43 Simple Ways To Simplify Your Life

Post written by Sherri Kruger. Follow me on Twitter.

Simplicity. How can we make things simpler, more streamlined, or more efficient? Is this all just hype or is there actually something to this simplicity thing?

Reducing complexity in my life has reduced stress, increased free time, and top priorities are actually top priorities. When we simplify as much as we can we are better able to slow down and enjoy each moment as opposed to rushing through it. Here are a few ways you can simplify the various aspects of your life:

1. Turn off your cell phone.

2. Process email only twice a day.

3. Go to bed early.

4. Get rid of (or at least reduce) commitments that you do out of obligation.

5. Create a weekly meal plan.

6. Automate your finances.

7. Purge as much unneeded clutter as possible.

8. Keep your paper shredder on top of your recycling bin.

9. Add items you want to a wish list as you think of them.

10. Get a label maker or write labels out by hand.

11. Set your clothes out for the next day the night before.

12. Make your lunch for the next day the night before.

13. Make time to catch up with an old friend.

14. Just say no.

15. Ask for experiences not things for your birthday and Christmas this year.

16. Tell the truth.

17. Keep your list of addresses and phone numbers up to date.

18. Consolidate debt.

19. Create an organizing system that works for you.

20. Keep a bag for garbage in your car.

21. Cary a notebook and pen with you where ever you go.

22. Unsubscribe from emails, newsletters or RSS feeds that don’t provide value anymore.

23. Apologize immediately when you realize you’ve done wrong.

24. Enjoy the present moment as much as you can.

25. Take time to really see the little things in life.

26. Reduce the amount of TV you watch.

27. Get outside.

28. Create morning, daytime, and evening routines.

29. Ask for help.

30. Do things at home as much as possible (eat, date nights, entertain etc.).

31. Don’t get caught up in other people’s drama.

32. Let go of the self-imposed need to be perfect.

33. Focus on a simple, but healthy, eating plan.

34.  Share responsibilities.

35. Reduce your wardrobe to a few versatile items.

36. Be positive.

37. Start a gratitude journal.

38. Finish old tasks before taking on new ones.

39. For every new item that enters your home set two free.

40. Want what you have not what you don’t.

41. Revisit what you carry with you in your purse or wallet.

42. Focus on one thing at a time.

43. Store new garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can.

There are countless ways to simplify your life, these are but a few. I’d love to know what you’ve done to move towards a simpler life for yourself. Please share your ideas in the comments.

128 Responses to “43 Simple Ways To Simplify Your Life”

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  1. frauenzeit says:

    Hi Sherri!
    What a great list… I got some stuff to add that works for me but does not necessarily work for everybody:
    - keep a common to do list for household extra-stuff (like repairing things…) for my husband and me on the inside of our front door.
    - have automatic reminders for the birthdays of your beloved-ones or at least a paper version somewhere you regularly look at
    - do online grocery shopping as much as possible
    - get rid of pseudo-friends. Always ask yourself: Would I make friends with that person if I got to know her/him now?
    …. endless list to do….

  2. Scott says:

    Good list! I have a couple to add…

    - Read only one book at a time
    - Keep a list on the fridge for groceries and write them on the list as you realize you’re out or getting low
    - Rest on Sunday (or at least one day a week if you’re not of a religious persuasion)

  3. I love the list, thank you for sharing. It really has me thinking.

  4. Great list! I would add a couple:
    - meditate, pray, or do something else for relaxation and reflection
    - cook in bulk and freeze leftovers for future use
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  5. Roblynn says:

    Great list, very inclusive. I would just add work out every morning. For me it clears my mind and makes me feel more in control of life. Thanks for the ideas.

  6. Tracy says:

    A wonderful list!

  7. Catherine B says:

    Wonderful list! I agree with the exercise mentioned by Roblynn. For me staying “healthy” keeps me focused on being able to do a lot of the things on your list!

  8. Wonderful tips. Thanks for reminding us how simple it is to simplify our life.

  9. I love #21. Since I’ve started blogging, I make it a point to carry my trusty notebook and pen with me at all times. Anytime I get a creative thought, I write it down. This saves me a lot of anxiety about trying to remember an idea I know was in my head but only for a few fleeting moments.

    I use some “junk pages” in the back to jot down other random but important thoughts that pop in there, too…like we need milk at the store, need to buy stamps, need to read Zen Family Habits…

  10. Lia says:

    I need to do more of #2 (check e-mails only twice a day) so I can do more of #24 (enjoy the present moment as much as you can). Plus so many other great ideas.

  11. Lain says:

    Love this list. I am all in favor of simplification, but sometimes as a mom of three, I find that things are just inherently crazy/complex. I did a post today on how to multitask effectively — sort of the flip side of your post.


  12. Terry says:

    Although I’ve seen a million of these lists; I really like yours. I struggle every day with making life more simple.

    One thing I would add to the list is to go out of your way every day to help someone who isn’t expecting it. It puts things in perspective and gets us away from ourselves!

  13. Chris Adam says:

    A great list. I have a couple of things that help me out a lot. 1) Open envelopes and process mails as soon as you can get to it. Toss out (recycle) all the enclosed flyers and the envelope so that you just have the “core” to deal with. 2) Spend a few minutes after arriving in the kitchen with new produce peeling it and cutting it so that it’s in a more useful form for cooking or putting in lunches later on.

  14. Great list!

    A couple of things I’ve done recently have simplified my life:

    1 got my PC organised (emails all in one place, online storage for my documents, empty desktop etc..)
    2 burned all my music into electronic form so it’s all in one place
    3 decluttered everything (and i do it regularly)

  15. Krista says:

    Staying out of debt (rather than having to consolidate it) and living on a realistic budget help keep our life simpler. Having long and short term plans help keep us focused on our goals (which leads to a somewhat simpler life – not always super easy but at least we’re more likely to stay on course). Train up your kids to help prepare simple meals and help with household chores so that the whole family can work and play together; set up a chore chart. The point about letting go of perfectionism (#32) has been the biggest and hardest for me but as I learn in this area I am so much happier.

  16. samia says:


    I really enjoyed these points. they align alot with my goals for 2010. I recently wrote an article covering many of my above mentioned abitions. You can check this out here (http://deeppurpleandblue.blogspot.com/2010/01/give-peace-chance-relax.html)
    But these are the ones I really didnt think about and loved them!
    “Be positive.

    37. Start a gratitude journal.

    38. Finish old tasks before taking on new ones.

    39. For every new item that enters your home set two free.

    40. Want what you have not what you don’t.

    41. Revisit what you carry with you in your purse or wallet.

    42. Focus on one thing at a time.”

    Love your blog

  17. cybergerac says:

    Great tips!
    Thx a lot!!

  18. Luis says:

    Great and comprehensive list. I would only add 2 to the list. First, to meditate daily and second creating a weekly meal schedule. Meditation is my starting routine that help me energize and the weekly meal schedule had helped me plan ahead a balance diet as well as be more efficient with my grocery shopping expenses.

  19. Shay says:

    Thanks so much for this great post! I added it to my link love tonight.

  20. Zengirl says:


    23. Apologize immediately when you realize you’ve done wrong.
    is a big one, as many of us have hard time admitting that we could be wrong. But very important one, it could save relationships.
    31. Don’t get caught up in other people drama.
    is tough, if it was not, reality TV, Jerry springer, other shows would not be so popular! Another reason to ditch TV.

  21. mmbb says:

    fixed many of them for you:

    1. Instead of turning off your cell phone, just don’t own one. Luddism is the new black.
    3. Sleep is for the weak; stay up 24/7.
    5, 12, 33. Skip food, become a breatharian.
    8. Paper shredder? Just give your pet hamster or gerbil first crack at all of your incoming mail.
    11, 35. Instead of setting clothes out, just go nude. This also saves on laundry and shopping expenses.
    14. Just say no. STET!
    15. Instead of asking for experiences and not things for gifts, just don’t ask for anything.
    16. Tell the truth. I AM! ;)
    18. Don’t consolidate debt, just avoid it.
    21. You don’t need to carry a notepad and pen around with you; just remember stuff. If you can’t remember it, then it probably wasn’t worth it.
    25. Take time to really see the little things in life, wear bifocals.
    26. Instead of reducing the amount of TV that you watch, how about you give it up entirely and rely on your friends to tell you what’s happening in HFCS MSM. Also solves #31.
    27. Don’t just get outside, live outside. In a tent.
    29. Ask for help. HELP? ;)
    30. Do things at home as much as possible (eat, date nights, entertain etc.).

    x. Don’t start what you can’t finish.

    just for levity and grins; the original list is absolutely wonderful and i’m going to try to bite off a few every week.

  22. Jenny says:

    Keep a list on your freezer of all the things in it, rougly categorized. Keep a list on your fridge of leftovers that need to be used. Use these when planning shopping and meals.

    #43 doesn’t sound so good, if your garbage bag leaks, then all the others get gross, wet, and smelly. I do sprinkle baking soda down there to keep the smell away though.

  23. Tyler says:

    Funny that this just popped up in Google Reader “cool” and you’re telling me to unsubscribe from RSS feeds that don’t provide value. This was probably the most helpful thing I’ve read in weeks, thanks.

  24. Daniel says:

    Simple Ways to Symplify…

    … don’t make random and not really usefull lists. ;-)

  25. G Throne says:

    Ah, the delicious irony of a post on simplifying one’s life…that consists of a 43 item checklist!

  26. Emily says:

    Love this list! I had to send it to my mom right after I read it. There are so many helpful tips for everyone :)

  27. James says:

    Awesome!!! I’ll try

  28. Kika says:

    I don’t “automate my finances” but online banking has really helped me save time. I also write each bill/due date into my planner (all together) to ensure that I never miss a payment.

  29. richard says:

    great list of simplifying..i keep a daily list of things to do.i also add and cross out items on the list as i remember or finnish them..i also use my phone calandar alot.i put appointments,grocery items,tv times,people to call,back-up alarm clock and other things on there because i always have it and i can set the time as to when to remind me about them…try it its sooo useful ..: )

  30. Anitha says:

    This is really one of the best articles I have read… I need to follow many right away.. Thanks Sherri!

  31. Anet Pienaar says:

    I store neatly folded shopping bags in the boot of my car.
    Use and old fashioned spike to keep my desk tidy and file once a week.
    Shopping list in the kitchen and shop for basics once a week.
    Scissor attached to hook in kitchen with long elastic band.

  32. Good list. For me this “Get rid of (or at least reduce) commitments that you do out of obligation.” is one of the most important for a zen life.

  33. Justin Chase says:

    44. Shorten your lists to 10 items or less.

  34. tess says:

    if only all of us will be able to apply this into our daily lives then for sure there would be no complication

  35. carter says:

    great!I like it.I’d like to add one.
    When you have a plan,do it immediately.

  36. maomao says:

    awesome! amazing tips. im gonna re-write everything on papers and stick them all around my room. :D hahaha. thank you, zenfamily. :) much love.

  37. Tracy says:

    Thank you for the useful ideas, I am already practicing alot of these! We all need to declutter our lives at some point in time, why not do it now? I just got done archiving Jan 2010 downloads to disk ;)
    Have a good week and thank you again for the list!

  38. Sarah says:

    Love them all except ’18. Consolidate debt.’ How about ‘Get rid of debt as fast as you can’ or, better still, ‘Don’t borrow for anything except your mortgage.’?

  39. Zequez says:

    Thnx, it’s a really good list, I’ll keep in mind a lot of things ^_^

  40. “Simplicity” has become a major focus for me in recent time. I am a hundred miles away but i am glad IT IS NOW on my mind and i am actively pursuing it. I love number 42. I think it counts for alot of things.

    Thanks for this great list. It has given me lots of ideas ;-)

  41. judy says:

    One tip that I have found very helpful (though very hard to follow) is:

    “Only handle a piece of paper once.”
    If it is a bill, pay it. if it is a sheet of coupons, cut what you’ll use, put them in your purse, and throw the rest. If it is a document you need to keep, file it appropriately. Never make piles of “to be gone through later” papers.

  42. Drew says:

    Is it not simply a bit ironic that there is a comprehensive list to simplify one’s life? Simplify your life by following these 43 easy steps. Make things easier by adding one more thing, i.e., reading and working through a LIST OF 43 THINGS.

    I cannot help but laugh.

  43. qamar says:

    its really wonderful ways to simplify our life !!!!
    keep it up sherri !!

  44. shiv says:

    Great !!!!
    this is very useful tips of simplify our life

  45. Nawel says:

    Nice. I will translate the tips into spanish and post’em. Cheers.

  46. 涉水轻舟 says:

    Nice, Add a cup of simple coffee with my life.

  47. Don says:

    Number 31 is a gem 1!! How many times do we expend way to much energy on others “Drama”. I know that I have found myself caught up in things that have nothing to do with me, and yet there I am right in the middle. If we could just remeber this one it would really make for an easier, less stressful life. Thanks for the Tip !!!

  48. Nishant Mistry says:

    That was wonderful… I think, my life has started changing after following this simple but great rules for life.

  49. With stress as the leading cause of the majority of health disorders, a little relaxation can go a long way. We also teach a little quiet time or prayer time as a great way to maintain focus and clear your mind of the clutter.

  50. FewClues says:

    I love this blog!! The list is immediately useful. I am retired but while I was still working I carried a notebook with me everywhere. I had it divided into today,this week, this month, idea register and projects and goals. Our minds do not like unfinished business and will continue to attempt to resolve them even as we sleep. I found that if I wrote down my thought and put a key in the appropriate time slot my mind would release it as finished. I found that carrying a small recorder grabbed all those random thoughts I had as I drove to and fro about the landscape. I transfered the ideas to my system as soon as I was safely off the road.
    As to the cellphone – my job required that I carry it. But it didn’t require that I answer immediately. So I returned calls every four hours.
    And finally – I have stopped printing to paper entirely. I print to PDF files and sort them by category. No more piles of paper on my desk.

    Thanks for a great blog – and I look forward to making it part of my midday routine.

  51. Barbara Tako says:

    Excellent simple tips. These are all small choices that can ultimately free up time and energy for our personal priorities–whatever they are.

  52. MotherLodeBeth says:

    Cannot tell you how important #14 Just say No, is. In fact its near the top of my small list of things to remember. And when saying no I am honest about why and even encourage others to say no as well. Saying no has saved me literally thousands of dollars, stress and feeling like a fraud.

  53. Max says:

    No cell phone and no cable TV. Some of my friends find it strange…I find it perfect. I don’t NEED that.

  54. RD says:

    This is great!
    I like to write my “to-do” list the night before so I dont waste time the next morning doing it. This keeps me productive and I dont loose sleep worry about what I have to do the next day.

  55. Fiona says:

    The last one made me laugh! :)

    But lots of good points there…. I need to do many of them – especially cull my rss!

  56. Dave says:

    One thing I like to do is live without time commitments. Specifically, I don’t use an alarm clock. I learned that I sleep almost exactly 8.5 hours every night, so if I go to bed on time, I wake up naturally, am well-rested, and don’t feel rushed at all in the mornings.

  57. sami says:

    ultimate tips to simplify life..thanks to share

  58. MD Life says:

    Great 43 simple ways to change your life in happy, simple and easy living
    thank you for sharing with us..

  59. Tim says:

    #44 Stop using stumble upon

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  63. Debbie says:

    This is a great list. ‘Just say no’ really applies to trying not to overschedule the family too. We have to block weekend days out on the calendar to go skiing, otherwise they get filled with playdates, errands and chores. Much better that the kids’ friends come skiing with us! Also love the idea of routines. When kids know what they need to do in the morning and at night, it makes for a peaceful home (most of the time at least)!

  64. Ellen says:

    I liked this list, but by doing more of your socialising at home, you’re asking others to spend their precious time travelling to and from your home, which isn’t very considerate.

    I have lots of friends who invite me to their homes rather than suggesting we meet elsewhere (I can’t have people over due to circumstances) and while I appreciate the hospitality, I don’t have a car so such invitations usually mean a minimum of 90 minutes travelling for me, which is a substantial chunk of time – especially on a work night. I’d suggest amending that item to ‘Do things at home as much as possible – except in circumstances where that amounts to asking someone else to bear all the inconvenience and expense of travelling to socialise, because they’ll probably have to say no a lot more than either of you would like!’

  65. Heather says:

    Works perfectly if you don’t work for a living.

  66. David Smith says:

    I really liked this list. I had only one small disagreement. Apologizing immediately, in my experience, comes across as inauthentic….even when you mean it. I think a short waiting period and then, a warm, sincere apology works better. For me, immediately saying “I’m sorry” sounds like “I’m not really sorry, but I’m gonna say it just to end the argument.”

    Just my two cents.

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  79. Matt says:

    I tried that tip of turning my phone off. It kinda worked, I did feel a little less stressed. But when I turned my phone back on I saw fifteen missed calls from my boss. When I called him he was like “Where the hell have you BEEN all day and why was your phone off?!”

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  13. [...] 4 Feb 2010 Este artigo é uma tradução livre do post publicado hoje pelo Sherri Kruger no blog Zen Family Habits que considerei muito bom e resolvi não só compartilhar ele no Twitter como também traduzi-lo [...]

  14. [...] you’re like me, life is way too busy most of the time.  Here are 43 simple ways to simplify your [...]

  15. [...] 42 Ways to Simplify Your Life, by Zen Habits. I am drafting a respose called “42 Ways to Kreig Up Your Life”. Stay tuned. [...]

  16. [...] just for levity and grins; the original list is absolutely wonderful and i’m going to try to bite off a few every week. via zenfamilyhabits.net [...]

  17. [...] Definitely on board with simplifying. [...]

  18. [...] Kruger of Zen Family Habits recently posted 43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life, which included many ideas that had varying levels of relationship to actual simplicity: 12. Make [...]

  19. [...] new garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can. Sources:Zen Family Habits January 26, 2010Related Articles:  How to Eliminate Chaos in Your Life and Work  5 Questions That Will [...]

  20. [...] 43 Ways to Simplify (Simply put) (Zen Family Habits) 1. Turn off your cell phone. [...]

  21. Simplifying Your Life…

    I was catching up on some blog reading when I happened upon “43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life” on Zen Family Habits. For me, some of the ways are pretty cut and dried and easily doable (#8 “Keep your paper shredder on top of your recycling bin”); s…

  22. [...] have to imagine that it singlehandedly revived our nation’s sagging hammock industry. … and chides neighbor Zen Habits for getting a bit off course to boot. Merlin now posts sparingly, having found a balance [...]

  23. [...] say that life nowadays is all about simplyfing both your work and personal lives; well, since email has been ever so disruptive, both in our work and private lives, may be it is [...]

  24. [...] say that life nowadays is all about simplyfing both your work and personal lives; well, since email has been ever so disruptive, both in our work and private lives, may be it is [...]

  25. [...] high time I simplified life (1 of these 43 ways is bound to [...]

  26. [...] 43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life – I need all of [...]

  27. [...] Zen Family Habits is a great website for families looking to simplify the chaos and find time to enjoy one another. Here is a great list of 43 tips to simplify your life provided by Zen Family Habits. [...]

  28. [...] could use some more simplicity in their lives. Here’s 43 ways to simply your daily life from zenfamilyhabits.net. Love this list – so many little practical and easily doable changes that can make a huge [...]

  29. [...] 43 Ways to Simplify your Life [...]

  30. [...] Some other great tips on how to ZEN or simplify your home/family: http://www.zenfamilyhabits.net/2010/01/43-simple-ways-to-simplify-your-life/ [...]

  31. [...] like to simplify in your life.  (And if you need some more ideas, Katie found some great websites here and here that helped [...]

  32. Link Love! says:

    [...] Sherri from Zen Family Habits shares 43 simple ways to simplify your life. [...]

  33. [...] artigo é uma tradução livre do post publicado hoje pelo Sherri Kruger no blog Zen Family Habits que considerei muito bom e resolvi não só compartilhar ele no Twitter como também traduzi-lo [...]

  34. [...] week I came across some great posts. There are lists and lists of ways to simply your life. There are lists to simplify your finances, and ones with [...]

  35. [...] 43 Simple Ways To Simplify Your Life | Zen Family Habits [...]

  36. [...] while ago I came across some great posts with ways to simply your life. There are lists, hacks, tips, and clever ideas to simplify your life. There are lists to simplify your finances, [...]

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