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.
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. Drop a comment below!
About Eliza Cross
Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.
30 thoughts on “7 Free Things You Can Do This Week to Simplify”
🙂 Good ideas and I’m going for a walk right now.
Thanks, Abbie! 🙂 Love the smiley face!
I loved these tips – especially the one about dinner.
Thank you, Audrey! I love the horse photo on your avatar.
Readers — Audrey is an award-winning photographer and you can see more of her work here: http://www.audreyhall.com/
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!
It’s great to hear from you and I am grateful for you, too, Kara.
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.
You definitely deserve a pat on the back, Donna! I’m trying to get better about planning ahead.
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.
This is high praise coming from you, Gail. Readers, Gail and her husband Tom own Highland Haven Creekside Inn in Evergreen (http://www.highlandhaven.com), a splendid lodge that Sunset magazine named one of the top ten most romantic inns.
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!
Thanks for a great idea, Nancy. I need to get in the habit of “just saying yes” when the charities call.
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.
That homemade pasta sounds unbelievable. I need to dust off my pasta machine and get busy.
By the way, readers, you should check out Roxanne’s award-winning dog blog, Champion of My Heart http://www.championofmyheart.com/.
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,
Blog warming — that’s a good one, Maryjo! I’m setting out a virtual plate of brownies for everyone right now…
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.
Oh, that sounds lovely! I’d love to experience one of your wonderful river trips someday, Page. Readers, you can read more about Page’s work and the trips she leads at http://www.pagelambert.com/.
Beautiful new blog, Eliza! And these are wonderful suggestions, keep them coming! I’m going to clean up my work area right this minute.
Thank you, and if you get bored after you clean up your work area you are always welcome here! xo
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!
100 pieces of paper is NOTHING, I tell ya. Thanks for stopping by, Lori!
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!
Real Simple is a great magazine, and another favorite is Natural Home for ideas about sustainable living. Thanks for your comments!
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!
I really like the “10 paper” strategy. My paper multiplies while I sleep, so maybe I can outsmart it! 🙂
I think my papers multiply in the night as well, Barb – good luck with outsmarting them!
Oh-And I forgot to mention, Gratitude Journal- A must for all!!! No complaining for me.
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.