Five Ways to Simplify Your Life

I’m so excited to have Rachel Papworth of Green and Tidy with us again! She’s chimed in on ORDER, SERENITY and even during the Blogversary-apolooza and she is back today with the first of three essays on Simplicity. She’ll be here each Simplicity week with something marvelous, isn’t that great?! Let’s get started with today’s offering!

by Rachel Gertrude


I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love. I get so much satisfaction from transforming a disordered, cluttered space into a organised, beautiful area that works! I love it because it saves money. I love it because it reduces consumption and protects the environment. I love it because it saves time. I love it because it protects people’s physical and mental health.

And I love it because it simplifies life.

How often do you wish you could stop the world for a while? Get off the hamster wheel? Have an extra day to catch up while the rest of the world stands still?

If your life is like mine, it’s packed to the brim. This world is full of opportunities and it’s hard to say ‘no’ to them (and to other people!) Sometimes it gets too much. You end up overwhelmed by things to do and by physical STUFF.

Here are five ways to simplify your life.

Give this blog post your full attention

Go on! It’s good! Hehe.

It’s tempting to think that you’re achieving more by multi-tasking but often you get through your to do list no faster (in fact, usually slower). Plus you do each task less effectively because your mind’s not on it fully.

Multi-tasking is a tough habit to break so I don’t recommend trying to give it up overnight. Try focusing on one thing at a time for a few minutes each day at first and see how you get on. (I thought it would be easy until I tried it).

Mind your own business

Don’t try to change others or expect others to change the world. Concentrate on what you can be responsible for. Which, by the way, is anything you want to be responsible for.

Shift your thinking from ‘Someone should do something about that!’ to ‘What would I like to do about that?’ (And, if the answer is ‘Nothing’, stop worrying about it and focus your energies somewhere else).

Don’t make it more complicated than it is

When you catch yourself thinking or saying ‘It’s complicated’, take another look. Chances are it’s not complicated at all. There’s just something you don’t want to admit, take responsibility for or deal with.

Try explaining the situation simply, either to someone else or on paper to yourself. Wherever it appears complicated, focus on recording hard facts rather than your emotions about, opinions of, and attitudes to the situation.

Be yourself

Stick to your principles. Don’t be afraid to express your desires. Say what’s there for you. Express yourself. Don’t pretend you’re OK with something when you’re not.

I often coach people who are living with other people’s clutter to the extent that they haven’t got enough space for their own stuff. I ask them to look at why they are in that situation. What does it say about their sense of themself, their home and their life that they have allowed their space to be so constrained?

You can’t change someone else (see above!) but you can stand up for what works for you.

Spot your comfort blankets

Notice what you do to distract yourself from stress. Go shopping? Bite your nails? Eat chocolate? Drink alcohol? Next time you feel like this, notice the thought that’s just gone through your head. Just notice it. You might be surprised what you learn about the way your mind works.

I gave up a lifelong biting habit (nails, fingers, lips) that way. And I learned how trivial most of my worries are along the way.


Rachel Papworth runs Green and Tidy. She helps people all over the world declutter and create homes they love – homes that support them to live the lives of their dreams. A trained coach with a Psychology degree, and a self-confessed decluttering and organising geek, Rachel loves the way decluttering your stuff declutters your mind, and the contribution decluttering and organising makes to living a low impact life. For a free masterclass ‘How to declutter and stay decluttered FOREVER’, join the Green and Tidy community at

You can also follow her on Twitter, Like her Facebook Page, check out her boards at Pinterest and watch her videos on YouTube.

3 thoughts on “Five Ways to Simplify Your Life

  1. Hi, Rachel! I recently learned that multi-tasking really doesn’t accomplish much and is actually a poor use of time, so since then I’ve done what I can to focus on one task at a time. It’s much more fun and enriching that way. 🙂

    Sometimes I feel like clutter is synonymous with all the things we’d rather ignore and hope they’ll go away on their own, or things we can’t really be bothered to look at too deeply because we’re unwilling to face what they say/mean about us. The courage to look clutter in the eye and ban it from our environment is definitely something we could all use more of at any point in time.

    Thank you for sharing your view on this! 🙂

    • Sorry for such a late reply Otiti. I hope you stop by here and find it.

      Multi-tasking is a tough one. I was thinking about it only today as I was scanning a load of documents while dealing with various other online stuff. Sometimes it seems appropriate. If I’d concentrated only on the scanning, I’d have sat still doing nothing while each document scanned. Mind you, maybe that stillness would have done me good…

      Other times (like checking Facebook while chatting on the phone), it reaalllly doesn’t work. 🙂

      Physical clutter is always a symptom of mental clutter. You’re right that it takes courage to deal with it because it usually means facing up to decision we’ve avoided and actions we’ve been reluctant to take. That avoidance weighs us down though and taking the decisions and actions is freeing and empowering.

      Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy my other posts too. 🙂

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