One of the questions I get asked most is “How do you travel so much?” The answer: Simple living and having a clear focus on my priorities in life. Everything is a choice. And I choose to embrace my own version of minimalist lifestyle so there’s more space for travel and freedom.
Minimalism doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. I live in NYC and I don’t have kids. That means simplifying for me will look different than someone who has a family in the suburbs.
Here’s my basic guideline: Does this item/decision/invitation boost or inhibit my freedom? Does it streamline or clutter my physical or mental space? Will it help or hinder my ability to get where I want to go in life?
If you’re ready to simplify your life so you can travel more, save more money, and have the freedom to live the way you truly want to live, here’s some inspiration to get you started.
25 ways I’ve simplified my life:
1. Small space living. This is par for the course in NYC, but I chose to live here in a small, clutter-free apartment versus living somewhere where it’s easier to sprawl.
2. Going cable-free. Any TV/movie watching happens via online streaming. There’s absolutely no need to spend money, or waste time, on cable.
3. Cooking at home. Healthier, cheaper, and often tastier…especially when I’m not the one cooking. 😉
4. Cook once, eat four times. There’s two of us but we cook four servings for dinner. I eat the leftovers for lunch for the next two days. Tip: Store leftovers in mason jars to just grab and go.
5. Closet cleanouts every few months. We revisit our wardrobes seasonally or when purchasing new items.
6. Keeping everything in its place. I organized the apartment so we know exactly what we have and where it is.
7. Reducing “catch all” areas. If everything has its place, then we don’t need too many drawers or baskets or closets to put random items.
8. The one-in/one-out rule. For everything I buy, one thing of that same nature goes. So if I buy one dress, one dress gets donated.
9. Sticking to multi-purpose tools. I question anything I want to buy that serves only one purpose, especially in the kitchen, bathroom or garage where those must-have tools and gadgets seem to multiply on the regular.
10. Online statements and billing. Nix those paper statements and just say no to mail clutter.
11. Automatic savings. I put money away each month on a schedule before I have a chance to spend it. I have an emergency fund and a travel fund. This is the easiest, set-it-and-forget-it way to budget.
12. Digitizing everything. I love the Kindle app for books, Evernote for writing notes, Wunderlist for to-dos, and Mint for personal finances.
13. Unsubscribing from junk email. I stay on email lists I value and truly want to hear from and use unroll.me to unsubscribe from retailer emails, flash deal websites and anything else that I don’t actually need in my inbox.
14. Reducing digital clutter. I meticulously organize my computer folders and keep everything off my desktop except an inspiring photo. Notifications are turned off on my computer and (mostly) on my phone. I regularly file away emails down to inbox zero.
15. Reading the news all in one place. I use the Feedly app to aggregate news websites so I stay on top of current events without the overwhelm of social media or web browsing.
16. Using one credit card. I put recurring charges and daily purchases on one credit card with bonus airline miles. It’s easy to see where the spending goes, and I get to rack up the miles for free travel.
17. Time blocking. I try to split my day up by similar tasks and level of effort. For example, I use time-chunks for emailing and phone calls, running errands, creative work, etc.
18. Single-tasking. I can multitask with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean I should. Concentrating on one task at a time helps me do more, better.
19. Learning to say no to other people’s priorities when they’re not aligned with my own.
20. Prioritizing my values. By getting clear on what’s most important to me, I can let go of the rest. See above.
21. Home workouts. Finding awesome (free!) workouts online helps me save money, time, and excuses.
22. Car-less living. This is another easy one for New Yorkers, but biking, public transportation, and car shares are a viable option in many places.
23. Quality over quantity. This applies to clothes, furniture, beauty products, food, exercise, friends, work, everything.
24. Simplifying my beauty routine. Instead of expensive lotions and potions that don’t actually work, I have a few multitasking, non-toxic skincare items and my skin is all the better for it too.
25. Limiting social media. Besides engaging with you all, I rarely post or engage in personal social media. Social media is like sugar—best in moderation.
Living a simpler life gives me the physical, mental and emotional space I need to make the best choices about the things that matter most to me. I feel pulled together and ready to jet knowing that my home, finances, and life are in order.
I hope some of the ways I’ve simplified my life can help you work towards simple living too! Leave a comment to let me know which of these ideas you might try or if you have a great tip that’s worked well for you.
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