Anyway, whether I consciously set out to do it or not, I’ve simplified my life a bit in the last five or so years and I’m a happier person for having done it. Here are some of the things I’ve done.
1. WE EAT THE SAME THING EVERY MONDAY
This is pretty weird, but every Monday we have “salad Monday.” We have a salad with grilled chicken. Because neither of us are good at grocery shopping or meal planning, to have one night a week when we don’t even have to have a discussion about what is for dinner is a huge relief. And with as hectic as Mondays can be, it’s the perfect night for our no-brainer dinner.
2. I’VE STOPPED DOUBLING UP ON THINGS
Before we did our house renovation, I had a lot of stuff I didn’t need laying around. I had pans to cook every possible thing you can think of. Specific pans or pots or dishes. For just about everything. And yet, 99% of the time I use the same pan every night. I would pick up all sorts of serving dishes for when we entertained. I also had about seven tongs, three potato mashers, approximately 39 spatulas and a bunch of other things. When we did the renovation and then renovated the kitchen a year or so later, I cleaned in a big way and was ruthless about getting rid of all of the extras. We hardly entertain and I’ve never had anyone ask me where my special serving dish for the mixed nuts is. I also have friends and family with all of that stuff so I could always borrow it if I needed to. (I pay them back by being the official family/friend/neighbor owner of a roaster oven—called a “Nesco” in Wisconsin parlance—which is the key requirement to any party for 35 or more people that also involves a sporting event being broadcast on TV.)
3. I RESPECT THE STORAGE SPACES I’VE CREATED
Yes, I create storage anywhere I can, because that’s what you do in a small house, but I’ve also made it a point to not allow myself to create overflow areas. If the sweater drawer is too full, something has to go before any new sweaters can come in the door.
4. I AVOID MOST “FREE” STUFF
About a year ago I cleaned out two baskets of beauty samples (those little packets of moisturizer or shampoo or eye cream that you get when you buy or order similar stuff). It filled a gallon-size plastic bag to the point where I couldn’t close it. I took them all to work and let everyone grab what they wanted, but now I never take the samples unless it’s a product I know I’ll use for traveling or something I truly want to try. The same goes for other giveaways and samples. Unless I really want it, I just don’t take it.
Don’t get me wrong. Life is great because it is complex (most great things are), but it’s nice to simplify some things so you can make room and time for the more complex parts of life. Do you do anything to simplify your life?