9 Steps to Simplify Your Life

My one word for 2018 is: simplify

I've been practicing adopting a minimalist lifestyle since January and I've incorporated several different ways of leading the simple life.

2018 is far from over but so far the following nine steps to simplify your life have really worked for me in these first two months.

1. Clean out your Clothes

We've all heard this one.  Say it with me now.

"If you haven't worn it in 6 months get rid of it."

"If it doesn't fit get rid of it."

"Make three boxes, labeled Keep, Donate, and Throw Away."

We all know what we should actually get rid of but why are we so hesitant?

I know in the past I have stood in my closet holding clothes and thinking of the impulse buy that landed it in my closet.

The money spent, the regret. The commitment to wear it this year.

How it used to fit me and made me feel gorgeous at the time.

Last month, after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo or the Kon Mari Method as some like to call it, I really cleaned out my clothes and went to a capsule wardrobe.

I will talk in depth about capsule wardrobes in a later post, but I will say getting dressed now that I reduced my wardrobe by 75% takes so little time, because I am avoiding decision fatigue with my simplified closet.

2. Find a Daily Schedule that Works

I have binged on Pinterest and Insta looking at bullet journal daily schedules, morning routines, evening routines, and daily workflows.

I have tried several myself.  Last years bujo had a "good day" daily schedule and a "bad day/high pain day" schedule.

This year's schedule is not working for me, yet.  I need to spend more time on reflection to see what is truly important and how I work best. I think in the next month or so I will have a good idea of how to simplify and maximize my daily and weekly routine.

3. Menu Plan

I started menu planning as soon as I realized half my paycheck was going to eating out when I was a young woman.  This is nothing new to me but you may never have tried it.  I suggest taking the time to plan your meals.

Planning meals helps cut down decision fatigue and helps out your wallet.  Two birds one stone!

As a chronic pain warrior, I do have a few emergency meals on deck in case my plans go awry.

For instance, last night was not a great night for me.  One of my bff's turned 30 Saturday (so young!) and I had a cheat day.

Come on! Who can resist queso when it's a special occasion?

However, my lapse lead to a pain flare.  I whipped up Bob's Red Mill Paleo Pancakes last night instead of the Paleo Zuppa Toscana I had planned.

Emergency meals, have them ready. If you keep a bujo, make a collection of quick go to's that are super easy and have everyday ingredients.

I have a great weekly bullet journal spread that keeps my menu where I can see it.  Saturday morning I plan the next week's meals and write the grocery list at the same

4. Decimate your Pantry and Fridge

If you are trying to make a lifestyle change to eat healthy and menu plan, get rid of anything that does not comply with what you want to eat. Yes, that may mean throwing away those highly addictive Thin Mints but in the end, it's worth it.

Restock your pantry with yummy delicious healthy snacks.

Don't know where to start? Check out Thrive Market and type in 'paleo snacks' or 'clean eating snacks'

Thrive Market sells your favorite organic and non-gmo brands for up to 50% off retail.

5. Organize your Back Door/Mud Room

I have my big bag and my small purse hanging off the coat closet on a rack I purchased from Ross for $4.99

It's also winter so my husband and I keep our coats ready to go as well.

My big bag is packed with what I need to take with me on the spur of the moment.  I have my handicap placard, my pill case, extra lidocaine patches, an everyday lipstick, and snacks.

The only thing I have to transfer is my wallet if I happened to be carrying my small purse the day before.

The only 3 things I need to add are my phone, my Chromebook, and my bullet journal.

6. Lay Out your Clothes the Night Before

This one seems easy but until it's a habit, it will completely throw you.  I have been super into The Miracle Morning since the beginning of 2018.  One of the steps Hal Elrod, the author, outlines is laying out your workout clothes.

I did an amazing job doing my first 30 days of TMM, but I totally failed at laying my clothes out.  In fact, I would say I do great in the morning doing most things, but at night I utterly suck at getting things done.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten in bed only to realize I haven't washed my face or laid out my clothes.

February I have resolved to form a nighttime routine.  I just decided to sleep in my workout clothes.  It sounds crazy but with chronic pain, it's just easier for me. One less step to accomplish at the end of a long day.

If I stick with it, I may eliminate my sleep wear...futher contributing to my minimalism concept

7. Set Your Coffee Maker

Just like with menu planning, I have been setting my coffee maker to come on for years.

When we are cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, #leohusband loads the dishwasher while I prep the coffee maker for tomorrow.

If you have a Kureg I don't know if you can set the coffee maker, but I will tell you, I fully believe that you should throw it in the trash and get an old-fashioned drip pot.  It's far better for your budget, your time, and your health.

8. Have a Home for Everything

Again with the KonMari Method if it doesn't have a home, you have too much crap! Everyone is a victim of their belongings.

Isn't it time to take control instead of letting your stuff control you?

I'm far better at wanting to let things go than #leohusband.  If I had my druthers, we'd chunk way more than we did when we first KonMari'd our house back in July 2017.

It's a frequent work in progress for us because of my pain levels, but eventually, we will get there.

9. Empty the Dishwasher in the Morning

Just like setting your clothes out, or scheduling the coffee pot, this tip requires habit change.

For me, it's far easier to put my dirty dishes in the washer as the day goes on than to let them pile in the sink.  That pile leaves more work for me at the end of the day when my energy levels are zero and my pain is higher than it was when I woke up.

Plus, if it gets too full as I'm loading throughout the day, I simply turn it on and #leohusband empties it while I cook dinner.  I get to hear about his day and the time spent doing chores is more enjoyable because it is time spent together.

Living simply doesn't mean drastic lifestyle changes, it can start with easy steps that gradually produce change.  These 9 steps to simplify your life are not meant to happen all at once.  Try one.  Seeing what limiting your choices can accomplish in your mind.

The truth is we need a mental break.  Habit change, organization, and minimalizing some of the stuff in your life can help you physically and mentally.