A few weeks ago I shared my 5 favorite, EASY ways to slow down.  Today I thought I’d do the same for simplifying – Fall Colorour other main topic for October.   Although these two ideas are complimentary, I do feel there are some differences.  When I think of slowing down, I tend to think of doing less, taking my time and enjoying the moment.  Simplifying is a great means to that end – by simplifying various areas of my life I am ABLE to slow down.

  1.  Be predictable.  All of us have certain things that need to be done on a regular basis.  Paying bills, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, etc.  Instead of figuring out when to get them done, have specific times/ days that are “bill paying days” or “bathroom cleaning day.”  For example, I pay my bills on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.  When I get a bill, I add it to the stack and then when that date comes, I pay whatever is in the stack.  No need to think about it and I also don’t forget to pay bills.
  2. Continually edit.  On a regular basis, get rid of things in your house that you just don’t use.  Clothes you didn’t wear this season?  Take them to Goodwill.  Toys the kids have outgrown?  Pass them on to friends with younger children.  Books you’ve read?  Donate or pass on to someone else.  Less stuff means less maintenance.
  3. Be prepared.  I’ve done a lot more traveling than usual this year, and one thing that simplified it for me was always having my toiletry bag packed.  After each trip, I’d replace whatever was used up – this made last minute or frequent trips a breeze.  A similar idea is to have a “car bag” packed for things a family would need in the car (extra outfits, socks, trash bags, etc.).
  4. A place for everything.  Create a place to hang your car keys as soon as you walk in the door.  Always put tickets to upcoming events in the SAME place.  Little routines like this will ensure you don’t waste time looking for lost items.
  5. Borrow, don’t buy.  Instead of bringing new things into your life and having to care for them (or edit them out later), why not forgo purchasing in the first place.  The perfect example of this is the library.  As a voracious reader, I go through a lot of books each year.  If I purchased all of them, not only would I spend a ton of money, but I would also have a ton of books to dust, store, etc.  Instead, I borrow 90% of them from the library.  Don’t read?  Other good examples would be cooking items you don’t often use (borrow from a friend), renting a car for a trip instead of owning one (depending upon where you live of course) or even “borrowing” a neighbor’s dog for a long walk (that’s a win-win for both of you!).  Think creatively before you purchase.

What are your best tips for simplifying?  Please share in the comments so we can help each other!

Next month I’ll be delving into meditation and reducing stress.  It’s something I’ve played with on and off for years but never been consistent with, so in November I’ll be focusing on consistency and education around these topics.   The books I plan on reading are:

There are 108 tools in this book, and since there are only 30 days in November, 30 days are my goal.  If I like it, I may continue on in December and January.  We shall see.

Another book by Gabrielle Bernstein.  I love the tagline to this one “A Hip Guide to Happiness.”  Sounds perfect!

Finally, I’m going to participate in the next 21 day meditation series by Oprah & Deepak.  Since it starts November 2nd, it seems very timely!  It’s totally free, and a great way to give guided meditation a try.

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