4 Weird Ways to Simplify Your Life

I am drawn to simplicity. I think it's because I see the power and the focus that simplicity can bring.

Simplifying your life means that you can direct your time and energy toward the things that are important to you and still have time to enjoy your life.

Here are 7 ways that I've simplified my life:

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1. Use one dish and one utensil

One time I stopped using all dishes except for my water bottle, a bowl, and titanium spork by Light My Fire (it has a knife, spoon, and fork all in one).

You don't have to go that far to simplify. At least try this:

Store all of your family's dishes except for one plate, cup, bowl, and set of flatwear for each person in your house. Whenever you've finished a meal, walk over to the sink and wash your own set of dishes and utensils, dry them and put them away.

This takes less than a minute per person and eliminates so many things:

  • The cost of water, electricity and detergent
  • The potential time/expense to repair a dishwasher someday
  • The visual clutter of unwashed dishes
  • The potential relationship stress of arguing about who's turn it is to wash dishes
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2. Move without your stuff

In 2014 my wife and two kids and I moved from a four bedroom house into a two bedroom loft and got rid of two thirds of our stuff.

In order to help us keep only the things we really needed, we took just one load of stuff in our VW Jetta and lived with only those things for two weeks.

This exercise does a few things:

  • It shows you what you need and what you don't (I mostly just missed having a kitchen table. Turns out those are pretty useful.)
  • It helps free your mind to realize that you can do without 90% of the stuff you own
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3. Live drastically below your means

Instead of seeing how much the bank will loan you for a mortgage and maxing it out, why not see how little you can spend?

Over the past several years my wife and I have moved into less and less expensive houses.

We jokingly say that instead of the American Dream, we're pursuing the American Nightmare. (Smaller and cheaper houses with less and less stuff.)

Instead of spending the typical 30% of our income on housing, we spend closer to 5%

We love it! There are a lot of advantages here.

  • Have less financial stress
  • Longterm savings is easier
  • You can pay off a house quickly
  • Use your extra money to travel
  • Everything is cheaper (heating, electricity, repairs)

One note: It is true that a home can be an investment, so you may want to be putting extra savings or retirement aside.

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4. Replace your extra car with a bicycle

I sold my car and bought a bicycle to ride to work instead. This has several advantages:

  • It builds exercise into your daily routine
  • You save on car payments, gas and insurance
  • You can get more in touch with nature

What weird (or not so weird) things have you done to simplify your life?

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