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Despite how the headline of this post sounds, I’m not giving life advice. That would be most ridiculous case of false expertise blogging in the history of the Web (and if you read blogs you know that there are a lot of “experts” out there). I prefer to think of posts like this as tidbits about stuff I’ve done that you may or may not find useful. Which pretty much sums up everything on this blog.

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.


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.


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.)


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.


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?

5 Responses

  1. This is good. We do the first one on Saturday nights. We have pizza and try to watch a movie. Sometimes we don't do the movie, but we always know what we're eating that night. I'm going to try the other suggestions you give. Something's gotta give here…

  2. I have yet to become part of the paperless society. I am adrift in books, mags and clippings – all of which I find hard to significantly reduce. And lots of things certainly fall by the wayside during gardening season. Good list and it is easier to work on these things during the indoor season.

  3. Great advice! We're renovating our bathroom and I threw away a kitchen catcher bag full of shampoos and soaps from hotels. My husband just loves to bring those home with us. And under all that, I found his cherished nail scissors which he's been accusing me of stealing for 4 years.

  4. Hmmmm
    Does this mean "get the f out of my blog, SAJ"?? False expertise and hoarding are my passions. Haha well I'm not leaving. I simplified my life in a huge way when I quit social media. And I created a wardrobe that requires no thought and handles many occasions. I couldn't believe how much time I used to waste standing in my closet trying random things on.
    Simplifying my kitchen? Never. I have multiple backups for my backups and somehow seem to use everything all at once. But I do cook very big. At least I put the effort in some places, right? 🙂

  5. I (try to) do all the things you listed. This is a good reminder to try harder. My life gets out of control during the summer months when I spend all my time in the garden and let things pile up inside. Literally. Piles of stuff are hard to plow through. This will be my project now that the gardening season is coming to a close. Good reminder!

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