Interiors My Home Self-Care Simple Living

10 Ways I Simplified My Life

16th January 2015

simplify

During 2013 I felt I was being pulled in lots of different directions – know the feeling? I was working full-time, keeping up with my blog, completing photography commissions, seeing friends and family, exercising, maintaining my home, travelling, wasting far too much time online and so it went on.

Although I like to be busy I found the lack of me time exhausting, so I tried to reduce my commitments. After looking at an average week I realised there was nothing I could or wanted to drop. I therefore decided to simplify everything else, starting with my physical environment.

So as 2014 began I embarked on a huge declutter of my belongings. When you cut back on the physical stuff it’s inevitable other areas will follow, and so here began my journey towards a calmer, simpler and easier life. One that felt lighter, made me feel content and gave me my time back.

simplify

1. Let go of stuff

I no longer wanted to waste precious moments cleaning and maintaining my home, and so the biggest change was to remove all items that I didn’t use or love. The process transformed my life and living in a simpler environment made me feel calmer and happier.

2. Abandoned the pursuit of unnecessary belongings

When you’ve simplified you don’t want to buy more stuff, and when I stopped looking at online shopping sites or wandering around shops I had more time, and money. Although a minimalist lifestyle is not about stuff, I find living with less means I enjoy the things I have a whole lot more. After all less is more!

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3. Morning routine

The secret to more hours in the day is to get up earlier, and although I’ve never been a morning person waking up in a tidy clutter-free home is energy boosting. I’m lucky that my man works locally and so we have breakfast together each morning. Time to relax, eat and chat make a huge difference to my day.

4. Regular exercise 

A low maintenance home frees up time and energy, and so I was able to establish a regular exercise routine. I tried to stick to set days – two per week – but didn’t get upset if I missed one. I also used my walk to and from work (a 9k round trip) to relax and really enjoy the world around me. I have a tendency to over-think and so trying to be as present as possible is good exercise for the mind!

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5. Cut back on the internet

Too much time online makes me feel busy and restless so I tried a few internet-free days, and survived! I was amazed at the extra time I had and how much I achieved. Following this I set myself three rules:

  • No internet before 9am or after 10pm
  • Regular internet free mornings and afternoons
  • Stop checking the iPhone/iPad!

Obviously I don’t always stick religiously to the above, but I have removed the habit of constantly checking my technology. I’ve also rediscovered books, how retro!

6. Unsubscribed 

I unsubscribed from emails, newsletters, catalogues and anything else that did not add value to my life. I also deleted things from my computer desktop and files I no longer needed, and organised everything that remained.

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7. Quiet mind

Living in a clutter-free environment made me aware of how busy my mind was, and so my next step took me towards mindfulness. After some research, talking to friends and trying a couple of iPad apps (Headspace – Andy Puddicombe is really inspiring – and Mindfulness Daily) I feel I’m getting somewhere. Although it’s still early days and I’d welcome any tips.

8. Being present

In the summer I visited the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. At both places I decided – with the exception of an iPhone snap – not to take any photographs. I wanted to experience them fully without faffing around with my camera.

Six months on and my most vivid memories from my trip are of those two places. It was worth taking the risk and it has motivated me to try to live in the moment a little more, rather than forever trying to capture it.

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9. Learnt to relax

I’ve always struggled to relax but it happened as a result of the above. When you simplify there are less household chores and distractions, enabling more time to put your feet up.

10. More time for family and friends

And finally, cutting out the life clutter gave me more time for family, friends and all the other things that bring me the greatest joy. ‘Collecting moments and not things’ is a pretty good rule to live by.

If there are ways you’ve calmed and simplified your life please share them in the comments.

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28 Comments

  • Reply Kate Gardiner 16th January 2015 at 11:41 am

    This is such a great and inspiring post. I love you you described decluttering your life and how it has helped you in so many ways. My husband and I have just done up out living room and part of that process was decluttering. It has made it a much more calm and relaxing place and somewhere I love spending time even more now. I'm on a mission to declutter my craft supplies too and be more organised as they have taken over the dining room a bit. We're doing up our smallest bedroom to be a craft room so once this is ready there will be no stopping me. Let the decluttering commence! x

    • Reply Candy Pop 16th January 2015 at 11:55 am

      Thank you Kate and well done on what you've achieved so far. When I started decluttering a year ago I had no idea so many positive changes would follow. Good luck with your craft room! 🙂

  • Reply Victoria Eales 16th January 2015 at 11:44 am

    You're so inspiring. Over the years I've started to cut back on the things I 'need' and it's so refreshing. I'm currently embarking on a declutter session and simplfying things.

    Have a great weekend,

    Victoria x
    FlorenceandMary.com

    • Reply Candy Pop 16th January 2015 at 11:56 am

      Thank you Victoria, good luck with your decluttering and have a great weekend!

  • Reply Lisa 16th January 2015 at 12:06 pm

    This. All of this. It's exactly what I need to do with my life right now. Thank you for the kick up the bum I needed.

    • Reply Candy Pop 16th January 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you Lisa, good luck and let me know how you get on!

  • Reply found and sewn 16th January 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Love this post! It's amazing how decluttering has had so many positive effects on your life. As you know I'm really enjoying the Headspace app too…I think I need to work on the 'less internet rule' and I've already unsubscribed to lots of emails and newsletters. All very inspiring. See you soon xx

    • Reply Candy Pop 19th January 2015 at 11:53 am

      Thank you Vicki, I'm looking forward to catching up soon.

  • Reply Heather @ my little red suitcase 16th January 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I'm very inspired by your simplifying journey, and you still are living with beautiful things around you, it's a nice combination. I like the idea of collecting experiences, you done some great things recently. X

  • Reply Kat 16th January 2015 at 1:37 pm

    It's not uncommon to see lists in this vein on blogs, but for some reason, this one really stuck out to me. I really like it and think I should try incorporating some of that stuff as well. I don't think I could do no internet before 9:00 a.m. though! I love my mornings with coffee and the internet before I need to get on with my day.

  • Reply Ali 16th January 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Yup – I have a feeling life would be calmer with less everything. But the bit I can really get behind is the being present in the moment message. Seems particularly pertinent for the phase of life I find myself in.

  • Reply Katie Bedlow 16th January 2015 at 5:51 pm

    A very enlightening post indeed!!! It does seem worrying to embark on such changes but I imagine after a year you can just look back and smile at what you've achieved, just making small changes for the better! I'm going to try and follow suit, I have already worked regular exercise into my routine which really does make me feel better, I just want to make time to read and learn more this year. We're redecorating our entire house this year so a perfect time to de clutter, here's hoping! X

    • Reply Candy Pop 22nd January 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you Katie and good luck with the changes.

  • Reply Ingrid Orens 16th January 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Inspiring ! When reading your ten tips, it is very clear they are the result of experience, and are not "yet another list with tips to attract blogreaders".
    And they are useful tips as well. Apart from the first one (for me, that is) – I will never be able to get rid of things, declutter is not in my dictionnary (which doesn't mean my house isn't organised – I'm a freak for order & tidiness !).
    I especially like the way you cut down your online-time. That is something I still really need to work on – strange how keeping up with IG and Blogger can really feel stressful !

  • Reply Jennifer 16th January 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Hi, I'm a new follower. I really enjoyed your list. I think that it's important that you have tried and tested them all. I notice Ingrid said something similar above. It's great to hear that these changes have resulted in a better quality of life for you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Candy Pop 22nd January 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Thank you Jennifer and welcome!

  • Reply Vintage Sheet Addict 17th January 2015 at 8:08 am

    Great post, I've been doing the same without really realising it…..with the exception of getting a new camera, but it won't be going everywhere! 🙂 xxx

  • Reply http://evaetsandra.com/ 17th January 2015 at 9:10 am

    'Collecting moments and not things' what a great rule of live !!! I loved your post! I think we need come back to the simple life ! Too much internet, telephone…..I love reading a book and a magazine but I don't have time I think your post makes me think that time we can created ! Less internet and less stuff !
    Thanks Natasha! Have a great weekend ! Enjoy live 🙂

  • Reply Lemon Freckles 17th January 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Wonderful post! Cutting back on the internet is something i've been trying to do more of, trying live in the moment more instead of being distracted by technology. x

    • Reply Candy Pop 22nd January 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you Toni for the mention on your blog!

  • Reply Olivia W 18th January 2015 at 6:13 pm

    This is a really helpful post. I totally know how you feel when you talk about 'Collecting moments and not things'. I always do this and I need to stop. Even the weight of a camera around my neck makes me feel like I have to always be taking pictures. I am definitely taking these points on board.

    http://thelittlebluesailboat.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply KatGotTheCream 21st January 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I've been trying to cut back on screen time and am in a real reading groove at the moment – currently on my third novel this month! X

    • Reply Candy Pop 22nd January 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Third novel, that's brilliant! I'm only managing one a month, but I guess it's better than nothing!

  • Reply tinajo 21st January 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Clever advice, I should do some of these steps as well..!

    https://twitter.com/tinajoathome

  • Reply CraveCute 21st January 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Such great advice CP! I've been telling the hubby that he needs to start the decluttering now if we are to move to a smaller house in five or so years. It will take that long I swear! I think I have one more to add, just say NO. No to new groups, teams, clubs etc. I've learned it's OK to say No and not feel bad about it!

    • Reply Candy Pop 22nd January 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you, learning to say no is a very good point and good luck with your declutter.

  • Reply Jo 21st January 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Excellent post, I've really admired your commitment to a more minimal lifestyle in the last year. Fantastic to hear it's had so many positive knock on effects. I also love all your Taunton Vale canisters!

    • Reply Candy Pop 22nd January 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you Jo, I hope I'm not turning into a minimalist bore – ha!
      I'm pleased to say my Taunton Vale survived the declutter!

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