As the years go by, I find more and more satisfaction in living a simple life. There’s breathing space to enjoy the journey and all the surprises that come with it. As a blogger, my life isn’t perfectly organized or stress-free a lot of the time, but I do have some tips on how I am living a simpler life than ever before. And so could you. Keep an eye out for the Daily Throw-out Challenge freebie to get you started. It’s so easy to do and is a game-changer in taking clutter outta your life.
I haven’t always felt like life was that simple. I was often drowning in clutter, papers, things to do, and never-ending plans. I took on far too much – I studied psychology full-time while also working full-time. And do you know where I ended up? In hospital.
I’ve slowly had to cut back and wade through it all, saying no to things purposefully and throwing out what doesn’t add value to my life. If you are an online business owner or blogger, you also need to take care of your personal life and health. Decluttering and living a simple life will help with that.
(If you want to start your own blog, hop over to here for step-by-step instructions on how to start your own blog :-))
Trust me when I say that you don’t have to spend your life drowning in it all. And the great news is that the more you simplify, the more the rest kind of falls into place.
The short moral of this post is this: Decide what’s really, really important to you and get rid of the rest.
The long story is below, with tips on how to do just that…
What really makes you happy?
Adverts and the media bombard us with all the things we should want and need in our lives, but the truth is that these things will never make us happy. Sure, they may give you a short high when you bring them home from the store or when you sign the slip from the delivery guy, but then it’s over. And you go off looking for your next high.
We are addicted.
If you’re trapped in the cycle of buying things to make yourself ‘feel’ happy or constantly wishing you had more, then you will need to intentionally work on this. It’s a big, empty trap designed to pull us in but never deliver on its promises.
The first stage of living a simple life is to stop or minimize more things from coming into your life…
♥ Only buy essentials – toiletries and food to eat. Make a shopping list and plan meals so you get control.
♥ If you see something in the shops that you want to buy, delay buying it for 24 hours – you will find you don’t often go back to get it. You will probably forget all about it!
♥ Unsubscribe from shopping site emails.
♥ Freeze your credit card in a block of ice so you can’t use it. Really, people do that!
♥ Read articles that inspire you and remind you that there are more important things in life than things and busyness, such as this one.
Make a vision board of what you want
Right, you’ve stopped excess from coming in. Great.
The second phase of living a simple life is deciding where you want to go with this. Find pictures that inspire you for where and how you’d like to live, what kind of person you’d like to be, who you want in your life, what hopes and dreams you want to achieve, etc. Load them on to your desktop or print them out and stick them somewhere you can see them everyday, as a reminder for why you are doing this,
When I started on this journey I found some pictures on Google showing exactly how I wanted to live. I printed them out and looked at these pictures when things got tough. They were a great reminder of what I was working toward.
Looking at the pictures now, I see that I chose rooms that were clean, cozy and inviting. Not cluttered, dusty and bursting at the seams with all my stuff. In fact, I’d be perfectly happy in a little house in the woods, where sunflowers grow wild. Would a bigger house and more stuff make me happy? No!
So I knew where I did and didn’t want to go.
Next, I collected pictures of who I wanted to be. And do you know who that was? A blogger who loves life, experiences it to the fullest and makes a difference in the world. I’m working on it.
Tips on becoming stress-free and organized
Now that you know where you’re going and you’ve stopped more things from coming in, here are some practical tips you can start implementing to simplify your life.
1. Join the Daily Throw-out Challenge!
This is my best tip and the one that will have a huge impact on your clutter: join the daily throw-out challenge. Here you throw out at least 10 things a day for at least 30 days.
I still count my 10 things daily when I need a good clean-out and I can’t explain how much satisfaction I get when something goes into the bin or out my front door. I know I have to get rid of 10 things that day, so I look for anything that must go.
Throw out old papers, magazines, clothes, toiletries, whatever else is clogging up space in your home, car and office. Deleting emails and old electronic files or photos counts here too! It’s all clutter.
If you throw out 10 things a day, you will say goodbye to 300 items in one month and 3 650 things in a year! Seriously, this is the game-changer. I believe in it so much that I’ve made a pretty printable for you that you can grab in my resource library, for free.
Fill a number in each block for how many things you want to get rid of or delete every day, then cross it off each day when you’ve done it. I usually do 10 a day and write the numbers in the blocks in multiples of 10, so 10 in the first block, 20 in the second block, 30 in the third block, and so on. As I remove 10 things on a day I cross out that block for that day’s 10. After a few days I can see how many items have left my life by the number in the block. This number really keeps me motivated to keep going.
I do allow myself to ‘throw ahead’ if I’m feeling energetic – if I clear 20 things today then I tick off today’s 10 and tomorrow’s 10 to give myself a boost.
Grab the Throw-out Challenge printable right here:
2. Start in the area that frustrates you most
What is your sore point? What frustrates you most every day that you keep on thinking I really must sort that out. Start there and get it out of the way. That way you will immediately feel better and see results. Start your 10-a-day throwout here.
Do this area by area, until things are running fairly smoothly.
3. Keep two simple lists
I used to have lists for so many things. It was too much! So I threw them away as part of my daily 10 and now I keep two basic lists: One daily to-do list and one long-term to-do list.
I write down daily what has to be done that day, such as appointments to go to. Then I have a longer list of things that need to be done at some point. As I find time during the day, I look at my long-term list, pick one and start on it. This makes things much more manageable and less stressful.
4. Watch less or no TV
TV is a huge time waster and doesn’t add much to your life. Pick a show or a special movie to watch when you want to, but don’t sit channel surfing to kill time. You won’t feel any better for it.
The average adult spends 5 hours a day watching television. Do you know how many better things there are to do with your time?
5. Get paper under control
I use a tickler filing system to manage my papers and never forget anything.
Basically, there is one file for each month (January to December) and one file for each day in a month (1 to 31). Anything that must be done in a certain month goes into that month’s file.
The numbers 1-31 run for the current month. If something needs to be done on the 15th of this month, then you put a reminder into file number 15 with any documents you need for it. When a new month starts, you check the month’s file and put any papers into the day they need to be done. Then you check the daily file to see what you need to do.
If, for example, you need to renew you car licence on the fifth of July, you put the current licence and application papers into the July file. When July starts, you put the papers into file number 5 so you have it ready on 5 July.
This works very well for yearly things like pet vaccines, license renewals, etc. I never forget anything and I always have the papers handy. When I’ve done something, I just put the papers into the month I need to look at them again next year.
6. Have less clothes to choose from
Get rid of any clothes that no longer fit you or that you don’t like. Keep your options as neutral as possible and only keep things you feel really good in. Then you can easily put on anything in your wardrobe knowing they will match and you look great.
When I used to go into an office for work, I would choose outfits for the week on a Sunday evening. I put a matching shirt and pants on a hanger, then hung my undies and bra on the ends of the hanger. I did the same with dresses – I hung a dress on a hanger with the matching undies. Within a few minutes I had 5 outfits ready at the start of every week, and I could grab a hanger in the morning to get dressed. It made getting ready in the mornings a dream!
7. Drive slowly
Stop being in a rush to get everywhere. If someone cuts in front of you, let them and wish them all the best. I totally do that!
Studies have shown that adrenaline from stress on the roads stays in your body for up to four hours. That’s four hours of stress hormones in your body for one random person who pulled in front of you.
We don’t want stress. We want happiness. So drive slowly and be kind to others.
8. Be present
Be present where you are.
When you are at work, do your work to the best of your ability and don’t moan about your spouse, mother, or other things. When you are with your family, put away your phone and don’t moan about work or colleagues.
Don’t be somewhere in your body, but somewhere else in your mind. Be present.
9. Keep your handbag light
(The same goes for backpacks, luggage, and laptop bags.)
I somehow collect a lot of things in my handbag. I try to empty it once a week, but sometimes I wait for actual shoulder pain to start before I do. I often think I’m going to start walking lopsided one day.
Keep things light and only carry essentials with you. Use pretty little toiletry bags to organize what’s inside.
10. Organize until you find what you’re looking for
According to Pixie’s Lost & Found survey, Americans spend about 2.5 days a year looking for things they’ve lost! That’s 60 hours a year.
I used to spend time looking for things, now I organize until I find it. That’s my rule. If I need to find something and I know which room it’s probably in, I start decluttering and organizing that room until I get it.
This makes more sense to me than just rearranging clutter that will later lead to losing more things. I simply organize as I go along.
11. Have a place for everything
Start by giving everything a place.
When you bring items into your home, find a place for it immediately. In fact, you should know where it will go before you walk out the shops with it. If you don’t have a place for it, then it shouldn’t come home with you.
12. Free up time
Things usually take longer than you think they will. Rather over-estimate and over-deliver, to yourself and others.
If you are given a job to do, pad the deadline with a day or two. That way you have time to fix things if they go wrong without upsetting your client or boss. If you finish before the padded deadline, then hand it in and impress them! If you finish with the padded deadline, they will be happy you met the target.
Also, if it takes half an hour to get somewhere, leave 45 minutes before the time. Drive slowly, with kindness, and enjoy it. If you leave early you will have enough time to get there, find parking, and be relaxed when you walk in.
13. Practice gratitude
Being thankful for what you have goes a long way in giving you inner peace. It reminds you how much you already have and how far you’ve come. This sets up a great base for everything else and how you approach life.
Every night, before you go to sleep, spend a few minutes giving thanks for the people in your life, the experiences you had that day, and for having luxuries like a soft pillow to put your head on.
14. Focus on one goal at a time
This goes for everything. Don’t try to do everything on this list at once, take one thing and start working on it.
Now decide what bigger goals you want to achieve in life from your vision board and write them down. Break them up into smaller steps and write these steps on you long-term to-do list. Then take it step by step to the finish line.
I hope you enjoyed these tips on living a simple life and can share some of your own below. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take a detox bath and spend some quality time with Mr Tiara Tribe, who is waiting for me to finish this post.
Enjoy the time you have and make it count. It’s such a precious gift.
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