Simplify your life. It sounds incredible, doesn’t it? You may picture white walls, nearly bare bookshelves, and 7 pieces of clothing hanging in your closet.
Simplifying your life doesn’t have to look quite like that. If minimalism is your jam, then go for it! Get rid of everything!
But if not, and you find yourself searching for a calmer, streamlined, less complicated life, you’ve found the right place.
In today’s post, I’ve put together a few (dozen) projects, both big and small, to help you simplify your life a little bit at a time. Maybe you’ll complete one of them, it will make your soul sigh in relief, and then you’re done. Perhaps you’ll finish the whole list and think of a few dozen more projects that you’d like to try. (If you do, please share them with me!)
Regardless of how many of these tips you find helpful, I hope they help you realize that simplifying your life doesn’t take a huge, monumental change all at once. Sometimes it just takes 10 minutes decluttering that drawer you avoid like the plague, and that’s enough for today.
But that’s enough talk from me. If you’d like a printable list of these projects, download it below.
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Simplify Your Life
1. Sign Up for Amazon Prime Amazon Prime has simplified my life in a big way! It’s lovely to be able to order pretty much anything I need and have it at my house in a day or two. Now I don’t have to load three children into the car or find a babysitter if I need to go to the store for a birthday gift or something I just need around the house! That in and of itself is worth its weight in gold to me!
2. Sync All of Your Prescriptions If you or your family members are on prescription medications, this is a game-changer. Call your pharmacy and see if you can get the refills synced so that you can pick them all up at once. While you’re at it, ask the pharmacy or your doctor if they can get you 90 days’ worth of refills at a time. That will save you extra trips to the pharmacy each month.
3. Schedule Appointments You’ve Been Putting Off Are you due for your yearly gynecologist appointment? Or maybe a physical with your general practitioner? Perhaps a dental cleaning? Take a minute and schedule those appointments! You’ll feel better once you know they’re planned, and then you won’t feel guilty about skipping them.
4. Create an Ongoing List of Gift Ideas Any time of the year, I can think of dozens of gifts I’d like to get someone in my family. But if it’s Christmastime or anywhere near their birthday, my mind goes blank! Create an ongoing list where you can write down all of those awesome gift ideas in one place, any time of the year. I use Trello for mine.
Simplify Your Home
5. Declutter a Room It’s impressive how much decluttering a single room in your home can brighten your mood! Grab a trash bag for trash, a box or tub for donations, and a laundry basket for items that don’t belong in that particular room. If you don’t love or use an item, decide if it should be donated or put in the trash.
Then set a timer (I like to do 15 minutes at a time) and see what you can get done. If you don’t finish the room, you can either keep going or tackle another part the next day. I bet you’ll surprise yourself with what you can get done!
6. Clean Out Your Purse Has your purse become a dumping ground full of receipts and gum wrappers and Kleenex? Spend 5 minutes cleaning it out and throwing away the trash. It will be lighter, and you’ll love being able to find your things again!
7. Clean out a Drawer You know the drawer I’m talking about. It’s the one that haunts you in your dreams. Take a deep breath and empty it completely. Throw away any trash, donate duplicates or items you don’t use, and put things back in some semblance of order. You’ll sleep better tonight if you do it!
8. Set Up a Stockroom We started a “stockroom” of sorts when I was pregnant with the twins. It was helpful to have all of our essential supplies and toiletries on hand when we needed them! Check out this post from the Busy Budgeter with more details on setting up a stockroom.
Simplify Your Marriage
9. Plan Out Date Nights in Advance Do you and your husband talk about going out more often, but when you finally get a sitter and a night away, you have no idea what to do? Is that just us? Take a little time and plan out a month’s worth (or even be extra ambitious and plan for a whole year!) of dates. You can do this together as a couple, or you could even surprise him with the pre-planned dates!
If you’re looking for ideas, check out my Date Night Ideas board on Pinterest.
Simplify Your Kids
10. Set Up a Toy Rotation Spend an afternoon (with or without the kids) going through all of the toys in your home. Get rid of the ones that aren’t played with or are broken, and separate what’s left into a toy rotation.
11. Set Up Rhythms and Routines Kids thrive on rhythm and routine. And if we’re being honest, the grown-ups do too. Take a few minutes to think about how you want to simplify life for yourself and your children, then develop some rhythms and routines that reflect that vision.
12. Organize One-on-One Dates with Each Kid Similar to pre-planning dates with your husband, you can also brainstorm dates with your kids. Think of places or experiences you know each individual child would love and set a date! One-on-one time with a parent (or even both!) can do so much to strengthen your relationship.
13. Clean Out the Diaper Bag or Backpacks You know that feeling when you reach the bottom of the diaper bag or your kid’s backpack, and you’re not really sure what you’re touching?
Grab a trashcan and dump that bad boy out! Get rid of any trash, reorganize the contents, and go on with your day!
Simplify Your Clothes
14. Make a Capsule Wardrobe While I haven’t mastered the capsule wardrobe yet, it’s on my to-do list. I crave the simplicity that comes from knowing that my clothes can be mixed and matched and that I love all of my options! If you’re new to capsule wardrobes, check out this post from Frump Fighters.
15. Switch Out Kids’ Clothes Have you kids been growing like weeds all of a sudden? Take some time to see what clothes still fit and which ones need to be replaced. Then look through your hand-me-downs (if you have any) or make a list of what your child needs. This is when I casually mention clothing needs to the grandmothers, or I hit the local consignment shop. Or both.
16. Set Up a Weekly Outfit Plan Creating a weekly outfit plan for my girls has been a game-changer for us! No more digging through clothes every morning trying to find an outfit (and accessories) that goes together for us! Once you have the basics in place, you can restock the outfits each week in just a few minutes.
17. Declutter Your Sock Drawer I know it sounds boring, but it’s necessary. Weed out any unmatched socks whose mate got eaten by the laundry monster and throw them away. That guarantees you’ll find the missing mate next week, by the way. If you have socks that you no longer wear, get rid of them.
This can also go for your underwear drawer. Or t-shirts. Or athletic wear. I think you get the picture!
18. Declutter Your Shoes Ah, shoes. Maybe you need to pare down the number of shoes you own. Sure, those hot pink heels are adorable, but have you worn them in the last decade? It might be time for them to go.
My strategy for getting rid of shoes was to buy a shoe organizer. Mine has 16 slots. You’ll have to decide how many is reasonable for you.
I filled it with my favorite, most-worn shoes first. Then, anything else that didn’t fit went in the donation box. I haven’t missed them!
19. Declutter Your Accessories It’s incredibly easy to become overrun by your accessories. They seem to multiply in my closet. Go through your scarves, belts, jewelry, etc. and pick out your very favorite items. These should be things that make you feel great when you wear them! Then get rid of the rest.
Simplify Your Car
20. Clean Out Your Car Grab your favorite glass cleaner, a microfiber cloth or two, a trash bag, and your Shop-Vac. It’s time to clean out your car!
Start off by getting everything out of your car that shouldn’t be there. Then clean the interior and vacuum the floorboards.
21. Organize Your Car After your car is nice and clean, take a few minutes to get it organized. It doesn’t take long, and a nice clean, organized car will make running errands a little less painful.
22. Wash the Car Seats When’s the last time you washed your kids’ car seats? Typically I only wash ours when someone gets sick or has an ice cream explosion. It’s gross and sometimes quite a pain in the rear, but it must be done.
This time, wash the car seats without there being a major catastrophe that must be cleaned up. Be sure to check the washing instructions in the user’s manual or online. If it’s a newer car seat that you’ve never taken apart, pay close attention to where all the pieces of the cover go. Or watch a YouTube video as you put it back together.
Simplify Your Photos
23. Scan Your Photos Do you have a shoebox (or twelve) of old family photos lying around your house? Maybe you inherited them from a grandparent or your mom. Invest in a good scanner and scan those memories to your computer! Depending on how many photos you have, this could take a day or two, or even several weeks. Pace yourself if you need to, but you’ll feel much better when it’s done!
24. Organize Your Photos Once your photos are scanned to your computer, you can organize them by year. Or event. Or however you want to organize them. And not only the photos you scanned, but also the photos you’ve imported from your phone, or that your mom sent you from last Halloween. Gather all of your photos into one folder and start organizing.
25. Make Family Photo Books This one is on my to-do list. I’ve seen this idea all over Pinterest for years now, but I’ve never gotten around to making family photo books. My ultimate goal is to have a book for each of our girls for every year of their lives. I also want a big family yearbook for each calendar year.
Simplify Your Papers
26. Set Up a Mail Station What do you do when you bring the mail in the house each day? Does it end up in a pile on the kitchen counter? Set up a mail station. This could be a drawer in a desk or a filing system of some kind. Have a place for bills, mail that needs to be responded to, things you want to look at later, and the rest goes in the trash or recycling. Or the shredder.
27. Switch to Electronic Bills and Bank Statements One way to reduce the amount of mail you get is to switch to electronic bills and bank statements. Instead of getting a paper copy of each of those documents, you get it in an email that you can then file in a digital folder on your computer. This will save you time and energy since you won’t have to deal with so much paper coming into your home.
28. Go Paperless And to take it one step farther, try going paperless. We’re in the process of reducing paper clutter around our house, and it’s made such a big difference for us! Use a scanner to scan in any important documents you’d like to have a copy of, but don’t necessarily need it to be a physical copy. If you scan your papers into a program like Evernote, you can even access those files from your phone if you need them while you’re away from home.
Simplify Your Meals
29. Meal Plan for the Month Ahead I hate meal planning. There, I said it. Planning for an entire month at a time might sound like torture, but really, once I get it done, then I’m done for the whole month! That’s a relief to me and one less thing I have to do weekly.
30. Organize Your Pantry Take everything out of the pantry, check expiration dates, and put like items together. Then put it all back in. You don’t have to make your pantry Pinterest-perfect with chalkboard labels on glass canisters unless that’s how you like things. What’s most important is that your pantry is usable for you and your family. When you know what you have and where it is, you’ll be less likely to spend money on buying dry goods that you have in excess hiding in the pantry.
31. Create a Space for Kid Snacks On the bottom shelf of our pantry, I have created a “kid zone.” This shelf has two baskets full of snacks that I don’t mind Little Miss grabbing if she’s hungry. This includes fruit cups, granola bars, crackers, applesauce, etc. It gives her some independence, which she loves, and it keeps me from having to make yet another trip to the pantry to get her snack. Win/win.
32. Create a Space for Kid Utensils/Dishes Another way to give you kids more independence in the kitchen is by making their dishes and utensils easily accessible. For Little Miss, we set aside a bottom drawer in the kitchen for all of her plates, bowls, cups, and utensils. Once Monkey and Cub discovered how to open drawers, however, we had to come up with a new solution, but it’s still nice to have all of the kid stuff in one place and easy to grab.
33. Clean Out Your Refrigerator and Freezer Do you have a science project or two in your refrigerator? It happens. Just like with the pantry, take everything out of your refrigerator, wipe down the shelves, throw away anything that has spoiled, and put it all back with like items together. Do the same with your freezer.
34. Organize Your Favorite Recipes Do you have recipes that are the go-to’s in your family? Where do you keep them? If you’re like me, you have a few in a cookbook, some on your phone, and others saved on a Pinterest board. Take some time to gather all of the recipes together. You’ll save time when it’s time to cook because you won’t have to search high and low for the recipe.
Simplify Your Money
35. Create a Budget Budgeting is not something that comes easily for me. I’m not bad at creating the budget, but that pesky “sticking to it” part tends to get me. Find a tool that you like (we use EveryDollar) and just start using it. It’s going to take some time to get it right and be consistent, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t start! For help getting started, try Rosemarie Groner’s 90 Day Budget for Beginners Bootcamp. (It’s free!)
36. Sign Up to Auto-Pay Your Bills Earlier, we talked about setting your bills up to be paperless. Why not go ahead and have them automatically taken out of your bank account? I know not everyone loves this idea, but it’s really simplified our finances. No more late payments because I forgot to send the check, and in some cases, you can even save a few dollars if you sign up for auto-pay!
Simplify Your Technology
37. Clean Out Your Email Inbox My name is Melissa, and I used to be an email hoarder. Not so long ago, my inbox was in the thousands when it came to unread emails. I thought Dillon was going to have a stroke when he saw it! Now my inbox is manageable, and it’s because I took charge of my emails. Unsubscribe from emails you no longer want to receive, delete or file emails you’ve read, respond to emails that need responding to, and move on with your life.
38. Organize Your Documents In the same way, we organized our pictures earlier, organize your documents. Decide on a filing system that works for you (I have folders within folders for mine) and just start organizing. If you no longer need those documents, trash them.
39. Clear Out Your DVR We no longer have cable or satellite TV, but when we did, our DVR could get scary. Episodes of Paw Patrol, Forged in Fire, and a multitude of college football games crammed our DVR. A 30-minute deleting session made the shows we wanted to watch much easier to find, and it freed up space for new shows and movies to be recorded.
40. Get Rid of Cable or Satellite As I mentioned, we’ve been without satellite TV for about six months. We decided that we didn’t want to pay that much money for it, so we canceled and bought an antenna to receive local stations. I’ll be honest, I kind of love it! When we want to watch TV shows or movies, we use Netflix, ” target=”_blank”>Amazon Prime, ” target=”_blank”>CuriosityStream, or Disney+. Even with those services, we’re still not paying nearly as much as we were with satellite and we watch less TV. Saving money and time is definitely a way to simplify your life!
Simplify Your Homeschool
41. Re-do Your Schedule Is your homeschool schedule jam-packed with too much? Take a step back and pare something down. You don’t have to do all the things you see on Instagram. Your kids are going to turn out just fine if you don’t take a nature walk every day or learn three different languages. Take some time to think about what you want for your children and how you want your homeschool to look. Then plan accordingly. Simple doesn’t have to mean boring or less-than. Simple just means focusing on what’s most important and doing it well.
If you’re looking for a simple weekly homeschool planner, I’ve got you covered.
42. Get Rid of Worn Out Supplies Let your kids help with this one! Test out all of the markers and toss any that no longer work. You can even recycle them for an added educational bonus! Do the same with broken crayons. Get them out of your crayon tub and do an art project with the leftover pieces. Your supply containers will feel refreshed, and you will too!
43. Organize Your Materials Re-shelve your books, put science kits back together, check to make sure each game has all of its pieces, and gather all of your teacher guides. Decide if your homeschool organization is working for you, and if it’s not, tweak it. Maybe this means you need fewer materials out at a time, or perhaps you need a new way to store what you use daily (I have my eye on one of these). Just spending an hour or two to get organized will breathe new life into your homeschool!
44. Start Thinking About Next Year’s Curriculum I’m a planner. There’s not much I love more than planning out a school year. My favorite part of each summer when I was teaching was planning out the next school year. Yes, I’m a nerd! Sit down with a notebook and your computer and start thinking about what you want for your children in the next school year. Where are they academically? Do you need to review some material? Or maybe dip your toes into something a year or two ahead? Make some preliminary plans so that when the time comes to order, you already have a good idea of what you will need.
Whew! That was a long one! Thanks for sticking with me. There are so many more projects you could do to simplify your life, but these are the ones I felt would make the most significant impact on you and your family. Is there anything else you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!
For now, if you’d like a printable list of all of these projects, fill out the form below, and I’ll send it to you! Happy simplifying!