13 Ways to Simplify Your Life

By Chrissy MacDonald

Living simply is not about doing without. It’s about knowing what’s important to you and making time for those things.

Often our lives get so filled with stuff, projects, to-do lists and commitments, that we don’t seem to have time left for what matters most to us.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things you have to do or you are not living the life you want, maybe it’s time to simplify your life. Here are a few ideas to get started

  1. Reduce clutter – the less stuff you have taking up space and getting in the way, the freer you will feel. Too much stuff is mentally distracting.
  2. Get organized – Look at your house objectively and then put things where they naturally belong. Use baskets and containers to hold items out of the way.
  3. Simplify your wardrobe. They say most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. Decide what clothes you love and that look good on you and weed out the rest.
  4. Learn to say no. Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Doing too much means less time for the important things in life.
  5. Change the way you shop. Keep a running list of things you need and make fewer trips. When considering a purchase, ask yourself if you love it, need it and are willing to maintain it.
  6. Who says we have to be busy all the time? Slow down and enjoy simplicity and stillness and don’t feel guilty about it. Spend time relaxing and enjoying hobbies.
  7. Keep your body in shape and get fresh air. Exercise outside regularly by walking, hiking, biking and playing. Get up from the computer every half hour to walk around and keep from getting stiff.
  8. Prepare meals using simple recipes and fewer ingredients.
  9. Do one thing at a time. Don’t think too much about the past or live for the future. Live in the present moment.
  10. Find a way to do the work you love that uses your creative and unique talents. Make a plan to make this happen. Do you want to work less and have more free time? Do you want to stay home full time? Find a way to live on less money.
  11. Spend time with people who are supportive and kind. Avoid negative people if you can. Try to maintain a positive outlook.
  12. Be yourself. Imagine how much simpler life would be if you stopped trying to live your life for other people and learned to be yourself.
  13. Eat lightly for more energy. Eat basic foods close to their natural state (potatoes rather than potato chips). By eating simply, you’ll save money, save time in the kitchen and be in better health.

Simplify your life to enjoy life more. When we get rid of distractions, we can start to see what matters most.

“The body and the mind are so closely connected that not even a single word or thought can come into existence without being reflected in the personality and health of the individual.” John Prentiss

Save Time with an Efficient Kitchen

By Chrissy MacDonald

A well-planned kitchen can save hours of extra work. Although each kitchen is unique, they all have four main work stations: the sink, the work area, oven and stove, and tableware set-up.

Look at your kitchen logically. Just because you know where everything is doesn’t mean it’s as efficient as it could be. When you prepare dinner, are all the necessary tools and ingredients near where they will be used? Walking back and forth wastes time.

Store coffee, tea and sugar in a cupboard near the kettle. The vegetable scrubbing brush and strainer should be near the sink to quickly prepare vegetables.

Keep cookware near the stove. Having pots and pans hanging from the ceiling is only good if you can reach the ones you often use. Near the stove you should also find wooden spoons, tongs, a spatula and its own salt and pepper shakers.

Make sure the area where you prepare food is well lighted. Keep mixing bowls, knives and cutting boards within reach. Have one cutting board for meat and another for vegetables to avoid cross contamination.

To store tableware use a metal mesh tray rather than a solid plastic one. Lay it on a large cloth napkin inside a drawer. This way, crumbs that happen to fall through are caught by the napkin which you can wash once in a while.

Put everyday dishes and glasses near the dishwasher or sink.

Storage in the kitchen should be organized based on use. Put the things you use most often in the front of the cupboards and off-season equipment like canning supplies and serving trays on the back of shelves or in another part of the house.

To be super-efficient in the kitchen, fill the sink with hot, soapy water and clean as you go when preparing meals and baking. You’ll end up with less mess at the end.

A kitchen that is well planned will make cooking and baking more enjoyable and save hours of precious time.

10 Tips to Prevent a Dirty House

House cleaning is not my favorite thing to do. I’ve discovered the best way to save time and cut down on house cleaning is to try to prevent the house from getting dirty in the first place.

Before you start to think about efficient house cleaning, here are some steps to reduce or eliminate a lot of your housework.

  1. Use good quality mats at entrances to your home to collect dirt before it gets in. Put a rough mat outside the door to catch small stones and dirt from shoes and boots. Put another mat inside the door.
  2. Leave shoes at the door. If everyone left their shoes in the porch, it would greatly cut down on the sweeping and vacuuming you have to do. When you leave the house, let putting shoes on your feet be the last thing you do.
  3. Sweep floors and wipe up spots daily. This doesn’t have to be a big job. Give your kitchen a quick sweep every night after dinner and wipe up spots with a wet cloth. Floors will look good every day and need to be washed less often.
  4. If you’re looking to buy new flooring, avoid ones with grooves which will collect dirt. Also, avoid carpeting which needs more upkeep and holds dust.
  5. If you already have carpeting, maintain it by cleaning spots as they happen. When you see a piece of lint, pick it up.
  6. Get rid of clutter, junk and knick knacks. Things on counter tops and tables, and taking up space in cupboards and closets can be physically and mentally distracting. And they get in the way of efficient cleaning. Knick knacks collect dust and slow you down. You clean around them, move them and re-arrange them. Keep only the things you love and need.
  7. Give everything a home. Look at a room as if you’re looking at it for the first time. Take each item and put it where it naturally belongs. Have a designated spot for school bags, papers, keys, mail, newspapers and magazines. Even five or six things out of place make a home appear messy.
  8. Use baskets and containers to hold loose items. Tuck them under counters out of the way. This works great for the bathroom. Everything I use is held in baskets and pulled out from under the counter as needed.
  9. Eat in the kitchen or dining room to prevent spills and crumbs in other areas of the house. One cookie makes a lot of crumbs. Use trays if you’re carrying food.
  10. Designate an area for children to draw and color. When small children use markers, pens and crayons, supervise them in a specific play area. If they wander around the house you could end up with decorated walls.

Don’t spend your valuable time cleaning when prevention will eliminate a lot of work. Be proactive and save that time for something more fun.