‘Tis the Season to Simplify!

Fall is a favorite time for a lot of people throughout the country, but it can also mark the beginning of one of the most hectic (albeit happiest) times of the year–the holidays. To prepare for the onslaught of parties, potlucks, shopping, and crafting to come, here are some tips to help you take stock in your day-to-day living and help simplify your life. As always, we’d love to know what tips and tricks work for you, too!

Start Sharing
Clutter comes on slowly and before you know you’re drowning in it. Although giving to Goodwill or hosting a yard sale are always great options, there has been a recent resurgence in Sharing Communities where people can post unwanted items in exchange for things they more readily need or want. Yerdle is one of the most popular right now, with more than 300,000 members and more than 200,000 items given to date.

Get Rid of Unwanted Mail
Ever feel like you’re getting more mail than you can keep up with, paper and electronic? Combat both with some easy apps and tools that help keep the flow under control.
If you have an Android or iPhone, you can now easily rid yourself of unwanted snail mail with PaperKarma(r). This app lets you take photos of the offending sender’s return address and makes the request on your behalf to be taken off their mailing list. You can check the log of your submissions to see which ones were able to be successfully processed.

Unroll.Me also helps you manage you clean your electronic inbox by managing your subscriptions in one place. Either unsubscribe from mailing lists with one click or “roll them up” into one digest that you can have delivered in the morning or evening.

Pay Cash
The convenience of using plastic to pay can’t be denied, but its ease of use can also mean it’s easier to lose track of how much you’re spending and exactly what you’re spending it on. Instead of swiping for everything you buy, try to allot yourself a set amount of cash per week or paycheck and only use your cards when you absolutely have to. Seeing the money leaving your wallet will make it harder to give into purchases and you’ll start making more thoughtful purchase decisions. Use the extra cash you end up with to splurge on something you really want or build up your savings.

Reconsider Commitments
It can be easy to feel obligated to say “yes” to every invite that comes your way, but before you sign up for another afternoon at a PTA bakesale, girls’ brunch, or second cousin’s bar mitzvah, take a minute to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I want to do this?
  • Do I have to do this?
  • What happens if this doesn’t get done?

Although it might initially feel like a lot of the appointments taking up our social calendar are absolutely necessarily, oftentimes when you drill down and take stock, you’ll see that you have more wiggle room than you think. Only say yes to the things you really need or want to say yes to, and politely decline the rest. Then use your newfound free time to actually do the things you enjoy!

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