There are many ways to simplify your life. Some take time and effort – like decluttering your home or creating a system to organize your life. Others can be a decision you make in the blink of an eye.
Here are 5 things you can stop doing right now that will help you simplify your life.
5 Things to stop doing to simplify your life
1. Stop sending unnecessary ‘extra’ messages and emails
There’s a natural stopping point in email and text threads. But if you’re like me, you may feel a compulsion to send yet another message. A you’re welcome to their thank you. A thanks again to their you’re welcome. It’s a kind of excessive politeness, a need for extreme harmony.
If you’re sending a message like this because you want to, that’s fine. If you’re being a courteous, thoughtful person, that’s lovely. But if you feel pressured to send another missive because you think you should, then stop yourself and ask: what if I left it at that?
Most people are busy, they’re not staring at the screen hoping for just one more note from you. They’ve probably moved on to the next thing. You can, too.
2. Stop decanting groceries into beautifully labelled storage containers
I too adore organization porn on Instagram. The perfect rows, the calligraphic tags – it’s glorious to behold!
But a lot less glorious to maintain.
In fact, for most people it’s stressful, a chore – and takes considerable ongoing maintenance, shopping, and reshuffling. If you relish the process of setting up, transferring, and rearranging that’s needed for the upkeep of a system like this, then enjoy! But if it adds pressure to your life, or if it triggers the perfectionist in you in an unhealthy way, then let it go!
To enjoy a simpler, less cluttered, more organized pantry you could buy attractive pegs for open packets and see-through containers for tidier storage, and purchase only the groceries you need each time you shop. But creating perfectly arranged, labelled, and maintained canisters? If you want to simplify your life, then you can stop doing this immediately.
3. Stop ironing
It is possible to not have to iron. Ever. I’ve avoided it for decades.
Neatly fold laundered table linen and bed linen and place at the bottom of your stack to let the weight press out crinkles. Let gravity do the work! Invest in quality padded hangers for drying dresses, shirts, pants, and blouses.
Once you choose to stop ironing, you’ll shop differently. Over time, you can switch to purchasing clothes that are crease-resistant. You can embrace natural fabrics that look great with a little crimp – such as linen. You’ll no longer consider pieces that require pressing – and it will become a habit.
Deciding to stop ironing is one more way to simplify your life – starting now.
4. Stop keeping up with people if the friendship has run its course
At a recent dinner party, one guest mentioned his frustration with friends he had little in common with, and was asking for advice on how to deal with them. My suggestion? Let the friendships go. Life is short, time is precious, friendships should be a treasure.
We all change, and the things we once had in common – perhaps a job or shared interest – may no longer apply. Or we may grow apart psychologically. I had a friend for many years, but our perspectives on life became so divergent over time that the friendship stopped being enjoyable.
There’s no need for dramatic friend break-ups. You can graciously decline invitations and gently extend the time between communications.
Simplify your life – and save your energy for the friendships you love.
5. Stop explaining and apologizing
Do you account to others for everything you do? Explain each choice? Apologize routinely? Fear causing offense? Great news! You can absolutely stop right now!
I can speak from experience on this because I used to be a serial over-explainer, a pathological over-apologizer. If someone seemed put out, I assumed it was my fault and preemptively asked forgiveness. If I wanted to do something different to others, I felt compelled to offer a reason. Oh, how I now shake my head at my younger self!
Here’s how I see it these days. I’m a self-aware person. I don’t routinely go about upsetting people. But if I inadvertently do, then it’s up to the person to let me know. I’m approachable. I don’t burst into tears. I pretty much never lose my temper. My friends would know they are safe telling me what I need to know.
So I’ve let go of taking the responsibility for other people’s feelings and now assume I’ve done nothing wrong unless I’m told otherwise. It’s so liberating!
These are ways you can simplify your life, take the pressure off, and feel lighter – right now. What will you stop doing?