You have heard about the benefits of simple living and minimalism, and you would love to give it a try, you don’t know where to start? In today’s world, we are often inundated with a constant stream of information, responsibilities, and material possessions. Many people are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by this lifestyle, and are seeking a simpler way of living. If you are feeling this way, you may be wondering how to transition to a simpler lifestyle. In this article, we will explore some practical steps you can take to simplify your life.
Understand your ‘why’.
Understand where the desire to live simply is coming from. It’s important to know your starting point and what you want to achieve. Maybe you feel like your desire for ‘more’ is endless and making you unhappy rather than helping you feel fulfilled. Maybe you find your possessions are taking over and causing you stress rather than bringing you joy. The key here is figuring out what works for you and gives you a sense of personal fulfillment.
I’ve had a few ‘why’ moments. My first was due to the financial crisis in 2008. We had two young children,16 months apart and we discovered we had more outgoings than incomings. We had to make some rapid financial changes to simplify our lives and finances, this involved tweaking budgets and selling everything that wasn’t glued or screwed down – I discovered it felt freeing. My second ‘why’ moment came from the depths of postnatal depression after our fourth child. I knew something had to change and I knew that change had to come from within me. I simplified our routines, commitment, habits, and schedule and had a good long look at the kind of mother, wife, and friend I wanted to be.
Decide your vision.
Decide what makes your life simple for you. If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know when you get there? There are all kinds of different versions of a simple life, minimalism, frugality, living with a minimal carbon footprint, maximum free time etc. How do you see your spending your free time, what is important to you? Deciding on your vision will help you decide on practical tips to reach your simple living goals.
My vision was to live comfortably within our means financially. Living a more sustainable life. Eating wholesome meals around our kitchen table, surrounded by family. Board games on rainy days. Evenings cuddled up with my husband, watching our favourite TV shows, reading books or just chatting. Walks and exploring different places. Experiences for the children, books, activities, cultures, and travel. Nights spent laughing with friends. Fulfilling hobbies.
Do you have enough? Most people don’t feel they have enough.
Consider your wants. Are they needs or wants? Will they add anything to your vision, or not? At heart, we are simple creatures who need very few things to survive and even flourish. Deciding you have enough is a mindset change, and it starts with gratitude. If you can flip your thoughts from ‘This is what I am missing’ to ‘Look at everything I have’, it helps give you perspective and makes you feel more fulfilled and happier.
Find joy in the places you didn’t before. Let’s take cooking as an example. If you enjoy cooking, savor the experience – try new recipes, simplify and organise your kitchen space to make cooking more enjoyable, invest in good cookware, appliances, and utensils, and meal plan to take the stress out of the evening ‘What’s for tea’, share food with loved ones, listen to music or a good podcast while you cook. If you don’t enjoy cooking, you might prioritize eating out, enjoy simple recipes or invest some time into batch cooking so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing the things you love.
I enjoy cooking and food photography, cooking from scratch for my family to both save money and so I know what goes into the food we eat is important. I like to keep my kitchen equipment quite minimal, but I also love to invest in quality appliances to make cooking easier. We love making fresh smoothies with our nutribullet and our waffle maker brings me a lot of joy.
Declutter your possessions
One of the first steps to simplifying your life is to declutter your possessions. Go through your home and take inventory of what you own. Consider each item and ask yourself if it brings you joy or if it is essential to your daily life. If the answer is no, consider donating or selling it. Having less clutter will help you feel less weighed down and make it easier to maintain a clean and organized home.
Create a daily routine
Another way to simplify your life is to create a daily routine. Having a routine can help you feel more organized and in control of your day. Start by waking up at the same time each day and setting aside time for tasks such as exercise, meal planning, and relaxation. By having a routine, you will be less likely to feel overwhelmed by the day’s demands and can focus on what is most important to you. Having a meal plan and shopping once a week might save you a few hours over the course of a week from ‘nipping to the shop’
Invest your time in meaningful things
Screens are a good example of a time-sink. In today’s world, we are often glued to our screens, whether it be our phones, computers, or televisions. We never set out intentionally to spend 20 minutes scrolling through social media, we just get caught up and keep scrolling. How does your ‘scrolling’ fit with your vision, would you rather spend that time relaxing, reading, or on a hobby? Even 20 minutes a day works out over 2 hours over the week, and 8 hours a month. Being aware of your habits and where you spend your time can help spend your time on the things that are meaningful to you.
Simplify your meals
Meal planning and preparation can be time-consuming and stressful. Simplifying your meals can be a great way to save time and reduce stress. Consider cooking meals in bulk and freezing them for later use, or planning simple meals that require minimal preparation, or few ingredients. This will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing what you love.
Tip: Check out our recipes!
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and fully engaged with what you are doing. By practising mindfulness, you can reduce stress and simplify your life. Take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, whether it be through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a walk outside. This will help you feel more grounded and focused.
Leave space to do nothing. …
It’s important to keep some time free to do nothing. Sip coffee and watch the world go by or enjoy the sunset. Make space to just be.
Pursue people over things.
One of the most important aspects of a simple life is prioritising your relationships. Spend time with the people who are most important to you, and let go of relationships that no longer serve you. Focus on building deep and meaningful connections with those around you, and you will find that your life becomes much simpler and more fulfilling.
Stop living a life that others expect from you
Frequently, we pile up activities and commitments onto our plates because we feel pressured by the expectations of others or because it seems like everyone else is doing it.
Create space (and time) for what matters
So far, we’ve mainly focused on eliminating things that weigh us down: stress, clutter, overwhelm, and societal pressure. However, now it’s crucial to reflect on what we want to retain or reintroduce. What holds significance to us?
Only you can determine what you’ve been clearing the way for.
Is it more quality time with your loved ones? Room to pursue a new passion? Visiting a destination you’ve always dreamed of? Or simply a life that you no longer fear living?
In conclusion, transitioning to a simpler lifestyle is possible with a few practical steps. By decluttering your possessions, creating a daily routine, reducing your screen time, simplifying your meals, practising mindfulness, and prioritizing your relationships, you can simplify your life and focus on what is truly important. Remember, the journey to simplicity is just that, a journey, so be patient and take it one step at a time.