20 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life

Are you looking for ways to simplify life? Here are 20 ideas to inspire you.

Hello, I’m Jennifer, and I’ve considered myself a minimalist for nearly a decade now. During that time, I’ve done many things to simplify. Some of these changes have been huge and others, less so—but overall, it’s the sum of these choices that have led me to the life I have today.

If you’re curious about the minimalist lifestyle, then here are 20 ways that I’ve simplified my life. These changes have made a considerable impact, and I’m sharing them with the hope that something here will inspire you.

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How to Simplify Life

One quick note before we get started … Please understand that this is not a definitive list of milestones every aspiring minimalist must “check off” on their journey. I know for a fact that many of my choices aren’t suitable for everyone, which is fine because minimalism is not one size fits all.

I’m sharing what has worked for me because it might inspire something that works for you—but if it doesn’t, that’s perfectly fine. You know what’s best for you and you’ll make the final decision about how to simplify your life. Take inspiration where you find it and feel free to ignore the rest.

LIVE IN A SMALL HOME

One of the most significant changes I’ve made since embracing minimalism is learning to live in a small home. Of course, a “small home” means different things to different people—and it has meant a multitude of things to me during different stages in my life.

When I first discovered minimalism and decluttered my life, I lived in a small studio apartment with a shared kitchen and bathroom (about 120 square feet). During this period of my life, everything I owned fit into a few suitcases.

It wasn’t always easy living in such a small space but it was 100% worth it because I was able to save a TON of money. I became debt-free for the first time in my life and then I saved enough to go on a seven month honeymoon!

After I came back from my honeymoon, we lived in a similar-sized studio apartment for a few years—but then I got pregnant and we decided to upsize.

We currently live in a two-bedroom apartment. It feels huge to me (compared to our old place!), but at 660 square feet, I think it’s still on the small side. We’ve been here for two years now, and I think it’s perfect for us in this stage of life.

It’s funny because, before minimalism, I lived in a two-bedroom townhome. It was almost double the size of where I live now, but I thought it was SO small! But now that I own less, I comfortably live in a smaller space, and it makes life so much simpler.

Do you want to learn more about simple living with a family? Check out my guide to minimalism with kids or one of these recommended reads: Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker and Minimalism for Families by Zoë Kim.

RENT VS BUY

OK—I know this is going to be controversial but I think renting simplifies life SO much than owning your own home!

I was a homeowner for six years, and it always felt like a huge burden to me. After the first few months, the joy of owning my own place wore off and then it just felt like a weight on my shoulders. There were so many ongoing expenses, things to maintain, and I also hated the general feeling of being weighed down.

Now that we rent, I have so much freedom. We live in a high rise apartment so someone else does the yard work, cleans the pool, and worries about maintenance issues. Plus, if we want to leave, there’s no stress about selling.

Of course, I acknowledge that depending on the housing market, it can often make more sense to buy —but I hope that we’ll be able to continue renting for years to come.

DO LESS HOUSEWORK

Housework used to feel like a never-ending job and it would cause me so much stress—but fortunately, I don’t feel that way anymore.

In fact, I currently spend about 30 minutes a day cleaning plus about one hour a week catching up on loose ends (even with two children at home!).

I’m not sure how that compares to the “average” person but to be honest, it feels really good to me! Housework and cleaning used to be a heavy weight on my shoulders and now it genuinely feels like a non-issue.

I wrote an entire post about how to spend less time cleaning but in summary:

  1. Declutter your home
  2. Change your expectations
  3. Create minimalist cleaning routines

WATCH LESS TV

For most of my life, I was an obsessive TV watcher. If I was home, the TV was on, whether I was watching it or not. I just liked the noise in the background.

This changed after I discovered minimalism. I got rid of my TV and went without from 2012-2017.

We’ve since decided to own a TV again but taking a break completely changed my viewing habits. I no longer watch it mindlessly; instead, I’m intentional about only turning it on when there’s something specific I want to watch.

It’s a small change but I definitely feel like it makes my life simpler. As a family, we spend more time talking, listening to music, and just enjoying each others company when the TV is off.

Image of a woman simplifying her life: writing in a journal with a coffee cup, reading glasses and a bouquet of white flowers in the foreground.

EMBRACING SIMPLE EATING

Another place I’ve simplified my life is in the kitchen. I follow a simple eating philosophy, which means I don’t meal plan. In fact, I very rarely do “meals” in the traditional sense at all (i.e. a main dish with sides or similar).

Instead, I keep things pretty relaxed. I have what I call a “food uniform” that I follow—a few basic structures like big salads and stirfries—but I rarely follow recipes. Instead, I buy simple food I like and eat what I feel like.

If you want to learn more about simple eating, I explain all the details in this post. It’s a process that saves me a lot of money on groceries and I spend less time in the kitchen too! It takes a little practise to get used to it but once you find your rhythm, I think you’ll be surprised by how much simple eating can simplify your life!

AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE

This mostly refers to my financial life—almost all my banking and bill paying is done automatically online—but in recent years, I’ve learned there are more things I can automate to save time.

For example, I really love No Pong natural deodorant, so I have an automatic subscription. It’s just a small thing but since I know I’ll always use deodorant, it’s just one less thing to think about!

One word of warning: be sure to review any bills, expenses, etc. you automate on a regular basis. Sometimes we “set and forget” things even when they’re no longer relevant in our lives!

SAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND

I know this isn’t very glamorous, but as someone who spent the first fifteen years of her adult life living paycheque to paycheque, I can tell you that having a nest egg in the bank makes life so much simpler.

Having an emergency fund gives you breathing room so you have time and space to make more intentional decisions.

DRESS WITH A SIMPLE WARDROBE

As a former shopaholic (I once owned more than 100 pairs of shoes), I can’t tell you how liberating it is to downsize your closet and dress with a simple wardrobe!

It might sound silly but until I discovered minimalism, I had no idea how much time, energy and money I was wasting on clothes. (OK—I knew I was wasting money!) But I had no idea that my closet was draining me in other ways. I can see now that I spent a ridiculous amount of time shopping and even just thinking about what to wear.

Having said that, I will admit that downsizing my wardrobe wasn’t easy. It was a mix of lacking practical knowledge (not understanding my style) and also dealing with emotional baggage (turns out the reason our lives are so cluttered often goes deeper than bad shopping habits).

It took me a few years (and many failed attempts) but I was finally able to declutter my closet and I haven’t looked back since! If you need some help, I detailed exactly what worked for me in this post and I have even more tips in this post.

Want a sneak peek inside my closet? Click here for a behind the scenes tour!

A collage of 3 capsule wardrobe images: a black dress with a hat, a woman wearing black jeans with a grey sweatshirt, and a black skirt. Dressing with a capsule wardrobe will help you simplify life!

(List of 20 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life continues below.)

If you’re enjoying this post, you might also enjoy learning more about my minimalist journey:

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about minimalism, you might find these popular posts helpful:

Finally, you might also enjoy Mindful Decluttering, a free guide and workbook with step-by-step instructions on decluttering your home and life. It includes practical advice, personal stories, and a troubleshooting guide to help you overcome your decluttering challenges! Subscribe to get your free copy.

MAKE LAUNDRY DAY EASIER

This is a quick but powerful tip: don’t buy clothes that are hard to care for! Personally, I don’t buy anything that’s dry cleaning only or requires ironing. It’s just one less thing to worry about.

PLAN TO SHOP

This change has made a HUGE difference in my life!

In the past, shopping was something I did on a whim, usually when I was bored or stressed. I shopped often and almost always walked away with impulsive purchases—the kind of fast fashion finds that you wear once or twice and then never again. (Such a waste of money and resources. I’m definitely not proud of this.)

One habit that really helped me overcome my shopping addiction was planning to shop. When I wanted something new, I’d write it down on a list instead of going shopping right away.

This would give some time to reflect. Often, after a day or so, I’d realise I didn’t really need anything after all! It was usually just an impulse triggered by something I saw in a magazine or because I was having a bad day.

On the occasions when I did need to purchase something new, planning meant I made better choices. I did research, I bought higher quality items, and greatly reduced the number of regrettable purchases. I bought less overall but when I did shop, I bought things I knew I’d love and use.

NO MORE WOMEN’S MAGAZINES OR FASHION BLOGS

I used to read both women’s magazines and fashion blogs obsessively but I’ve since realised that neither contributed anything positive to my life; instead, both left me feeling insecure and craving things I didn’t really need.

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional magazines, then I highly recommend Holl & Lane a quarterly publication dedicated to starting honest conversations from real women. (Note this isn’t a sponsored or affiliate link, it’s just something I genuinely love and enjoy!)

If you want to learn more, check out this interview with Sarah, the creator of Holl & Lane.

STOP EXPERIMENTING WITH BEAUTY PRODUCTS

I use to obsessively browse the beauty aisle and I was always picking up some new “miracle” product to try. I was a marketers dream—they know exactly how to prey on your insecurities and I feel for it every time.

But eventually, I reached a point where I realised nothing you can buy over the counter can make you feel good if you don’t already know how to love yourself. I started working on self-care and self-love, and spent less time in the Target beauty aisle.

This doesn’t mean I never buy new beauty products but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t feel the need to compulsively experiment all the time as I used to and it’s truly a weight off my shoulders.

USE RULES TO MANAGE YOUR INBOX

In almost every email management system (Google, Outlook, Apple Mail) you can set up “rules” to help you manage your inbox.

For example, I get promotional emails about flight deals from several airlines (which is how I found $70 flights from Australia to Thailand). These emails are valuable but I don’t need to see them all the time, so I’ve set up a rule to have them automatically forwarded to a special folder so I can review when it suits me.

These articles will help you set up rules in Gmail / Outlook / Apple Mail.

USE TIME BLOCKING

Time blocking is a fancy word for doing one thing at a time, for a specific amount of time. I started using this productivity hack a few months ago and it has definitely helped simplify life!

If you’re looking for more productivity hacks, be sure to check out this post!

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH AWESOME PEOPLE

I don’t have a lot of friends but the people I hold close to my heart are the ones who support me and encourage me (even if they don’t always understand me!). Don’t be afraid to let go of relationships that aren’t supporting you this way.

RELATED POST: 15 Things to Declutter that Aren’t Things (Ideas + Mindsets to Let Go)

SIMPLIFY LIFE + DRIVE ONE CAR

In an ideal world, I wouldn’t need a car at all but for now, deciding to be a one-car household makes life simpler and cheaper. We spend less on insurance, registration fees, parking permits, petrol and maintenance—and it all adds up!

SPEND ON THINGS THAT MAKE LIFE EASIER

I’m a minimalist but that doesn’t mean I’m frugal! I often spend money on things that simplify life and make things easier.

Some things I’m not afraid to spend on include:

  • my health (a personal trainer, a gym membership, yoga classes)
  • my education (blogging courses, personal development)
  • things that save me time (an occasional house cleaner and a really good vacuum)
  • quality items that will last (comfortable shoes are a must!)

I’ve learned that sometimes spending a little extra will simplify your life in the long run.

SLOW DOWN + SPEND TIME OUTDOORS

I’ve found that the more time I spend outdoors, the more I simplify my mind. Being in nature helps me slow down and be present.

QUIT FULL-TIME WORK

Over the past few years, I’ve gradually made the transition from full-time work, to intentionally part-time, to self-employed.

I’m not 100% sure if this belongs on this list because, while not having a full time job makes me happier, I’m not sure if it’s truly a simpler option! Being self-employed means I have a lot more control over my time but I also have to be more disciplined with how I use it.

On a side note, I should mention that over the years I’ve been able to intentionally work less only because of minimalism. It didn’t happen overnight but I’ve slowly reduced my cost of living, which has given me the freedom to experiment (and ultimately take the leap to self-employment).

SELF ACCEPTANCE

Finally, I think perhaps the biggest way I’ve simplified my life over the past few years is I’ve started to accept myself for who I really am.

For a very long time, I was trying to be someone I’m not and, to be honest, it was completely draining. Right now my future has a lot of question marks but despite this, I feel secure and comfortable with the person I’ve become, and it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

RELATED POST: Doing Less + A Lesson in Self-Worth

More Simple Living Resources

If you enjoyed this post, here are more resources to help you simplify life:

DO YOU WANT TO KICK-START YOUR SIMPLE LIVING JOURNEY?

If you’re feeling inspired by this post, why not do something right now to kick-start your simple living journey. (After all, you can read about simplifying your life on Pinterest or you can take action and make it happen!)

I created 7 Simple Days for anyone who feels like their life is cluttered, busy and out of alignment. It’s a short course designed to help you find clarity, define your priorities, and take small, practical steps forward.

Here are what just a few of the more than 2,500 like-minded souls that have participated in 7 Simple Days have to say about the experience:

Wow I just think that anyone wanting to change how they manage their life should look into this course. It was a real eye opener. After the death of my husband last month I needed help to understand my new life and how to prepare going forward.” -Robin J, Maryland, USA

I’m on day four and already I feel a clarity in my life. My wife and I are doing 7 Simple Days together and we’ve found that it helps us get on the same page. It’s strengthening our marriage and making us happier.” -Jenna W

I realised that my ‘ideal life’ is not about external circumstances, but small rituals that I can put into place now. I experimented with scattering them throughout my day and felt better for it.” -Lauren, 24, UK

“Over the years I have done research, reading blog post, following workbooks etc etc. on personal development, minimalism and living intentionally. 7 Simple Days summarizes everything I found out and experienced in my life in such a clear and inspiring way, PLUS I learned more by asking a lot of questions. Thanks!” – Ellen F

“Very thought provoking exercises. They really helped me to understand what I value most and take steps to make sure I’m dedicating more of my time to those things. Thanks for sharing this mini-course. It was fun, eye opening and helped with self improvement. Tonya E

Ready to get started? Click here to learn more about how you can join 7 Simple Days and kick-start your simple and intentional living journey today.

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41 thoughts on “20 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life”

  1. your lifestyle seems complicated compared to mine. I don’t do gym , don’t own a car etc etc. But then I think Americans are great consumers and don’t really know what minimalist living really is.

    Reply
  2. Was wondering? Do I have to live in a studio to be a minimalist? So, maybe I am, but what if I get married, and he likes big houses? I haven’t discussed this change yet.

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    • Hi Kathleen! I absolutely think you can live in any size house and be a minimalist; in fact, (I’ve lived in studio apartments the past 4 years, but I’ll actually be moving to a 2 bedroom flat in a few weeks! The key is being self-aware, knowing what size space you need, and being mindful of the tradeoffs your making when you upsize/downsize. For example, if you have a bigger house that you need and it takes time/money/energy away from things that matter most … that’s not being a minimalist. But sometimes a bigger house is necessary or something you personally value more – this is ok too! If this confuses you a bit, check out this post: https://www.simplyfiercely.com/what-it-really-means-to-be-a-minimalist/ I think this will help clear things up 🙂

      Reply
  3. Great post, really enjoyable read, especially reading some of the comments after! For me living a small space has been one of the most revealing and surprising aspects of moving towards a minimalist lifestyle. I have lived in a Tiny House (my own), tiny garage apartment, and am about to move into a small two bed apartment. I just love smaller spaces (I think it appeals to my inner efficiency freak :). Cycling everywhere is another big money saver, a plus on the health front too. A big next focus is getting better at time blocking. For the first time in years I will soon have a big fridge freezer so the batch cooking sessions shall begin again too. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Hi Jim! Thanks so much for reading. Living in small space has definitely been amazing for me over the past 4 years – having a lower cost of living has given me SO much freedom to travel and explore a career change! As I mentioned in another comment, I’m about to move to a 2 bedroom place from my studio in a few weeks, which is an upsize, but I feel like now it’s a more mindful choice than it would have been pre-minimalism 🙂 Cheers Jen

      Reply
  4. At age 72, I am pleased to read young women simplifying their lives. You are wise before your time.

    Time blocking vs. multi-tasking: This one alone will be changing for the better.

    Trust my years of experience as a nurse, mother/grandmother, administrator/employer, teacher, choir director, and more.
    #1 There is no such thing as multi-tasking, Our brains focus on only one thing at a time. So we keep forcing it to change focus instantly from one thing to another. I cannot even imagine how much energy this takes.
    #2 Multi-tasking leads to mistakes, overlooks other possibilities and definitely is not efficient in the long run.
    #3 Employers that demand multi-tasking are setting you up for failure making it easier for them to deny pay increases and other advancements and fire you at will.
    #4 Honing your skills and talents will reap many more advantages vs. being “jill of all trades.”

    Jennifer, keep writing!

    Reply
  5. I’m so happy I found your blog. I’m just starting out with my own and I aspire to make it as helpful and meaningful as yours!

    I’ve been transitioning into a more minimalist lifestyle this past year and I have genuinely found greater happiness. On top of that, I’ve been exposed to more and more information on intentional, minimal living. What an awesome community!

    If anyone wants to check out my blog and connect, I’d absolutely love that!
    My minimalist bedroom post just went live – Check it out on http://www.simplyraza.blogspot.com 🙂

    Reply
  6. Great post! I came across your blog on Pinterest and its heaven sent! You truly have inspired me into wanting to embrace minimalism! Thank you!

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  7. Such a great post Jennifer and a confidence boaster. Simplicity really does make our lives a hell lot easier but unfortunately we try making it as difficult as we can by indulging too much in material possessions and negative thoughts. I am 34 and have been interested in a more simple life for the last couple of years. I am convinced less time/money spent on things will result in more time for the Kingdom. Your post may be just what I need to take the plunge. (I hope my husband want to jump in with me).

    Alina ♡ http://www.alwaysinspiredlife.com

    Reply
  8. Hi Mel, thank you so much for your kind words!! They really mean a lot to me ☺️

    Wow, I’m so impressed that you’ve deactivated your social media accounts! I try not to use mine too much (except for ‘blog’ related things) but it’s a challenge. That is really inspirational, thank you! x

    Reply
  9. I found your blog through Pinterest, I am so glad. You have set a “tone” in your writing that is light, welcoming and as if we were friends chatting over a cup of hot cocoa. I enjoyed this article, and have deactivated my Instagram and Facebook as a way to cut the unnecessary noise in my life.

    Reply
  10. Loved your list!
    One thing I would like to add is to systemize things! That makes us focus on one task at a time and thus get better out of our lives 🙂
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful article.

    Reply
    • Hi Unaiza – yes, I totally agree about systems! But I didn’t mention them on this list because it’s one thing I’m not very good at … yet. I’m hoping to get there though – thank you for the reminder and for the kind words about my post!! All the best xx

      Reply
      • Oh yeah that’s the best part, isn’t it? to be always learning and adapting new things 🙂 I am always always learning and learnt a lot from your article as well. Thanks 😀

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    • Hi Carmen, that’s awesome, I love your list! I think I’m going to steal quite a few of your ideas (I like how you describe your kitchen set up and definitely the fruit water thing!) I also have pretty simple hair although it’s long. Because it’s thick I only wash it about twice a month, which saves me SO much time and energy. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

      Reply
  11. You’ve really encouraged me with this post as I develop minimalism in my own life, Jennifer! (And I adored Lani’s post too.)

    I’ve become more minimal in my relationships myself and I’ve noticed it’s made them more meaningful. Self-acceptance is also something I’ve learned and it’s freeing. Minimalism in general is freeing. ❤️

    Thanks for the links to how to do rules in email btw! I keep thinking I’ll get around to doing it but never make the time. I’ve bookmarked them to work on when I get back in the office tomorrow.

    Reply
  12. Thanks for including me in such a magnificent post! I certainly can relate in many ways. I found minimalism (intentionally) when we moved from Thailand to Cambodia, when we had no choice but to downsize, but for sure, the biggest deal was getting rid of my clothes and all the stuff I had accumulated here through friends leaving. “Oh, I’ll take it.” was my motto for years.

    It is incredibly freeing to have less and to take care of less as well. I hope I can maintain this lifestyle because, I fear, it would be all too easy to go back to buying/having/spending.

    Reply
    • My motto was “I deserve it” or “oh, what a bargain!” haha, so yours isn’t too bad. I’ve had the same fear – I’ve downsized before when travelling and then gone back to my old ways, but I embraced minimalism before going on this trip so I think I’m pretty safe. I’m sure you will be too no matter where life takes you – just focus on what you want most out of life (or at least that is what worked for me!)

      And thanks so much for stopping by (and for writing such an inspiring post yourself!) x

      Reply

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