Yes, it is possible to simplify your life with systems. Systems are designed to get you from point A to point B with as little effort as possible. You set systems in place to make your life easier. They serve a specific purpose. A solid system is a few things. It’s accomplishable, teachable, efficient, and should be reevaluated every couple of months.
There are many types of systems you can create. Your goal is to make them as simple as possible. But don’t be fooled. Creating simple systems takes time and you’ll need to trial and error a few methods before you land on what works. Let’s look at a few together so you have a starting point.
Paper clutter is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to stress. This is because it’s difficult to control the amount of paper that comes into your home. You never know how much mail you’re going to get each day. You can have a pretty good idea of how many forms your kids might bring home from school, but there’s always more than you think.
If your goal is to simplify your life with systems, paper should be the first thing you tackle. Luckily, paper systems can be pretty, well…simple. The hardest part is sticking with them. For starters, have an ingoing tray for all paper coming into your home. This includes mail, work documents, school forms, etc. Once you come home and get settled, round up all the paper and drop it in that tray.
Later that evening, sit down and sort through it all. Doing this daily is better than weekly as you’ll stay on top of it more. It’ll also take less time. Create a few file folders and label them for things that pertain to your life. For example, you might need a:
Separate all the paper into the appropriate folder. Anything that is junk should be recycled or shredded right away. When you deal with paper on a daily basis, you’re going to keep any piles from crowding the corner of your kitchen counter or dining room table.
Meal planning can be exhausting, but it’s one of the best ways to simplify your life with systems. Thankfully, you don’t have to do extreme meal planning. Meaning, you don’t have to come up with a new recipe every single day. Before you begin to meal plan, create a list of meal formulas. These are meals you know your family enjoys and are easy to shop for. Use those first.
Then fill in the rest of the week or month — however long you want to meal plan for — with new recipes. Be sure to shop your pantry first. See what you have and build a meal plan off of what needs to be used. This way you won’t spend money on items you already have. So sit down and create your meal formulas. Ask your family what their favorite dishes are and add them to the list.
Another area of the home you can apply formulas to is your closet. We’ve all been at that point where we have too much to wear. And yet we continue to buy new items. That shopping adrenaline rush is no joke. But it’s not going to help you simplify your life.
I want you to consider what you’re most comfortable in. Whether it’s jeans, a loose-fitting tee, and a cardigan. Or maybe it’s leggings and an oversized sweater. Now consider your go-to work outfit. Most businesses, whether they’re in an office or a retail store, tend to have a uniform of sorts. A dress code. Figure out what that is and write it down. Make sure to have a 5-7 color palette in mind. Colors you can easily mix and match.
As you sort through your clothes, split items up into two categories: work and life. Keep items you know fit the formula you created. Declutter anything that is torn beyond repair. Sell or donate clothes that don’t fit or you haven’t worn in years. You have my permission to keep a statement piece or two for special occasions.
Depending on how many clothes you have left, challenge yourself to a no-buy month. Or even year. Experiment and vow to wear everything in your closet at least once. Adjust your outfit formula as needed. If you’re serious about paring down your clothes, these titles can help you:
Money is never an easy subject to discuss. People are prone to getting defensive about how money should be spent or saved. But if you want to simplify your life with systems, you need to create one for your finances. The best part is there are tons of resources for you to use. So if you’re not savvy in the money department, you can turn to one of these for help.
Online programs for budgeting and expense tracking are rising up the ranks. Some of the most popular are:
Each software helps you create an overview of your expenses so you can see what you have each month. If your goal is to pay off debt, they can help. If you want to save for a big vacation, they can help. Financial advisors are another great resource. They can set up retirement funds and more for you.
But if you’re not ready to commit to something like that, one way to simplify your finances is to automate online payments. Never be late with a payment again. Automating bills gives you breathing room so you don’t have to remember to pay the bill yourself. Now, if you still pay certain bills via mail-in check that’s a different story. But since most bills are paid online nowadays, automating payments will vastly simplify your life.
Another area of your life that should be simplified is your schedule. It doesn’t matter how you plan or keep your to-do lists, if your schedule and priorities are difficult to track, you need a better system.
First, decide how you best go about your day. Do you need an hour-by-hour detail of what you need to be doing? Or do you prefer time blocking and getting certain things done on certain days? For example:
When you learn what works best for you scheduling-wise, you can better get done what needs to get done. It’s also important to audit your calendar every so often. Look at the next 2-3 months and see if there’s anything that needs to be adjusted. Were any events canceled? Did you commit to something you really can’t do? For uncertain events, use a pencil to write them down. This way it can be erased if it falls through.
Your schedule is meant to reflect the most important things in your life. Tasks that need to get done. Birthdays, events, etc. If it’s overflowing with unnecessary information, you need to get it out of there. Make your schedule exactly what it’s for: keeping appointments and tasks. Find another system to keep notes. If you prefer keeping all that together, look into the Bullet Journal Method. You can personalize your planning method to what works for you and you can simplify it as best as you can.
If you want to simplify your life with systems, it’s important to start with the areas that give you the most stress. If paper clutter is making you insane, start there. If your closet is bursting at the seams, tackle that first. Work your way through your home, life, and relationships. You can truly simplify anything and everything.
Part of my job is to help you clear clutter from your home and set up custom organizing systems so you can maximize and enjoy your space. So if simplifying your home on your own feels like something you can’t do, contact me today.
Do you have any tried and true systems in place? What area of your home gives you the most stress?
Photo by: Svyatoslav Romanov
February 22, 2022
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