23 cheap ways to simplify your life at home this year
Posted by AMH Team
8m read time
Feb 1, 2023
The new year is a great time to look at ways to simplify your life. After all, we’re starting with a clean slate, in our homes, bodies, and minds. We’ve got renewed energy, goals we want to achieve, and all kinds of events to look forward to. At AMH, we want to honor 2023 with 23 easy ways to simplify your life at home.
Make your bed
Making your bed takes just a few minutes each morning, but it sets your entire day for success. A clean bedroom leads to more productivity, less stress and anxiety, better sleep, and a more robust social life.
Try a morning or evening routine
Making the bed should be a part of your morning routine, but test other things to see what feels right. Rather than checking your phone when you wake up, read a book for 10 minutes. At night, maybe doing light stretches for 5 minutes before bed puts you in a more relaxed mood. Even simply writing down something you want to accomplish tomorrow can work wonders when done consistently.
Create a monthly maintenance checklist
While some home repairs are unavoidable, many can be prevented or reduced with regular maintenance work. Rather than saving everything for one long weekend, create a home maintenance checklist for each month of the year. It’ll keep you on track for more frequent tasks like changing your air filter, while reminding you to prep for seasonal to-dos like winterizing.
Switch to LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs have a higher initial upfront cost than standard bulbs, but they’ll save you money over time. Per the Department of Energy, LED lights may last 25 times longer and use 75% less energy than a standard bulb. Lowering electricity use, carbon emissions, and your monthly energy bill? That’s a no-brainer.
Clear your garage
Your garage likely contains things you need, such as a car, lawn care equipment, and seasonal items like a grill and holiday decorations. But plenty of clutter has likely built up over time, too. Clearing your garage offers peace of mind and an excellent opportunity to revisit what’s important.
Reusable soap tablets
Save time and money with reusable soap tablets and a glass spray or pump bottle. When you run out of soap, simply combine water and a tablet in the bottle. It’s better for the environment and will save you multiple trips to the store to replenish disposable soap containers.
Simplify your screen time
Do you subscribe to several email newsletters that you never read? Do you have dozens (or even hundreds) of tabs open right now? Simplifying your life includes your digital presence — close a few tabs right now and keep a minimal amount open. Use a platform like Pocket to save things you want to read later. For emails, try one of these tools to mass unsubscribe.
Get rid of paper clutter
Clutter can build up around the house for several reasons, but paper clutter is among the most common. You can usually safely recycle junk mail without issue. Invest in a cabinet, box, or folder for your important documents, such as bills or medical records. If you don’t need the original paper document, scan it, or take a picture on your phone, then store the digital file in a clearly marked and secure folder. Discard (and ideally shred) the original.
Turn your bathroom into a spa
Practicing regular self-care simplifies your life because you’re more productive when you feel better physically and mentally. No need to go to a fancy spa — you can create the same ambiance in your bathroom. Simple steps like using aromatherapy, adding live plants, and upgrading to a fresh set of towels all add a feeling of luxury for a fraction of the cost.
Start a new exercise routine
Many people set fitness goals at the start of the year. You know what you and your body enjoy doing most, so aim for a new routine that you also find fun. That might look like taking your dogs for more extended walks. It could be joining a local league to play basketball, frisbee, or another sport. Prefer to stay at home? There are tons of free workouts on YouTube and apps like Nike Training Club that feature exercises you can do from the comfort of your living room or back patio.
Check your finances
Is tax season the only time you have an eye on your finances? Simplifying your finances can lead to a lot of good things. Switch your paper bills to online billing — many companies even offer discounts when you do. Automate your payments if possible to avoid falling behind. Develop a monthly budget for money coming in and going out. Seeing everything laid out in front of you helps with both near- and long-term planning.
Ditch the plastic
Plastic can harm the environment and can also cost you more money over time. Some of the easiest ways to replace plastic at home include using reusable totes and sandwich bags, buying spices in bulk, and storing food in glass containers and beeswax food wraps instead of plastic containers and cling wrap.
Get a compost bin
A compost bin in the kitchen will save you time and energy when preparing meals. Food scraps and coffee grounds are compostable. Rather than throwing them out, drop them into a compact compost bin. You can then use the compost for gardening or put it out with the garbage bin on trash collection day.
Use efficient cleaning hacks
A messy home is often not a simple home. That unsightly mess in the kitchen might cause you anxiety and lead to pests and bacteria growing at an alarming rate. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your cleaning efficiency. Set timers to create a more fun environment, collect clutter throughout the house with a storage bin, use mesh bags for loose items in the dishwasher, and learn the wonders of combinations like hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
Carry water with you
If you struggle to drink enough water during the day, bring a reusable water bottle with you. Take a long sip when you sit down at your desk, and another one when you stand up. Some bottles — like this cute toad one — have reminders to make sure you stay hydrated.
This one may sound tedious, but it could save you a ton of time. For one week, track what you do throughout the day in either 15, 30, or 60-minute increments. Most smartphones also have features that show you how you spend your screen time. Perhaps you’re on social media for two hours a day, or you spend three hours cleaning when you could be getting it done in an hour. Identifying wasteful activities can help you be more productive and make relaxation time more fruitful.
Try an herb and vegetable garden
Rather than going to the store every time you need herbs and veggies, what if you could grow some right in your home container garden? You’ll bring in new food sources for pollinators while also getting tasty food for your meals.
Mulch your leaves instead of raking them
Raking leaves into piles makes it easier to gather them to throw in a grass trimmings disposal bin, but it doesn’t benefit your yard. And there are the inevitable back aches and stiff hands from working a rake. Instead, if you’re responsible for your own landscaping, consider mowing your leaves — you’ll improve the health of your soil and the environment, save time and energy, and decrease the number of weeds in your lawn.
Build a meditation space
People who regularly meditate have greater emotional well-being, like building skills to manage stress, increasing creativity and patience, and reducing negative emotions. Creating a meditation space in your home doesn’t need to be a major undertaking, but it will unlock positive thoughts and feelings.
Prepare your meals in advance
Meal prep involves investing some free time now to avoid stress and rushing later. Whether working from home or going to the office, making your lunch is healthier and more affordable than regularly ordering out. At the end of a long day, knowing you’ve got a tasty meal ready to go sure beats cooking for an hour you don’t have to spare.
Do your dishes after each meal
If you’re in a rush, you might toss your used plate and silverware in the dishes or leave them on the kitchen counter. That can quickly introduce bugs, bacteria, and other unpleasant pests into the home — and there’s likely an accompanying smell that goes with it. Take an extra minute or two to put the dishes in the dishwasher. It’ll also save you the mental anguish of seeing a pile of dirty dishes stacked up.
Clear out expired food from your pantry
How often have you bought something, put it in the pantry, and forgotten about it? Your pantry probably has several expired items, from snacks to spices. Grab a basket or bag, toss all the old things in there to throw out, and enjoy the freshness of your updated pantry.
Embrace the power of “no”
We went from “YOLO” to “FOMO” with plenty of other acronyms in between, but this can be the year of “NONO.” It’s perfectly acceptable to say no sometimes. Will attending an event add extra stress to your plate? Skip it this time around. However, make it a firm “no” — if someone invites you somewhere, don’t give them a maybe. Commit one way or the other; they’ll appreciate the heads up, and you’ll have a stronger sense of your priorities.
Keep this advice in mind and you’ll be in a great position to make 2023 your simplest year yet. Which tip will you tackle first?
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