27 Simplicity Legends Reveal Their Most Practical Tips To Simplify Your Life

One of the most important success lessons that I learned in my life is:

“The easiest way to become successful is to find someone who is already successful at what you want to do and follow his/her footsteps”

That’s why when I decided to start the Midway Simplicity blog, I reached out to the top simple living advocates with the following key question:

“Could you please share with us one of your
most practical simple living tips/ideas?”

I was looking for more mainstream ideas that are not too harsh for the lifestyle of an ordinary person who just wants to find peace and enjoy more with less, without becoming an extreme minimalist (i.e. the Midway).

I received awesome replies from 27 humble, wonderful and inspiring simplicity advocates (or as I prefer to call them: Legends).

In this post, you are going to enter and explore the world of simple living from the shoulders of inspiring icons who are making our lives more peaceful and joyful.

Leo Babauta - Zen Habits

Place limits on everything you do.

Limits force us to choose the important and eliminate the rest, so that the limits make what we do more powerful.

So only do email for 10 minutes, twice a day, for example, and only send out 5 sentence emails. Only own 100 things, or do three important tasks each morning. Only travel with 10 things, work for 6 hours a day, or go to a restaurant once a week.

Those are only examples, of course — you’ll have to find limits that work for you.

 

Courtney Carver - Be More With Less

My best tip to start living more simply is to stop checking email first thing in the morning. Instead, do your most important work first. That could be a yoga class, writing, or another work project. When you check email first, you do everyone’s important work besides your own. You react to messages and shift your schedule based on email. Instead, do what means the most to you first, and check email a few hours later.

 

Francine Jay - Miss Minimalist

When you’re decluttering, start with a clean slate: completely empty the room, closet, or drawer you’re working on. Then put back only those things you truly need or love. It’s much easier (and more fun!) to single out things to treasure, than to single out things to toss.

 

Joshua Becker - Becoming Minimalist

Schedule solitude into your life. Simplicity is a counter-cultural lifestyle. Advertisements bombard us from every possible direction calling us to earn more, buy more, and possess more. Their messages and imagery are powerful – far more persuasive than we realize. Simplicity requires turning off that noise, centering our hearts on what’s most important, and crafting a new life… often without completely disengaging from the existing one. Meditation and solitude provide that opportunity. The basic steps of simplicity will always look similar (slow down, live with less, focus on what’s most important), but they will only come into sharper focus when we set aside time to separate our attention from everything else competing for it.

 

Lorie Marrero - Clutter Diet

Think prevention. Most people focus on reducing what they have already accumulated—like cleaning out a closet—but they forget to look at the habits that made the closet crowded in the first place. Be very mindful of what you are bringing into your home.  Don’t pick up things just because they are free, or because someone is giving them to you, or because they are “perfectly good.”  We have printable “Clutter Prevention Wallet Reminder Sleeves” on our free tips page (www.clutterdiet.com/freetips) which are used for holding your favorite credit card in your wallet.  They have printed on them the five questions you should ask before buying anything.

 

Allan Douglas - Simple Life Prattle

It’s OK to say NO

One of the greatest stress producers we have in modern life is the pressure put upon us to participate in social organizations, to be involved in activities, to “be there” for everyone who asks.  These are worthwhile things, but *you* need to choose which ones to devote your time and energies to; don’t succumb to the notion that if you decline an invitation you’re a heel.

Of course if you decline all invitations so you can sit on front of the television, that’s another matter.  Spend your time in worthwhile pursuits, but don’t hand control of your time to others.  Make your own choices, don’t over-extend, then do your very best in those activities.  Reserve sufficient time to be spent together with your family, as a family.  Investing your time and attention in your children will pay large dividends as they grow up.

 

LJ Earnest - Simple Productivity

To me, the easiest way to simplify your life is to stop multitasking. By focusing on a single thing at one time, you get more done, and you lose the craziness of trying to maintain multiple tasks in your brain at once. It gives a feeling of space and peace that allows you to simplify other areas.

 

Erin Rooney Doland - Unclutterer

A simple change to make is to put a hook or bowl for your keys near your preferred entrance to the house, and then deposit your keys there every time you come home. It’s an easy habit to form, and in addition to saving you time so you never have to hunt for your keys, it might also help you in an emergency. If you’re ever in the position of having to leave your home quickly, you know exactly where to find your keys. If you live in a high crime area, be sure to store your keys in a place that isn’t immediately obvious to an intruder, like on a hook on the back of your coat closet door.

 

Robert Wall - Untitled Minimalism

If I could sum simple living up in one word, it would be “intention”.

Every time you start a sentence with “I have to….”, stop for a minute. Put that sentence under the microscope and ask, “why?” Is it because somebody else would do it? If so, you’re living somebody else’s life. Is it because somebody else expects you to? If so, then you’re chasing somebody else’s dream.

You’ll never be happy unless you’re living your life, and chasing your dreams. Figure out what those dreams are, and do your best to intentionally order your life around achieving them. That’s the core of simplicity.

 

Trent Hamm - The Simple Dollar

Build a relationship with your neighbors.  If you have a good relationship with the people around you, they’re a constant resource for borrowing things, helping out in a pinch, keeping an eye on your place while you’re away, and often for friendship without having to go out.  One of the first things I do when I move into a place is meet and build a relationship with the people around me.

 

Colin Wright - Exile Lifestyle

Focus on what’s important to you, and let that guide your decisions in life, your purchases, and your activities. Aim to reduce from your life the things you don’t enjoy at the same time. After a while of doing both of these things consciously, you’ll be in a much better spot, with less of what you don’t want or need, and more of what you do.

 

Joshua Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus - The Minimalists

Keep it simple, don’t live outside your means, and be true to yourself no matter what.

 

Tammy Strobel - Rowdy Kittens

When I walk in the door I immediately put my stuff away. For example, shoes aren’t allowed in the tiny house, so they either stay on the porch or sit by the heater to dry off. The same goes for my wet rain coat. I hang up my coat above the heater to dry and then it goes into the closet.

In addition, each of my belongings has a designated home. I have a spot for my computer, power cords, clothing, and books. Putting stuff aways saves me time because I don’t spend 15 minutes looking for my keys or iPod every morning.

If I don’t follow these simple steps, I can’t seem to find what I need and it’s frustrating to constantly look for the same belongings over and over again. The trick is forming a ritual of picking stuff up and putting it away.

 

Colleen Madsen - 365 Less Things

When it comes to this journey of living with less all you need is a little determination and a lot of resistance. Determination to reduce what you own and resistance to the temptation to replace it with something new. The first thing I did was to stem the tide of stuff coming in and then slowly but surely I have reduced the clutter that already existed. As time wears on I find I am prepared to release more and more things. Every day I reach a new level of satisfaction and one day, I know not when, I will reach my final destination. Right now I am happy to be somewhere midway.

 

Andrea Briggs - Inside Thread Studio

Love what you have.

One of the most helpful & motivating techniques I have used personally in my own life to simplify my habits and slim down my personal clutter & possessions is to truly love what I have.

I asked myself these questions over and over again…

  • How much of what I own do I truly love?
  • How much do I buy do I end up keeping? Or even really use?
  • How much of what surrounds me is really necessary and used in my day to day life?
  • How much of my stuff is secretly sucking my energy?

Over and over, I asked myself these questions and applied them to the stuff surrounding me through this slow and easeful practice, I ultimately re-shaped how I purchased, used, and kept my personally belongings.

I realized, I should never underestimate the positive or negative energy my things created and when stuff is shoved and piled around the living space it can truly effect daily energy and over all emotions. Simplifying can be easy, especially when you re-examine the attachment to your personal belongings and what all your things mean to you! Ask yourself those questions each day and see what happens!

 

Beth Dargis - My Simpler Life

My most practical tip is about the To Do list. Go over the lists of the past weeks. How many tasks did you accomplish each day? Now average it for the week. How many did you average for a day?

When you make your to do list for tomorrow – check to see what the average tasks accomplished was. If it was 10 a day, don’t have a to do list of 20. You will just feel badly when they don’t get done. If it was 3 a day, have the three most important things to do on your list. And everything else you do will be a bonus. The more realistic you are about how much you get done on an average day, the better planning you will do.

 

Andrea Dekker - Simple Organized Living

Do 15 minutes a day… every day. Turn off the phone, shut down the computer, give the kids a snack, and spend 15 minutes totally focused on cleaning and organizing. Don’t get distracted by anything, but instead, race against the clock to see how much you can accomplish in that short amount of time. We all have 15 minutes a day — and by doing 15 minutes every day, we can accumulate 90 hours of cleaning/organizing a year!

 

Tina Su - Think Simple Now

Set a date with yourself every day — for 30 minutes to an hour or longer — where you turn off the TV, the phone, computer. Take this time to read, to journal, or close your eyes and relax.

Simple living is a reflection from your inner state of mind into your external. It all starts from within. Doing this will help center us and re-group our souls from the noise that clutters our inner space.

 

Nina Yau - Castles In The Air

Examine closely what is in your life that you actually need in order to be happy, healthy and at peace. Genuine abundance is everywhere, most especially within yourself. After we’ve removed the extraneous, the unnecessary, we are left with the extraordinary.

I find questions are the best inner compass since everyone’s journey will be unique.

What do you use, consume and wear on a daily basis? Make a record of this for the next thirty days. Now of these things, what made you happy? What did you enjoy doing, wearing, using? What made you unhappy? Are you able to let these things go?

 

Neil Pasricha - 1000 Awesome Things

Embrace the 3 A’s of awesome!

 


 

Gary Foreman - The Dollar Stretcher

Many people are familiar with the concept of ‘zero based budgeting.’ That a budget where you don’t start with last year’s expenses as a baseline, but rather start at zero. Even dollar must be justified. A similar tool can be applied to our lifestyles. Sort of a ‘zero based lifestyle budget.’ Just because we did something last year doesn’t mean that we need to do it again. Adapt to changing times, changing needs and a changing personality. Take a look at everything you do and decide whether it adds value to your life.

 

Matt Madeiro - Three New Leaves

Make a swap. Each day of the week, take one thing you normally do (watch TV, surf Facebook, etc.) and shorten it by 30 minutes an hour. Spend that time on something with an impact: read a book, take a long walk, go to bed earlier, etc. These small changes alone can make a huge difference in your week, so imagine what would happen if you did them for a year?

 

Wanda Urbanska - Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska

In our busy lives, there is no better gift you can give yourself (and others) than building a cushion of time into your schedule. If you have an appointment and you calculate it’ll take you 30 minutes to get there, leave 45 minutes early. That way, if you’re delayed by traffic or other reasons, you won’t have to stress. When you arrive, you can compose yourself, drink some water and get ready for whatever is at hand. This simple step can make a big difference.

 

Miriam Ortiz y Pino - More Than Organized

The easiest way to keep things simple is to learn to ask yourself a couple of questions before you buy something. The first is “do I already own something that would do the same thing?” The second is “do I want to take care of this new thing for it’s lifetime?” These questions work for everything from snack food to new cars. There is no right or wrong answer, just what will work for you.

 

Pea Syne - Simple Humble

Everyday we are bombarded with choices and things that are supposed to improve our lifestyles and bring us more happiness. However, improved lives and contented, at ease people are the last thing I see on television, online or in public. In fact, when you do meet these calm, spiritual souls they really stop you in your tracks, because they STAND OUT.

Their strength of quiet resolve, trust in their own instinct and refusal to mingle in the affray of shallowness and the absurdity of the world can really take your breath away…just for a minute.

We all have this ability and innate self wisdom, most of us allow it to die from mis-use. We ask others for truths about us that we really already know. We follow trends instead of what is right and pure for us. We don’t listen to our gut feeling when someone points us in the wrong direction masquerading as a potential partner, friend or a financial advisor.

To opt for simple living in today’s world you have to re-tune your mind-set and to do that my simple advice is to run from the crowd for at least half an hour a week.

Turn off the noise, AKA the ‘news’, the demands, the worry, the grasping advertisers and desperate celebrities doing all kinds of PR stunts just for a slither of your attention.

Return the attention to yourself and ask yourself if you are where you need to be. Ask yourself if you are truly happy and find the answer to that question…don’t leave it hanging. If not, what are you doing to change it? Ask yourself if you are still interested in being exceptional and brilliant or sit there and explain to your disappointed soul why have you given that up. Ask yourself if you have picked the absolute best people to spend the remaining irretrievable years of your life with or should some of them hit the road.

That’s my simple advice. It isn’t about minimizing ownership of quantities of products. It’s far more important than that. It’s about maximizing time with yourself. Because if you are not happy with your answers at first, regular quality, quiet time will eventually reveal to you the best way to get the answers you wish for. It will also heighten the desire and understanding of minimizing for less quantity, more quality.

 

Tiffany Washko - Nature Moms

Revolving credit may be great for the economy, but it ties you down to payments for things that you probably didn’t actually need or even want but rather felt that you had to have. Paying off your credit cards is an important step on the road to living a minimalist lifestyle. The freedom that comes from not being tied to a financial obligation for your stuff is worth it in the long run. It will also likely help you avoid buying things you don’t actually need.

 

Leslie Cao - Radical Turtle

When going shopping, purchase clothes only made out of natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, wool, bamboo, and hemp, not polyester, rayon, or acrylic. Depending on the shop, it will probably eliminate at least half of your clothing choices. So, in the end, you purchase less and longer-lasting, better quality clothes, while reducing your environmental impact. These fabrics are able to biodegrade since they are not made from oil-derived plastic.

 

Thank you all for your awesome & simple insights that enlighten our lives.

Your lives inspire us to find peace and enjoy more with less.

 

What is your most practical simple living tip?

Please share at least one in the comments below. What you share adds a ton of value to the community!

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31 Responses to 27 Simplicity Legends Reveal Their Most Practical Tips To Simplify Your Life

  1. Tiffany (NatureMom) April 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Courtney Carver | Be More with Less April 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Mohamed! Thanks so much for including me in this legendary line up. I love this great advice and simple living tips that we can all benefit from. I can’t wait to check out some of these blogs that are new to me.

    • Mohamed Tohami April 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

      Courtney, it’s an honor to have you in. Your blog is one of the primary resources from which I learn about simple living. I’m a big fan of your work.

  3. Robert Wall April 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    I’m not sure I’m a “legend”, but I’ll take what I can get. :)

    I agree with Courtney; this will be a nice list of blogs to check out. Many I’m familiar with already, but there are definitely new faces.

    Thanks for including me in this, Mohamed!

  4. Erik Johnson April 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Amazing advice. I just found dozens of new blogs to read. Good thing they aren’t magazines or I’d be violating most of the advice!

    • Mohamed Tohami April 18, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      LoL! I’m sure you’ll enjoy their blogs as much as I do. And I hope you will have Midway Simplicity on top of your reading list :)

  5. Andrea April 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    What a pleasure..thank you for the inclusion and what a fantastic line-up as well!

    • Mohamed Tohami April 18, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      The pleasure and honor is all mine Andrea. Thanks for your contribution.

  6. Josh April 18, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    Great lineup of people! #allstars
    Some of my favorite bloggers gave some wonderful advice :D

    • Mohamed Tohami April 18, 2012 at 7:55 am #

      Yes! They are all amazing. I like the way you chose your domain name. It’s minimal :)

  7. Jenni Shaver April 19, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    Wow. This is such a great compilation. I am so impressed by the sage advice and words to change by. Saw some old friends… and look forward to meeting some new ones from this list.

    Thanks!

    • Mohamed Tohami April 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks Jenni, I’m glad you like it. Their words are truly awesome! Keep inspiring people through your blog too.

  8. pea April 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Yay! Im a legend! I’m not even going to read this now. I’m going to come back and savour each participants answer one by one.
    That is an impressive list there of online stalwarts of simplicity and simple living. Your work is most impressive Mohamed.

    • Mohamed Tohami April 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      Thanks a lot Pea. I’m honored to have you in the list. And yes, you’re a legend in your own unique way.

  9. Sandi P April 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    To sum up, less is more, but only if it enriches our life. We also need to stay in touch with ourselves to know what are the true “needs” in our lives. Of course there is a lot more to it than that, which is why I already look to so many of the blogs listed here. I thank you for this list, and look forward to getting to know some of the new advisors you have listed here.

    • Mohamed Tohami April 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      You nailed it! “Only if it enriches our life” … Totally agree.

  10. Patrick Smith May 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Dear Trent, thank you so much for mentioning this page on your weekly roundup.

    Dear Mohamed, thank you so much for putting this together, this is no mere ‘list blog’, there are some truly wonderful contributions here, and I’m now familiar with a broader group of bloggers talking about a life I aspire to.

    Dear Neil, you made me cry at work! I can’t believe I’ve not seen your TED talk before, but it’s one I’ll know for the rest of my life.

    Thank you everybody, you’ve brightened my day.

    • Mohamed Tohami May 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      Thanks Patrick. I’m glad this post resonated with you.

  11. Joel Zaslofsky September 7, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Hi Mohamed,

    I found out about you today when Joshua Becker linked to your site in his “8 New Blogs” article. After just poking around the place a little, I dig what you’re doing!

    The headline for this article jumped out at me immediately because I did something very similar a couple of months ago. I had a post that featured a number of the folks you do called “27 Simple Sages Reveal How They Simplify and Organize Their Amazing Lives.” I swear I was unaware of your existence before creating that headline and coming up with that number. :)

    This article really resonated with me so thanks for providing everyone’s collective wisdom here. I’m going to check out your greatest hits in the next few days and think about if we can explore some synergy. I also like that we’re both doing online shows, you with video and me with audio. It’s awesome to chat with amazing people and allow them to share their insight with everyone else, isn’t it?

    • Mohamed Tohami September 7, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Hi Joel,

      Thanks a lot for reaching out. I believe I visited your blog several times and enjoyed your posts so much. I would love to feature you in the Midway Simplicity Show, if you’re interested.

      I learned this type of ‘collective wisdom’ posts through Corbett Barr’s course Start a Blog That Matters. Have you been through it too?

      Let’s get in touch and as you said explore some synergy.

      • Joel Zaslofsky September 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

        Hey Mohamed,

        I’m aware of Corbett’s course but I’ve never taken it. I got a good chunk of my blogging wisdom from the A-List Blogging Bootcamps and I’m still a member.

        I’d love to join you on the Midway Simplicity Show! I’ll send you an email to coordinate some details.

  12. SimpleBetterSolutions February 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    These are some great suggestions I would also add the importance of giving up what is not important to you in order to gain more out of life. I blogged about via this link.

    http://www.simplebettersolutions.com/do-more-of-what-you-like/

  13. Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin May 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Wow! A very impressive lineup I follow a couple of these individuals and am glad I came across the others.

  14. Derek January 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    Throw out your tv! It funnels mainstream culture and consumerism right into your house!
    The internet with all its commercials and ads can be even worse.
    Since we’ve been married, we haven’t owned a tv and chucked the internet from our home 5 years ago. We are happily living our life with no idea what we’re “missing out on”! :)

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