Residing in Simplicity: 10 Ideas for Welcoming the Benefits of Living Simply into the Everyday
Wednesday July 3, 2024

The dance of sunlight glimmering through the trees as the leaves gently swing in the summer breeze.

The welcoming home joy knowing a good book sits on your reading table awaiting you to open the pages and begin reading again.

Time in each day to breathe deeply and decide well what to do next and savor what you are doing now without glancing at a clock.

Each of these examples and oodles more capture the observations, delights and pleasure our lives entail when we choose to infuse our lives with simplicity.

Over the years, TSLL has shared many posts and episodes focused on the theme of simplicity: the benefits of embracing simplicity, how to tailor simple living to our unique selves as well as underscoring that to live simply well IS simply luxurious living at its core. And in fact, about 18 months ago, this post sharing How to Live a Simple Life, immediately became a favorite of readers.

The latter post mentioned above shares the concepts, the necessary constructs, we must consciously address, understand and then choose to put into place if we are going to be able to truly live a simple life and thus experience the many benefits. So since I have covered all the serious and necessary components of simplicity, today I wanted to discuss the “fun” or enjoyable to explore and dance about with ideas when it comes to what simplicity looks like in our everydays.

As with everything we talk about here on TSLL, each of our lives will be uniquely designed/curated/tailored, choose the verb you prefer, to align with what we know to be true about ourselves and what brings us deep abiding contentment. And perhaps because I find myself in the middle of the summer season, I cannot help but take note of how simplicity enriches this leisurely time of year all the more. So I would like to share with you 10 ways simplicity shows up in my everydays intentionally and how residing in this approach elevates the quality of life. May it inspire you as you intentionally invite a simple approach to the rhythm of your days and begin to enjoy the benefits of living simply luxuriously.

1.Choose one primary focus each day, just one.

Having a long to-do list each day may feel rewarding to have if we check off each item at the end of the day, but the reality is we overwhelm our mind as we move through the day, and often one if not more of the “to-do”s doesn’t receive quality attention or completion.

With that said, as a recovering long-list maker, when I finally began paring back how many tasks I placed on my schedule each day, especially during my work days, and only selecting one major project or large task to focus on each day, the days and time with that primary focus became something I not only enjoyed working on and as a result produced high quality work, but also looked forward to the day before knowing what awaited my full attention with the new day’s arrival.

In this detailed post written last August, I shared How I Use Planners and Notepads in My Everyday Routine, and even when it comes to my weekly list of objectives I hope to accomplish, I keep that list short with only 3-5 items. In other words, I have a clear priority of where I want to place my energy, and if other things don’t get accomplished, I am at peace with that knowing I did accomplish the few things that meant the most to my life experience and direction determined by my intention.

Also, by having solely one primary focus, I give myself flexibility to dance with how the day unfolds, and so long as somehow I complete that one important task, I will be at peace and also present to have been able to have engaged well with my full attention whatever may have happened throughout the day.

2. Ritualize the morning and evening routine

How the day begins and ends is largely entirely in my control, so with intention I have designed or chosen the details of how the day starts and concludes with consideration for what nourishes me, what brings me calm or jump starts my energy without feeling pushed or prodded as well as what encourages me to want to fall asleep and with a mind that is calm.

In episode #380 (shared below), we discussed the topic of rituals vs. routines as inspired by a new book that came out recently. As you begin to consciously embrace simplicity, be sure to explore where you can add rituals to your everyday as they will no doubt elevate the quality. In this episode, I share detailed examples of how I have included rituals throughout my day if you are looking for more ideas.

3. Drive slower and remember to Zipper!

When I purchased Le Papillon, I relocated to the other side of Bend which meant a bit more driving on a daily basis, and more interaction with drivers, rather than being on foot as previously I could walk more easily quite a bit. As someone who doesn’t enjoy driving but knows how to drive well as one must living in Central Oregon with our winter weather, the less time I can spend on the road behind the wheel of a car, the happier I am. With that said, I foresee no future plans for public transport additions to our town, so driving a car I will be for most of my daily tasks away from home.

Once I accepted this and also acknowledged that some of my stress came from driving and having conversation with fellow drivers (unbeknownst to them) while I was driving, I realized, it doesn’t matter, and why am I in a rush? Slow down Shannon.

All of this is to say, when I slow down (I now will set my cruise control just about any time I am not in the direct downtown as it keeps me safely spaced from the car in front of me with a feature included with my car and ensures I go the speed limit). This lowers my stress and enables me to be more engaged as a driver, as well as saves energy on my hybrid.

Secondly, I had to smile while listening to this segment on NPR last month about Zipper Merge. I smiled because I had first heard the term from my boyfriend at the time back in 2017 who hailed from Germany and was regularly reminding drivers to “zipper!”. Having never heard the term before, I assumed it must be more common in Europe, but I quickly understood what he was asking them to do as it made complete sense. Ever since, I have continued to remember to do this in my own driving. So hearing the term on a national program here in the states made me hopeful that we might adopt it as well, and I have to say, many people in Bend do tend to practice it!

4. Stick to a wardrobe color palette of five or fewer colors that work well with each other

This may sound too stringent or not simple enough based on your experience and ease with making decisions for what to wear for any occasion that may pop up, but what I have found over the past just couple of years is that when I only purchase clothing that adheres to my colors that I know complement my skin tone and hair as well as work well with other colors – primarily neutral colors, I reduce the stress when making purchasing decisions and then ensure I have something that I both want to wear and looks quite sharp when I put the ensemble together.

After adhering to this approach off and on over the past 10-15 years, I still have many items in navy that pair well with new items I have purchased in the past couple of years. Purchasing well and in my colors of choice ensures this mixing and matching of old and new items can happen more often than not.

In this post and this post shared over the past two years, I share key approaches to effortless and worthwhile investment style approaches that regardless of the trends will leave you look and feeling your best for years to come.

5. Invest in quality details that you utilize regularly

If you enjoy listening to music throughout your day, invest in the best device that you prefer to use – AirPods, headphones, radios such as Bose or Roberts radios, etc. If sipping tea throughout your day elevates the quality, invest in the best and your favorite teas and always have them stocked (here is a list of my favorites).

When we hone in on what we know elevates the quality of our day and let go of what others do or suggest we should do to live well that doesn’t do the same for us, we pare down but elevate up. For example, I am not someone who needs or would enjoy having a smart speaker to talk to in order to turn things on throughout my house or anything else it may assist me with, but I know many people who have this device in their house and love it. However, because I know how I enjoy living, letting this common preference not be part of my daily life doesn’t affect me in the least, so I go without. Just as if someone doesn’t like tea or a special caffeine drink to begin the day, they wouldn’t want to invest in quality tools and varietals to enjoy.

The simplifying shows up when we say no to what we know would just clutter and make less likely to happen what we love and what would elevate the quality of our days. And it all begins with knowing yourself.

6. Keep a schedule and plan one appointment ahead

Whether it is with my own haircut and color or grooming Norman and Nelle, or rotating my tires or serving the car or my yearly doctor’s check-up, before leaving or finishing the current appointment, I schedule at least one appointment out. Now with grooming the pups, as I am their groomer, what I make sure to do is go to my planner, look 8-10 weeks ahead, and schedule the day that they will be groomed, so that I don’t forget and also prioritize that day to reserve for their groom.

Tending to this simple planning approach takes the stress off of trying to squeeze in an appointment with the specialist when I know I need one (and soon as I forgot to plan ahead) that may be booked out well in advance and thus delay when I can find an appointment slot. When you know you are scheduled, and it is booked, you can rest assured that what needs to be done will be done and in a timely matter, not too late (so you always look and feel great) but not too early either (ensuring we stay within budget).

7. Keep the épicerie stocked, but not overflowing

Any time I am using something that I pull from the pantry or even the fridge and I see that by the next use it will be empty, prior to that happening, I place the item on my grocery list to pick up. Even if the next time I use it will be six months down the road – for example a special flour or grain – I pick it up now because I inevitably will forget and wish I had stocked up.

As someone who has a small pantry, what I call my épicerie (here is a list of my 34 must-haves in my épicerie), I don’t want to store too much and I only want what I actually will use, so I typically give this space a good thorough edit once a year just in case something has been sitting there and is not being used so that I can free up space if possible.

8. One social outing a week (sometimes more than one)

Keeping my life simple, knowing myself – self-identifying as HSP and an introvert, and also ensuring I stay within my budget as well as enjoy myself without restraint, I have found this approach has worked well for me during my regular weekly schedule. If I have too many social outings, I often become drained and one of the extra outings becomes unenjoyable no matter how much fun it would have been had I only been involved with it that particular week. Again, this is what I strive to do to honor my energy levels due to what I know I need to have for a good work week and personal time.

Of course, this will change if I am not working and vacation has arrived, etc., etc..

By intentionally choosing and planning my social outings, I also choose wisely and then enjoy the time prior to the outing as I plan, get ready and just let myself look forward to it.

9. One schedule have-to appointment each week (no more!)

On the flip-side, the have-to appointments – the dentist, the health screenings, meeting with the [enter the specialist/expert/parent/teacher conferences/etc.] that may be stressful or unenjoyable, so long as I can plan them, I have learned that I never want to have two or even more in one week. No matter how simple an appointment may appear when we plan it six-weeks in advance, seeing the doctor and then the dentist in the same week is not my idea of a week I will look forward to.

10. Saving all financial business until Friday

Something I shared in this episode which gave me the idea of having Financial Fridays, has become a weekly ritual I absolutely look forward to, and something that has changed my relationship with money in the most positive of ways.

In the coming new season of the blog and podcast (this September kicks of season 15 for the blog and 11 for the podcast!) I will be sharing much more detail about how to be the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of your own life, and for me, a foundational piece was reframing how I approached money, handling it well and thus mastering it.

So what are Financial Fridays? (of course, you can choose which ever day of the week works best for you) On this day of every week, when I step into the office, I know my work and writings for the blog have wrapped up for the week, and all of my focus zones in on the following:

  • Paying all necessary bills (ahead of schedule or on time as I won’t be paying any bills until next Friday)
  • Budgeting (I do this monthly)
  • Making any purchases – business and personal (this gives me time throughout the week to ensure I really want what I think I want – so I am responding and not impulse purchasing)
  • Preparing or paying taxes (depending on the time of year – quarterlies, annual tax prep, payroll, etc.)
  • Checking in on progress toward a savings goal, or any goal related to money
  • Organizing and filing documents, receipts.
  • Anything business related that will help things run smoothly – office supplies, inventory, cleaning up my desktop – literal and computer, cleaning up computer files, etc.

As you can see, these are pretty straight-forward, but you may have other financial tasks you will want to include. The key is to make this a consistent and regular date, and while initially, it may not be a fun day you will look forward to as you might dread looking at all of the details of your finances, once you have a handle over why you are not organized, or what stresses you out and how to shift your mindset around money (again, listen/read this post/episode as it really does provide helpful tips to shift our mindset around money), I am confident the dread will turn to anticipation because you’ve got your money situation simplified and running smoothly. And when you have financial freedom, you give yourself back peace of mind, which strengthens your confidence, which makes decision-making easier as you don’t want to lose this state of ease.

Simplifying and sticking to keeping our money simple, as much as we need it to be for our situation, has a powerful effect on the entirety of our energy throughout the day and thus how we engage with others.

Notably, the above 10 ways shared reflect a life that brings me peace of mind and are very much tailored to the life I enjoy living. The ways you reside in simplicity will be unique to you, but hopefully you have found some ideas throughout today’s post or have been reminded to invest well where it would serve you best and also have the courage to say no where it just adds more clutter (literal or conceptually, thus mentally). Also, by being honest about what causes stress and frustration in your life, then you give yourself clarity to know what exactly to address so you can bring them back into a state of functioning constructively ensuring they no longer cause you stress and hold you back from living an amazingly satisfying and fulfilling life.

How to Live a Simple Life
a readers’ favorite, #top100


8 thoughts on “Residing in Simplicity: 10 Ideas for Welcoming the Benefits of Living Simply into the Everyday

  1. What a lovely post to wake up to, thank you Shannon! I find myself accepting simplicity more and more and it feels wonderful, real, genuine. It is my inner voice speaking that I’m finally quiet enough to listen to. Simplicity, for me, hasn’t come easy. It’s an almost daily fight to keep it intact against the continual onslaughts, whether the world outside closing in, or my own nature trying to take over and push me to return to previous bad habits, or even moving past the guilt feeling of not living at the pace others choose and has come to be culturally defind as success. Love your 10 ideas to welcome the benefits of simple living! I see a few that work for me already, as well, and a few new chestnuts to try out.
    Have a simply glorious day

    1. Melissa,

      Tickled you enjoyed this post and it was a treat to wake up to. As you spoke to, making this shift has to be a constant regular practice until it becomes our nature to live in such a way, but that will happen in time. That is the good news! And what a gift we give ourselves when we choose to reside in simplicity. 🙂

    2. Isn’t it amazing that we feel guilty when we have a lie-in or decide to stay in instead of attending an event, etc? We push ourselves so much, don’t we?

      1. I haven’t felt that way for a very long time. Others may try to impose guilt, but that is a reflection of them more than me. Learning that lesson has been liberating. 😌

  2. All good and doable ideas, I like that you expand on ideas past the usual list that is normally touted on the internet. Financial Friday is one to consider adding. I have a thinking day, a planning day and a course or study day, all depending on what I have planned for my more strenuous physical activities for the week. My creative time is ongoing, the rest of my world revolves around this state of being, but this is what I like, this is where I am happiest.

    Having Fibro has taught me to be organized in my thinking because that is what can drive me or defeat me.

    Being an introvert and HSP myself I understand the complexities that can come up in a normal day. Add in that I seem to be an INFJ can make my introversion a wee bit past the hermit mode, ha-ha.

  3. Happy Independence Day (or Treason Day as I have been seeing the Brits tease today :)).

    I am a day late, but glad I made it. Great little nuggets to live a life of simplicity, Shannon. Only this morning I was telling my son (who is visiting with his college roommate) that I planned to do absolutely nothing today to which he looked at me and said, “Oh, yeah? So what will that entail?” because he is well aware that I am not one to do absolutely nothing. And, he was right. I did have a list going in my head such as planning out our family trip to the beach at the end of the month, and of course, providing them with meals throughout the day. However, I have made loads of improvement because I am not spending my holiday cleaning cupboards and baseboards :).

    Speaking of rituals and routines. This morning I asked his friend if he wanted a “proper cup of coffee or a generic one from the Keurig”. He said he was hoping I’d offer because he liked the cup I made for him using the French Press on the last visit. He had me go through the whole process with him of how I freshly grind the beans and allow them to “bloom”, etc. Then he repeated it all back to me. I think there may be a French Press in his future. :). Creating my morning cup (usually the only one of the day) is one of my favorite rituals.

    I am so glad I learned about the Zipper Merge. I am one of the people who have been accusing those using this method of being rude. Right now, on my commute home, there is road construction that requires everyone to merge into one lane. The only problem is the other drivers allowing you in. We all need a lesson, I suppose.

    Financial Fridays are such a wonderful idea. Although I usually wait a few days with items in a cart to make sure I am not impulse buying, only making purchases on Fridays will surely help.

    Looking forward to seeing what T&T has in store for us tomorrow.


  4. Great ideas for bringing simplicity into our lives, Shannon. It was a big relief for me to finally reach a point where I scheduled only three things to focus on per day, and list them in my daily planner. In the past, I would fill up my days with too many tasks and feel overwhelmed and frustrated when I couldn’t get them all checked off. As an introvert, I have learned to limit my social outings to one or possibly two events per week. Having a planner that displays a week at a time is so helpful to keep myself in check. Well, I must say I am very intrigued by the term Zipper Merge. Now I must go to YouTube to learn about this. Thanks Shannon for all the helpful tips.

  5. Brilliant post, Shannon! Just as I was unpacking from a recent trip, I was thinking I’ve slowly been gravitating toward fewer colors in my wardrobe. To verbalize this is helpful. Okay to add some color in scarves, etc. but keeping things simplified just makes sense. Things which are loved, and of high quality and bring joy. I remember the first book on simple living I purchased in 1996 (by Janet Luhrs). It just made its way to the consignment bookstore – so many of the principles resonate from nearly 30 years ago, but with an updated approach. It reminds me of what you’ve shared – the universe keeps giving me the lesson I need to learn! :). Maybe I’m finally getting it, with gratitude to you and this community.

    Thank you for putting links to previous posts for review! It’s helpful when something resonates to explore content more deeply. Greatly looking forward to the CFO posts and learning more about your tips regarding financial organization, relationship with/approach to money, etc.! Always appreciate this! My husband constantly sends “wishes”😏 to other drivers for them to zipper properly. Looking forward to purchasing the planner for 2025 (looks like there are a few 2024s still left), and getting things a bit more sorted, one thing at a time!

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