13 Ways to Simplify Your Life
Updated January 2020
Do you find yourself overwhelmed by your morning routine? Are you scrambling for backpacks, shoes and lunch money as you herd kids out the door? Are you hitting McDonald’s for the third time this week on your way to soccer, piano, karate, ballet or (gasp) all four? Are you wondering where “me” time is or couple time or just time? If so, you may be ready for a dose of simplification.
“A simpler life is a more meaningful life,” says Beth Dargis, simplicity coach. “So many options abound in this world that you may not be spending time on what is important to you and your family.”
Dargis believes that as parents we have the opportunity to model for our children how to slow down and relax.
“If you are living an overwhelmed life, you need to ask yourself if that’s what you really want for your children,” says Dargis.
But, she warns, “You may not feel more fulfilled unless the activities you choose to keep are based on their importance in your life,” says Dargis.
Ready to try simplifying your own life? Here are 13 of Dargis’s favorite tips:
- Allow only two to three extracurricular activities per child based on passion and interest, not on what looks good on a college application.
- Declutter regularly. Encourage children to sort through and donate toys before birthdays and Christmas and clothes with each change of season.
- Cut out recreational shopping—isn’t there something more meaningful you would enjoy doing?
- Post a calendar and daily routine on the refrigerator.
- Apply the once-a-semester rule: forgotten items are taken to school by the parent one time per semester. After that, children must face the consequences of no lunch, or homework or project
- When someone is talking to you, stop what you are doing and look at him or her. That person will feel heard and you won’t miss out on what may be an important piece of information.
- Check the calendar the night before so you know what you need to prepare for the next day. Have directions and phone numbers written down, clothes out, library books stacked, etc.
- Don’t fill up your entire day. Interruptions will happen.
- Everyone over age three helps around the house. We aren’t doing our kids any favors if they go to college now knowing how to start the washer.
- Post family rules so everyone knows exactly what is expected.
- Make sure you have time for the people in your life—family, friends, neighbors, people in need, etc. People are more important than things and activities.
- Teach the importance of scheduled relaxation. Require at least 15 minutes of quiet per day (electronics turned off). Use the time for meditation, prayer, yoga, family devotions, progressive relaxation, etc. Kids don’t have to wait to become adults to learn how to relax.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Some people will always have more things. Know what is important to your family.
“A wonderful side effect of simplifying your life is a that it creates a better home atmosphere where people are patient and kind, not irritable and rushed,” says Dargis.
To learn more, visit Beth Dargis’s website at mysimplerlife.com.