Living a More Simple Life

by Merissa on May 21, 2013

in Simple Living

Post image for Living a More Simple Life

Lately I've been feeling the stresses of life start to take over. I'm pretty good at hiding stress but my physical body is not. After many trips to the chiropractor in just a few weeks (I always get out of place when I'm stressed!) I decided that I needed to take action and do something about it.

Isn't is crazy how trying to live a more simple life is actually fairly difficult to get started on?

First you have to figure out how to make your life simpler (and for me, that's all about making lists!), then it's deciding what you need to tackle first, then it's all about actually doing what needs to be done.

One thing at a time....first start looking at what exactly you do during the day and during the week. I, of course, made a list.

Write down all the things that you do during the day. You probably won't be able to think of them all so it might be easier just to take a day to write them down as you go. I did this for both my business and my personal life. (As both areas needed some work!) Make sure to write down the big and little things, chores, cleaning tasks, baking tasks, things with the kids, EVERYTHING.

Once that job is done, sit down and take time to look at the list. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which items can be combined?
  • Which items are really necessary?
  • Which items can someone else do for me?
  • Which items can I say no to?
  • Which items are causing me undue stress?
  • Which items are costing me too much money?

Make comments by each item for the questions above. Now look through the notes you put on each item.

If it's costing you too much money, what can you do to make it cost less or be cheaper? (Saving money will always save stress!)

If it's causing you stress, are you ok with letting it continue on in your life? Or is it something you can cut out? (no matter how hard in the beginning it will be better for you in the long run!).

Can you say no to it? (We, as women, seriously need to learn to understand and USE this word! Although I'm probably one of the worst offenders. This is something I'm going to work on!)

Is it something someone else can do for me? (This is one of the hardest ones for me. I'm one of those that thinks I need to do absolutely everything by myself when it's actually more profitable for my time to get someone else to do it for me. Think about the idea that if you let someone else do this thing you might have time open up to do something else you need or really want to do!)

Which items are really necessary? (We all do unnecessary things everyday.)

Can it be combined? (Is it something you could do at the same time as something else? Or is it a chore that could be worked into another one?)

Now for the hard part. To actually go back through the list and figure out what you are going to do with all those items. What is the best plan of execution?

It may take some time and it definitely won't always be easy but list making can be a great way to simplify your life and ultimately make it better for you. No one said that life would be easy but that doesn't mean we can't do things to make it easier!

What is one thing that you can remove from your life to start living a more simple life?

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9:00 am

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca May 21, 2013 at 9:27 am

My dream is to have a much more simple life…. but when you make a list and see the things that cause you UNDUE STRESS, it is not always possible to get rid of them from your list. I am helping to take care of my mom, who has dementia. I take her at least 2 afternoons per week, and cook for them (have my parents over for dinner) 2-3 times per week. I work full time, have a side business and am trying so hard to eat REAL food. Not only that, I am suffering from adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism, and excessive cortisol spikes at night when I am trying to sleep.

So it is practically impossible to simplify by getting rid of things that cause stress in your life.

However, that being said, we are moving in 3 1/2 months to Panama (central america). We are getting rid of “things” left and right in our house. in less than 2 months, there will be a day center opening for adults with dementia, I am helping build the website (another thing that causes undue stress, but I think is necessary because it does alleviate some other burdens on myself and my family).

I wish it was as simple as it sounds, but it isn’t. 🙁

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2 Merissa May 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

I think it depends on your personality type. For me, I have to make lists. They are soothing and help my brain have a visual of what steps I need to take.

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3 Angela May 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Life is what happens when we are busy making plans.

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4 Ruth Dixon May 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I am slowly but surely getting rid of “things”. That means less to clean and less to have to sort through to find what I really need. It’s also amazing that when I put things back in a certain place (where they belong) consistently, I save so much time. Living simpler isn’t easy, but it feels better!

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5 Carrie May 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Ruth, I completely agree, I’m doing the same thing. It feels so good to donate so much stuff that we don’t use or need anymore!

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6 Shari June 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

For me it is realizing that I do not need to do everything myself. I can “make lists” for my kids and they do “ok” 🙂 It is not always exactly the way I like it but it gets done and even small tasks like unloading the dishwasher or sorting socks can free up so much time for me to do other things.

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7 Wendy September 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

we moved to alaska to ‘live the simple life’ and no, it is not so simple. but it is getting there, slowly but surely. the biggest thing that i had to learn is that it is a process, it does not happen over night. we are looking at a minimum of 2 years. but i’m thinking more like 3.
oh well, it will happen when God allows it to happen!
http://www.oursimplealaskanlife.com

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8 Merissa September 29, 2013 at 6:57 pm

It’s so true, the simple life is anything but simple sometimes!

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9 Joyce September 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I just discovered your site today and enjoyed reading some of your posts. I do a weekly radio show online for the preparedness radio network and would love to interview you. I’m interested in the whole simplicity aspect and living in an RV. Please contact me if you’re interested. It’ll be fun!

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10 Gina September 29, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Hi Merissa,
I love reading your blog. I just wanted to share something with you that I learned in the last year. A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. After a year of treatments, I’m just starting to get my energy back. The process is slow. It’s two steps forward a step or two back. But God is good and He is with me. I’ve been striving to simplify for a long time. This health journey has refocused me on the task of beginning to live more simply. I was reminded of my goal: not to be super organized or for the house to look like the cover of a magazine, but to be able to spend more time with the ones I love. Children are only little once. This is time I’ll never get back so I want to be the best mom I can be. Also, a little tip from my cancer book that the doc gave me. It offers some advice for healthy living after a battle with cancer. Eating right and exercising are in there of course. But so is managing stress. The book states plainly to try to avoid doing things you dislike. I loved reading that. We all have to do some things we don’t like to do, but we can lessen them, get someone else to do it, decide if really needs to be done, etc. It was liberating to read that. I just wanted to tell you that you are on target, that what you’re saying is so important. Your advice is always sage and timely. Blessings as you embark on new adventures! I can’t wait to read about them.

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11 Merissa September 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

Thank you for sharing those thoughts and encouragement!

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12 Pamela September 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I have been working through living a more simple life. I try to stay on top of what we don’t need anymore for our children and ourselves. Sometimes, in years past, when we had our children in an activities, we dropped out. Your family is free. Claim it. Prayer helps. After years of thinking about clothing and trying only to have a minimum amount, I have decided to wear mostly black or black and white clothing for more dressy occasions, (skirts and tops). I have decided to wear mostly neutral skirts and tops for everyday clothes. This is cheaper and so easy to get a put together look even though I am at present a stay at home, homeschooling mom who manages a mostly gluten free, low dairy, heathly diet for my family and I. The book ( Slow Family Living) helped me learn to say no, so that I may say yes to family traditons and some of the great ideas in the book.

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13 Claire November 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Due to health problems I have been downsizing to what I really need and use. Stuff not used for a few months is gone. Clothing is skirts and tops. Much easier to manage for me. Grow most of what I eat. Entertainment is from town library. Make a lot of my own clothing, soap etc. Simple living is hard work but when your allergic to the world, my home and block of land is a sanctuary. I have found a richness and peace in my life that I never had before. Family gives me a lot of stress. Being stuck in a wheelchair my life moves at a much slower pace, than my childrens and grandies.I prefer a quiet unhurried life than having all the latest gismo and gadgets. A trip out of town is more than enough for me once a month. My two rescued dogs and my few chooks are more than enough company most times. Still do volunteer work but that gives me the liberty to be able to pick and choose.

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14 brit March 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm

I really love the thinking behind living simply. I give you so much credit for setting goals for yourself and getting there! My only one thought is doesn’t anyone think that living so frugally and simply can take just a little bit of joy from your life? A very big part of my life is living within my means and not spending excessively, but when I read a few of the posts with ideas such as no tv, no Internet, no movies, no telephone, no new clothing, etc, etc, etc.. To me it just starts to get a little depressing! I realize those things are unnecessary- and we certainly could live without all of them, but am I way off base thinking it sounds dull? im totally not intending to be critical, I appreciate the reminders and I love the meal planning ideas, canning, and crafting. I know some people can be very happy without extras, maybe I’m not there yet.

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15 Merissa March 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I think it just depends on who you are, your family dynamic, and many other factors. Personally what makes us happy it taking our focus more and more off material things and focusing on the things in life that truly make us joyful. For us those are things like playing games with our little boy, or cooking together, or visiting with family members and friends, or gardening together, or going for a walk and seeing the beautiful sunset. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good movie and of course I love being able to talk to my grandma on the phone since we live a ways away from her now. The limits of how far you will take simplicity are really up to you and what your goals in life are. What is right for one family won’t be right for another (and that’s what makes us all beautifully different!).
Unfortunately in my short life I’ve been through too many situations already that have dynamically changed my life because of a very serious situations (being evacuated from our home because of fires, tornadoes, and the horrible ordeal with almost losing our son) and maybe I look at things a little too critically and seriously. But I know we are more joyful from the decisions we’ve made because they’ve been right for us. 🙂

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16 Tricia March 17, 2014 at 6:23 am

Thanks so much for the article! I recently started following you on facebook and love the site. I have returned to being a full-time housewife., and I really love it!!! Even though we have no children at home, there is still enough to keep me busy. Living on one income, we have had to simplify our lives. We don’t go out to eat a lot, and have to consider how we spend money. ( is it something we really need or is this just a want.) I’ve started using a lot of ” make your own” recipes and find most of the time they are much better than the storebought product , at a fraction of the cost.

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