A simple life by definition means living with less, not using a lot of modern gadgets and most probably living in the countryside. But in order to have a simple life that is more meaningful and joyful, you don’t necessarily have to do that.
You can lead a simple life while living in the middle of the city, without giving up your creature comforts. A simple life is all about removing things from your life (people, clutter, habits, thoughts) that don’t serve you.
There is no set definition of the kind of simple life that suits everyone. But like Minimalism, it depends on you. Everyone’s idea of simple life is different. And you can’t be happy if you’re trying yo live in the idea of someone’s else simple life.
But what you can do is take inspiration from other people who lead simple lives and see how and where you can adopt those practices in your life. There is no need to give up everything you own and go live on a farm.
I have a fairly simple life, but we do have a TV, I work from a Mac, and have a slight obsession with coffee mugs. But my life is still pretty simple and it genuinely makes me happy. And if you are looking for inspiration as well, here are 20 ways in which I have simplified my life:
Not saying yes to every plan:
We all have limited time in the day and if you are saying yes to everyone and every plan, you are making some mistakes for sure. A lot of the times saying NO is not easy.
But in order to simplify your life and have time for the things you ACTUALLY love doing, you need to learn to say NO. You need to know how to say NO to people, to plans and how to set boundaries as well.
You can’t possibly make time for everyone and everything, without sacrificing your me-time or family time and you need to decide what is a priority to you. I used to never be able to say no to anyone ever. And I ended up wasting so much of my time going to parties that I didn’t even enjoy.
When I started saying NO to people and parties/going out plans that I wasn’t interested in, I found that it immediately made me happier. I had more time to do the things that I actually enjoy doing. I had more time to spend with my family, to cook meals at home and to tidy the house too.
Absolutely no shame in saying that I’d rather clean my house than go to a party with loud music and drunk people. That’s just not my vibe.
Not watching tv:
A few years back, I & hubby got into this habit of binge watching Netflix shows post work. We were both tired in the evenings from our jobs, had no energy to cook. So we’d order food or get take out, park ourselves on the couch and watch a good show.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed that phase and that’s all you need on some days. But I realised that I didn’t have time to do all the other things I wanted to do. We’d watch TV till late at night and I loved my early mornings, so I used to be sleep deprived. And not getting proper sleep made me lethargic at work too.
Now, I rarely watch TV, if at all. I do not enjoy binge watching tv shows and wasting my time. I am always thinking of my future self and not wasting my time, serves my future self. I’d rather be working on my side hustle and building my dream life.
I am not saying I can not enjoy a good show. But I do it more mindfully now. I watch 1 episode a week, I think. Some weeks, I watch none. But I’d watch something when I need some down time.
I was not big on drinking alcohol, ever. But I’d occasionally drink with friends or on weekends or in social gatherings. And I’d drink mostly to avoid the whole conversation of why I was not drinking.
But I used to hate the way alcohol made me feel the next morning. And also the fact that most of those gatherings go on till late in the night and that again meant messing with my sleep routine.
Quitting drinking was the easiest change for me, but made so much of a difference. So if you feel drained of energy, lethargic and tired the morning after having alcohol, maybe consider quitting it all together. You won’t miss it as much once you become mindful of how good you feel after quitting.
Having routines in place allows you to have a more organised life everyday. Having routines means I can maintain a clean home, without having to clean for hours everyday. These small daily routines help me simplify my life so much.
Having proper routines also means I am not stressed because I know I will make time to get things done .It gives your life a much needed direction and that assurance that if you stick to the routines, you are making small gradual improvements to your life, everyday.
Making routines is also great because you don’t waste a lot of time thinking about what to do next. You kind of go in an auto pilot and all the good habits start coming naturally to you. Once you do something long enough, it sticks and becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth.
Meal Planning & prepping:
Meal planning & Meal prepping on the weekends have helped me simplify our meals and make healthy eating easier. Meal planning saves so much time and you don’t have to think thrice a day about what you are going to make. Or whether you have the ingredients or not.
It simplifies grocery shopping as well. Because you know what you’re going to make throughout the week, so you can see what you will need and what you already have in the pantry.
Meal prepping on the weekends also simplifies my life because it helps me cut down the actual cooking time by almost half, on a day to day basis. And that simply means that I can get the meals ready quickly and there is no need to get takeouts.
Planning my day:
If you do not plan your day in the mornings or the night prior, you are missing out. Planning your day in advance, writing your to-do list and then structuring your day makes things so much smoother.
Because when you plan ahead, you know exactly what is going on in your day. And structuring your day allows you to do your top priority tasks first. And you do not put them off till the afternoons, when you are low on energy post lunch.
It also allows you to have a healthier work life balance. And is super helpful if you’re working for yourself. Because when you work for yourself, there is always something more that you can get done. But planning ahead allows you to log off at a reasonable hour. And you can even enjoy some time to yourself, without any feeling of guilt.
Ask me what’s my number one advice to simplify your life and I’d say it’s making lists. I swear by lists.
In fact, here are 15 lists that I recommend you start making to simplify life and be more organised. Making lists makes grocery shopping a breeze too. I don’t waste my time walking up and down the grocery store aisles and wasting my money on things I do not need.
Cutting toxic people out of my life:
We all have toxic people around us. Anyone who pulls you down, tells you to lose weight, wear certain clothes, start a diet. Or someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries or your choices is toxic.
There will always be people who will under-estimate you. There will be “friends” telling you to have some fun and not prioritise your work, “friends” asking you have just one drink. Let me tell you right off the bat, you do not need these people in your life.
Basically, if spending time with someone makes you feel like all your energy has been drained, they are toxic for you. You need people who life you up, who motivate and inspire you and who push you to go outside your comfort zone.
And letting toxic people out of my life is one thing that I am super proud of. I choose who I spend my time with and I only spend it with people that are up lifting. I have no time or space for people who demotivate me or for conversations that drain me.
Improving body image:
Improving my relationship with my body was not easy. But ever since I have built a more positive relationships, I feel like I have simplified my life so much. Dealing with body image issues is quite complex. It goes way beyond and impacts so many areas of your life.
It affects how you show up for work, whether you have the confidence or not, how you behave in social situations and a lot more. And I know that if you have struggled for years, how difficult it can be. But it is so liberating and definitely worth the effort.
I even wrote a detailed post on the same, if you are struggling. Here is how to love your body and the way you look.
Having a clear life vision:
When you have a clear vision of your life, you are not constantly distracted by every single idea. Imagine someone telling you about an idea and you start thinking maybe you should also do the same.
It creates a lot of chaos and uncertainty in life. But when you have a very clear vision of what your life should look like, you remove all that chaos. You are at peace.
Knowing the direction in which your life is headed, is so liberating as well. You are not constantly stressed that you are not doing enough. And you have the time to enjoy the journey as well.
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle:
Minimalism is for everyone. I mean it. It will certainly look different for different people. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.
I decided to start my minimalism journey and adopt a minimalist lifestyle when we moved cities and I realised that we simply have too much “stuff”. I went full Marie Kondo before packing our life in boxes.
But you don’t have to do that, in fact I’d advise against it. Go small. Start with simple minimalism practices so that it’s not overwhelming.
Here are 8 ways to start a Minimalistic lifestyle. Minimalism is definitely not one size fits all, and that’s the most important thing you need to keep in mind when getting started.
You do not need to downsize your home, donate half your clothes. The idea is to find a version that suits your life and gives you more space to fill with things that bring you joy.
Adopting a Minimalist lifestyle for me, meant no longer buying trendy clothes (just because), saving money, and having more space in our little apartment.
Going on a no buy for a year:
A no buy is exactly what it sounds like. Call it a challenge or whatever you want, but it will be worth a shot. I went on a no buy for a year. Which meant that I did not buy a single thing for a year, in terms of shoes, clothing, accessories etc.
Of course at the beginning I gave myself the liberty to buy the basics (everyday denim or sneakers) if they get damaged. but guess what, I didn’t need a single thing. Instead I wore things I had in my closet.
You probably have more clothes than you need and once you take on the no buy challenge, you can actually wear the things you already own.
Of course you don’t have to take the challenge for a year. You can start with a week or a month. Whatever you feel comfortable with. And it gets easier over time when you get used to the fact that you already have enough.
Simplifying my wardrobe:
Simplifying my wardrobe was not an easy one for one. I had clothes back from when I was in college. I was holding onto clothes that no longer fit me in hopes that one day they might.
But then I realised that all these clothes were only keeping me from living my life. And looking at these clothes no longer brought me joy, but only regret. So I decided to let them go.
What also worked in terms of simplifying my wardrobe is building a few go to daily outfits. not essentially a capsule wardrobe, but looking at how many outfits I can make from the clothes I had, made it all more clear.
With my new work from home job, I no longer needed as many formal wear clothes. So I decluttered those. I also decluttered clothes that no longer fit my personal style.
As we grow and evolve, our style changes and you should give yourself the freedom to only wear the clothes that bring you joy and not keep clothes only because you spent so much money on them.
Having a wardrobe full of quality basics and a fixed color palette also helped immensely. It meant I could pair any top with any of the trousers or bottom wear and be sure that it looks good. It makes shopping later on easier too. You will no longer be enticed to buy everything that’s in trend, because you see more clearly whether it fits your style or not.
Having go-to outfits:
Having go to outfits is such a life saver on some days. And this will help you simplify your life so much. It makes getting ready so much quicker and hassle free.
I was never a person who’d plan outfits beforehand. Let alone accessories. And I’d stand in front of my wardrobe every morning, trying different outfits before I find the one I like. But I never had the time to properly accessorise because mornings can be so rushed.
That’s why having some go to outfits, with accessories can be game changers. And if you have never tried it, give it a go for a week.
Of course you don’t have to wear these outfits on repeat, but it’s great to have some go-tos for days when you are rushed in the mornings.
Being mindful of media consumption:
Our lives revolve around social media these days. and it’s almost impossible to not spend time on these platforms. And if you spend way too much time scrolling through social media and then feeling shitty about your life, you need to simplify this aspect.
I used to follow a lot of girls, who looked nothing like me and then used to compare my body to theirs. It lead to a more negative body image for me. I was over analysing every single part of my body and looking in the mirror with hate.
And that’s why I was keen to make changes in this regard. I unfollowed people who brought no value to my life and made me feel bad about mine. Instead I started following people who seemed more like me.
I also became more aware and mindful of the news I consume on social media and in general. Because what you feed to your mind is as important as what you feel your body.
Working out/ moving everyday:
I have never been lazy when it comes to working out, but making it a habit has definitely been life changing. I found that I lacked routines to make time for workouts and including a little workout time in my routine definitely helped.
I don’t necessarily do a high intensity workout, but I do like moving my body in some way. I like listening to my body and doing whatever feels good. I started doing a lot of yoga and breathing exercises when I was pregnant and have continued the same.
We all know it for a fact that working out or exercising in some form is good for us, but so often we don’t make time for it. And making time for it, so that you don’t miss it will help you simplify your life. Make it a part of your routine so that it starts coming naturally to you.
I also simplified my workouts and I no longer need a lot of equipment, so very little chances of making excuses as well. When it comes to building a habit of working out, I found that it really helps if you know your workouts in advance.
So if you rely on youtube for your daily workouts, select workouts for the entire week/month in advance, so that you’re not wasting your time when it’s actually time to workout.
Journalling can help you simplify your life in so many ways. I simplified my life through journalling by using an open ended journal . I simply take a notebook and start writing whatever comes to my mind.
I find that journalling without prompts helps me connect with my thoughts in a better way. It also helps me understand my feelings better and that simplifies my life because it creates so much mental space and clarity.
I also do a brain dump almost every week, where in a write down tasks I want to do and divide them into categories. Brain dump is a great place to take note of things so that you don’t forget. It simplifies your life because you will no longer be stressed about forgetting something important.
I also keep all my lists in my journal, which, like I have already mentioned, are such a great tool for simplifying life.
Slow living practices daily:
Practicing simple living everyday can help you simplify life and make time for things that actually bring you joy. We are usually so focussed on everything else in our fast paced lives that we forget to slow down and actually enjoy.
While slow living may not seem possible in everyday life, because you are busy, you can still include some slow living practices in your everyday life.
These slow living practices allow you to pause your busy lives and just savour the present moment. Some slow living practices are meditation, a hobby like gardening, drinking your tea/coffee slowly and mindfully.
When I started including these slow practices in my everyday life, they allowed me to take a break from the stress of work and just let myself be present, even if just for a few minutes.
Decluttering my space:
Decluttering my entire house was the start of my simplifying journey. And I can not recommend it enough. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything in your life as well, a decluttering session maybe just the answer.
Decluttering can be very therapeutic and when you remove clutter from your life, you simplify things.
Having less clutter automatically means spending less time cleaning things and hence, simpler life. Having less appliances means it is easier to store things and your kitchen cabinets are free of clutter as well.
Having less clothes means you don’t have to worry about running our of closet space. A simple minimal wardrobe that can be paired with each other, is any day better than having items of clothing that do not go with each other.
Removing visual clutter from your home and workspace also leads to a free mind that has more “space” to think properly.
Mindful eating habits:
Quitting junk food was one of the most rewarding things I have done to simplify my life, but it was also the most difficult one. Because our eating habits become such a big part of our lives and completely changing them can be quite the task.
We often indulge in eating junk food or getting takeouts. And while there is nothing wrong with that, sometimes it becomes a habit. And no doubt you feel low on energy, demotivated and bloated.
That’s where proper nutrition comes in. Educating yourself about nutrition and being a mindful eater is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Having a few go to healthy recipes for breakfast and dinner will simplify your life so much.
And if you do not know how to cook, there are so many easy beginner friendly recipes on Pinterest which you should definitely try. And print out the ones you like and add them to your recipe journal. It can be your go to place whenever looking for what to make. You won’t have to waste time scrolling Pinterest looking for recipes.
That’s it for this post. These are 20 lifestyle changes that have helped me simplify my life. I hope it gives you some idea of where to begin when it comes to living a simple life. It surely doesn’t have to be about downsizing your house or living on a farm. You can still live with all your creature comforts and have a fairly simple life. See you in the next one! 🙂