simplicityOver the last several years, Dave and I have been focusing on simplifying our lives. From not buying stuff just to buy it to using what we have until it actually wears completely out to just enjoying each moment for the moment, we’re trying. Here’s 50 things we’re doing. I hope you’ll share more ideas with us!

[Tweet “50 ways to declutter your life and start living.”]

Get rid of Shoes and Clothes if:

  1. You haven’t worn it in the last 12 months
  2. You haven’t ever worn it but think you might someday
  3. You are keeping it because it might fit again someday
  4. You spent a lot of money on it, and even though you’re never going to wear it, you feel better not getting rid of it
  5. There are stains, holes, rips, tears, snags, etc.
  6. It’s outdated or out of style

Get rid of books if:

  1. You can get the book digitally
  2. You’ve already read the book
  3. You will never read the book
  4. The book has enough dust on it you can leave a fingerprint
  5. It’s a cookbook and you can look up the recipe online (or, like me, you don’t cook)

[Tweet “Out of clutter, find simplicity. – Albert Einstein.”]

Get rid of magazines and cancel subscriptions if:

  1. You haven’t read last month’s issue when this month arrives
  2. You have a stack of magazines you haven’t read
  3. You have boxes of magazines you store “just in case”
  4. You think the magazine will someday be valuable enough to sell
  5. You can get the subscription digitally

Get rid of home décor if:

  1. You don’t remember where you got it
  2. It has no intrinsic value
  3. It has no emotional value
  4. It has enough dust on it you can leave a fingerprint in it
  5. It no longer works with your current home fashion
  6. You don’t like it

Pay down debt by:

  1. Sleeping on it before making big purchases
  2. Paying more than the minimum payment on all credit accounts
  3. Not buying it – you don’t need it anyway
  4. Focusing on a single card to pay off (high interest or high balance), then using the money you save from that payment for the next card
  5. Not buying it if you don’t have the cash to pay for it
  6. Consolidating debt and closing credit cards

Reduce your monthly spending by:

  1. Skipping the morning latte and taking a cup of coffee with you to work
  2. Packing lunch instead of eating out
  3. Skipping the monthly trip to the hair salon and do it yourself
  4. Mani-pedis at home rather than at the salon
  5. Skipping the new outfit you think you need but really don’t; when you do buy, choose classic pieces that will last
  6. Using coupons at the grocery store
  7. Checking for discounts on purchases before checking out (my sister regularly saves 10-15% on purchases at department stores simply by checking her for coupons and sales offers while she’s in line to check out)
  8. Taking advantage of member benefits that give you discounts: AAA, AARP, American Legion, and others all offer travel, insurance, prescription, and other discounts that can save you money
  9. Renegotiating your monthly payments on everything. Our insurance company just tried to raise our rates on our car insurance (we don’t drive to work, put less than 10,000 miles on the car each year) by more than 20%. We called around, found similar coverage for less than we were paying before the increase and switched immediately.

Build savings by:

  1. Taking your extra change at the end of each week and put it in a change bucket in your closet
  2. Taking a set amount per week in cash and putting it in an envelope earmarked for whatever you’re saving for
  3. Paying down debt so that you have more disposable income to tuck away
  4. Maximizing employer-matched retirements
  5. Putting money in a Christmas account so that when the holidays come, you have cash to spend instead of credit
  6. Putting the money aside in a special account (or secret hiding place) every time you resist buying something you might otherwise have purchased.

Learn to embrace frugality by:

  1. Growing your own veggies and herbs
  2. Mowing your lawn with a push mower that doesn’t require gas, oil, or expensive maintenance
  3. Reusing and repurposing rather than throwing out
  4. Repairing rather than replacing
  5. Making do with what you have and being grateful for it
  6. Sharing what you do have with others; trade and barter rather than buy new
  7. Planning errands so that you make less trips and use less fuel

I’m inspired daily by Becoming Minimalist. If you’re looking to do more than just save a few dollars every month and really want to begin changing your mindset, start there.