Saturday, October 23, 2010

5 Ways To Simplify Your Life

I don't know what your personal goals are for your life, but I am always striving for a simpler lifestyle, with more free time for personal projects and hobbies.

TIME to do the things I love is the biggest gift I give myself. So I've created some simple, no fuss systems that help me simplify my life and find more free time to live my *fantasy* life (which includes decorating, writing, reading, photography, gardening, cooking, exercising, constant learning and striving to become a better human being). :)

Here's my list:

1. Buy Less, Better Stuff (instead of more crap):

I cannot emphasize this enough. When I save up for that valuable thing I really want, I seem to cherish it and savour it more. I am a slow decorator because I like timeless, high quality stuff. While I love many trends, I can usually live without them.

This crystal lamp you see in many of my posts cost me a fortune (about $450) but I love it completely:
My cheap Ikea lamps are not so dear and will end up in the basement with all the other junk. Clutter and managing junk takes time I don't have!

Of course, you don't have to break the bank to get high quality things. Some of my favorite things come from a different time, when quality mattered more than it does now. I love old, heirloom things with patina. For example, these lovely linens came after hours spent scouring the Paris flea markets:

2. Go White for Basics:

You all know this one! Like many of you, I adore white and especially admire those all-white homes. But I also lust for colour. So the best solution for me is to use white elements to connect my rooms and bring consistency to my decor.

I buy all white sheets and pillow cases, which means I can easily add a pretty coloured blanket or duvet cover and don't have to worry about mixing and matching sheets:
On the white front, I also buy all white facecloths and bath towels, white dishes and all white candles!

3. Give Everything A Home:

I have a place for everything. I also declutter regularly, putting stuff in its rightful place. It takes a few extra minutes and I get a lot of exercise covering the four levels in our house, but at the end of every day, stuff is pretty much where it belongs. I'm no Martha Stewart but I know where to find everything. For example:

Envelopes and Ribbon go here:
I throw bills and receipts-to-keep here (quick and not fussy):
(at the end of the year, I file the important stuff, shred a lot, and keep a small box labelled with that year for important receipts, birthday cards, and mementoes)

4. Make a Space for Electronics:

I was tired of chargers and electronic stuff everywhere. This system isn't pretty but it works. I bought a medium-sized basket and threw everything in...
The basket sits in my office right next to the computer, so I always know where all my chargers are (I put a soft felt cloth at the bottom):
I charge everything in the evening when I'm on the computer and make a pass by the office in the morning to pick up my phone, ipod, etc. before I leave the house...

5. Use Your Library:

I still buy and covet books (and would love to have a Kindle), but I spend a lot less money and read a lot more widely with the help of my library. I also have a secret - I put decorating books on hold before they're even issued, ensuring I get the first copy!
If I read them and love them, I add them to my Christmas or birthday lists. It gives people something to buy me and I only end up with the books I really love.

How have you simplified your life?


  1. wonderful post, Terri. So funny, the first tip really got me, as I am just sitting down to take a break from cleaning out my junk room! Yes, I do so agree! NO MORE JUNK! and bravo for our libraries; I use mine all the time.

    loved this piece.


  2. These are wonderful ideas. Maintaining simple routines and being intentional about life is the way to have time to do what you want to do.

  3. hi terri,

    how do i simplify my life? well i could write a maybe a blog on it!

    i love this post terri b/c it really gives practical tips that work for you. i love all white sheets, towels, dinnerware, candles too.

    i too love things with age, especially accessories such as belts, bags, jewelry, etc. i think it makes the difference between fashion and style.

    i love the beautiful pictures of around your home. your bed is gorgeous! makes me want to take a nap now.


  4. Fantastic advice. We too only have white towels, dish cloths, bedding, linens, etc. So easy to bleach everything clean in the laundry.

    And yes, I use our library all the time. We already buy those books with tax money - why buy them twice to have my own copy at home?

    And I love your electronic organization. Will follow suit.

  5. I really like your book ideas...borrowing them first and then putting them on a wish list if you've really enjoyed them. Your taste is so much more refined than mine so you'll be surprised perhaps to know that I only purchase white towels now. Not going so far as to purchase white sheets...nope, but towels, yes.

  6. Great advice, Terri. I'm with you especially on not buying junk/avoiding trends and saving up instead for quality items. Right now, I'm eyeing several things in my house destined for the consignment store, which is not good. I also need to organize my paperwork and buy a shredder, so thanks for the reminder.

  7. Some great tips and ideas there...thank you so much. It's time I got serious about simplifying my life and "stuff.
    Thanks again

  8. I love your box of ribbon and envelopes. Perfect photo. You're so right about the buy less, better stuff. I have a pile of junk in my basement too to prove it.

  9. Great post Terri. It seems like I spend every weekend trying to declutter and put stuff in it's rightful spot (usually the trash!).
    Have a great week.

  10. I love your post! Many years ago I started to seriously pare down my house. At the current moment the only room that is embarassingly overflowing is my office ~ books and bills! So I'm definitely going to add in your ideas here.

    I'm with you on only purchasing things that you love and being okay with spending some cash on those items. It practically eliminates impulse shopping, which when you add it up can be a pricey past-time!

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. I love your first strategy. I'm trying to be better at that. I love a great deal, but I find myself getting a little tired of the cheap, reproduction stuff. No attachment. Easy to let it go. I'm beginning to appreciate things with a story...whether they cost a lot or a little.

    Thanks fkr sharing,

  12. Terri,
    I just might need to be your new BFF. Very sage advice that I can relate with! Organization is something I could spend hours talking about and I enjoyed seeing your solutions. My favorite subject next to design!!!

    Wish I was in Calgary in January to share some wine with you...although not too much, it's bad for our migraines-right?!