16 Ways to Simplify and Minimize Your Life to Reduce Stress
Minimize and Simplify Your Life
Sometimes we’re so used to doing things the same way, we don’t stop to consider that we don’t have to keep doing them that way, that we can adopt new habits. Not only is it possible—it can be life changing!
Two of the most liberating things I have done are minimizing and simplifying my life.
Minimizing and simplifying have given me the freedom to devote more time and energy to more meaningful pursuits, such as engaging in hobbies and activities I enjoy, and spending real time with friends and family.
Added benefits have been reduced living expenses and a significant decrease in the overall level of stress in my life.
Have you tried to minimize and simplify your life?
16 Ways to Minimize and Simplify
1. Update Your Contacts
Delete all old contacts. This will enable you to locate people more easily when you need to reach them, as you won’t have as many names to sort through.
Likewise, add all new contacts to your list and make sure all phone numbers and email addresses are current. Be sure to include less frequently called but critical numbers such as your auto insurance and homeowners (or renters) insurance companies.
Having updated contact info at your fingertips without the unnecessary clutter of old contacts is a good start to simplifying your life.
2. Clean Out Your Email Folders
If your electronic mailboxes could use a good cleaning, do it. If the task seems overwhelming, make it a point to delete twenty emails per day until you get rid of all unnecessary mail.
It's so nice to only see important emails when you check your inbox, without the distraction of messages you'll never need.
Make it a habit to delete unwanted emails as soon as you receive them. Many of them have an unsubscribe option at the bottom—use it!
3. Use a Personal Planner
Record all appointments in your planner as soon as you schedule them. Make it a habit to always have your planner with you so you don't end up scheduling overlapping events.
Also record yearly reminders such as updating your computer security software and preparing your tax return, as well as more regular reminders like taking your car in for oil changes and attending parent-teacher conferences.
Writing down all events in advance enables you to plan accordingly and avoid the stress of sudden surprises later.
4. Create a Birthday Calendar
Use it exclusively for noting the birth dates of friends and family. Post it beside your regular calendar and leave it there as an ongoing reminder of upcoming birthdays.
Reuse it each year and add names as needed, such as the birth of nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Record other special events on it too, such as wedding anniversaries or anniversaries for the loss of loved ones.
5. Enjoy Local Excursions
Traveling out of town can be exciting and refreshing, but most of us take for granted the cultural attractions and outdoor activities we can enjoy locally. Visit your county’s website to find museums, nature gardens, hiking trails, and other hidden treasures in your own backyard.
Not only will you reduce the hassle involved with traveling, you will learn more about your city and save a lot of money in the process.
6. Shop Online
Crowded parking lots, busy stores, and long checkout lines can be bypassed if you're intentional about when and where you shop.
Do your grocery shopping after dinner time or in the early morning. I find that grocery stores near me are less frequented before 9 am and after 6 pm. It may be different where you live. Find a day and time that works for you and make it a habit to get your groceries then.
If you can, shop online. Many items can be found online at a fraction of their retail price, even with shipping and handling fees included! Stick to reputable sites, such as Amazon.com. If you're an Amazon Prime member, shipping and handling fees are dropped altogether for thousands of items.
7. Silence Your Phone
I can't remember the last time I received a phone call that warranted my immediate attention. Silencing your phone enables you to listen to your messages at a more convenient time and to gather your thoughts before you call back.
If you must keep your ringer turned on, screen your calls and be selective as to which ones you pick up. Allow the rest to go to voicemail so you can attend to them later.
8. Get Rid of the Land Line
Why pay twice for the same service? If you have a smart phone with good signal strength, a land line is superfluous. I’ve been living without a land line for years and never missed it. I especially don’t miss the extra phone bill.
For international calls, use Skype with or without the video feature. If both you and the person you're speaking with have Skype accounts, it's free for both of you.
9. Give Up the TV
I know this suggestion will hurt many people’s feelings, but I assure you it will revolutionize your life. Giving up the tube will leave you with time to engage in more, dare I say, productive activities.
If you can’t give up the TV, try limiting how much time you spend watching it. Consider dropping cable and tapping into basic channels for free with only an antenna.
Always keep the TV in a room other than your bedroom so it’s less likely to interfere with your sleep.
10. Pay Your Bills Through Your Bank
Most banks have a user-friendly online bill payment option which enables you to enter all of your payees' names and contact information. For each payee, you can set up recurring payments or pay each bill manually whenever you want.
Paying your bills online through your bank allows you to pay all of them from one location rather than making separate payments via snail mail or through each of your payee's individual websites.
11. Purchase Greeting Cards and Gifts in Advance
Keep a file box of cards sorted by special occasion—birthdays, anniversaries, get well cards, etc—so they're handy when you need them.
If you prefer to send e-cards, preschedule their send dates (e-card sites allow you this option).
For gifts, take advantage of sales throughout the year. Buying items in advance not only saves you the stress and hassle of last minute shopping, but allows you to pre-wrap your gifts too.
12. Grow Your Own Greens
When you grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables, you avoid toxic chemicals without paying as much for organic produce in stores.
You don’t need a yard, so apartment living works too; many herbs and vegetables can be grown on balconies or on windowsills.
We often overspend because we are trying to fill an emotional gap in our lives. No object will ever satisfy your soul.— Dave Ramsey
13. Get Rid of Clutter
Do away with clutter in all the rooms in your house. Here are some ways to start small so the task doesn't overwhelm you:
- Make one trip to a charity or thrift store each week to drop off unwanted items.
- List one item to sell online per day.
- Call consignment stores in advance to schedule drop off dates for your items.
- Plan one big yard sale for the summer.
- Devote a few hours each day to decluttering one room at a time.
- If you can, solicit help from friends and family.
After spending time each day decluttering, reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as a long walk or your favorite drink!
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14. Downsize Your Home
We often buy a larger house because we see it as a wise financial investment. What we don’t often foresee, however, are the hidden costs (time and monetary) of maintaining a larger house.
Moving into a smaller home may indeed be the most effective way to minimize and simplify your life.
Less square footage to clean, fewer rooms to furnish and decorate, and less space to accumulate stuff in! Not to mention lower utility bills and less maintenace and repairs to stay on top of.
Moving into a smaller home may indeed be the most effective way to minimize and simplify your life.— Author
15. Make Easy, Healthy Meals
Prepare meals that require less ingredients and less time.
You don’t have to compromise on nutrition—the internet is loaded with quick and healthy recipes.
Stack up on your non-perishables, such as rice or canned beans, so you don’t have to go to the grocery store as often. Use spices to zest up your meals, and freeze extra portions for later use.
Give up soda and other drinks that may be sucking up a good part of your grocery bill while offering you no nutritional value. Replace them with water—it's free and so good for you. Add a slice of lemon, orange or cucumber for flavor!
This book revolutionized my life as it taught me the value of creating healthy boundaries with people I loved but whose actions were impacting me in a very negative way. It was so liberating to know it's okay and even necessary to back away from people I care about in order to be the best me, and sometimes to help them be the best they can be, too.
16. Create Healthy Boundaries
Creating boundaries means you know when to say no to requests and you know how to keep people at a healthy distance when necessary.
You should never feel guilty saying no when you're asked to volunteer time or donate money you don't have. If you spread yourself too thin, you'll end up frustrated because you won't be able to give as much to the causes that mean the most to you.
Be selective about the causes you choose to commit to. You can always reevaluate these causes periodically as your circumstances change. For example, once your children are off to college, you may find yourself with more free time. Or if you get a pay raise, you have more money to spare.
Consider if you need to limit the time you spend with some of the people in your life. Create healthy boundaries in your relationships so that you can be the best you!
Benefits of Minimizing and Simplifying
- More time to engage in hobbies and activities you enjoy
- More time to spend with people
- More overall productive use of your time
- Reduced stress
- Greater peace of mind
- Greater sense of freedom
- Highly cost effective
- Healthier mind and body
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© 2016 Geri McClymont