Practical Ways to Simplify Your Life

From decluttering to getting up a little earlier, small efforts easily add up
December 20, 2020 Updated: December 20, 2020

A poll conducted on Twitter revealed that about 44 percent of respondents said they would be willing to accept a 10 percent reduction in pay if they could work at home permanently to spend less time commuting and more time with their families.

It is a lovely thought, but is it realistic? Earning less is hardly an option for most people. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take small steps to simplify our complicated lives. With a little effort here and there, before you know it, your efforts will add up to something significant.

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Decluttering will help clear your space and your mind. (SeventyFour/Shutterstock)

Declutter

Dejunking your life by getting rid of clutter is a cheap, fast, and effective way to become physically and financially sound. It’s also the path to emotional and intellectual happiness.

Cultivate Contentment

Choose to be happy with what you have. Memorize these eight words, and repeat them regularly: “Buy what I need; want what I have.” The social imperative that one must consume to be happy is what breeds dissatisfaction and unfulfillment—the constant ratcheting up of standard demands that we constantly upgrade in order to keep up. It takes a conscious effort to desire less.

Write Things Down

Write down the things you need to remember, and forget everything else. Don’t allow your mind to dwell on things over which you have no control.

Share; Lend; Borrow; Rent

Part of the reason we have our love affair with shopping and consumerism is because we think we need to personally own everything we use. Before you agree to complicate your life further with yet another possession, consider the alternatives.

Unplug

Turn off the TV, and activate “do not disturb.” You may not realize how your household television viewing and time on social media are affecting your purchasing and lifestyle choices. If you’re addicted to television, kicking the habit will simplify your life and allow you to find satisfaction.

Drive a Simple Car

High-end, luxury automobiles are nice to drive, but they can complicate one’s life. Typically, they are gas-guzzlers and expensive to insure, register, maintain, and repair.

Select Patterned Carpet

Light-colored, plush carpeting is beautiful but life-altering. It shows every speck, spot, fleck, and crumb. If you want your carpets to look good without having to spend all your free time spotting, vacuuming, deflecking, and uncrumbing, go with something speckled, patterned, or multicolored.

Take Charge of the Phone

Just because it happens to be a convenient time for someone to call you doesn’t mean it’s convenient for you to answer. Direct that call to voicemail, and then return calls at your discretion when it is convenient. Getting control of the phone will add simplicity to your life.

Become Label-Conscious

Unless it’s mandatory for your profession, don’t buy clothes that must be dry-cleaned. You’ll save time, aggravation, and a ton of money over the long haul.

Get Up Earlier

The best hour of the day is the one right before you normally get up. It may take you a few weeks to truly enjoy that hour right before dawn, but when you create the habit, you will be amazed by the simplicity those 60 quiet, stress-free minutes will add to your day.

Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments, and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Copyright 2020 Creators.com