7 Free Things You Can Do This Week to Simplify

1. Clear your desktop. Software programs love to attach icons to our desktops, but who needs the clutter when programs can be easily accessed from the main menu? It’s funny, but I feel calm and peaceful every time I open my laptop and see just this beautiful ocean wallpaper. If you use Windows Vista, here’s how to deal with desktop icons. For other platforms, just google your software name and “remove desktop icons.”

2. Empty the change from your wallet or purse into a container every day. You might be pleasantly surprised at how small amounts add up over time. We’ve deposited our coins at the credit union for five years, and the account recently reached $500 – the minimum amount to buy a CD, so our ‘spare change’ now earns a higher rate of interest.

3. Cook a double batch of dinner, and freeze half. You’ll hardly expend any more more time or energy, and you’ll have a nice dinner all ready for a future busy night. For the best results, Taste of Home offers these tips for freezing foods.

4. Organize one shelf. If a journey begins with a single step, choose just one shelf or drawer to organize this week and enjoy the instant gratification of an uncluttered space. For real-life inspiration, check out Unclutter’s Workspace of the Week where readers share their tidied-up closets, drawers and offices.

5. Start a gratitude journal. If you’re like me, you have a couple of unused journals lying around that were given as gifts. Grab one, or a notebook or even index cards and jot down whatever blessings come to mind. Focusing on the positive is a wonderful way to start and end the day, and keeps us mindful of the abundance we have.

6. Deal with 10 pieces of paper every day. Take a paper off the stack;  act on it, file it or toss it. In a week, your paper stack will be 2 inches shorter. Keep up the habit for a month, and you’ll have 300 less papers lying around. Just don’t let any new papers wander in!

7. Take a walk. Refresh your mind, observe the world, and get some fresh air and exercise to boot. Take the dog along and you’ll both reap benefits!

What are your favorite free, easy ways to simplify? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

30 comments to 7 Free Things You Can Do This Week to Simplify

  • we have a worm box where all vegetable trimmings and any leftovers go, and the red wigglers make it all into gorgeous compost. taking that a step further, i’ve started saving all those scraps in a container in the freezer, and when I get enough to fill a slow cooker (usually about once a week) I put it in the cooker with water to fill and let it simmer on low overnight. the resulting strained vegetable broth is wonderful as a base for soups, for cooking rice, etc. and once the strained-out veg bits have cooled, they then go to the worm box.

  • […] I posted previously, one of the painless ways I save money is by emptying the coins from my wallet into a container […]

  • Oh-And I forgot to mention, Gratitude Journal- A must for all!!! No complaining for me.

  • I really like the “10 paper” strategy. My paper multiplies while I sleep, so maybe I can outsmart it! 🙂

  • Patty

    hi I just found your blog. Love it! Great ideas! I am working on no spending in January 2011! I have a stock pile of “pantry” items and can’t wait to see what I come up with!

  • eliza_cross

    Marian,
    Real Simple is a great magazine, and another favorite is Natural Home for ideas about sustainable living. Thanks for your comments!

  • Marian Maggi

    Hi Eliza, I love this! I used to subscribe to a publication called Real Simple, and I have missed it for a long time. I agree with some of your other reader’s comments–I feel simplified already!

  • Lori Riley

    All I want to do is default to #7. Already did that once today, so I guess I better get to work on that paperwork. Hubby has been home, and my desk is a disaster – about 100 pieces of paper!!! Oh, what the heck…I’m going for a walk instead 🙂 Thanks for the tips Eliza!

  • Beautiful new blog, Eliza! And these are wonderful suggestions, keep them coming! I’m going to clean up my work area right this minute.

  • Such helpful reminders, Eliza – thank you. I just got back from my River Writing & Sculpting Journey and am always reminded how simple life on the river can be, allowing time to breathe in the sunrise, or fall asleep counting stars under a milky way blanket. So thank you again for these reminders.

  • Maryjo Morgan

    Happy Blog Warming! Glad you have a new and spacious place for your words.

    I love gratitude journals! So glad to see you sharing this. Have fun writing here.

    Always hoping the BEST for you,
    Mj

  • Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart

    Congrats on the new blog. It’s beautiful. Love this post.

    I’m learning to make pasta from scratch in big batches so that I can freeze some. I’d been fooling myself with “store bought” is just fine, but I finally made a real batch of pasta with homemade sauce (like my gram made) the other day, and MAN! there is a huge difference.

  • Nancy Hicks

    I want to know how I can move to the place the ocean wallpaper picture was taken!!
    My battle to simplify involves keeping a box next to the dresser in my bedroom for charity items. Any time there is a question about keeping something, or I’m cleaning out a drawer, or pull something out of the closet that I haven’t worn since before I had gray hair, or . . . into the box it goes. Everytime a charity calls for a pickup I say “yes” and out goes the whole box. someday I hope to actually be getting rid of more things than I’m bringing in, but until then, I feel like I’m at least making a stab at fighting back!

  • OMG I feel better already and I have done none of your great suggestions-yet! But I will.
    Well, have a really good run today, and am about to empty my change-it’s heavy too!

    I think I recognize that adorable boy!

    As with everything you do, Eliza, this has great style, substance and artistry.

  • Donna Warren Hickey

    Nice looking blog-site – simple, clear cut.

    Pat me on the back; I’ve been doing that cooking thing consistently for years.

    Congratulations on the new blog.

    Donna

  • Kara Galvin

    I took a walk this morning to the grocery store, then emptied my change into the money jar. I will write in my gratitude journal this evening. Item #1- I am grateful for Eliza’s friendship!

  • I loved these tips – especially the one about dinner.

  • Abbie

    🙂 Good ideas and I’m going for a walk right now.

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