Would you be willing to accept a reduction in pay if you could work fewer hours to spend more time with your family? It is a lovely thought, but how realistic? Working less usually means earning less—hardly an option for most people.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot take small steps to simplify our complicated lives. A little bit here and there, and before you know it your efforts will add up to something significant.
Too much stuff leads to more stuff. And even more and more! All that stuff weighs us down, and robs our joy and precious time because everything becomes so complicated. Getting rid of clutter is a cheap, fast, and effective way to become physically and financially sound. It’s also the path to emotional and intellectual happiness. Dejunk your home one drawer, cupboard, closet, and room at a time. Expect to experience a new feeling of “lightness.”
Give everything a home
We know the rule—everything has a place, everything in its place. Adhering to that ideal can be quite another matter. But truth be told, once everything has a home, it’s easy to maintain a clean and functional space. Cleanup is quick and easy because it’s simple. Whatever it takes to reach the everything-has-a-place goal will be so worth the effort.
Track your money
Statistically, we know that money is leaking out of our lives at a rate of at least 10% if we are not keeping track of where it is going. One of the most helpful things you can do to simplify your money is to download an app like Personal Capital.
Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation. You can connect accounts, such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more. Plus, it is free.
Just because it happens to be a convenient time for someone to call you doesn’t mean it’s convenient for you to answer. Let your calls go to voice mail. Every instant message does not deserve an instant response. Telling your phone who’s in charge will greatly simplify your life.
Run dishwasher once a day
In most homes, the dishwasher has a tendency to fill up quickly. Here’s a workable routine that will bring simplicity and calm to your home: Every morning, after breakfast, run the dishwasher and then empty it right before lunch. Now you can put the dirty dishes from lunch and dinner directly into the dishwasher and go to bed with nothing in the sink.
Write down what you need to remember and forget everything else. Don’t allow your mind to dwell on things over which you have no control. You will never regret making this a new habit.
Share, lend, borrow, rent
Part of the reason we have such a love affair with shopping and consumerism is that we think we need to personally own everything we use. Before you agree to complicate your life further with yet another possession, consider the alternatives.
Stop paying for cable
Due to hidden fees on top of basic service, the average household cable package is now $217.42 per month, which is more than the monthly average U.S. household pays for all major utilities combined ($205.50). Cutting the cable is a good step toward simplifying your life, and quite frankly, something you may never regret. With so many free or at least cheaper options, you might not even miss cable TV at all.
Take a break
You may not realize how screen time is affecting your purchasing and lifestyle choices. If you are addicted to Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and television in general, taking a break will simplify your life. If you’re not willing to go cold turkey, at least disable notifications. Then limit the number of times each day that you check your various feeds. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing that has no merit—a fake fear.
Drive a simple car
High-end, luxury automobiles are nice to drive but can complicate one’s life. Typically they are gas-guzzlers and expensive to insure, register, maintain, and repair. It’s a simple step, but one that may take a while to achieve—but totally doable.
Select a patterned carpet
Light-colored, plush carpeting is beautiful but can be life-altering. It shows every speck, spot, fleck, and crumb. If you want your carpets to look good without having to spend all your free time spotting, vacuuming, de-flecking, and un-crumbing, go with something speckled, patterned, or multicolored.
Get up earlier
The best hour of the day is the one right before you normally get up. It may take you a few weeks to truly enjoy that hour right before dawn, but when you create the habit you will be amazed by the simplicity that 60 quiet, stress-free minutes will add to your day.
Decide to be happy with what you have. The social imperative that we must consume to be happy breeds dissatisfaction and nonfulfillment. The constant ratcheting up of standards demands that we constantly upgrade in order to keep up. It takes a conscious effort to desire less.