So, you have decided that you want to try and live a more simple life, yet, you don’t really know where to start. Well you are in the right place! I am here to discuss 9 easy ways to embrace simple living so that you can start living a more intentional, slower life.
Since the pandemic hit, there has been this wave of people who are beginning to realize that there is more to this life than “living the American dream.” And I think that is awesome! But most people don’t really know what to do about it.
For me, this thought of living a more simple life really came about after I had my youngest daughter, about 2 and half years ago. At this time, I had an infant and a 1 year old. Needless to say, our lives were crazy hectic. With the addition of both our daughters, it also came with ALOT of stuff.
We now had 2 babies which meant we had 2 of most things. Yes, I was able to reuse quite a bit since they are both girls, but there were now 4 people in our house and 3 dogs. This caused my stress and anxiety to sky rocket. I don’t remember the exact breaking point, but I do remember getting to a point where I just said, enough is enough.
I stumbled across a pin on pinterest on simple living. After tons of reading, I announced to my husband that I want to live a simple life. He was like “okay”. And here we are a couple years later.
Why Simple Living?
There are so many benefits of living a simple lifestyle. Here are just a few that I have put together from my own experiences.
- It can help relieve stress and anxiety
- Less “stuff” to manage
- More time to do things that you want to do
- Saves money
- More time spent with the people that are most important in your life
- Health benefits
- Teaches your children the value in memories instead of “stuff”
- Stronger Faith
9 Easy Ways to Embrace Simple Living
There are a ton of ways to embrace a simple living lifestyle. I am here to share with you, the top 9 things that I did to simplify our lives as a family.
Decluttering is crucial if you want to live a more simple life. The more stuff that you have, the more that you have to manage. This can become a huge burden, especially if you have a large family to look after. Decluttering not only helps to remove some of the burden, but once you start realizing you can live with less, it is very freeing.
Start small. Earlier today I picked the area where most of our stuff gets dumped.
In less than 10 minutes I was able to transform our mudroom from the left image to the right. This is a pretty small area, but if you look below, this is everything that I was able to declutter.
Since it is now spring time here, we no longer need winter gear, so I put that away for next year. I threw away some things that had been stashed in some of the bins and relocated things that belonged in other rooms. I also added a few things to the donation pile that is in our basement.
I know the purpose of a mudroom is basically the catch all, and I am sure that it will look like the before picture in no time. But being able to see this area that my husband and I worked so hard on last year, makes me happy. Decluttering can be extremely rewarding, so take a small area like this, and see how much you can get rid of in just 10 short minutes.
2. Stop Buying
One aspect of simple living, is learning to live with less. What good would it do to declutter and get rid of stuff, just to buy more and bring it into your house? One thing I did when trying to simplify, was to take a deep dive into my bank account and see where our money was being spent.
I have always been a pretty frugal person, but a little over a year ago, our income went up. I didn’t worry about money so much anymore, so I started to do a little bit more shopping. This turned into boxes on our front porch multiple times a week. Until I looked into our bank accounts, I didn’t fully understand just how much I was spending. Not to mention the amount of new stuff that I was bringing into our house.
So, I started a “no spend challenge”. I found the idea from a book I had listened to called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. In it, she sets up rules on what she can and cannot buy, for a whole year. I have been doing this for 4 months now, and I don’t think I have ordered a single thing that was not needed. We have saved so much more money and have put that towards debt. As of April, we have paid off about $20K! (Some of that was tax and stimulus money, but hey, we have slashed our debt in half!)
3. Simplify Your Closet
This goes right along with decluttering and to stop buying stuff. When I first started this journey, I can remember opening my closet and just staring. I was so overwhelmed with all of the choices that I had. And I am not a decision maker. I stress over decisions like a crazy person. So simplifying my closet was one area I was so looking forward to.
I think in the past year, I have cut my wardrobe in half. I can now fit all my belongings in one closet. Before, I had a whole walk in closet and half of my husbands closet. A few months ago, I was thinking that I still had too much. But, I was having a hard time with parting with some items. I mean we are in a pandemic, so most of these things I hadn’t been wearing since we weren’t really going out.
So I learned about a trick, where you turn all your hangers backwards in your closet. If you wear something, you put it back in on the hanger correctly. That way, when you come to the end of a season, you can see exactly what you wear and what you don’t. The cold weather is about done, so I need to go through and reassess these items. Hopefully, I can cut down my wardrobe even more.
There are a lot of tips to simplifying your wardrobe out there. These are just some things that have worked for me. As time goes on, I have even considered adopting a “uniform”. I have not tried it out yet, but it has been in the back of my mind. I would really love to get to the point where choosing what to wear is just a mindless decision.
4. Create a Routine/Schedule
You might be thinking that this one will cause you extra work. Who has the time to sit down and plan out their whole week? But I promise you, if you take 10-15 minutes to sit down and plan out a rough schedule for the week to come, it makes life so much easier.
This is right up my alley as a planner. I understand, some people are just a “go with the flow” type. But I don’t have that luxury. Lets get serious, I have 2 toddlers and my husband and I both work a full-time job. I have to keep up with appointments for 4 of us, birthdays, family get togethers, when our sitter is off work, etc. If I did not have a planner to keep these written down in, I think I would crumble.
I have a planner that has monthly and weekly breakdowns. This is awesome for me, because sometimes I need to write down things that I need to remember for work. I can also jot down my groceries as they come to mind. And it has a meal planning list, where you can plan your meals. (Which we will talk about more next)
We have a larger family calendar hanging in our kitchen also. This is where my husband can add things as well. This is a more broad family schedule, where as I keep more detailed things in my planner.
5. Meal Plan and Stick with Simple Meals
Meal planning is something that I have been doing for years. It has been a true life saver in so many ways. Like I mentioned before, I cannot make decisions. And I don’t know why, but deciding what to eat seems to be one of the biggest decisions. My husband and I have had so many fights because I just couldn’t make a decision. So if we are out, I usually leave that up to him.
We usually try and cook at least 6 nights out of the week. Because of this, I had to come up with a way to get past my issues with decision making. To do this, I made a list of all of the meals that my family liked. I keep these as easy and healthy as I can. Most meals I can get on the table in less than 45 minutes. Which is pretty good for a home cooked meal. I will refer back to the list whenever I am trying to figure out what to plan for dinner that week. Occasionally, I will try a new recipe, but most of the time we are eating a variation of about 10 to 15 different meals.
Another thing that I did was to get a board to put on our fridge. I write all of our meals down at the beginning of the week, that way I know exactly what we will be having. It also helps remind me if I need to grab some meat out of the freezer to thaw for a future meal. And any time my husband asks “whats for dinner?” I can just point to the board.
6. Limit Screen Time
Phones, tablets and gadgets are super fun and convenient. But sometimes we miss out on great memories because we can’t put our phones down.
I remember a time when my youngest daughter was just a baby. She was sitting in the floor playing with some toys and I was mindlessly scrolling on my phone. When I looked up, she was just sitting there looking at me. I am not sure how long she was just looking at me, waiting for me to interact with her, but I realized something needed to change.
So when I am home with my family, I try and limit the amount of time that I am on my phone. Sometimes I will put it in my room and leave it. We never have our phones at the dinner table. And we only bring them back out once our girls are in bed.
We also limit screen time for our children. My oldest does have a tablet that she does her “school” on, but she has a set limit and after that it shuts off. They are allowed some TV time in the morning before going to the sitters. Most of the time, they will play when they get home before dinner, but if they get crazy, sometimes we will put on a movie so that I can cook dinner.
7. Find a Hobby
Find something that you love doing, and do it. Another point of living a more simple life, is to be able to do the things that you love. Now that you are limiting your screen time, you should have a lot more time to do other things.
Pick up a book. Bake a cake from scratch. Plan a fishing day. Go for a run. Get out your sketch pad. There are a ton of hobbies out there, so if you are not sure what you like, try out a few and go from there. The point is to do something for you, that makes you feel good.
8. Be Intentional
Being intentional, is learning to be purposeful and live the life that you want to live. Wake up everyday knowing, that the decisions you make today, lead you one step closer to where you want to be in life.
For me, this means being intentional in my faith. Without God, I would have no guidance. I would not know which path to take. Being in prayer and devotional daily sets my mind in the place that it needs to be. Being thankful, makes me humble for the life that I have been gifted.
By being intentional in my faith, it also leads me to be intentional in every aspect of my life. This can include the way you act, to what you eat, the media you consume, and who you spend your time with. By being intentional in all of these aspects, it helps you to live a more joyful life.
9. Get Outdoors
Spending time outdoors provides so many benefits. Just being in the sunlight and breathing in fresh air can completely change your whole demeanor. Sunlight helps with anxiety and depression. It gives you an increase in energy and can help relieve stress.
When my husband and I go hunting, there is just something so peaceful about sitting in the woods, listening to the sounds of nature. It truly calms and centers you. So, try to watch a sunset or a sunrise. Go on a walk with your kids. Have a picnic. Or just sit outside in silent meditation or prayer for a few minutes each day. I promise, this will help you to enjoy the little things in life.
Embrace Simple Living
Well I hope these 9 easy ways to embrace simple living have inspired you to start your own simple living journey. For more information on simple living, see my post Simple Living in God’s Grace.
Leave a comment below on ways that you embrace simple living and don’t forget to subscribe to my email list to get more Simple Living tips, tricks and inspiration right to your inbox!