Whenever we want to make a change in our lives, most of the time what we really want is to return to simplicity: We want to do less, experience more; be less chaotic, more grounded; know where we stand with people, discard our relationships to the rest; and so on. After all, simplicity is all that exists — it's fear that creates complexity and chaos.
Yet, while the idea of "simplicity" may be nice in theory, or make for some pretty nice capsule wardrobe pins, it's pretty difficult to actually enact IRL — because let's be honest, life is messy and confusing and things aren't always neat in the way we want them to be. Be this as it may, we can begin to differentiate between what we can and cannot control by reclaiming the simplicity of the small, everyday things, and see how it ultimately evolves from there.
What it means to live "simply" is not to live with less. It's not to live in scarcity or lack, it's not to live only doing the minimum — it's about learning to focus on what really matters (and focus wholeheartedly) to eliminate the mental, emotional, and physical clutter that only slows us down and keeps us there. So here are a series of tips and tricks and even just suggestions to get you on the path toward doing just that, on everything from finances, to beauty, to household organization, to being more productive, to seeing who you really want to spend your time with. Simplifying isn't about reducing, it's about streamlining and recognizing what matters most to you, and honoring that as much as you can.
Box The Majority Of Your Things — Take Out What You Need When You Need It — And After 30 Days, Just Give The Rest Away
And if your first thought is: "What about the things I only need sometimes!" the answer is that we almost never need the things we think we'll need "sometimes." We keep them because we project many "worst case scenarios" that almost never happen.
Automate Your Bills
Not only will you not miss payments, but other than ensuring that you have enough of a balance in your account to cover the costs, you won't have to think about bills much at all. Instead, you can easily determine how much money you have to spend and save, and then not really worry about much else!
Set Aside An Afternoon To "Craigslist," And Put Your Rarely Used (But Very Nice!) Things For Sale
Set a goal — $100 earned, perhaps — and then decide that with that money, you're going to pay for presents over the holidays, or put that money back toward the credit card debt you used to buy some of those things. No, it's not the same as what you spent, but lesson learned, huh?
Decide Who The Five Most Important People In Your Life Are — And Consciously Give Your Time And Attention To Them More Frequently
One of the biggest problems people have with their "social perceptions" of themselves (how well or not-well they think they're doing in terms of friendships and love) is a "quantity is greater than quality" issue, where people fail to realize that most (very lucky) people only have a few close loved ones in their lives, and at the end of the day, that's all most people really want regardless.
Take Enough Time To Do Nothing
No phones, no Internet, no work... just relax. Read, nap, cook, whatever. In a world where constant productivity is lauded, few of us realize that it's typically in an effort to get as far away from ourselves as possible. So take time to do nothing and recognize how much of that chaotic energy simply dissolves after a few days (even hours!) of cool down time.
Cook With Ingredients
Not only will you save tons of money doing this, but it's also a very grounding (and healthy!) experience: Cook with whole ingredients (think: full vegetables, rice, fish, and so on) rather than purchasing and preparing pre-made dinners and items.
Limit Your Social Media Time, Even If It Seems Impossible Right Now
Your online presence is an aspect of your life — it is not your life and it cannot replace your life, and this is coming from someone who works online for a living, by the way. The ultimate simplicity is in learning to tune down chaotic thinking, and there is no more pervasive instigator of that than your newsfeed.
For Beauty, Try The "One Feature, Four Products" Rule
If you want to streamline your daily #look and get out the door as soon as possible while not sacrificing your love for all things cosmetic, try the "one feature, four products" rule. Basically, you choose the feature you most love or want to emphasize about your face (lips, eyes, cheekbones), and then focus on just making that stand out (after all, over-emphasis on all features at once is often a nightmare). Then pick three other products for the rest of your face, and call it a day. (For example: lipstick for a bold lip, foundation, mascara and blush).
Build A Routine That Works For You Using The 30/70 Rule
Achieving this will be striking a balance between what's non-negotiable (30 percent of your day) and what's more fluid (70 percent of your day). The main reason people can't stick to routines is because they switch those two numbers, and then, well, life happens. A doctor's appointment comes up, you run out of energy. All that matters is that you decide what is absolutely fundamental that you accomplish in a day, and then do that first, and give it your all. The rest you can just flow with.
Save All Of Your Receipts And Tags For At Least 30 Days
Not only will it keep you conscious of everything you're buying, but it will also let you return things if you decide you don't like them after a bit rather than just storing them away unused — or worse, only to be disposed of/donated without any kind of wear.