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Simple living is a lifestyle that so many have been looking to adopt in recent years. It is a way of life that involves reducing material possessions, simplifying daily routines, and focusing on what truly matters.
The concept of simple living is certainly not new, but it has gained some renewed interest in a world where so many people are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the demands of our modern lives.
Why Live Simply
For me, the idea of simple living began to truly resonate when we built our off-grid tiny house out of a garden shed during the pandemic. As I slowly set up our cabin in the woods, I realized how little you require to live a happy and comfortable life. Living a simpler life at a slower pace and more in harmony with nature was a freeing feeling. So much so that I decided to make simple living the subject of this entire blog!
During this time, I also began to embrace simple living at our main historic home. I had always loved to garden, compost, and upcycle old furniture, but I began to simplify and declutter my home and decor at this time, too. I started making my own cleaning products, shopping for more sustainable products, and choosing to live a more present life. I hope this post inspires you to begin your journey to living more simply and embracing a minimalist lifestyle.
What is Simple Living
Living a simple life means different things to different people, but at its core, it involves prioritizing the truly important things and letting go of the things that are not. This can mean simplifying our possessions, reducing our consumption of material goods, and focusing on experiences and relationships.
It can also mean simplifying our schedules and commitments and saying no to things that don’t align with our values or goals. I believe it is also about creating space for rest and relaxation like I have tried to do in both of our homes.
Living a simple life often involves:
- Mindfulness and intentionality.
- Being present at the moment.
- Appreciating the simple pleasures in life.
Simple living can take many forms, from downsizing to a smaller home to reducing screen time and spending more time in nature. Ultimately, it’s about finding a balance that works for us and allows us to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Prioritizing experiences over “things” and recognizing that happiness is not necessarily tied to material possessions.
Over the years, I have found that there are many benefits to adopting a simple living lifestyle. By slowing down and simplifying our homes and lifestyle and focusing on the most important things, you become a better parent, friend, and, honestly, happier human being!
Benefits of Simple Living
Simplicity and living a simpler life are about returning things to the basics. Learning to enjoy the little things in life, like cooking a delicious recipe, watching a garden grow, or reading a good book.
A simpler lifestyle will allow for less stress, less clutter, and fewer distractions daily. So many benefits come from living simply:
Improved Mental Health
Simple living will almost always have a positive impact on mental health. By reducing clutter and minimizing possessions, you can experience a sense of calm and clarity. This can lead to reduced anxiety and depression.
I have used a morning routine for years that helps set my intentions for the day ahead and dedicates a part of my day to being completely present. Keeping a gratitude journal can also be a good thing for many people.
Adding more intentional living to your life is the simplest way to improve overall well-being.
One of the most significant benefits of simple living is reducing stress. With fewer possessions and commitments, you have less to worry about and can focus on what truly matters.
In fact, studies have shown that cluttered spaces can increase cortisol levels, the stress hormone, especially in women. Reducing stress levels can also improve immune system function and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Challenges of Simple Living
Living a simple life can sometimes be challenging due to social pressure. Many people are accustomed to living a certain way and may not understand why you would choose to live a simpler life. You may face criticism from friends and family who don’t understand your choices.
In a world driven by consumerism, resisting the temptation to conform to societal norms and expectations can be challenging, but living a simple life is a personal choice and one that can bring significant benefits.
Another challenge of simple living is finding balance. It can be easy to swing too far in one direction and become too rigid in your lifestyle. It is crucial to find a balance between simplicity and practicality.
For example, while getting rid of all your possessions may be tempting, it may not be practical or necessary. Finding a balance that works for you and your lifestyle is essential.
Dealing with FOMO
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can be a significant challenge when it comes to simple living. It can be difficult to resist the urge to keep up with the latest trends and technology or to say no to events or activities. However, it is important to remember that living a simple life means focusing on what is truly important to you.
It is essential to resist the urge to constantly upgrade and instead focus on what brings balance to you and your family and, ultimately, what brings you joy and fulfillment.
How to Start Living Simply
Now that you know what simple, slow living is and what it can do for your health, here are some creative ways to add it to your everyday life.
Know Your Values
So often, so many of us rush through life doing all the things that society tells us to do … without stopping to ask ourselves what we actually value. Ask yourself what you value. What is most important to you? Once you decide on your life values and goals, you remove or say NO to anything that doesn’t align with them. Check in on what’s important to you and your goals regularly.
Decluttering Your Home
One of the first steps to living a simple life is decluttering and simplifying your home. Simple living is all about removing the excess from your life to have more time, money, and energy for the things that matter most.
Less “stuff” means less to clean, less to find a place for, less to walk around, and ultimately more free time, more space, and more calm.
- Pick a small area to start and work through your living space.
- Start by going through each room and removing anything you don’t need or use.
- Consider donating or selling items that are still in good condition.
- Keep only the things that are essential or bring you joy. Keep only what you need and use it regularly.
If you are looking for some of my favorite storage items and simple decor that can be used year-round, check out the Shop.
I have one rule at our tiny home: only to bring in items we use. You can also implement a “one in, one out” rule to prevent clutter from building up again. For example, if you buy a new shirt, get rid of an old one you no longer wear. For more tips on how to declutter your home, read these tips on simplifying and decluttering your home and Take a look at these Storage Saving Solutions.
Build Systems, Habits & Routines
Chaos, clutter, and disorganization all go hand in hand. Implementing simple go-to systems that allow you to do the tasks without much thought or added stress makes a huge difference in day-to-day life. When you know exactly how you will approach something, it often takes away some of the stress of doing it. Setting your home up with systems will also help you achieve this balance.
Here are a few examples of daily habits that can become a regular part of your life.
- Wake up at a consistent time each day
- Spend a few minutes in quiet reflection or meditation
- Drink a glass of water to hydrate your body
- Eat a simple breakfast, such as oatmeal or fruit
- Spend time outdoors, whether it’s going for a walk or sitting in a park
- Take breaks throughout the day to stretch or move your body
- Focus on one task at a time rather than multitasking
- Take time to connect with others, whether it’s through a phone call or a face-to-face conversation
- Practice gratitude by reflecting on the things you are thankful for
- Eat a simple dinner, such as a salad or grilled vegetables
- Spend time doing a calming activity, such as reading or journaling
- Prepare for a good night’s sleep by turning off electronic devices and creating a peaceful sleep environment
- Spend time in quiet reflection or meditation before going to bed
Creating a Budget
Living simply often means living within your means. Creating a budget can help you manage your finances and avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Start by tracking your income and expenses for a month to get an idea of where your money is going. Get rid of monthly costs that are not needed. Many of us can save so much money by eliminating memberships, utilities, or subscriptions that we barely use.
- Then, create a budget that allocates your money towards essential expenses, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and groceries.
- Set aside some money for savings and investments as well.
- Then, try and stick to your budget as much as possible and avoid impulse purchases.
You can also find ways to reduce your expenses, such as cooking your own food at home instead of eating out or finding free entertainment options.
Reducing Screen Time
We often spend a lot of time on our cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices, which can lead to stress and distraction. To live a more simple lifestyle, consider reducing your screen time.
- Set limits on your time on social media or watching TV.
- Turn off notifications or put your phone on silent during certain times of the day. (I am guilty of always having my phone on silent)
Instead of spending time on your phone, find other activities that bring you joy, such as reading, spending time in nature, or practicing a hobby.
Take Time for Yourself
Every. Single. Day, take a moment for yourself. A moment of quiet, with no distractions or devices. Breathe, check in with your body, meditate, or go for a walk. You can wait until you’re retired, and you’ve quit the rat race, but then you’d have missed out on a lifetime of savoring the ordinary pleasures of life: the sound of birds chirping, the feel of the wind, the taste of fresh fruit.
For more tips on living a happy life, you can check out my post on 6 Essentials to a Happier Life.
Simple Living Tips
Simplifying your life is about focusing on what’s important to you! It’s about finding easier ways to do what you have to do and giving yourself more room & time for what you want to do. Simplicity brings balance, freedom, and joy and makes small moments more impactful and enjoyable. Here are a few tips to help you simplify your life and enjoy the benefits of simple living.
Simplify Your Wardrobe
One of the easiest ways to simplify your life is to simplify your wardrobe. Instead of having a closet full of clothes you never wear, try a minimalist approach. Keep only the clothes that you love and wear regularly. This will make it easier to get dressed in the morning and save you time and money in the long run. Consider investing in high-quality, versatile pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. This will help you create a wardrobe that is both functional and stylish.
You can also try a capsule wardrobe, a collection of essential items that can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits.
I began embracing the idea of a seasonal capsule wardrobe a few years ago and absolutely love it!
Each season, I go through my closet and decide which items are worn out, that I didn’t use enough to keep, or that I will use the next year. Then, purge the worn and unused items and place the other seasonal items in storage until the next year! This frees up closet space, allows you to use the seasonal items you do leave out more, and gives you another opportunity to go through the stored items the following season before hanging them back up!
You will be surprised how many you choose to part with the following year rather than putting them back in your closet.
Eat Simple Meals
Eating and cooking simple meals can also help you simplify your life. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen preparing complicated meals, focus on simple, wholesome ingredients. This will save you time and money and also improve your health.
Try meal planning and prepping on the weekends to make meal times during the week easier. To simplify your cooking routine, you can also experiment with different cooking methods, such as slow cooking or one-pot meals.
Set a day and try to do as much of the grocery shopping as possible on this day once a week. This will cut the time it takes you to go to and from any store.
Spend Time in Nature
Spending time in nature is another great way to simplify your life. It can help you slow down, reduce stress, and connect with the world around you. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a weekend camping trip, taking time to appreciate the natural world can positively impact your well-being.
Consider incorporating outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, or gardening, into your routine. This will help you stay active and engaged with the world while simplifying your life by focusing on the things that matter most.
These tips are just a starting point, so feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.
Take a deep breath.
Finally, treat yourself to a nice deep breath of air and bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Living in a world full of distractions and demanding our attention all the time is exhausting.
Try to check every day on what is important to you and surround yourself with things you love. Doing even one of the steps in this guide will improve your quality of life… I promise.
More Simplicity In Your Life
Living a simple life can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. By overcoming social pressure, finding balance, and dealing with FOMO, you can create a lifestyle that brings you happiness and fulfillment.
I hope you have found some of these tips helpful, and I would love to hear anything you do to slow down and live simpler. Remember that living a simple life is a personal choice and that everyone’s version may look a little different, but at the end of the day, simple living is a choice that can bring significant benefits and peace of mind.
Want a manageable to-do list for simple living? Follow the steps in this simple living guide to help simplify your life.
An example of simple living could be living in a small, energy-efficient home, growing your own food, using public transportation or biking instead of owning a car, and buying only what you need rather than accumulating unnecessary possessions. It’s about living a life that is focused on the essentials and what truly matters.
Slow and simple living is better because it encourages people to live a more intentional and mindful life. By slowing down and simplifying, we can focus on what truly matters and reduce stress and anxiety. It also allows us to be more present and enjoy the little things in life that often go unnoticed when we are constantly rushing around.