simplify plan

This morning, I was Googling “how to simplify your life” to get some tips and tricks. Of course there are a gazillion websites and articles devoted to the subject. This site from wikihow says when starting to simplify, “Create a simplicity statement. What do you want your simple life to look like? Write it out.”

Here is my simplicity statement.

I want to have a place for everything and everything in its place.

You might be thinking that sounds like an organization statement and that I don’t seem to have a full grasp of what it means to simplify, but bear with me. This statement works for me because:

  • If something doesn’t have a place, I probably don’t need it.
  • If everything has a place, I will notice when I have too much of something (e.g., trying to squeeze thirty pencils in a small pencil container)
  • This includes my mind. If I can’t remember everything, it’s too much.
The most important things I need to simplify are:
  • my wardrobe
  • books, magazines, puzzle books
  • beauty products
  • food products
And in order to make it actually happen, I need a plan, so here is my plan to simplify those areas of my life.

My Wardrobe

I buy a lot of clothes. It seems no matter how many I buy, I still have nothing to wear!!! I had a friend once that had a very simple wardrobe — black and khaki pants/skirts, simple colorful shirts, two or three pairs of flats/shoes. Every day she looked pulled together. She could mix and match almost everything because she stuck to a fairly simple wardrobe formula. I’d like to build a minimalist and versatile wardrobe that requires little thought and guarantees I am always (er, usually) well dressed. Here is my plan:
  • Cut wardrobe down to the basics — solid pants/skirts, simple and colorful tops, a few pairs of versatile shoes.
  • Give away what I don’t wear and what doesn’t fit.
  • Stop buying clothes. Limit myself to $x per season.
  • One in, one out — buy something new, give something away.
  • Stop impulse purchases. 

Books, Magazines, and Puzzles

My collection of books is nothing to marvel at, but I have many that I don’t need anymore (The Baby Whisperer, much?) and others that if I’m being honest with myself, I will never read. Additionally, I have some magazines that I hang onto for no apparent reason and a gigantic stack of puzzle magazines. My plan:
  • Box up or give away the books.
  • Recycle the magazines or list on Craigslist.
  • Keep the puzzle magazines but unsubscribe so I don’t get more.
  • Stop impulse purchases. 

Beauty Products

I sure do love my beauty products. Almost nothing gives me as much joy as purchasing a new bottle of moisturizer, palette of eye shadow, or tube of lipstick. The thing is, I remember to moisturize about every third day, never wear eye shadow, and prefer Chap Stick over lipstick. My plan:
  • Only buy a new beauty product if I’ve finished my existing one.
  • Throw out what I don’t use.
  • Stop impulse purchases. 

Food Products

I waste a sad amount of food. Every week, I throw away a lot of produce and the leftovers we didn’t eat. One of the problems is I simply buy too much food. The other is that I don’t eat it. My plan:
  • Only buy what I plan to eat in the next two days.
  • When meal planning, include side dishes and vegetables.
  • Stop impulse purchases. 
An obvious theme here is:
Stop impulse purchases.

That’s far and away the biggest culprit in my cluttered and complex life. I suppose I need a separate plan just to address that. So here it is: just stop. Don’t buy anything I haven’t planned to buy for at least 30 days or unless I am replacing something I have finished (e.g., new sunscreen when I finish a bottle). I created a note in Evernote called “impulse purchases” and if I violate this rule, I need to write it down, so I can re-visit and see what my triggers are and whether the impulse purchases were truly necessary. 
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One Response to simplify plan

  1. You simplicity statement is great! That would work for me too, but I wouldn't have come up with it. 😛

    I like simplifying and find it very freeing. Peter is a simplifyer too, which is very helpful. The last time I simplified was in preparation of my move to Cologne (so, not too far ago), but we I already feel I need to simplify again, particularly my wardrobe and the kitchen. The kitchen floor has to be renewed anyway (too many broken slabs), so the whole kitchen has to come out. So that's a good opportunity to throw out unnecessary stuff. I like the idea to live with the essentials.

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