Seven Ways to Simplify Your Life in Five Minutes(or less)

This month, we are focusing on minimalism. I have been on the minimalism journey for a few years, and my expression of minimalism has shifted quite a few times. There’s no right or wrong way to do minimalism. A single person’s version of minimalism will look very different from a family of four’s version. That’s okay. In this post, I will share with you seven simple ways to minimize, no matter where you are on the minimalist spectrum.


1. Make a pile.


This is one of our family favorites--especially when our 11-year-old daughter does not want to do her laundry and decides to get rid of items rather than wash them. Spend no longer than five minutes making a pile of stuff you no longer want. When your pile gets big enough or becomes an obstruction, bag it up and take it to the local Goodwill.


2. Clean out one cupboard.


Notice I did not say to clean out your entire kitchen, just one cupboard. Go through those shelves and look for expired items, foodstuffs you no longer eat and open packages. If you’re not planning to use them in the next 30 days, just toss them out. If they are canned goods, make a stack to take to the local food pantry.


3. Clean up your computer desktop home screen.


Ever notice how easy it is to get a cluttered desktop home screen from downloads, photos and docs you’re working on? Before you start your next workday, spend a few minutes trashing, sorting and archiving those desktop items. Start your day with a fresh, clean screen.


4. Stop doing one habit that does not serve you.


Maybe, you’ve created a habit that you could up-and-quit. Sure, it probably took you 21 days to establish that habit, but it only takes one day to quit. It may have been a good idea at the time, but if it does not enhance your life or make you happy any more, just stop.


5. Get rid of one pair of shoes.


This one applies to both men and women. I can almost guarantee you have at least one pair of shoes that you’ve been saving for that “just in case”moment or that you once wore all the time. Guess what? If you have not worn them in the past season, just part with the shoes. Add them to that Goodwill pile.


6. Eat leftovers.


Ever opened the fridge door and just stared at the items debating whether you needed to cook? If you have enough foods to put together to make a balanced meal (i.e. some protein, a bit of carbs or veggies, doused with some melted butter—yum!), skip the food prep to make a fresh meal. Just heat up and eat those leftovers!


7. Cancel one online subscription.


I’m always surprised at the number of online subscriptions I have. You may have signed up for a “free trial” only to notice that trial has expired, and you are now paying a pesky $9.99/month fee for a service you don’t use. Most companies have a cancel-at-any-time policy, so just cancel. One less charge on that credit card bill.

Your Turn: Can you add to my list? Name one action you can take in less than five minutes to simplify your life.