February 7, 2023

10 Areas in Which I have Simplified my Life

Simplifying your life mean some thing different to every person.  To one person it might be giving up everything to live in the countryside and keeping chickens and goats, and to another it might be just living in a minimal home.  At one time I wanted to move to Bulgaria with a plot of land and be self sustainable.  After 5 years here of keeping two large allotments, I realised that these old bones were long past those dreams and that the reality was not as much fun as I thought it would be.  Now I am happy with growing as much food as I can in the containers in my garden.

You don’t have to have a small holding or a cute cottage to live a simple life.  It is more about your habits and it is up to you to decide how you want your simple life to be, and what fits in with your family and where you live.  For me now it is just about reducing the chaos, living with less distractions and less possessions.  It is about living my life on my terms and with intention.

These are some of the changes that I have made to different areas of my life

My pantry.

This happened naturally as I did not have the money to buy expensive ingredients once I retired.  Once upon a time I would have had cupboards full of tins and packets that would often go out of date before they were used.  I now shop intentionally, and from my cupboards, fridge and freezer first.  I keep an inventory of what I have with dates so that nothing expires. This saves me money and time. I do not want to waste these precious resources.   Items that I buy are simple and have multiple uses like chickpeas, lentils, cheese, flour and eggs.  I keep dried items in glass storage jars so that I can see them quickly and easily, and I have got rid of items that I will never use.

My clothes.   

I had cupboards full of clothes when I retired and I did hang on to them for a while as I was scared that I would not be able to afford warm or good quality clothes again.  My tastes in clothes have changed and so has my weight.  I have had a big declutter and I now no longer have different sets of sized clothes in case I put weight on.  I threw all my big clothes so that I can not afford to put weight back on.  I have given all my fancy work suits to charity.  I have decluttered everything that I don’t love and not just kept things because they covered me, or because they were expensive.  My wardrobe is more capsule now with things that will go with each other and can be dressed up or dressed down. I do still buy new clothes but they will be good quality in a sale or from a charity shop.  I do still have some old clothes for gardening, though, to save my good ones from being ruined.  I have also started to wear an apron when I cook to look after my clothes.

My social life.  Once upon a time I used to meet people I didn’t particularly want to meet, go to events I didn’t want to attend and  buy food and drink  in cafes that I could not afford and that I did not particularly want to go to.  I felt obligated and I was doing what other people were wanting to do.  I have now streamlined my friends and we will often meet for a walk or I will invite them to my home or I will visit them.

My food.

Simplifying my pantry has lead to me eating more healthily.  I now make a meal plan and because I have less ingredients and make recipes with a few simple ingredients, I am more able to buy good quality food.  Instead of buying cheap meat or fish and using lots every day, I will now just buy a few bits of better quality fish or meat and eat it two or three times a week.  I am more plant based now and I eat a lot of what I grow in the garden or forage.  I cook less and do less baking, partly because of the cost of using the oven, but partly for health reasons and so we eat less sugar and carbohydrates.  We like simple food with salad or with two or three ingredients.  If I buy food I tend to buy it seasonally and locally now.

My cleaning products.

I used to have a big cupboard under the sink and another in the bathroom that were full of cleaning products.  I still have a few under the sink as I inherited them off my Mum and a friend and I haven’t got the heart to get rid of them, but I rarely use them as I make my own cleaning products from simple ingredients that are better for the environment. There are recipes for cleaning products and conker washing detergent on the website.

My errands

We walk a lot when we visit the shops and this reduces what we can buy and so we are more intentional.  When we do use the car we will plan in various activities on the way.  If we want to visit my daughter we might plan a trip to the tip on the way and plan a trip to a different supermarket on the way back.  Whilst in the area we will plan a walk that we have not done before, or we will plan a visit to some where that we know is good for foraging.  We will also fill up the car with petrol at a petrol station if the price is right and maybe pick up an Olio collection. I always keep shopping bags in my boot and a fabric cooler so that we are prepared for anything.

Expenses and money

I used to juggle seven credit cards and spend money without any idea of what was going out of my bank each month.   Even though I was on a good wage I was living each month from pay cheque to pay cheque. I now live on a fifth of what I was earning and never go into over draft and often have a bit of money left each month to put into my emergency fund or to save for a break away.  I budget, spend intentionally and only spend on things I need or really want  rather than buying them because I am bored, depressed, or think they will look good to other people.  All my money has a purpose, even if it is fun.  I use one credit card that I pay off monthly and I usually go out with out money on me as I will not need it. I will take food and drink with me and will entertain myself for free.  If I see something whilst I am out that I really want I will ask them to save it for me, or if it is gone when I go back I just think that I wasn’t meant to have it.  I have cleared all my debts and so the only money disappearing each month from my bank are the essential bills, and these I keep as low as possible.

Entertainment.  I used to shop as a form of entertainment and I no longer do that as material things only bring brief joy and then you are left with the stress of paying for them.  I also used to go to restaurants, pubs, go to an expensive gym, pay for expensive activities, go to the cinema and watch lots of telly on an expensive package, but I rarely do any of these things now.  I read, I watch You tubes to learn new skills, I garden, I forage, I walk and try to discover new paths and I just cloud watch and spend time listening to the birds and watch the beauty around me.  Expensive entertainment is rare but is enjoyed a million times more when it is not regular or routine.

My living area. 

I am  not totally there with my living area but it is a lot less cluttered than it used to be.  I have been decluttering for a couple of years now and have got rid of loads of ornaments, pictures, and spare stuff.  This helps a bit for when my grandson visits.  I am also just having in my home things that I really like and not things that I could not part with because they were worth money.  One thing that I have not been able to part with yet is my collection of books.  I am a work in progress.  We do alter how we use our living space by the seasons.  We have rooms that are warmer in the winter but colder in the summer, we have a room with a wood burning stove and we have a conservatory that acts as a dehydrator, a greenhouse, a dining room or a fridge depending on the time of year and the temperature.  This saves us money and is making the best use of our house.

My toiletries

I have really stream lined my toiletries.   I used to have cupboards and shelves full. I now have a big bar of soap that lasts a year, I get shower gels as presents, and we bulk buy our toilet rolls.  My face cream I buy half price on offer, or I get as a present, and I don’t wear make up except a kohl stick.  I buy a big bottle of shampoo and conditioner a year and decant it into smaller bottles and bulk buy toothpaste. I only wear deodorant if I am going some where I will be mixing with people and it is hot. I wash under my arms a lot instead as it is more healthy.  This year I am going to try to make some tooth paste, some deodorant and some other toiletries.

What does a simple life mean to you, and how have you simplified your life?




Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


  1. Nicola Mitrut February 8, 2023 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Since we became freinds i have adopted and enjoyed the lifestyle changes and the benefits are huge ..mentally and physically.
    Whilst Cat is away this time ..i will be walking more and intentionally losing size ( maybe not weight )
    Cooking for 1 and hopefully make even more changes to how i live life going forward .

  2. Lulugold February 8, 2023 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Pretty much the same, although I still have my adult son at home so space is not my own and clutter is much more his than mine. Since I stopped working I have the absolute gift of my time which is priceless I too thought about living in warmer climes with a small plot of land but gardening and maintenance on my own property has come with its disadvantages arthritis mainly limits what I can do. But long before Covid I’d discovered free entertainment by taking in everything on my doorstep, lucky to live by both the sea and farmland everyday beauty is my entertainment and passing the general time I’d Day with passing strangers does zap me of my energy. Simple Abundance I like to call this my faith. I just need to work out how to DIY brick work, reroof my garage and internal repairs on a budget and energy

    • ToniG February 9, 2023 at 4:52 am - Reply

      Bless you, yes it is not easy keeping up to the maintenance of a house on your own. I am so glad that
      you have found your own version of an abundant life. I believe that time is worth so much more than money.
      Thanks for sharing

  3. Caroline February 8, 2023 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Along with other changes to my lifestyle, I’ve simplified my thought processing!
    Through a combination of mindfulness and meditation, I’ve learnt to stop overthinking in it’s tracks. I no longer waste my energy on worrying about what others think, running multiple scenarios of what might or might not happen, worrying about the past or the future. And I no longer buy into other people’s unnecessary drama. I aim to think in the moment as much as possible. As a result, I find I have so much more available mental energy when I really do need it. I am also much happier and at peace. Highly recommended!

    • ToniG February 9, 2023 at 4:48 am - Reply

      I am so pleased for you. I think of medication as a shower of the mind getting rid of all the grime. Learning to live
      in the moment was a game changer for me too and reduces stress so much and being mindful brings joy. There are so many
      things that I had missed before. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Karan Fowler February 8, 2023 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    We eat seasonally and buy local, I don’t like the idea of food to hat has covered lots of air miles. We have decluttered our wardrobes and living areas. Our pleasures come from being outside and I have learnt to say “no”.

    • ToniG February 9, 2023 at 4:43 am - Reply

      Brilliant. It feels so much easier, doesn’t it?

  5. Nicki Cairns February 9, 2023 at 9:15 am - Reply

    My early retirement fuelled my need for a simple life. I look after my pennies but am learning to enjoy the simple pleasures of making my food from scratch, enjoying nature and learning to forage, keeping an exercise routine where I can enjoy quality time with my other half and of course learning to grow my own veggies. My health has improved with the removal of a stressful job. I have no regrets!

    • ToniG February 9, 2023 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Fantastic. I am so pleased for you. I think unless you can really slow your life down you do not have the time to enjoy the simple
      pleasures. Thanks for sharing

  6. Sal February 17, 2023 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I took part in a local Doughnut Economy group last year where we studied the book by Kate Raworth and discussed how we could incorporate it in our lives and local area. I started vertical growing and also growing at the front of my house in pots and old tubs, to encourage the neighbours to see what was possible. I had a lot of encouragement and interest, especially from children and I loved giving away plants and veg. This helped nurture my frugal mindset and also made me feel less of an ‘odd bod’ – I’ve always enjoyed making do and finding preloved clothes and furniture. When I was younger this didn’t fit with my peers so much who were buying lots of lovely things on credit. I can remember feeling jealous and comparing myself a lot. Not any more! I took early retirement from teaching in 2022 as a way to manage my osteoarthritis and mental health. My income dropped massively but I’ve never felt more satisfied or creative wrangling the challenge of living on less. I too am trying to remove all unnecessary expense and clutter, cooking more, making more, sharing more – it takes time to transition but I am enjoying it so much. Joining the Simple, Frugal FB group and reading this site has been a revelation and such a pleasure. Our Doughnut Economy group remains strong and is helping set up a ‘School for Climate Justice’ ( a group that will help support and inspire living a simple life individually and try to influence policy change locally). I thank you, Toni, for your honesty, sharing and time ( which is so precious) running this site. It is a beautiful path to follow having a simple, frugal life and with a guide such as this – what a journey we’re on!

    • ToniG February 17, 2023 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Aww I am so glad that you have managed to retire and are enjoying your new life with less stress and more joy. It is amazing how little that we learn to live on without really missing the previous bigger salary. Thank you so much for your kind words about this site and the FB group. Both are good for me as they keep me learning and growing and it is nice to be able to share knowledge in the hope that others can enjoy a simple, frugal life as much as I do. Thanks for taking the time to comment Sal

  7. Bri A February 26, 2023 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    I just found your site through YouTuber Frugal Jo. I will learn a lot from you and I will share it with others. Thanks for this delightful and inspiring site.

    • ToniG February 27, 2023 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Thank you for visiting. That is so nice of her. I appreciate that, thank you

Leave A Comment