100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier)

I’ve been striving to simplify my life for many years now, and have recently (through my writing) been advising others how to do the same. In the process, I’ve learned that making little changes in our attitudes, habits, and environment can have a big impact. So today, I thought I’d compile a list of 100 ways to simplify your life – from the practical to the philosophical, and everything in between.

Of course, not every item on the list will work for every person reading it. However, I hope that you’ll find at least a little something that speaks to you, helps you save some time, space, and energy — and perhaps even increases your serenity and happiness!

1. Ditch the TV (or at least turn if off). If you’re an average viewer, you’ll save over a hundred precious hours each month. An added bonus: less exposure to commercials means less desire to buy stuff, and more money in your pocket.
2. Cancel magazine subscriptions. Read the content online instead, and avoid accumulating a pile of reading material.
3. Read news online, instead of on paper. You’ll save plenty of time, and plenty of trees, by reading only the articles that interest you.
4. Get rid of excessive furniture, so there’s less to walk around, trip over, or move when you have to clean.
5. Opt for multi-functional furniture, so you can satisfy your needs with fewer pieces.
6. Get rid of excessive décor, so you’ll spend less time and effort cleaning around stuff.
7. Digitize your music. You’ll eliminate the clutter of CDs, and have easier access to your music library.
8. Download movies instead of renting DVDs. You’ll avoid the hassle of picking them up, dropping them off, or mailing them back.
9. Put items away immediately after use. It takes a lot less effort than cleaning up piles of stuff later on.
10. Have a place for everything. It makes it much easier to find things, and put them away.
11. Clean as you go. Wipe up spills, and take care of little messes before they become big ones.
12. Devise a cleaning routine. Streamline your chores into an ordered set of tasks for maximum efficiency.
13. Do laundry in large batches, instead of small ones. It’ll save you time, and reduce your energy (and water) consumption.
14. Buy enough socks and underwear to make it through a full laundry cycle, to avoid doing small “emergency” loads.
15. Wash towels less often. They don’t need laundering on a daily basis; you’re clean when you use them, after all!
16. Consolidate hobby items in designated containers. That way, all your supplies will be on hand when you need them.
17. If you start a new hobby, drop an out-of-favor one (along with its equipment and supplies).
18. Adopt the “one in, one out” rule: when you purchase something new, get rid of something old.
19. Don’t start collections. Avoid the clutter, and save your money, by channeling your energy and creativity into something more productive.
20. Get rid of one item every day. At the end of the year, you’ll have 365 less things to worry about!

21. Hang up clothes, or put them in a hamper, as soon as you take them off. Avoid starting a “floordrobe” or piling them on a chair, and you’ll have less straightening up to do later.
22. Organize your clothes by category. For example, hang all your pants, skirts, or shirts together so you can quickly find what you need.
23. Use containers to corral accessories like jewelry, watches, or scarves, instead of scattering them about.
24. Choose versatile clothing. The more ways you can wear something, the fewer items you’ll need.
25. Don’t be a fashion victim. Chasing trends is a waste of time and money.
26. Know what flatters you. You’ll avoid accumulating a closet full of wardrobe “mistakes.”
27. Don’t buy “fantasy” clothes. In other words, if you’re not a social diva, skip the cocktail dresses – reserve your closet space for the stuff you’ll actually wear.
28. Get a simple, no-fuss haircut; it’ll save tons of time in the morning.
29. Embrace your natural hair. Don’t make it straight if it’s curly, curly if it’s straight, or brown if it’s gray.
30. Keep makeup as minimal as possible, or go without. Most of us don’t need to look like supermodels on a daily basis!
31. Use multi-purpose products (like a shampoo/body wash, or moisturizer plus sunscreen) to save time and eliminate bathroom clutter.
32. Standardize your grooming routine, so you can get ready each morning with a minimum amount of fuss.
33. Don’t buy hope in a bottle, and clutter your cabinets with half-used “miracle” lotions and potions.
34. Avoid unhealthy habits, like smoking, drugs, or drinking in excess. You’ll look better now, and avoid a boatload of health problems down the road.
35. Let your inner beauty shine. A pleasant countenance and radiant smile will make you more beautiful than any cosmetics.

36. Love those leftovers. Cook extra for dinner, and have it for lunch the next day.
37. Cook a week’s worth of meals at a time, and freeze for later (Google “batch cooking” for recipes and instructions).
38. Plan your meals in advance. You’ll spend less time staring into your refrigerator, wondering what to make.
39. Shop with a grocery list. You’ll avoid making extra trips for forgotten items.
40. Make one-pot meals, and drastically reduce your after-dinner cleanup.
41. Pare down your dishes, cups, and utensils to what you regularly use. It’ll limit the amount of dishwashing that piles up in the sink.
42. Purge unnecessary gadgets and seldom-used equipment. A large variety of meals can be made with basic pots and implements.
43. Eat healthy foods (like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), and you’ll avoid a wide variety of medical problems.
44. Keep your countertops clutter-free. Cooking is so much easier when you’re not moving stuff out of the way to do it.
45. Develop a set of standard dishes (like a pasta, chicken, or tofu dish), and vary the sauces. That way, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel each night.

46. Stop as much incoming paperwork as possible. Get off mailing lists, cancel catalogs, and sign up for online billing and statements. The less physical mail you have to deal with, the better!
47. Print as little as possible. Don’t give yourself more stuff to file. Instead, print to a PDF file using free software like cutePDF or pdf995.
48. Digitize your paperwork. It’ll take up less space, and give you easier access to it.
49. Backup to the cloud. Use an online storage service, as an alternative to DVDs or an external hard drive.
50. Pay bills online. It takes much less time than writing and mailing a check, and you won’t need to buy envelopes and stamps.
51. Bank online. Transfer money without going to the bank, or standing in line waiting for a teller.
52. Automate recurring transactions. It’s a great way to pay your rent, mortgage, or insurance payments without lifting a finger.
53. Automate investments. Set up your brokerage account to buy a fixed dollar amount of a certain investment (like an index fund) on a regular schedule. It’ll smooth out the effects of market volatility on your portfolio, and keep you from making emotional decisions.
54. Stay out of debt. Life is much simpler when you don’t have to worry about interest charges and minimum payments.
55. Purchase bundled services. Buying telephone, tv, and internet services from the same company reduces your number of bills (and likely the amount you have to pay).
56. Telecommute. Arrange to work from home at least once or twice a week, to save time and commuting costs.
57. Don’t let junk mail enter your office. Keep a recycling bin by your front door, and dump junk mail and solicitations (without personal information) straight in.
58. Sort incoming paperwork immediately. Separate it into “file,” “act on,” and “dispose of” piles for efficient handling.
59. Organize your digital files. Develop a logical system of folders, so you won’t have to wade through hundreds of random files to find what you’re looking for.
60. Purge your bookmarks regularly. The stuff you found interesting last month, or last week, may be of no use to you today. Don’t waste time scrolling through irrelevant stuff.
61. Quit Facebook (or don’t join). It can be a huge digital commitment, and a major time sink. At the very least, limit the time you spend on it.
62. Limit the number of blogs you read. When you subscribe to a new one, drop an old one, so as not to increase your time commitment.
63. Reduce your Twitter time. Constant digital “chatter” can significantly reduce your productivity.
64. Check and answer email during defined periods. When you’re distracted by constant incoming messages, it takes longer to complete the task at hand.
65. Take digital sabbaticals. Disconnecting for a period of time – be it an hour, a day, or a weekend – can be quite liberating!

66. Learn to say no. It can be difficult, but will ensure you have enough time and energy for the stuff that really matters.
67. Delegate. Give up trying to do everything yourself; get employees to help with projects, and children to help with chores.
68. Limit your commitments. Don’t increase your number of obligations; drop old ones to make way for the new.
69. Right-size your expectations. When you expect too much of yourself and others, disappointment and stress are often the result.
70. Choose your battles. There are thousands of little things that just aren’t worth fighting for – let them go.
71. Go with the flow. Instead of trying to control things, let them happen as they may.
72. Be flexible. Adapt to the situation at hand, rather than insisting on doing things “your way.”
73. Forget about perfection. For the vast majority of tasks, good enough is good enough.
74. Fix little problems before they become big ones. A little effort now can save a lot of headaches later.
75. Consolidate your tasks. It’s more efficient to do your ironing, pay your bills, and answer your emails in one sitting than in bits and pieces.
76. Consolidate your errands. Plan your visits to the grocery store, dry cleaners, post office, etc., so you can take care of all of it in one trip.
77. Declutter your To Do list. Purge any unimportant, unnecessary, or unfulfilling activities.
78. Ask for help or advice. Reaching out to someone with more expertise can often save you hours (or days) of muddling through on your own.
79. Share your expertise with others. An open exchange of information makes things easier for everyone.
80. Make it a goal to do less, not more. Increase your productivity to free up your schedule, rather than jam more stuff into it.

81. Keep an open mind. Life is infinitely more interesting and pleasant when you’re willing to consider opinions and viewpoints that differ from your own.
82. Accept others for who they are. Live and let live, and you’ll have much less to worry about.
83. Live in the present. Don’t spend excessive hours pining for the past, or fretting about the future. Be here now.
84. Don’t meddle in other people’s business. Concentrate on keeping your own life in order, and don’t worry about everyone else’s.
85. Forget about the Joneses. Conspicuous consumption benefits nobody but the companies selling the goods. We’d be happier, more relaxed, and more satisfied if we disengaged from it entirely.
86. March to your own drummer. Don’t feel obligated to follow the crowd, or live according to others’ expectations.
87. Think before you act. We can often save ourselves a lot of trouble if we think about the consequences before acting on impulse.
88. Think before you speak. Once you let some ill-considered words out of your mouth, you can’t get them back. Better to hold your tongue than have to deal with the fallout.
89. Don’t be overly sensitive. Sometimes others don’t think before they speak. Let careless remarks roll off your back, not ruin your day.
90. Don’t hold grudges. Forgiveness eases your stress and tension, and frees up your time and energy for more positive pursuits.
91. Don’t be a drama queen. Making mountains out of molehills unduly complicates life.
92. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for what you do have, instead of stressing over what you don’t.
93. Realize that you’re not living in the spotlight. Most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to care (or notice) what you own, what you’re wearing, or how you look.
94. Embrace the concept of enough. Once our needs are met, there’s usually little utility (or happiness) in acquiring more – by contrast, it often leads to cluttered homes and empty bank accounts.
95. Enjoy without owning. Admire the objects in a shop window, the art in a gallery, the plants in a garden, without acquiring them for yourself. You’ll often get more pleasure from things when you don’t have the responsibility of ownership.

96. Downsize your digs. A smaller home means less to maintain, less to clean, and less to pay in mortgage, utilities, and rent.
97. Go car-free. If you can walk, bike, or take public transit where you need to go, consider ditching your car. If you’re in a multi-car household, consider whether you can get by with one less car.
98. Avoid advertising like the plague. When you don’t know an item exists, you won’t stress over desiring, acquiring, or paying for it.
99. Don’t shop unless you need something. In other words, don’t browse stores, catalogs, or websites looking for something to need.
100. Make your own definition of “success.” Raising a happy family or excelling at your job are better measures of success than status symbols and material accumulation.

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

95 comments to 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier)

  • beth

    Fantastic list! I do a lot of these things, but I can see a few places I can improve!

    One thing I’d like to add is to use natural cleaners and microfiber clothes. Water, vinegar and baking soda usually get the job done without accumulating a bunch of toxic bottles around the house.

  • Joe


    I’ve was heading this way before I found your website couple of weeks ago already, however I have a very long way to go. Subconsciously I’ve been going some of the things in your list already, as I believe in efficiency and functionality. Since discovering your blog, I’ve donated couple of bookshelves worth of books to my church, digitised my DVD collection and about to see it off and in the process of digitising my CD -collection. I’ve also decluttered my files on my laptop and SAN to to the media files I really want and need in order to reduce the possibility of having to purchase more HD space.

    As regards to your list, I have couple of tips.

    – find a pair of socks you really like and then buy 7-14 pairs of that very same brand depending your laundry cycle. This way if you lose one of the socks or you get a hole in one, you can save it until it happens again. This way instead of wasting money and resources for throwing out 2 pairs of socks over time, you only throw out 1 pair. Added benefit is also that you’ll never have mismatched socks, as all of them are always the same.

    – as regards to batch cooking, I’ve been doing that for some time now. I went to Ikea and got 4 packs of identical Distans food savers. That’s all together 12 containers. The benefit of this is that they are stackable and thus save space. Also if I lose/break one lid or container, I can use the lids/containers from others (same principle as with socks). They also stack up nicely in the fridge. The size of the container is perfect for an average adult meal incl all the trimmings. I can cook for a week and freeze/refrigerate them and just heat up when needed.

    – if you tend to spend a lot of time reading news in various websites, switch to Google Reader. This way you get the latest news in one place and you have less open browser windows/tabs to clutter your desktop. It also saves a lot of time not having to check if there’s new news. I have your blog on RSS-feed and whenever you post a new entry, I see it instantly.

    – Better Facebook -plugin for Safari declutters your Facebook page by removing whatever you don’t want to see in your feed. This way you spend less time going through your Facebook feed for anything new.

  • I already do more than half of what you suggest, but I also see some room for improvement. Thank you for your Blog and your list :)

  • i love this list and feel really good about most of it regarding my life.

    #29 has me though.


  • Love this list! ♥ I’m guilty of the ‘floordrobe.’ Last year I decided to embrace my wavy hair and it’s made my life so much easier… I still straighten it when I have extra time or want to change up my style, but it’s so much easier to throw some curl gel in my hair and blow dry it curly and go.

    I was embracing my gray hairs, despite getting them a lot earlier than I had hoped, but recently I dyed my hair to cover them up – however, I kept it a similar color to my natural color so that I don’t have to worry about maintaining it quite as much as I would if I had gone with a totally different color or shade.

    And it’s taken me years to break the conditioning/brainwashing of my mother (who wouldn’t let me leave the house without my hair looking nice and makeup on), but now I wear makeup when I want to, not because I feel like I have to. Coincidentally, my face is really sensitive to chemicals in makeup and washes so once I stopped wearing it every day the redness and painfulness improved a lot. I still think I look better with having some makeup on, but I no longer feel that compulsive need to wear it and I enjoy wearing it a lot more now that it’s not an every day thing.

  • What a great list! Thank you Francine! I am doing many of these but not all. I’m thinking of doing #61. I still work 40 hours a week at a traditional job and I need as much time I can get for writing.

    Candice–I stopped coloring my hair for good about a year ago–I’m silver now with some of my natural brown left but it blends nicely. At least I think so! Congrats! ( : I am saving so much money and time not continuing to dye it. I also found a time saver for hair styling. I had it very short which was great but now I am growing it out and while I do like it, it needs some styling. I wash it the night before in the shower but don’t style it. Then in the morning before work, I just dampen my hair and pop in some velcro rollers and let it set for 15 minutes while I’m getting ready for work. All I have to do is blow dry the waves for a about 3 minutes and brush it out and I’m out the door at 5:30 AM!

    On the bill paying–I do it all online and I’ve signed up for any e-bills than I can. My goal is to have no paper bills sent to me.

  • JLouise

    I love that you included some great ideas on “attitude”. Attention to simplifying our inner world (the mind and emotions) can have an even greater impact on our happiness than a clear counter….though I want both.

    Thanks for another helpful post!

  • Hi! I am really enjoying your blog. I’m new to the minimalist idea, but there’s a lot of appeal in having less, and enjoying clear and clean spaces. You’ve really inspired me to pare down, and we’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff already. (My husband loves this!)
    I did have a few questions though – how can you be a minimalist with two kids? (We have a 3 year old and a 6 month old.) I’m afraid they’d be completely bored without some toys and we’re even into the kind that build imagination – building blocks, Lincoln logs, etc.
    Also, I’m trying to be frugal and thrifty, but how can you be a minimalist and thrifty at the same time? Usually thrift involves hanging onto stuff to reuse over and over which seems to me to contradict minimalism. I’d love to hear what you (or anyone else) thought about this.

  • Kathryn Fenner

    If everyone drops print subscriptions in favor of reading for free online, the content will cease to exist. If you choose to read online, choose an option that pays the content provider.

    To save on cosmetics down the road, wear sunscreen everyday. I have done so for 25 years now, and at 50 look a good ten or more years younger without a lot of products!

  • […] How about turning off the TV or keeping your countertops clean? Miss Minimalist has come up with 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Make Yourself Happier. […]

  • Irene

    Yes. Yes. Yes. 100 times Yes (with the exception of # 61, perhaps. That one’s a doozy)!

  • Gil

    Thanks again, Francine. Excellent post as always!

    Unfortunately, we both need our cars. I would love to have just one, but where we live, going car-less is impractical due to the limited public transit options in our area. As mentioned in another post, if I were to live in the DC metro area again, getting rid of a car(s) would be more feasible.

    As for TV and my video gaming, well, that’s something that I enjoy :). However, I have cut my time down with both considerably. I watch only 1-2 hours of tv 3x a week if that, and play my games just 2 hours a week, as opposed to 2-3 hours nightly in the past.

    I am also watching more qulity content, such as educational, documentaries, bios, etc as opposed to some of the rubbish I used to view. At least I can gain something from TV now.

  • I love your blog and again you have inspired me to declutter. After reading your blog I went throughout our place and ended up with a large bag of things I could donate. The feeling is liberating! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • I think that you have a lot of great stuff on this list, but, there is one that I do not like.

    3. Read news online, instead of on paper. You’ll save plenty of time, and plenty of trees, by reading only the articles that interest you.

    I really wish that newspapers, or, the format of newspapers, was really available digitally. Sadly, it is not. I actually love reading a newspaper, because I end up reading articles that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I think that it is important, especially if we want to spread our ideas about minimalism, that people always be willing to read new ideas, and not censor what comes to them.

    A broadsheet lets us see a range of ideas and news that we wouldn’t otherwise come across because we are too focused on what we are “interested” in.

    Just my thoughts

  • I like how comprehensive this list is as well as how you broke it into categories – a sign of an organized mind! I too, already do a lot on the list but my favorite one is 100. If you’ve got that down, everything else follows!

    @Sarah – you can be a minimalist with children, you just have to re-define minimalism for what works for your family. My children have what I like to call “real toys.” Things that fire their imagination and make them think. Legos, marble runs, electricity kits, art supplies. I weed things out regularly and I have a set limit on what they can have. If it doesn’t fit in the box – something has to go!

  • kris

    Lots and lots of great ideas here. (Francine, I’ve read entire books with less content.)

    When it come to hair styles, let me put in a word for *not* having bangs. If your hair is medium length or longer, your bangs probably will have to be cut much more often than the rest of your hair. Also, bangs often have to be styled separately from the rest of your hair. Having no bangs eliminates these problems.

    (On the other hand, if your hair is short and you have it cut often, bangs probably won’t make things more complicated.)

    And as to skin care and makeup, here’s a simple approach that works for me. First, wash with water only. Then apply moisturizer. (I’ve tried; can’t get along without it. Inexpensive moisturizer works fine.)

    Then, three simple items of makeup:

    First, makeup base in stick form. Easy to apply, container doesn’t break as a glass bottle would, and it doubles as a cover-up stick. (If my skin were flawless, I would skip the makeup base.)

    Next, black-brown mascara. Top lashes only. (If I had dark, thick lashes, I would skip the mascara.)

    Last, tinted lip gloss or lipstick.

    That’s it.

  • There’s something to be said for the internet decluttering and simplifying one’s life if it is used appropriately. Reading magazines, newspapers, and books online definitely falls into this category. But, there’s an inherent debilitative drawback there depending on the mediums we read: Supporting local businesses like newspapers and bookstores. I love walking into a mom and pop bookstore and sitting down with a magazine or buying a used book. But, I also enjoy the convenience of a kindle. Especially, when I can’t find the book I’m looking for. This issue runs me philosophically and ethically ragged every time I purchase a book online. The kindle really helps with decluttering. So does one’s local library. Any suggestions on how to solve this maybe not-so-personal dilemma?

  • Elizabeth

    @Kris–glad that works for you wrt washing your face with water but I have very oily skin. Water just slithers right off! Hurrah for cleanser that works on oily skin.

    My mother keeps telling me my skin will dry out someday. Um, I’m 50–when will that day arrive?

  • SNM


    It’s a great exhaustive list but I disagree with points 36 and 37. It’s better to stick to cooking and eating fresh food on a daily basis. That way, you save energy from freezing food and later, you could downsize to a smaller refrigerator.


  • Amazing list! your posts are a constant reminder for me to improve and simply my life further and further. love reading each post you write.

  • Thank you for the wonderful and comprehensive list!

    Number 43 is especially meaningful to me, as I’m an extremely dedicated and happy vegetarian. For me, searching for simplicity really comes from making my food philosophy a life philosophy – consume only what’s pure, natural, and necessary.

    Number 77 is the one I needed to hear most right now. Thanks for the reminder!

  • David

    Great list – I follow most of these already. Just a thought for those who don’t like the idea of backing up to the cloud: SD cards are now dirt cheap so I keep a small rack of these to back up different areas of my hard drive. (e.g. I use a 16GB card for my music library, and a seperate 1GB for all of my university work, and so on). The result is that I have ‘real’ copies of all of my data, already organised, ald taking up far less space than CD/DVDs.


  • A wonderful post! This is one of the best minimalist sites around.

  • WOW, what a fantastic list!

    I particularly like numbers 66, 71, and 100. By being true to yourself and living a life according to your own terms, we can all learn to simplify and live happier lives. Thanks for great inspiration, Francine!

  • I’m doing pretty good with this list except for #29. I have curly hair that I’ve never NOT liked. As a kid adults would say to me, ‘you have great hair but you must hate it.’ I thought my hair was fine.
    When I was a teenager I started dying it red (to match my Fathers hair!) and haven’t stopped except when for a few years when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. It’s going gray and I’m having a VERY hard time loving the natural color of my hair!
    I gotta get OVER IT!

  • […] Launch Every Single Day 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier) How Many Wows Will You Miss Today? Being Busy is Not That Important Divine […]

  • I’m feeling lightning bolts of inspiration right now. I have always tried to keep my “stuff” to a minimum, but when we moved to our very own, no-roommate, 500 square foot apartment 3000 miles away from home, it was hard to convince myself that the white walls weren’t “sparse” – as opposed to “minimalist.” Since this is my first real opportunity to decorate, I have had some real errors while trial-and-erroring, but I do love seeing my husband’s photos on the wall in assorted thrifted frames. Do you find that there are some things, while not necessarily practical, that make you feel at home?

    And of course, my other clutter problems involve my love of books and thrifty crafting. Most of our apartment is occupied by our obscenely-large library, and our closets full of all those things that I wouldn’t throw out, because I was sure I would find a way to use it. Any tips here are most welcome.

    And I don’t know if you’ve received this one before, but for those who can’t restrain themselves from good cinema – we bought a projector and got rid of our television. This way, we can hook up our computers (hulu and dvd, all in one) and project movies onto our white walls. The projector is about the size of a hefty textbook and fits on a bookshelf, and a small set of external speakers make it a really amazing experience. Plus, there’s no argument about which wall the tv should go against, and arranging the couch accordingly. Plus, tvs are ugly. Sorry.

    Love what you do, lady! :)

    • Val

      I know that I like having art on the wall. I love photography and my best friend is an art student focused on drawing. I almost always have something of mine or hers up in my room. I currently don’t, having just painted the walls and I really miss it. I’ve tried out bare walls and decided they aren’t for me.

  • I’m a new reader of yours and I was wondering if you could address (or if you have already addressed) receiving gifts from family and friends. Birthdays are a huge deal in my family, and I get trinkets and clothes and a million *things* that I really don’t even want most of the time. I have 19 days until my 25th so I would love a suggestion on how to steer them away from giving me things. I need gas and groceries, but my parents think giving gift cards “is no fun.” Help!

  • Karen (Scotland)

    Wow. I just spent most of the evening reading your blog archives and you’ve written some really inspirational (yet practical) stuff. I have four kids under six so true minimalism is slightly beyond me at the moment but I can see the way ahead.
    I got up mid-reading your achives, went to the kitchen and removed three things for freecycling. As quickly and as simply as that.
    Thanks for the push in the right direction!
    Karen (Scotland)
    PS Loved the list in this post

  • I can let you know, with full honesty, some of what was on the list I have already done. Thank you for more ideas!

  • I really like, and personally try to follow, #81 “keep an open mind.” To me, that’s probably the best way to learn about myself, learn where others are coming from, not repeat past mistakes, and enjoy the present.

    Thanks for taking the time out to make your list Francine.

  • clares

    I have printed this out and pasted on my wall :D

  • Karen

    Thanks, Francine. Your list is very comprehensive and inspiring. I love it!

    I’m also enjoying your book very much. Keep up the good work!

  • Annie Ashby

    Interisting that the end of every blog post encourages readers to purchase your book. Doesn’t that create one more thing to reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose??

    • Elena

      It’s also available as a Kindle ebook, therefore nothing to reuse or recycle. Still, books are one of the easiest things to reuse; I just pass mine along to friends or donate them to the library when I’m finished with them.

    • a simple guy

      I think you may have misinterpreted this, Annie. It suggests additional resources if you’re interested in the content of the post. In the same sentence she also recommends subscribing to her RSS feed, which is completely paper-free and doesn’t cost a thing.

  • I second Jenni’s question – My friends and family are so sweet, but I feel guilty getting rid of gifts from them, even when they are trinkets that don’t necessarily have a purpose, other than making me laugh. I think that’s a value in itself, but I don’t want anyone mad at me for giving them away so someone else can laugh too.

    WOW Annie Ashby – Very blunt. I think the idea is that the book contains more than just paper, that it might serve as a resource and inspiration for those looking to minimize further, as opposed to many books that are really just filled with blah blah blah and take up space. Consider it like a dictionary. Besides, while she’s a minimalist, she still has to eat – nobody can pretend to be above that.

    • Celia

      Rainy Daisy — Wise words I heard many years ago: If you are not free to do whatever you wish with an item you have been given, then it is not a gift, but an obligation. Something to consider.

  • […] 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life Posted on August 31, 2010 by Nim 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier) « miss minimalist. […]

  • nim

    Thanks for the starting point! I used these 100 ideas as a “test” of my own journey to minimalism. At first glance, I thought I’d ace it, but ultimately I’ve only got 44 of these 100 under my belt. Plenty of room for improvement.

    It was fun to quantify something unquantifiable, like a lifestyle. :)

  • Anne

    “76. Consolidate your errands. Plan your visits to the grocery store, dry cleaners, post office, etc., so you can take care of all of it in one trip.”

    This is so amazingly effective once you get the hang of it. I shop once a week. On top of this my mom and I also do our errands together in one car to further minimize things. Having another person there also cuts down on impulse purchases. We mostly take my little car and, over this first year of ownership, I put about 3,500 miles on it.

    It’s exhausting while you’re first getting used to the idea. It’s a lot of shopping (and shopping sucks); your feet will hurt. But after a month or so you’ll start to get the hang of it and you’ll start to realize what stores aren’t worth it. For us it was Trader Joe’s (alas, super awesome store). We could be in and out in 8 minutes but because it wasn’t in the direction of anything else it added considerable time to our shopping.

    The schedule also tends to change seasonally. Right now it’s hot out so we adjust the route so perishables spend as little time as possible in the trunk. From Thanksgiving on we try to stay out of anyplace that isn’t a grocery store which means a big, big-box-store outing just before Thanksgiving.

  • Great list!

    I just received your book The Joy Of Less in the mail today and I am very excited to get home from work so I can read it.

  • runi

    I want to reassure women that the American way of life will not end if you stop wearing makeup. I am ancient and over the past few months I have stopped wearing most makeup as I ran out of it. (I do still wear brightly colored lip pencil so that people will not think I am dead.) I also started cultivating a short simple bob–no color, no perm. Also gone is most of the manicure stuff including polish.

    Well, either no one noticed or they were too polite to say so. Further, my Chanel #5 perfume (now more than $150 for half an ounce) will be discontinued when I run of it. I’m not saying women should not wear make up or even expensive perfume. It’s just that once you reach “a certain age” it can be freeing to get rid of a lot of this stuff.

  • […] 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier) […]

  • […] Miss Minimalist has 100 things to make your life better. […]

  • My uncle visited over Christmas, and my teenage children were amazed by the simple life that he leads! Even better, they saw how happy he is! Yes, there is life without cell phones! Imagine returning home after a 2 week trip and only having 2 pieces of mail…now that’s the simple life!

  • […] Miss Minimalist’s 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier) […]

  • Steve

    This list is very practical. I only have one concern. Turning off the TV is one way to save time and avoid messages that make us want to consume more. Yet moving our reading material online can have the same effect (#’s 2 and 3). I just finished reading The Shallows: How the Internet is Affecting our Brain and I’m convinced that doing more online is not necessarily a good way to “simplify” our lives. It might reduce physical clutter but it also adds clutter to our brains. Reading an online magazine is far more stimulating than paging through the print version. IMO.

  • Donna

    Love these suggestions. I’m not a television fan. I have certain shows I enjoy, but the rest of the family could stare at the boob tube for hours no matter what is on. Gave up Facebook. Discovered it’s nothing more than a brag-fest. I do enjoy online news and reading. I’m very conscious of combining errands due to the price of gas. Never washed towels daily.

    Raised by parents who grew up in the depression, I’ve learned the less can be more. I’ve put a lot of those lessons to good use.

  • so many excellent ideas , and to implement 2-3 per week would be good. I pay bills online , but when my computer crashed , oops , I had no way of tracking my bills, so I still get paper ones. I just try to recycle as much paper as possible ,and make my own notepads from office paper recycle bins ,they make tons of 1 side printed paper ; love the one about stop trying to be perfect, and live in the now , it’s good to remember that, Thanks! ==ph

  • I like the very last tip. “Make your own definition of “success.” Raising a happy family or excelling at your job are better measures of success than status symbols and material accumulation.”

    How simple or complicated you live your life is based on your own definition of success.

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I kept a copy of this in my computer several months ago and after reading over this again, I realize how much i allowed myself to be swept away by complicated things in the last couple of months.

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