Discover the keys to simple living with 20+ inspiring ideas that can help guide you towards a full life with less stress. You’ll find easy ways to work towards living a simple life on your own terms – a minimalist mindset with maximum reward!

Living a simple life in a quiet living room with white sofas and side table.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: don’t fear the concept of minimalism. Embracing the idea of a simplified life can be so freeing! Once you let go of the misconceptions about living a simpler life, you’ll find that it might be exactly what you’ve been searching for all along!  

Merriam-Webster defines minimalism as the following:

A style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.

My move towards a simple home and a quieter life came out of a need for less. I was a mom who was overwhelmed, exhausted, and needed to find a better path for our family.

Are you feeling the same way?

I often approach my series on minimalist living with an eye towards simplification in your home life. I’ve written about minimalist home design, slowly easing into a minimalist lifestyle, and creating a home based on the concept of cozy minimalism.

However, much of what I have learned about simplifying is that these concepts encompass every area of our lives. Connections with friends and family, work life, finances, mental and physical health… all of these areas can benefit from simplification.

Living a simple life in a quiet living room with white sofas and side table.

Simple Living

With that in mind, today I wanted to concentrate on the concept of simple living. In our home, living a simple life isn’t just about design and organization, it’s about fully embracing a life with less feelings of busy and more feelings of calm.

I’m rounding up a few of my favorite ways to find the best parts of simple living. You’ll find yourself embracing a life lived with a little less… less rush, less stress, and less overwhelm. These ideas are simple in theory but often take effort to implement. 

There’s not a one size fits all path towards simple living. You’ll never be able to make all these changes overnight – it takes a long time! Success comes with patience, practice and sacrifice!

The reward is a calmer, quieter, simpler life that is worth the wait.

A simple kitchen sink image with a lemon tree topiary in a sunny window.

Simplify Your Life

Embracing a simple lifestyle might not be as easy as it sounds. In my experience, small choices that you’ll make day to day can create big changes!

One of the first and most important steps to take is quite simple. Are you ready for this game changing thought? 

  • Learn the art of saying no. Create boundaries and decide what’s most important. This is different for everyone, but making a simple list of the top five or ten items that are priorities in your life can make it simple to see where you’ll need to say NO.

That simple sentence truly changed my life. I used to spend far too much time and energy saying yes to everything. Yes to career opportunities, school volunteer spots, community involvement, every play date and activity the girls wanted to try. 

When I learned to let go of the guilt surrounding my “NO”, our lives began to change for the better!

A simple kitchen sink image with a lemon tree topiary in a sunny window.

Living Simply by Spending Less

I’m well aware of how difficult this subject can be. The subject of money isn’t one I often approach here, but it’s important when it comes to simple living. 

A few of the tips I can share with confidence:  

  • Learn how to save money where you can. Having even the smallest amount in savings can give a sense of comfort where there might not have been one before. 
  • If possible, pay down your credit cards. Again, this can be a delicate subject but one that resonates with all of us. Debt weighs us down. Credit cards can have incredible benefits, but if they are bringing you more stress than joy, it’s time to get rid of them!
  • Live frugally. When you create a minimal life, it’s easy to consider your purchases more carefully. You won’t feel compelled to buy every pretty thing because you’ll know that every item you add to your life must have personal value.
  • Create a budget. It’s a little unpleasant, I know. But seeing where your money goes each month is imperative to peace of mind! 
  • Try a capsule wardrobe. This one made such a difference in my closet and in my decision making every day! When you limit your wardrobe to a few select pieces, it’s easier to make a choice and you’re more likely to invest in pieces that you really love. I promise, it works!  
A little girl in a dress picking raspberries.

Personal Development

This is one of the most difficult areas to create change. We all know the old mantra about how to improve our health: eat healthy and exercise!

We’ve been most successful with this by creating a routine. That’s how habits form – and it works for adults and kids!

A routine creates calm energy because everyone knows what to expect.

  • Gym memberships can go both directions. Did you spend the money on a gym membership only to feel that you’ve failed? Then drop it! On the opposite end of that coin, if you know that a gym membership will create a positive routine for your life, consider it a priority!  
  • Try a retreat. This can be anything! Take time away with coworkers to learn something new, take a trip with girlfriends to get away. I have learned that my business benefits greatly from organized retreats with like-minded business people. We learn from each other in a casual environment that feels like both work and play! 
  • Rest… do nothing. Yes, it’s just that simple. Choose a day- or even part of a day each week, where only rest is allowed. Nothing else. We love to do this on Sundays, it’s a great way to reset our minds for the week ahead. 
City scene with little girls skipping across rocks at a public fountain area.

Investing Your Time and Energy

If you have a few extra hours in your week with a choice of how you spend time, what do you choose? Do you feel good about those choices?

I’ve learned that I need to eliminate the areas of my life that only add stress and anxiety whenever possible. 

One of the most important things I needed to do? 

  • Turn off my social media notifications.

A few more ideas for things to consider that might be draining your time and energy:   

  • Set up specific times to check your email. This one is especially hard for me – if your business requires constant communication it can be difficult. But again, routine is everything when it comes to simplifying your life! 
  • Eliminate the people in your life that cause stress. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. If there is someone in your business or personal life that isn’t adding anything positive to your life, avoid.
  • Create streamlined systems. This can be in regard to your kitchen, closets, office, or anywhere. When everything has a place and you’ve given a task an assigned time and place, your brain is immediately clearer and more focused.  
  • Eliminate media. If you have a tendency to get stuck in a six hour Netflix binge, this one is a no-brainer. Eliminating the overload of media that is thrown at us each day can leave room for what’s most important.
Simple living in a white living room filled with sunlight.

In an age of speed, I began to think nothing could be more exhilarating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. (Pico Iyer)

Slowing Down to Enjoy

So much of what we do as busy people involves rushing from one place to the next. We make a conscious effort to slow down wherever possible! 

  • Set the table. Sounds silly, I know. But the simple effort of setting your table creates a feeling of something that’s special enough to deserve your time and attention.
  • Eat slowly. This one is so simple. For Europeans, it’s effortless, but for Americans, we have lost the art of savoring each bite of pasta and wine! 
  • Enjoy the view along the way. Yes, we need to drive from here to there. But why not make a concerted effort to point out the beauty along the way? Stop and take breaks to enjoy the small moments of the journey.
A wooden patio table set with hydrangea centerpieces, place settings, lake view in the background.

Find Clarity

Similarly, we need to consider the places where we find clarity in our daily lives. Several years ago, we realized that we were desperate to find a place to disconnect from our careers. We needed a place where our family members could enjoy time together on the weekends! 

We accomplished this when we purchased our lake home. It’s a place where we enjoy time together – we boat, we hike, we enjoy our time connected with nature. 

Folding chairs on a quiet patio, simple living with a treed lake view.

Understandably, buying a second home isn’t an option for everyone. But there are ways to capture the essence of that quiet time with totally free possibilities! Consider the following ways that you might enjoy finding clarity: 

  • Go for a daily walk. Set a goal to go for half an hour a day, for a week. I bet you’ll go farther than you think! 
  • Meditate. This doesn’t need to be complicated! Give yourself a few minutes every morning or evening with silence and calm.
  • Journal. Journaling can be helpful in all areas of your life! Make notes about your day, keep track of your calendar, start an ongoing to-do list.
  • Yoga. This one isn’t for everybody, but those who love it are dedicated for sure! It’s a proven way to clear your mind and simplify your days.
  • Go outside, intentionally, every day. Vitamin D works wonders for our mental health! 
  • Spend time with those you love! This idea is my favorite. Nothing brings me clarity throughout my days like considering the family that is my reason for everything.
Lake with a single folding chair on the dock, towel draped across.

Well, what are your thoughts? Are any of these ideas for simple living inspiring you to make a change? It’s one step at a time, but the clarity and peace of mind that come from even one or two of these changes might encourage you to do more!

I’d love to hear from you. Do you feel like you’re living a simple life? Are you feeling encouraged towards a path to simple living? Please leave a comment and feel free to share your ideas!

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  1. Thank you for inspiring me to make some changes in my life. I feel like throwing EVERYTHING away but I will start with a small change and build from there….

  2. Julie: your blog is exactly what I needed this morning. I woke up feeling depressed and even said to myself “my life is a mess”. Your tips and comments made me realize that nothing is hopeless and there is a way out of insanity. While our situations are very different (I just retired) the way you look at things applies to us all. I plan on taking some small steps you suggested to simplify my life and reduce stress.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Ellen! Wishing you joy and hope. Please let me know if I can help along the way! We’re in this together! Sending my love, Julie

    1. Thank you, Donna! I have to remind myself often that less is so much more – especially when it comes to activities.

  3. Wonderful concept. I am older and have learned (overtime) to relax a little more and take time to smell the roses. Life is way to short to not spend time with loved ones and with the things you love.

  4. Having read your earlier piece about letting go of ‘things’, I’ve just this week started to sell my books. Taking up three entire bookcases in my living room, I decided I wanted to use that space for spreading out the furniture and finding new ways to enjoy the space. Also, I have tackled the office closet. One large bag of extras is now gone and it is much easier to open the door and not cringe. Slow going on the books but several are gone and what remains I’m thinking I can donate. One space or drawer at a time and I see this concept taking shape to our benefit. Thank you for providing the push I needed! Kathy

    1. Look at you go! Hope you love the feeling of letting go as much as I do. Let me know if you need anything along the way!