Our modern paced world is getting more and more fast and more and more full. Since becoming a mom, my life only became more busy and more stressful. I started to research how to live a simple life. How to reduce stress and live a more simple way.
Simplicity and minimization mean different things to different people, but for me, it is a state of calm. Being able to say no. No to too many events. No to too many possessions and no to too many expectations on myself.
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Simplicity means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love.
It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.
A Moms Guide to Simplifying your Life
Below is a large list of options and ideas for making your life more simple. It is not here to overwhelm you and give you one more thing that you ‘have’ to do.
To tackle this list, read through it once, then grab a pen a paper and start writing down the ones that are most important to you right now.
I cannot give you a step by step guide to simplifying your life as what you need to do in your life will be very different to mine. I can only help you formulate your own plan.
Before you start, write at the top of your paper the top 4 or 5 things that are most important to you. What do you want your life to look like? what do you need more time to do, people to see or places to go.
The aim of simplifying your life is to help you achieve these main goals.
50 Steps to Simplifying your Life
1. Organize your home
Organizing your home does take more time than just clearing clutter, but it’s an effort that will truly help you have a simpler life. When everything has a place, and you can easily access what you need, you don’t spend time and energy searching for things.
Work your way around your home, pick one small space a day to work on, and over time you can organize every cabinet and drawer.
2. Clear the clutter
Physical clutter makes you feel agitated and distracted. Take a few minutes at the start of the day, and do a sweep of your home to remove any clutter that is gathering. You can place it all in once space to sort out later if you can’t do that right now, but at least get it out of your sight.
3. Let go of possessions
If you have things in your home that you rarely or never use, let them go. Give them away, sell them, or toss them out. Useless items, even if they are valuable, only clog up your physical and emotional space. Release them without looking back.
4. Change your mindset
If you want to simplify your life, you must believe that simplicity is worth aiming for. You should try to adopt the mindset that “less is more” in all things. If you stuff your life to the brim with material things, obligations, and distractions create stress and prevent you from truly enjoying your time on this planet.
5. Create a sanctuary in your home
Create one space in your home that is your respite. It should be clean, clutter-free, calm and inviting. This is where you go when you want to be completely peaceful. Don’t allow this space to get junked up or disorganized.
6. Keep surfaces clean
Most of our clutter tends to accumulate on surfaces — counter tops, tables, etc. Create a new rule that surfaces are sacred and can’t be cluttered. Designate a drawer or cabinet in your kitchen for papers and keys. Keep a basket by your bed for books and other nightstand necessities.
7. Clean out your car
Mom’s cars are THE WORST! Are those old French fries under your seat? Is that a dirty diaper in the back of the car? Put a car trash bag and wipes in your car for quick clean-ups and get that puppy clean and shiny!
8. Streamline your wardrobe
If you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away. Even if you think you “might” wear it one day, odds are you won’t. Once you give it away, you’ll forget about.
9. Make every purchase mindfully
So often we moms make purchases out of boredom, or the need for a little “retail therapy.” Before pulling out your credit card, ask yourself, “Do I really need this? Will it bring me pleasure for longer than a few weeks? Can I really afford it? Can I delay buying it for another few weeks? Is there something I already own that would do the same job?”
10. Reduce your “to-do” list
Have you ever found yourself creating a big to-do list just because you think you should be productive? Do you feel obligated to take on more projects or run errands?
Try and cut your “to-do” list in half, and leave space in your day for nothing. Remove anything that isn’t urgent, and group urgent tasks together to do in one trip.
11. Make your beds
Nothing is more soothing than walking in to your bedroom at the end of the day to find a peaceful, neat and tidy bed. If you start your day by making your bed, you’ll feel more organized from the start.
A made bed makes your room feel tidy and sets the standard for the rest of your day. If you have children, teach them to make their own beds as well.
12. Reduce the amount of paper in your life
Our houses fill with paper fast! Throw away/recycle what you can. Take pictures of what you need to keep and file them electronically. Scan photos and save them on your computer or online. Sell on all but your most precious/necessary books and swap to reading books on your Kindle.
13. Prioritize your workload
The first thing to do each morning is to define your top three most important tasks for the day. Work on those top three, and if you finish before the end of the day, create three more to work on. Avoid distractions and diversions from your 3 top goals until they are completed.
14. Create strong personal boundaries
If you are like me, and am a people pleaser, and you allow others to cross your personal boundaries, you will be expending a lot of emotional energy in resentment and agitation. If you haven’t defined your personal boundaries, then take the time to do so and practice saying NO (see below).
15. Learn to say “no.”
The discomfort of saying “no” is far less exhausting than doing something you really don’t want to do. Eventually, people will respect you more for standing your ground, and you’ll find life is a lot easier once you have said no a few times.
16. Simplify your meals
Healthy, natural foods are the best for you and your health. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals, simple meat and salad is one of the healthiest meals you can prepare, and I can do it in less than 20 minutes most nights! When life is complicated and busy, make something nutritious and easy, like steamed or roasted vegetables with pan-seared fish or chicken.
Grab our free printable meal planning sheet here:
17. Reevaluate your relationships
Simplify your relationships by spending less time with people who drag you down or make you feel bad, and more time with those who lift you up and help you feel amazing.
18. Limit social media exposure
Social media can quickly pull you into a whirlpool of distraction if you aren’t mindful. Set a timer before you engage on social media, and close it down when the timer goes off. You can waste hours of your day if you aren’t careful, save your life for something more meaningful.
If you are with the children at the park, put your phone away and truly be present, you will surprised at what you almost missed!
19. Clean out your inbox
Take some time once a week to really go through and sort out your email inbox. It’s distracting to have all of those old emails that may or may not be important. Sort through them, tag them as necessary, delete or archive what you can, and deal with what you need to.
20. Find time for some fun
You should aim to do something really fun every day! Make it a priority. Life is too short to be serious and busy all day long!
21. Be in the moment
One of my favorite mantras is “be here now.” The present moment is all we really have. Whatever you are doing, do it mindfully with your full attention, get your head out of the past or future, and be fully present with the task at hand right now.
22. Be present with people
When you are with someone, really be with them fully. This goes especially for your children and your spouse.
Put away distractions like your phone or computer. Listen attentively. Look them in the eye. Share a moment and be there with them.
23. Spend time alone
This is one of my favorite tips, but for many, being alone can feel so, well, lonely. Learn to be alone and to enjoy your inner world.
Take some walks in out nature. Sit with your thoughts. Reflect on the contents of your brain. Relax in to the space you create for yourself.
24. Count your blessings
Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to enjoy life. It allows you to experience the pleasure of your blessings over and over again.
Start a gratitude diary and write in it each night before bed 3 things you are grateful for, it may feel forced to start with, but you will start to see good things everywhere.
25. Stop struggling
Are you finding yourself agitated and struggling against something in your life? Are you upset because something isn’t going the way you want it to?
Just relax and let life unfold, use the mantra “it will be what it will be”. You will find things eventually work out for the best most of the time.
26. Unplug from everything
Regularly set aside some time, be it an hour, or a day, or even a week where you unplug from television, computer, and cell phone. Spend this time in nature, reading a book, or with a loved one.
27. Take side roads when driving
Take the peaceful, scenic side roads as often as possible and avoid traffic, busy highways, and long commutes.
28. Clean as you go
Whatever you are doing, be it cooking, showering, changing clothes or anything else, clean up after yourself as you go. It will save you a lot of time and energy. Teach your children to do the same. Cleaning up a small mess is so much easier and less overwhelming than having a huge mess to tackle.
29. Keep your desk clear
It’s hard to focus on work when you can’t even see your desk or what is on it for all of the clutter. Before you begin your work day, take five minutes to get everything off of your desk except the bare essentials.
30. Teach your children in this way too
Teach your children from a young age the value of living simply, living cleanly and living with less. Don’t indulge your child with every desire or purchase they want to make, and set a rule that for every new thing that comes in the house, they must get rid of something old.
Enlist their help in organizing their toys and possessions and tidying their room up.
31. Manage the holiday excesses
The biggest time where when we tend to spend too much on things we don’t need is during the holidays. Rather than spending on things, consider giving a trip or other experience-type gift to people instead.
32. Ditch the car more often
If you have the option, walk or ride your bike rather than taking your car. The exercise is good for you, and you’ll enjoy being outside in the fresh air.
33. Indulge yourself less
Save yourself from feeling hungover, sick, guilty or unhealthy and try to indulge yourself less.
34. Define your core values
It is very hard to make the best choices for yourself if you haven’t defined your own core values. When you know what you value, you have a measuring stick for everything you do in life.
35. Plan your meals ahead
Dinner prep and meal planning will save yourself the stress of trying to figure out what to prepare for dinner when it’s already 6:00, and you’re starving. On each Sunday, think about what you want for every meal of the week, and then go to the grocery store and buy the necessary items. You can even go as far as prepping meals ahead of time.
36. Have an inner life full of peace
It doesn’t matter whether you’re religious, spiritual, or contemplative, have some kind of inner life where you practice prayer or meditation. Both have been proven to reduce stress and increase peace of mind. Practice this daily.
37. Forgive and leave it be
Of course, part of resolving long term conflict might actually require that you forgive another person. Offer forgiveness quickly and freely, even when it’s not asked for. You’ll liberate yourself from resentment and pain. Once you have forgiven someone, do not allow your mind to dwell on it any longer.
38. Expect change in your life
You must be aware that change is part of life. Change will happen whether or not you want it.
Learn to expect and embrace change, no matter how uncomfortable it feels to begin with. Over time, you’ll discover how much you’ve learned and grown from the changes, change really is a good thing. Go with it.
39. Age gracefully
Part of the change that happens in life is getting older. Not many of us like it, but it’s a reality. There are actually many goof things about getting older. Embrace the richness that years of experience have given to you. Learn to accept and work with all the changes in your appearance and relax into them, they are the new and improved you.
40. Cure your adrenaline addiction
It’s easy to get addicted to a fast-paced, high stress, highly stimulating lifestyle. This rushing lifestyle feels empowering, but really it drains your energy and creates huge stress on your body. Identify what causes this rush for you, and try and find ways around it, your long term health will thank you.
41. Create your own rituals
Our routines and rituals help us organize our lives and make sense of them, they can give us comfort and security.
Keep a morning and evening routine that helps you to simplify your life so you don’t have to expend too much energy thinking about what you have to do.
Create traditions around family events and holidays that give your life meaning and purpose.
42. Be creative daily
Take time to do something every day that engages your creativity, even if you are really bad at it. Just be in the flow and enjoy the creative process. The more freedom you allow yourself, the more peaceful and enjoyable you’ll find it. Try to paint, draw, garden, sew, build, write or dance.
43. Resolve conflicts quickly
Any kind of interpersonal conflict is so draining and unnerving. Be the bigger person and initiate the conflict resolution, even if you aren’t at fault. Don’t allow these problems to hang over your head and sap your energy.
44. Get your finances in order
Nothing is more stressful than having no money! Being in debt or not knowing where your money is coming from or going to can be really hard.
Set aside an afternoon to work on your finances, including coming up with a pay-down-the-debt plan if necessary, so you can get out from under the dark cloud of financial worry.
45. Don’t plan everything all the time
Spontaneity is good. Don’t plan out every minute of your day, make sure you leave space for the unexpected or for just doing nothing. Free time isn’t a vacuum that must be filled, even children need to be bored.
46. Put your own family first
Your family relationships are the most important part of your life. Think closely on this: Do you spend more time with work, hobbies, or distractions than you do with your family? Will you look back on that choice with regret at the end of your life? If so, start changing that right now. Make your family your top priority.
47. Define what is “enough” for you
Put some time limits and expectations around some things. How many obligations are enough for you? How much time in front of TV or on the computer is enough for you? Define this for yourself, and then live by it.
48. Reduce your external stressors
What is causing you stress in your life? What can you do today that will reduce that stress? If it’s complicated (your marriage, job, etc.), find a therapist, coach, or mentor to help you work through some solutions for addressing and eliminating the stress.
49. Speak mindfully
Before you open your mouth, carefully consider your words. Is what you are about to say cause harm or good? Will they be spoken in anger or kindness? Don’t say things you may regret or that can cause others pain. This includes your children. Sometimes it is better to say nothing at all, and walk away and cool off first.
50. Accept yourself for what you are
Practice loving and accepting yourself, just as you are, warts and all. Acknowledge all the value you offer both yourself and the rest of the world. Don’t spend time or emotional energy thinking negative thoughts about yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend, do to yourself what you would do for others.