By Jennifer Woolwine

5 Steps To Simplify Your Life

Slow + Simple Living

baghdad to barnyard

May 9, 2022


picking flowers in a field with a basket simplify your life

Do you feel tired or stressed out from having too much going on in your life? Do your days tend to blur together? Maybe,  you’ve longed to live a simple life but are unsure where to start? Well, this post is for you! I’m sharing five easy steps you can take to simplify your life and have more time to do what you love most.

 

MAKE YOUR HOME A SANCTUARY

There is no place like home, am I right? I don’t particularly like leaving the farm because it’s so stressful to be in public, especially with social anxiety. The farm has become my safe space and oasis where I can truly relax. If your home is messy and cluttered, it might not be the sanctuary you need. Also, it can be detrimental to your mental well-being if your home brings feelings of stress and overwhelm.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way! And honestly, it shouldn’t be that way!

Your home should be a calm and clutter-free space where you can relax and look forward to spending time after a long and stressful day. Here are some easy-to-follow tips to make your home a sanctuary that doesn’t break the bank:

Declutter to simplify your life

Now, I DO NOT have one of those perfectly organized, everything in its proper place, no dishes in the sink kind of homes often represented in photos on Instagram.  I have five dogs, five cats, two parrots, four bunnies, and two chinchillas in our home, so I’m constantly battling animal hair. Our house is often messy, but one thing I’ve done that makes my dirty, imperfect home a sanctuary is decluttering regularly.

In all honesty, it was overwhelming at first because we had SO much stuff. I had knick-knacks and items I had never used sitting in the same place for weeks, months, (even years… yikes) collecting dust, and I didn’t know where to start. So, if you’re in a similar situation or want to free up space on your countertops, my number one recommendation is to start small. Pick one closet, cupboard, countertop, or drawer that has been nagging you and start there. I promise after you do it once, the freedom you feel afterward is contagious, and you’ll want to include decluttering as part of your routine.

NOT READY TO DECLUTTER

If decluttering your possessions is something you are not ready to tackle, there are other ways you can declutter and simplify your life without throwing anything away. That is to do a digital declutter, such as unfollowing social media accounts that no longer bring you joy. Next, turn off notifications, unsubscribe from newsletters or groups you are no longer interested in, and unfriend any charges that feed negative energy. In addition, you can cancel unused subscriptions, declutter your digital workspace, clear out your inbox and organize your digital files and folders. You will be surprised at how much lighter and happier you feel when you start decluttering your digital life.

Bedroom Makeover 

Your bedroom is one of the essential rooms in your home, and it should be free of distractions. For example, removing my television, limiting screen time before bedtime, installing a ceiling fan, and using a $25 sound machine completely changed the vibe of my bedroom, and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. You can add cozy pillows and throws to your bed, create a little reading nook, keep your nightstands free of clutter, make your bed daily, and repaint your bedroom to create a calm and peaceful environment.


simplify your life and make your room cozy

PRACTICE SELF-CARE 

Mornings are my favorite part of the day. We get up at the same time every day and spend 30 minutes on our back porch while we enjoy a cup of coffee before starting our busy day. I recommend waking up early enough to make time for your self-care routine without rushing. In addition, making the time to practice self-care before starting your hectic schedule will help you be more productive and focused throughout the day.

Whatever helps start your day on a positive note and brings you joy, whether it’s meditating, journaling, or going for a walk, are beneficial ways to begin your day. You can also continue to take care of your body throughout the day by drinking more water, eating healthier, spending time outdoors, exercising, and practicing stillness. Those simple acts of self-care can transform your chaotic, stressful day into more peaceful moments.

If you need ideas for incorporating self-care into your daily life, check out the following blog post I published a few weeks back: 25 Self-Care Ideas for Spring.


simplify your life and practice self care

INTENTIONAL LIVING

Before buying the farm, I was constantly on the go and rushing from points A to B. I chased the next best thing and missed out on what was happening before me. When I decided that I didn’t want that chaotic lifestyle anymore, I started closely examining my choices in life and asking myself the following questions:

  • What relationships are important to me?

  • What are my skills, passions, and dreams?

  • How can I make my home a place where I can’t wait to come home?

  • What would simple living look like for me?

When I answered these questions and paid attention to how the answers made me feel, I realized I needed to make some changes. That meant leaving my stressful and demanding career, cutting out toxic family relationships, and moving to the country. Not everyone can quit their job on the spot, and it may not be the solution for you. However, you can make more manageable steps toward the career path you envision. Maybe it’s taking a few classes to get educated on the career you want to pursue. Perhaps it’s focusing on a passion project, brainstorming with your partner and friends regarding your career goals, or simply scheduling more time off.

Intentional living means recognizing the areas where you live on autopilot and making changes to live intentionally instead of accidentally. It’s surrounding yourself with people, places, and things that push you to be a better version of yourself. Last but not least, it’s creating a more meaningful life by figuring out what is most important to you and doing whatever you can to align your life accordingly.

SPEND TIME IN NATURE

Connecting with nature is one of the first steps to living a simpler life.  I love spending time in the garden, walking on our farm with the animals, sitting by our creek, and watching the sunset. Those moments calm down my soul, where I am the most content.

Furthermore, there are so many ways you can connect with nature no matter where you live. Here are some of my favorite things to do in nature:

  • Go for a hike

  • Take a drive to the country.

  • Pack a picnic

  • Go stargazing

  • Watch the sunrise/sunset.

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers

  • Plan a camping/beach trip

  • Visit a farm or petting zoo.

  • Go to the farmer’s market.

  • Take your dog to the park.

  • Try a new outdoor activity.

SIMPLIFY YOUR SPENDING HABITS 

Simplifying your spending habits ca be a challenging part for most people. It can often mean giving up some of the comforts of your life and things you’ve become accustomed to. Furthermore, it’s about being more intentional with spending your money to free up space to live more simply.

Start by tracking your expenses for a few weeks to a month to simplify your spending habits. Keep a small notebook to write things down throughout your day and reference it later. Maybe you’re like me and spend way too much at Starbucks when you can make your latte at home. Perhaps it means canceling gym memberships for workouts you can do at home. Or maybe it means cooking dinner instead of eating out or visiting antique shops and yard sales instead of buying at the mall.

You’ll be amazed that you’re spending more in areas you were unaware of. Once you simplify your life and start cutting back, you’ll have more money for savings or enjoy other experiences with your friends and family.  Also, just because you’re cutting back doesn’t mean you don’t treat yourself or get to indulge in some areas. If you can’t live without your Starbucks (absolutely no judgment), try cutting back to a day or two a week or stick to a monthly allowance?  Remember, living a simple life should be enjoyable. It doesn’t mean you HAVE to cut out things that make you happy to save money.

SIMPLE LIVING TIPS I’VE LEARNED 

Clean up as you go. Our lives are busy enough; who has time to clean a perfectly manicured house? Not me, and I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning just for appearances. I’ve learned over the years of trying to keep up with several pets in our home to make it a habit to clean as I go. Because it isn’t extra work to clean more often; it’s less work to clean as you go than to save up all the work until your house is a giant mess. In addition, preparing to clean by having the right supplies ready throughout the day will make a difference in many ways and simplify your life.

Say NO more often.  By saying no, I am free to say yes to the things that truly matter to me. Specifically, I’ve learned that time is one thing you can’t get back in this world, so I want to be intentional with HOW I spend my time. There is no point in wasting time doing things that make me unhappy or cause stress.

Establish a daily routine. Having a routine helps to take the guesswork out of what to do next.

Take a day to do nothing. Cancel unnecessary appointments, commitments, and plans.  More importantly, free up your calendar as much as possible! Use that free time for self-care and new outdoor activities, or spend more time with your loved ones and doing things you genuinely enjoy.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Finally, while simple living can be a complete lifestyle change, you don’t have to go at it all at once. Start small, focus on one task at a time, and take it to step by step to simplify your life. Remember, it’s the journey we’re here for, not the destination. I hope this post inspired and encouraged you to design a simple life. Enjoy the ride to simplicity!

xo, Jen


child picking purple flowers in a dress


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Jen Woolwine       Author

Jen is a veteran, wife, farm mama, homesteader, blogger,  and mental health advocate. You can follow her and daily homestead life on Instagram, FB, Pinterest & TikTok @baghdadtobarnyard

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