Simplify Your Life

For a guide to simplifying your life, this 7-step, multi-bulleted guide looks a little complex. So pick one tip to get inspired by, like getting some unnecessary possessions out of the house. Feeling overwhelmed is a catalyst for emotional spending and other unwise activities, and the little things building up can be little seeds of unraveling. Sometimes the best way to take care of frayed ends is to snip them.

How to Simplify Your Life [WikiHow]


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  1. madanthony says:

    Expect everyone in the house to pull their own weight.

    I keep asking Nibbler the cat to start running errands and take out the trash, but she’s not having it.

    • pb5000 says:

      I used to do this at work, meaning I expected my coworkers to know how to do their jobs. I was told by a senior manager not to be so optimistic, she said “not everyone in a class is going to get an A.”

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        It’s not even that, though. I don’t expect an A out of everyone. God knows I don’t pull an A sometimes. But some people can’t even bother to pull a D. In a remedial class.

        • pb5000 says:

          The “A” was just the analogy she used to tell me that I was being too optimistic to assume people could do items in the job description of the job they were hired to do.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            *facepalm* I understood the analogy. Sigh. I was merely taking it further to imply that since in the original analogy, we are all in a class, and I was saying that in the context of a remedial class, you can’t even expect people to make the effort and make a D.

            Cause remedial classes are for those who are a little slower to learn the concepts. I was merely expressing my frustration with people who obviously not only can’t do their job, but don’t give a crap about doing their job.

    • zandar says:

      just feed the trash directly to Nibbler. problem solved!

    • Robofish says:

      I’ve tried to convince my cats to get jobs. It just doesn’t work.

      • Thyme for an edit button says:

        My cat broke a fan last night when he knocked it over. I told him to get a job so he could replace it. Today, is he looking for work? No, he is lazing around. It’s after 1:00 pm and he’s still asleep! What a mooch.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This list does a poor job of differentiating “simplify” and “do less.” It’s full of stuff like “prepare quick meals,” “have a versatile, but basic wardrobe,” and “see if you can work less hours.”

    Right, because we’re all in the position to make such requests. You can ask, I’ll keep working my full-time job because I’m trying to put more money into savings.

    Life isn’t about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Believe it or not, you should enjoy your life. I really like working and have no plans to stop. I like complicated meals that take two pans and three pots to make. I like not wearing the same combinations all the time. I like my small SUV. Selling it for a Honda Civic isn’t going to make my life easier, just slightly more cramped.

  3. tbax929 says:

    I’m in the process of moving. As much as I hate to move, it does give me a chance to throw out stuff that’s been accumulating over the years. I’m far from a pack rat, but I continue to be surprised by the things I find as I’m packing my boxes!

  4. areaman says:

    Have regular pampering treatments, such as massages.

    That doesn’t sound more simple.

    Something that didn’t make the list was to quit drinking soda. I’m trying to quit right now and it’s difficult.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      How would not drinking sodas simplify your life?

      • Daverson says:

        Belching is pretty complicated.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        When I was in college, I had a neighbor in my dorm who was HOOKED on Diet Coke. She drank who-knows-how-much a day, and would replenish her supply once a week. If she saw that she was out well before her weekly D/C run, she’d go out and get more. I don’t care what people say – making a special trip to the store takes like 20 minutes, even if the store is super close. If you stop while running other errands (or getting home from work), it still takes a bit of time. I am thinking that’s what they might mean by not drinking soda to simplify their lives.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Fewer trips to the loo.

    • dolemite says:

      I don’t plan on quitting, I am just drinking less. I was up around 3+ a day, Now it’s more like 1.5.

      I think 1 a day wouldn’t be so bad.

  5. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    Well, it sounds like you have areas of your life you don’t want to simplify. This was about simplifying if you wanted to, not that you have to.

    Some people do want these things to be more simplified in their lives.

    I sometimes wish my husband would make simplier meals. I’d like for us to have fewer pots, pans, and dishes to wash, and to store. And I’d like less spices and condiments in the cabinets and frige. If I lived alone I’d probably eat the same dozen, very simple meals over and over.

    I have an extremely basic wardrobe and I like it a lot. Same basic slacks and tops; when enough of the items have worn out and I’m down to too few clothes, I’ll make myself go out and buy a few more similar clothing items. I like having a closet that’s easy to always keep neat and for laundry to be simple and straightforward.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      this was supposed to be a reply to pecan pi.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        “I sometimes wish my husband would make simplier meals.”

        Are you me? Because I feel the same way. I have chicken in the fridge, and unless I say something *specifically* about “let’s just bake the chicken,” my husband will start making some complicated recipe. He’s a good cook, so that’s fine, but what’s not fine is him holed up in the kitchen for 45 minutes while I wrangle the kids. If he made something simpler, we’d both have time to hang out with the kids, and maybe one of us could even do a load of laundry or something.

        • ElizabethD says:

          OMG, I cannot believe people are complaining because their husbands cook dinner. ANY dinner, complicated or simple! Send your hubby over to my house pls.

          • NarcolepticGirl says:

            Mine is the cook as well. because I suck at it and hate it.
            I wish he would use less spices. I’ve asked him a million times not to put too much black pepper or any “hot” spices int he food – but he puts “just a little” in and thinks I won’t notice.

            • mythago says:

              Kick him in the crotch “just a little” next time. Then tell him you didn’t think he’d notice.

              • tooluser says:

                Or, instead of using violence to solve your problem, perhaps ask your husband why he does certain things in food preparation; start a conversation. Or, maybe, help him (and yourself) out in the kitchen, and reach a middle ground. Isn’t that what you got married for? If not, why not?

          • Blueberry Scone says:

            I know, right?

            I complain because *I* have to do the dishes. Believe me, “just” cereal starts to look good after washing numerous mixing bowls and muffin pans because he just had to have blueberry muffins.

  6. Big Mama Pain says:

    Reads like a how-to on having one of those boring, grown up lives.

    And I’d love to hire a maid to do some of my chores, but I quit my job so that I could be happier and now my budget says we can’t afford one.

  7. jbandsma says:

    @madanthony Wouldn’t asking her to take care of her own toilet be more appropriate. :)

  8. momtimestwo says:

    Throwing away clutter and crap has made my life more relaxed at home. I wasn’t a hoarder, but you know how you just accumulate things over the years. Took me several months to declutter the house, and I just have the garage left. It’s hard with the kids because I could only throw away excess toys when they were not in the house, and then do it in small amounts. they don’t even realize 3/4 of their old toys are gone.

    • eccsame says:

      I understand the problem with the kids. I mean, who needs old comic books and baseball cards? If someone wanted to throw away my possessions without my permission, they’d probably have to do it when I wasn’t there.

      That said, I hope your kids pick a good home for you when you’re elderly.

      • momtimestwo says:

        They are only 10 and 5, but eventually they will know what to do with me when I’m old. Thank you for caring though.

      • TWSS says:

        Dude. Were you just looking for a comment to get pissy about and couldn’t find a better one?

        First, I recently sold most of my old comics. Know what I got for ’em? $50. Unless you’re a knowledgeable collector who keeps his stuff mint, those comics probably aren’t worth dick.

        Second, I’m willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of the toys being thrown out are cheap plastic crap. No offense to mx2, but that’s what the majority of my friends’ kids’ old toys are.

      • mythago says:

        I’m sorry that your mom threw out your collection of broken Happy Meal Toys and Legos you never played with when you were eleven, but you need to let go.

    • jimmyhl says:

      Brava!! I go through my stuff little by little all the time and it makes me feel a million times better about virtually everything. With two kids the job must seem overwhelming. I don’t even have kids but I am true believer in staying on top of the clutter profusion. Never once in the 18 years I’ve been in my house have I ever regretted ditching something. Except a girlfriend from Chicago and that wasn’t really a clutter issue.

    • Does not play well with others says:

      Oh trust me THEY KNOW and they will never forgive you. I’m almost 40 and I still miss my teddy.


  9. zandar says:

    The author’s approach to simplifying cooking leaves a lot to be desired. It simplifies my life a lot more to plan each week in advance and have a marathon prep session on Sundays than just cooking as fast as possible ever could.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      Agreed. A lot of those ‘quick’ meals are already semi-prepared. Sure, I might save some time by preparing a frozen pizza, but for me, it’s not worth the expense of good health.

  10. Hotscot says:

    It’s been hard getting to this stage but after 20 years I’m going to stop collecting comics.

    A few months ago I realized it was becoming a job to keep up to date with them, I’ve been so busy in recent years that I fell two years behind in storylines, it became less of a pleasure.

    Back to books..yay!

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Simplify your online life.

    Noooooo! My entire life IS online! :P

  12. ElizabethD says:

    #1 way to simplify one’s life (for parents): Move kids into college dorms. Go home, clean out their rooms and all other rooms they have left stuff in. Stop cooking dinner; get healthy takeout. Use the salad bar at the supermarket to put together two nights’ worth of salads. Wash your dishes immediately; with so many fewer dirty dishes, you don’t need to do the whole loading and unloading of the dishwasher thing. (Man, I HATE unloading and putting away.)
    Heave a sigh of relief.

  13. dru_zod says:

    “If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest.”

    Yeah…that might work part of the time, but usually if I have a list of things to do for work, they all have to be done. It’s not like “task A” is absolutely essential but I can just forget about “task B”. “Task A” might be more important or might need to get done quicker, but I still have to do “task B”.

  14. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I live a simple life and it’s boring and uneventful.

    I prefered it when I lived in clutter and was disorganzied.
    And when I had more clothes. And more friends. And worked overtime.
    And had my own vehicle.

  15. Saltpork says:

    How to simplify your life.

    1. Get rid of crap. If you don’t ever use it don’t keep it.
    2. Don’t have kids. Expensive, messy, take up a lot of space, your nights & weekends dissapear, etc etc.
    3. The more stuff you have the more stuff you have to maintain. See rule 1.

    Keep your hobbies. Keep what you want and need. Nothing wrong with a room filled with books as long as you use them. Same is true of a garage with tools or any hobby.

    As for the kid thing, I know I’m going to stir the pot on it, but it’s true. I’m not making a judgement call on anyone’s life here. Kids are expensive and require massive amounts of time, energy and work. If you think they’re worth it, go for it. It’s your life. Personally, I like my free time and spare money and have no plans to have kids.
    (And before I hear the ‘oh you’re just too young to understand’ statement let me say that I’m closer to 30 than 20 and I’ve been in a committed relationship for over 4 years. We are planning on getting married in 2 more years and neither of us wants children. Personal choice.)

    • stvlong92 says:

      Don’t get married either. The odds are against you from the start, so save yourself the hassle and money. And remember that it costs around $1 million to raise a kid to 18. Some say less, but remember, all mothers are trying to outdo each other via their kids.

  16. tooluser says:

    1) Do more of the things you like.
    2) Do less of the things you don’t like.
    3) Don’t try to make other people do anything.

    Caution: Following Rules 1 and 2 may result in violent retributive action by people who don’t follow rule Rule 3.

  17. tooluser says:

    Some people have very simple tastes in food. But I’d rather have something good. It’s worth the effort to me. Good food is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

    Simple food is often not good, because people who prepare simple food often do so from a place of fear rather than of joy.

    Explain how having bad simple food is better than having good complex food. That may be an oxymoron for you. Explain.

  18. MaelstromRider says:

    I think the key to that list is to do what works for you. I have a large wardrobe, but it doesn’t complicate my life… it lets me go longer without doing laundry.

    Downsizing the car? That doesn’t really simplify anything. We can afford the gas for the truck and there has never been a time when we were driving it and said, “Gee this would be easier if we had a small car.” In fact, just the opposite. Sometimes when we take the small car, it would have been better had we taken the truck.

    Getting rid of things is something I’m really working towards, though. Every weekend we get rid of a lot of stuff either by donating it or tossing it. At work, we’ve started doing some freecycling in the break room and the nicer stuff ends up there for people to take and leave something else. We moved from a 2400 square foot house to a 1700 square foot one, so anything we haven’t used in a year (with the exception of things that are valuable or sentimental) is fair game in my mind.

  19. kimmie says:

    I just read the section about working less and actually laughed out loud. Don’t take my work home? I’m on call. Don’t work weekends? I’m at a startup, it’s expected.

    They need a new guide for simplifying life in Silicon Valley.