Life is already full of things and full of habits that we have unknowingly and unconsciously picked up. Hence to simplify life, what requires is not adding more things, but removing things that add to our physical and mental clutter.
Once we do this, we are instantly left with only the essential and meaningful things that aid us to live a simpler life.
Only then do we become ready to add and develop good habits that help us further simplify our life.
So today in this post I write about the 15 things you should get rid of to simplify life and how you can simplify your life.
These are 15 things that I personally quit and continue to be mindful of so as to not engage in them.
So let’s get started.
P.S you can also listen to this post on my Podcast ‘Heart of Living’ on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
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How to Simplify life: 15 things to get rid of to simplify life
Table of Contents
1. Bad Morning Habits
I always stress this the first thing when it comes to simplifying life or improving life because how we start our day is really so important.
We say we don’t have time but I also see most of us waking up and then checking the phone first thing for more than an hour or so (something I totally used to do but got rid of and it feels amazing)
To simplify life, it only requires a small determination or effort on your part to stop this toxic morning habit and instead devote the first hour of waking up to better nurturing yourself, growing yourself, and giving yourself a true self-care me-time.
Trust me, it feels so great when you start your day this way. Do it for a day or two. Experiment with it and see how you feel.
P.S Other Toxic morning habits to give up.
If you want to try out a wonderful and empowering morning routine, here are 5 sacred morning routine ingredients.
And here is my Morning Routine: Things I do before 8 am.
2. Unmindful consumption
What are the things that you consume every day?
This implies not just what you feed your body every day, but also what you feed your mind every day in the form of YouTube videos, messages, images, captions, tv-series, books, etc.
What kind of people do you follow on social media? What kind of books do you read? What kind of youtube videos are suggested in your feed?
Start taking notice of them and be mindful of what kind of information you allow to enter your mind through them.
Be mindful of all things you consume every day, especially what you consume (for your body and your mind) in the morning.
You have a great hand in choosing who you are allowing to surround yourself with in the digital world.
If all you see is vlogs of people buying stuff, partying, having fun, would you feel motivated to work on your goals and simplify your life?
I always give 30 minutes to reading a good book in the morning and I use my phone only after I finish all my morning routine.
Also, I drink water all through the day and we eat only home-cooked food as Indians. All these keep me energized both body and mind.
And I feel one-two hour of social media is fine. Anything more is just clutter.
P.S 7 Practices for a healthy relationship with social media
3. A long to do list
Another thing you need to get rid of in order to simplify life is the mistaken belief that you can do it all or you have to do it all.
To simplify your day, take out a small paper or a sticky note and list just 2-3 tasks you need to do. Nevermore than that.
If you have more than 3 then I recommend following the 1-3-5 rule where you list down 1 main task for the day, 3 medium tasks, and 5 small tasks and do them one by one slowly without any rush.
4. Possessions you no longer use
Possessions include everything you own from your clothes to shoes, furniture, files, books to things that are in your drawer and everything you own in your possession.
If you want to simplify your life, then the physical clutter needs to be removed as much as the mental clutter. Start with one corner of your room or one corner of your shelf or one category of thing.
You can sort it out in three baskets of Yes (I need it), No (I can throw or donate), or maybe (If you’re not sure right away)If you’re unclear whether to keep it or now, as we all do, ask yourself two questions,
- ‘Did I need it yesterday?’
- ‘did I make use of it anytime in the past one month?’.
If no, then you should just throw them out, donate or give them to a thrift store.
5. Having too many goals
Similar to a long to-do list, having too many goals is as bad as having no goals at all.
If you want to simplify your life, definitely have goals, but make sure have no more than 1 or two goals. Our goals should be easily memorizable.
You should be able to instantly remember and visualize your goals coming true. Too often we let ourselves burn out from having too many things to work on.
So cut down on your goals and work on them one by one. If you setting goals, make sure to avoid these 5 goal-setting mistakes.
- Related Post: Why we fail to stick to good habits
- How to form new habits that stick
- 3 little known tricks to build self discipline
- Why be okay with wasting time
You cannot simplify your life if you have to constantly stress about money. But also, another MAJOR thing, you can NEVER simplify your life if you start to get comfortable with debt.
Get rid of debts at all costs. Don’t be quick to take credit and loans.
If you do, before anything else, clear them first thing. Have the determination to pay all debt and never to owe anything to anyone.
Here is a great experience of how this couple paid off $240000 in debt.
A great book I would recommend reading is ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’. If you’re earning money and want to improve your financial situation, want to know how to get out of debt, and multiply your money, this is the book.
7. Online shopping apps
Get rid of the consumer culture that tries to sell us things we don’t need.
The constant notification about sales (which actually happen almost all year round) is just meant to entice us.
I would often spend hours and hours looking for clothes, not because I needed them, but just as a way to pass time because I thought I had nothing better to do.
Later I realized I didn’t really need to do this, so I uninstalled them and I don’t miss them at all.
If there are some people who are constantly making you want to buy things after looking at their instagram stories or youtube or reading their blogs, just be mindful of them.
Do you really need them or are they just trigger? If you can’t control yourself, simply decide to unfollow them.
8. Saying yes to everything
Another thing to get rid of to simplify your life is to stop saying yes to everything.
You don’t have to say yes to everyone and everything. Take care of your energy and hold your boundaries.
Learn to prioritize your time and your energy.
Stress and guilt take too much of our energy. Start taking your time as a valuable asset that you have total control over.
You won’t be missing out on anything and the people who really know you will understand.
It took me a long time but learning how to say no is essential to be strong, to stand up for oneself, to be true to your own self. I’ve even written about what I gained and lost by learning to say no.
9. Impulse buying
How many of us just go shopping without actually knowing what we want, and end up buying things we actually didn’t need.
Or we look into the apps when the notification comes up reminding us of a sale, and we end up buying for fear of missing out.
Well, I am guilty of this too.
A quick way to resolve this issue is to again ask yourself, ‘Did I need this yesterday?’.
If your answer is no then you probably don’t need it today.
Another way which I too have been wanting to implement is to write down specifically what you want to buy in a month and wait for 10-15 days to see if you still really want to buy it.
Multitasking is perhaps the biggest myth we believe in.
In today’s age multitasking has been ingrained in our actions. We don’t have full attention to anything and hence we lack mindfulness and love while we do things.
Constantly moving back and forth from one task to another, one thing to another, we cause unnecessary stress to our minds we don’t even realize, because it has kind of become our natural mode of how we behave and how we feel.
But just for once, try deliberately doing one thing at a time. If you’re working on something, just work on that. No emails. No Facebook. No WhatsApp. If you’re reading something, just read.
This is another key essence for slow living and simplifying life more than you think it is.
11. Negative Self-Talk
Be mindful of your self-talk.
How do you view yourselves in your own eyes? What kind of language do you speak to yourself? How kind are you to yourself and your mind?
Often our lives are messy and complicated for no reason other than that we have extremely negative self-talk without us even realizing it. We often keep on complaining and put ourselves in such a low position in our own eyes.
Get rid of your negative self-talk if you want to simplify your life.
Raise your standards, raise your worth in your own eyes, and in how you speak to your own self and see how it magically transforms your life and leads to greater simplicity.
The key first is to bring awareness to your everyday self-talk, and then being kind to yourself when you find yourself talking negatively.
Don’t take your mind too personally. Change your language slowly, be kind and be friends with yourself.
12.Gossip and complains
Gossip and complaints add up the mental clutter most.
As you are aware of your negative self-talk also be aware of how you talk when with others.
Get rid of complaints. Get rid of gossip and all the channels that bring gossip into your life.
For me, I found myself coming across gossip in some of my Whatsapp groups.
As I slowly started to notice how it affected my mind, I decided to leave the group not because I was judging the ones who were in the group, but I just couldn’t find myself enjoy it anymore.
We don’t need this extra information about what others are doing or what others are not doing.
As I already told you, be mindful about what information and what things you allow to enter your head.
We don’t realize, but they actually stay with us for a long time and they keep playing in our heads without us even realizing it.
13. Forced Relationships
Relationships and the kind of people we hang out with and spend our time, deeply impact the energy we allow in our lives and our moods.
Our heart has no misunderstandings.
It knows by intuition, by way of deep feeling who is true for you, with whom you truly enjoy, and who is just for the sake of being there.
Also, it might happen the other way around too, where you are just with someone just for the sake of being there.
I’d say don’t try to force relationships that don’t seem to work.
If you don’t feel the connection, probably there isn’t any connection. Go after what feels natural and free-flowing. Love and friendship are always free-flowing.
Here is how to get someone off your mind
- P.S here is how to get someone off your mind
- Best things I have come to know about Love and
- What I have come to know about friendships.
14.Cluttered Phone and Inbox
Given that it is our phone that we use constantly throughout our day, seeing a cluttered and unorganized phone and inbox causes us to feel that our life itself is pretty messy and unorganized.
I know with the number of screenshots and photos we have on our phones, organizing phones can seem like a huge task.
But you don’t have to do it all at once. Start only by decluttering your screenshot folder, or WhatsApp images and then move on to another.
Same with inbox. Try to reach an inbox 0. It is such a relief.
I did this in one day by deleting all the inbox in bulk which I wouldn’t be reading and then unsubscribing from emails I don’t see.
Now if I see that 1 appearing in any of my apps or inbox, I just open it and delete it if I am not reading it.
15. Always Rushing
To live simply we must learn to live slowly. Impatience makes us aggressive and stressful while patience makes us truly savor the journey and brings in peace and rest.
By doing things slowly we do the same thing with much more ease and peace. But rushing has almost become ingrained.
When you find yourself in such a state (which happens so often) simply pause for a while, and ease yourself. Then try to do the same thing in a state of ‘no rush’.
You will find that automatically unknown stress and unknown built-up energy are released.
As I gradually learn to do things slowly, it has helped me be more patient and kind to myself as I learn and do new things (like with this blogging journey)
So these are the things to get rid of to simplify life.
Of course, they require time, but if you are mindful and show effort at removing them you will find that your life has become simple.
Paula Miller says
I’ve responded to the subscribe email but no notifications yet. I hope I’m added to the list.
Vishaka Blone says
Hi Paula, please check your spam or promotions folder if you haven’t receieved any confirmation email. Thank you 🙂
Jessalynn Jones says
I enjoyed your post Vishaka! I appreciate that you mentions a mix of thing and non-thing items to get rid of. I think it’s especially important for us to simplify our expectations of what we should have, do, or look like because the consumer society we live in makes us feel that we will never have or be enough and that just holds us back from all the amazing we can be if we don’t try to fit the mold. धन्यवाद
Vishaka Blone says
True that. And you’re most welcome, I am so glad you enjoyed my post jessalyn 🙂
Things I quit to simplify my life are these. 1. Stopped colouring my hair. No yucky chemicals going into waterways, healthier for my scalp. Healthier for my finances. 2. Stopped shaving underarms. I am of an age where I no longer go sleeveless so why do I need to shave underarms? I no longer spend money on plastic disposable ladies razors. Better for me and better for the environment. 3. Retail therapy shopping and dressing for fashion. Why buy more than you need to keep up with fashion. So many clothes going into landfill that are not going to ever breakdown. Only buy what you need. 4. Wearing nail polish. I garden so much these days it’s not worth the bother. 5. Wearing makeup. My skin thanks me for giving this up. So does my purse. 6. Wearing perfume. I used to wear it every day but now find it odd that people try to smell like something else. I am also allergic to some perfumes so it makes sense to just not do it. 7. Buying lots of shoes and handbags. I gave all my handbags away. I had so many. Shoes too. I generally only wear trainers, wellies or walking shoes since moving to the mountains. The terrain and social side of things does not really include wearing heels. My feet thank me as do my knees and my back. 8. Wearing pantyhose/tights. I tend to wear jeans in cool weather and lightweight long pants in warmer weather. No more runs or ladders or holes to worry about. I wear socks instead now and my legs are mostly covered. 9. Worrying about what others think. 10. Doing the grocery shop once per week which generally resulted in a lot of food going to waste as if you don’t plan your meals you tend to throw a lot of food away. We shop when we need something now. We don’t throw anything away apart from fruit and veg scraps/peel/cores which get composted. 11. Buying anything wrapped in plastic. We avoid plastics wherever possible. In fact we go out of our way to avoid buying in plastic. 12. Buying flowers for a vase for the home. I would rather buy a plant I can put in the garden these days. 13. Sending greetings cards. We stopped sending Xmas cards couple years back and just ask our friends and family to not send them to us either. 14. Buying and posting Xmas presents for family overseas. The postage is just ridiculous. Often more than the price of the gift to send all the way from Australia to the UK. 15. Buying each other expensive gifts. We now buy things we need rather than things we think the other person will like.
Vishaka Blone says
Wow!! This is really something! So inspiring. You are doing so much on your part. Thank you. I too am on my way to being more sustainable in my lifestyle and practicing some of the things you’ve mentioned. I try to be mindful of my shopping habits and my plastic intake to reduce where ever I can and am not unmindful like I used to be earlier, but its still a long way to go. Thank you for your effort and taking your time to comment your list 🙂 I will try to follow you in many of the other things. take care and much love.
Susan d. Yoder says
Wow! Good list. I still wear my base makeup to protect my skin from the environment most days. I’ve become more simplified and relaxed in my fashion clothes and only wear flats with good arch support. I am reorganizing my home after my mother passed and no longer lives with us. I am organizing and down sizing clothing and all other items to make our lives “make sense”. All this is making our lives simpler and more fulfilling, happier. Kudos to you for your own progress.
Kathy Davis says
Wonderful words! I rarely read blogs. They are either about things that I already know, too many ads or they’re just me, me, me! I was very touched by your writing. You have a good grasp on life & how to obtain peace.
Thank you for your insight!
Vishaka Blone says
Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so glad to read this. Much love and light
I enjoyed your post immensely Vishaka! Thank you for your inspiring articles they mean a lot and they are food for the mind.
Vishaka Blone says
You’re so welcome! Thank you so much for letting me know 🙂 I am so glad
I’m new to the blog. So far I find it ironic that the posts are full of advertisement although you promote ”no impulsive online shopping”.
Vishaka Blone says
Hi! it’s not up to me what comes up in the ads. I know they make it a little hard to read and may seem ironic, but I am not trying to sell anything through it, nor do I promote any products on my blog for my readers to buy unnecessarily. But these ads are what help me run this blog so I can’t do without them. I hope you understand and take your time on my blog. Thank you