10 Steps To A Simpler Life

Discover the path to a more fulfilling and simplified life with this easy-to-follow guide. These 10 steps to a simpler life offer actionable tips to declutter your mind, and embrace a more balanced lifestyle.

liberty blue pitcher with white flowers tips for a simpler life

Simple living is when you purposely embrace a slower and intentional lifestyle, with less to do. It’s finding joy in ordinary, everyday occurrences. It’s preserving your energy for activities that make you happy, and clearing the clutter from your life so there is less to maintain. If this is something you’ve been thinking about, the very first thing you need to do is ask yourself this question: is living simply what I really want? If you can honestly answer with a “yes,” then the first step in your journey is behind you. The desire is there, so by using the following tips, transitioning to a simpler life is within reach.

neutral living room with blue accents tips for a simpler life

Clean and Declutter

The first step to a simpler life is clearing away physical items that you don’t need, and cleaning your home. It’s difficult to think clearly when you are surrounded by clutter. This process doesn’t cost any money, and you will be rewarded by increased mental clarity. If you’re worried about where to begin, then start small. Clear off your kitchen counters. If you have a desk, clear the top and tidy the drawers. Work your way through your home, room by room. Don’t give yourself a deadline, just do what you can, when you can.

tv over fireplace in neutral living room tips for a simpler life

Downsize Your Possessions

Downsizing and editing your possessions can, and should be, a liberating process. Begin by choosing a spot in your home, and sort by deciding if each item is practical and functional, or if there is sentimental value. Take your time, but only keep essentials or things that bring you joy. Donate or sell things that are in good condition, but no longer serve a purpose in your life. Let go of duplicates, and remember that the goal is not only to physically declutter, but also to create a space that enhances your overall well-being. After you have finished one space, move on to the next. Make sure to set aside the time you need to complete the process. Read our downsizing and moving journey HERE.

ivory chair with blue throw blanket and striped pillow beside round table tips for a simpler life

Prioritize Your Expenses

Transitioning to a simpler life can be accomplished with a budget of any size. It’s important to remember that simple living is not necessarily spending less money, it’s spending money intentionally to achieve an easier and less stressful life. Take a good look at your budget, and see if you are spending money on things that don’t make you happy, or that aren’t necessary. Trim what you can, so there is money available to explore opportunities that will make your life easier, and bring you joy.

ivory tufted chair with striped pillow tips for a simpler life

Erase Debt

Debt free living is truly the best kind of freedom. To start tackling your debt, come up with a budget that outlines your income, expenses, and debt obligations. Cut unnecessary expenses, and redirect the saved money towards paying off your debt. There will be the occasional splurge, but do your best to stay disciplined so you can avoid accumulating new debt. Celebrate small victories along the way to stay motivated. Remember, getting out of debt is a gradual process, so be patient and stay committed to your end goal.

liberty blue pitcher with flowers on books with tray tips for a simpler life

Living debt free is a goal we have not yet achieved. Our house on Sutton Place was mortgage-free, so at one time, we were there. When we downsized and moved to a more manageable home, we took on a house payment for a short period of time. I was willing to go back into debt for a simpler life, and I have no regrets. So much stress and responsibility was erased from my life with our move, and I’m very grateful for that. It was definitely a trade-off, but one that, for us, was the right choice.

tufted chair with striped pillow blanket ladder with blue quilts tips for a simpler life

Edit Your Responsibilities

I once saw this referred to as “unscheduling.” It may take some practice, but it’s important to embrace flexibility by allowing for more free time in your schedule. Rather than overloading your calendar, leave room for relaxation and spur-of-the-moment activities. Prioritize tasks based on importance. Emphasize quality over quantity, so that your free time is spent on things that enrich your life, and make you happy. By unscheduling your time, you create space for self-care, hobbies, and unexpected opportunities, which in turn provide a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Simplify Your Meals

Simplifying meals and meal prep can make spending time in the kitchen so enjoyable. Plan your meals for the week ahead, creating a menu that includes easy-to-cook main dishes and hearty soups with overlapping ingredients. If you love leftovers, prepare larger quantities. Opt for simple recipes, with fewer ingredients. Take shortcuts, like pre-cut fruits and vegetables, or rotisserie chicken. Once your menu is decided, make a grocery list to ensure that you have all the ingredients on hand. All of this will shorten your meal prep time, and the time it takes you to clean up.

pitcher of flowers and candles on round table tips for a simpler life

Prioritize Self Care

Self care consists of anything that makes you feel better, and makes you happy. It’s regular exercise, and spending time outside. It’s carving out time for sewing or craft projects. It’s getting plenty of sleep, and eating with a healthy lifestyle in mind. It’s nurturing cherished friendships, and spending time with your family. Self-care changes on a daily basis, and it takes practice. We have a tendency to put ourselves last, but if we take better care of ourselves, the people around us will benefit as well.

walmart fashion black leggings gray hoodie gray sneakers 3

Simplify Your Wardrobe

It’s important to embrace your own personal style, and wear what makes you comfortable. Dress in styles that make you feel good about yourself. Reduce the number of clothes you own by keeping only what you love and wear regularly. This will make getting ready simpler, it will cut down on decision-making, and it will save time.

candles and pitcher of greenery on mantel tips for a simpler life

Eliminate Overwhelm

Start by prioritizing daily tasks, and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Create a to-do list, and focus on completing one task at a time. Nothing is more overwhelming than looking at the big picture. Embrace the power of saying ‘no’ to avoid overcommitting yourself. Take breaks and take advantage of downtime to recharge your mind and body. Set realistic expectations for yourself, and understand that it’s okay not to be perfect. Finally, be kind to yourself and recognize that it’s essential to prioritize self-care to maintain a healthy balance in your life.

pitcher of flowers on tray on coffee table tips for a simpler life

Grant Yourself Grace

The thing about simple living is that it’s not all or nothing. Study these steps, edit them so they meet your needs, decide where you want to start, and grant yourself the grace you need to achieve the level of simplicity that will make you happy. We are all different, with a wide array of needs and wants. Finding your happy place may take some time, but it’s definitely achievable, and so worth the effort!

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The images in this post were taken just after the 2023 Christmas decorations came down, and small touches of blue were added back into our decor. Understated accessories allow the surfaces and furniture to breathe, and it’s a calm and relaxing space. Perfect for our simple lifestyle!

tufted chairs | living room rug | striped pillow covers | blue throw blanket | round glass top table | candlestick set | mantel pillar candleholders | pillar candles | blanket ladder with baskets | faux eucalyptusfaux berries | blue buffalo check muslin throw blanket | end tables | table lamp (similar) | coffee table | round tray | linen books | vintage Liberty Blue pitcher | sofa no longer available | linen pillow covers | blue block print pillow covers (similar) | gray hooded sweatshirt | black leggings | handbag | gray sneakers | all pitchers are from my personal collection | paint color: Snowbound by Sherwin Williams | striped chairs are La-Z-Boy from a local furniture store

FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS
A SIMPLER LIFE.

I’ve been there. I know how you feel.
I can help.

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14 Comments

  1. R G Smpson says:

    Hi Ann
    Great ideas I have decluttered my emails. One step at a time. I also set a time for prayer and Bible study.

  2. Great article to start the new year, and I love your house photo’s, so calm and clean. I love the holidays, but the January calm after it’s all put away is so nice.

  3. Carol Kindt says:

    I need to follow those steps and simplify my life. My closet is too full of clothes hardly ever worn now. We have a house full of possessions – his parents, my parents – our accumulated stuff, something need to go. We also need to let our grown children know our final wishes to make it easier on everyone concerned. Then we can sit back and enjoy the rest of our lives. Thank you for the reminders.

  4. You look great. I love your comfort clothes, you look comfortable and classy. thanks for the post, a good way to start the year.

  5. Ann, this is a post to keep close at hand to refer back to. It’s filled with so much useful information and the timing is perfect for me! I so appreciate all the wisdom, encouragement and guidance you share! Looking forward to more inspirational posts in 2024! Blessings!

  6. Peggy Gilman says:

    So grateful for your posts! Here’s to a great 2024!

  7. We are at this place of needing to clean it up and slow it down. Great tips Ann. My problem is that our house we had to move to is new and too big for the 2 of us..I feel I must design it to finish it..sell it or stay…the uncertainty of it all is stressful…

  8. This was a great post and a helpful reminder as we enter a new year! Thank you for these meaningful suggestions.

  9. Great post Ann! We were sitting in our family room yesterday and I commented to my husband, “it feels to calm”. We are empty nesters and have been in the process of downsizing this past year. Watching for that twin home that will make our heart sing. When we put away Christmas decorations yesterday it was so relaxing. Why? Because I didn’t overdo it. I left winter feeling items up since we live in Mn but all traditional went away. We reviewed our lower level which is primarily storage to see if anything further can be eliminated. We have even started to pack unused items and it feels freeing. Absolutely love the calm relaxed feeling it brings to our home. Get this… I am known as a high energy a type A person so this is a huge switch for me. But I LOVE IT!

  10. Thank you, Ann, for this wonderful post. Insightful and encouraging as always. It’s a joy to read your blog.

  11. Wendy Hall says:

    Thank you for this “Simpler Life” article. It reinforces what I’ve been working towards for a few years now. Your comments have simplified the process, giving those who need the extra encouragement just to start …. a little at a time. Your recipes are great rewards after a time of decluttering. Now to get a chart ready for 2024! Thank you!

  12. Sue Daugherty says:

    Excellent post! I’ve been on the path of simplifying for years. It’s definitely a journey. Downsizing and moving to a different state was a huge help in getting rid of the clutter, the children’s stuff we had been storing, and duplicates. However, like you, it meant having a mortgage payment for the first time in over a decade. Mentally very hard to go back into debt, but also very worth it for us as well. My husband and I have a self care routine much like Lyn. We do one outing once a week to somewhere new as we explore our new state. Sometimes it’s as simple as hiking in a new park . It’s something we look forward to and plan every week.

    1. Wonderful post.For the past few years I’ve been getting rid of “stuff” that hasn’t been used in forever.As I get older I feel I need less of everything in my life.
      Happy New Year to you and your family.

  13. This was a lovely post. I’d like to add one thing if I may. We have one daughter, who is a busy professional, happily married, with two daughters, ages 8 and 9. We took care of the little girls 5 days a week literally from the day they came home from the hospital until they started school. After that we were at our daughter’s home 2 days a week helping with household tasks, etc. We were able to retire very early due to good planning, but now that the girls are in school we are finding more free time on our hands. Our granddaughters are at our home several times a month, and I plan different cooking projects we can do together, games to play, etc. I also decided that we needed to do something “fun” every week. Instead of sitting in a chair for hours at a time we plan an outing. It’s something that I feel falls into the “self care” category. Our latest adventures consist of spending the day with our daughter traveling to villages in our area. Every village has cute shops, great luncheon spots, etc. Much of our interest is healthy eating and shopping for locally grown and made products. It’s a way to get out, spend time with our daughter, and keeps us active. I witness a number of older folks who look like they are just waiting to … well, you know what I mean. I think our approach will help us navigate this aging process. I hope our adventures inspire others to get out and enjoy the simple life.