer meals make breakfast quick and simple when you’re trying to get out the door in a somewhat calm manner. Muffins, breakfast cookies, and breakfast burritos are great options.
Get creative with leftovers. Using up leftovers can be fun and you don’t have to eat it the same way. If you’ve made a chicken dish, change it up and turn it into a wrap or make a flatbread with it. Try to use what you have to prevent buying unnecessary food and tossing leftovers.
SIMPLER ROOMS TO GET BACK TO LIVING A SIMPLE LIFE
You know I wouldn’t have a blog post about living a simple life without mentioning how our physical house and home comes into play. Simplifying our spaces can really help improve our health as well as improve our daily life.
Donate books. Books are an easy place to declutter your home and remove sources of dust while cleaning off shelves.
Digitize sentimental photos and papers. Do you have a box full of kids art projects around? Digitize them by taking a photo or scanning them into your computer. Then keep only a handful. Simplify it even more by getting a file box to keep you mementos in.
Pair down cleaning products. Making the switch to a concentrated cleaner completely simplified my life. I was able to get rid of nearly every cleaning product I own and use just one. I no longer have to keep track of how much I have of each product, and I’ve also reduced the toxins in our home as well.
Get rid of back up items. Are there 12 sets of towels in your linen closet? Most bathrooms need a MAX of two towel sets. We have one for each bathroom and one backup set. Removing the extra clutter in our closet has simplified the process of cleaning bathrooms as well as our space benefiting us with the overall idea of living a simple life.
Recycle kitchen plastic. Do you need all those food storage containers? Or can you live with just a few? I realized that we really only needed our glass containers and our metal water bottles and ditched all the other plastic in our house. I barely notice that they’re gone because as it turns out, I didn’t need them.
Clear surfaces. A clean and decluttered room is a clean and decluttered mind. Limit what gets placed on clean surfaces like desks, dressers and shelves to help reduce dust and keep a room clean.
Keep similar items together. Instead of having half your cleaning products in one cabinet and the rest under the kitchen sink, pair all these things together so there’s only one place to look for all of them. You’ll save yourself time and you’ll keep better track of what you have.
Make an indoor toolkit. When something needs to be repaired, it can be inconvenient to run out to the garage or the toolbox. Keeping a small indoor toolkit, can ensure that things get repaired right away instead of being put off. If you can find what you need around the house, simply put it all together in a bag or basket. Otherwise, this toolkit from Craftstman is perfect for storing indoors.
Re-evaluate toys and stuffed animals. This one is easier said than done. But too many stuffed animals can not only lead to clutter, but it can also lead to an increase in dust mites. Not to mention some of the stuffed animals out there contain fill and foam from petroleum based products, which is not good for our health.
Create a charging station. Pick one spot in our house to hold all the electronics and chargers. It’s best not to have this in your bedroom, but pick another spot in your house. This will help when looking for a charger or needing to charge something. All you’ll have to do is go to the designated spot and plug in your device. This charging station is great for multiple devices.