Minimalism, Simple Living

20 Things I Quit In Order to Simplify My Life

Back in 2013, I discovered the idea of minimalism and simple living and was immediately hooked. Ever since, I’ve been on a slow but steady course of paring down, intentionally setting parameters and limits around our days and time, and looking to cut out any excess that wasn’t adding value to our lives.

Now, over a decade in, I’ve officially “quit” a lot of things/practices/habits/mindsets that I used to have in the past. The list below is in no way comprehensive, but it does include twenty things I’ve given up in order to pursue a simpler life in general.

20 Things I’ve Quit Doing In Order to Simplify Our Life


1. Dyeing my hair

I originally stopped coloring my hair because we lacked the funds, but then I stopped doing it just because I discovered that I really actually love my natural haircolor and I also love not having to worry about upkeep. Sure, I have gray hairs coming in, but even those don’t bug me like a past version of myself might have thought they would — in fact, I might just embrace the gray as I get older and never dye my hair again!

This saves me so much money (over $200 a year, easy), and it also has helped me to worry about my appearance less in general (in a good way).

2. Wearing jewelry

This one kind of started unintentionally when I developed a skin reaction to my wedding ring after my autoimmune disease flared up for the first time, but now I just choose not to wear jewelry 99% of the time because it’s easier (plus with me flower farming now, it just doesn’t make sense to really wear jewelry anyway).

3. Buying new clothes just to have new clothes

A lot of these “beauty” related shifts came about gradually, but over time, I’ve become more and more intentional about them. I don’t want my daughters to get so hung up on appearance, so I’ve consciously chosen to give an example of presenting yourself in a clean and comely way without needing to obsess over it. In fact, I’ve purposely stepped away from worrying about fashion or beauty trends, trying to cover up the fact that I’m not 25 anymore, or talking/worrying about my weight. I feel like allowing myself to step away from any kind of influence that makes me feel like I need to look a certain way to be acceptable has been enormously freeing. I usually didn’t struggle too much with self-confidence in general, but now I love that I truly believe that if someone doesn’t accept me as I am, they aren’t worth keeping close to me.

With clothes, I finally have the right percentages of types of clothes in my closet. By that, I mean that because I spend 80% of my time at home (with the majority of that time spent at least sometimes outside on the flower farm), I have 80% casual clothing such as joggers and t-shirts. Because I essentially have a basic “uniform,” getting dressed each day is almost a nondecision, and whenever I do need to go somewhere out and about in public, I just upgrade the pants from joggers or exercise pants to jeans (lighter or medium wash for everyday trips to the store or to things like school meetings, and black jeans for slightly nicer events like business workshops). I wear dresses or skirts on Sundays and for an occasional more formal event, such as the business presentation I did last week at our local college.

Because I’ve streamlined and minimized my wardrobe so much, I now only buy new clothes when I wear something out, or when I need to size up or down.

4. Wearing high heels

I used to love wearing high heels on certain special occasions or out on dates or to church on Sundays, but once I had kids, wearing heels became so impractical that I just stopped doing it. And then one day last year when I put my feet into a pair of heels because my youngest was finally old enough to walk around on his own and I wasn’t pregnant at the time, I realized, “WOW, these are ridiculously uncomfortable and hard to walk in! Why on earth would I put myself through this anymore?!”

So there you go. I might not wear high heels ever again, and I would totally be okay with that.

5. Putting on a full face of makeup every day

I wrote a whole post a long time ago all about how it was really hard for me to ever go out in public or go a full day without putting on any makeup, and now, I’d say a full face of makeup is often the exception rather than the rule! The fact is, the flower farm keeps me so busy (especially in the mornings) that it doesn’t make sense for me to worry too much wearing a lot of makeup, especially since I’m often sweating and literally getting dirty.

Of course, even my “full face” of makeup is pretty minimal by some people’s standards (and possibly maximalist by others!), but my even more minimal makeup routine now often consists of not wearing any at all, or just wearing a little concealer, powder, blush, and mascara.

6. Having bangs

Six years ago, I grew out my bangs (after consistently factoring them into every haircut for years), and I have never looked back. Not having bangs has made it so that I don’t “have” to do my hair each and every morning in order for it to look presentable. In fact, I usually spend the time to do my hair once every four days or so (because that’s how often I wash my hair), and then let it be until I wash it again.

Now, I’m lucky that my hair holds curl reasonably well without using any product and that this hair regime works with my hair texture. But now that I’ve sworn off bangs for the foreseeable future, my long hair is about as low maintenance as it gets.

7. Dieting and counting calories

If you’ve been a reader for a long, long time, you’ll know that I used to go through phases where I counted calories pretty regularly in order to 1) slim down just before I ran a race so that I could more easily score a faster time, and 2) get back down to my pre-pregnancy weights.

I don’t know when it finally changed, but gradually over the past several years, I’ve accepted that my body isn’t going to look like it did before kids (at least not without intensive training and diet changes), and I’m completely and totally okay with that. I’ve stopped chasing random numbers on the scale just because I used to weigh that amount, and you know what? Just allowing myself to eat whenever I’m hungry and encouraging myself to choose healthier options more often than not has meant that I’m currently the lowest weight I’ve been in about five years, maybe longer.

I would like to get back into formal exercise now that my back is mostly back to full functionality, but I haven’t worried too much about it because flower farming keeps me fairly active on a regular basis. Basically, just trying to be conscious about overall choosing healthy choices most of the time but not feeling the need to calculate any of it has been enormously freeing.

Household Management

8. Keeping kids’ socks in their rooms

Kids’ socks and shoes are kind of the bane of my existence. I was tired of doing the stressful, last-minute scramble to locate a clean pair of socks or a missing shoe every last time we were heading out the door. So I finally asked myself the question, “How can I make this as easy as humanly possible right now?” And for us, that meant I stopped storing the kids’ socks in their rooms, which are in the basement on the opposite end of the house from the front door. Now, ALL the kids socks are stored in one basket right next to the front door on the bottom shelf of an end table we have right there, and it has saved us SO MUCH ANGST. We also store each family’s members shoes (aka, all the shoes in the house) on a shoe rack next to the front door, for the same reason.

I also put a separate basket close to the same location for the kids to put their dirty socks into since I was tired of the kids taking them off as soon as they came inside and just leaving them on the floor.

9. Holding on to older kids’ socks for younger kids or to hand-me-down socks

When we got hand-me-downs from both of our families for our kids, everyone always included all the pairs of socks in that size, but I hated having to go through old pairs of socks to see if two had been mismatched or if the elastic was stretched out or if a pair with holes had accidentally been included. So I made an executive decision years ago that I was going to throw away all pairs of old socks that were given to us (and all pairs of socks that my kids had outgrown) right then and there without worrying about saving them for the future. My boys currently wear the same size of socks, so once they no longer fit either of them (esp. my younger son), into the trash they go.

I’ve also made it a tradition of sorts that the kids get new socks and underwear every Christmas in their stockings, and often at one other point in the year as well (either Easter or the start of a new school year).

10. Putting the baby in socks at all

I have yet to find a good pair of socks for babies that they don’t just kick off within the hour. So I finally chucked all the newborn socks and just invested in a lot of footed sleepers so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

11. Allowing/buying endless shoe options for everyone

We often got anywhere from 6-10 pairs of shoes in each size as hand-me-downs for our kids. At first I just pared down to the ones that were still in really great condition, but now I basically only let each of our kids have about 3-4 pairs of shoes maximum: a nicer pair of sneakers, sandals, boots, and a pair of shoes for Sunday. For myself, I also only have four, with the exact same distribution of types. It makes my life so much easier!

12. Using a top sheet

This might seem like a weird one, but it makes sense because we now only have easily washable comforters or duvet covers. I used to use a fitted sheet plus a sheet on top like everyone else, but I discovered that having that one extra layer to pull up to make the bed was sometimes enough of a deterrent that I wasn’t always doing it (and my kids especially weren’t). Now, we simply have to pull up the comforter, put the sham over the pillow, and the bed is med (ditto for our kids). Amazing how much more frequently all the beds get made on a daily basis now!

13. Having throw pillows on couches and kids beds

This is definitely a “season of life” thing, but I felt like I was CONSTANTLY picking throw pillows up off the floor and that had been moved from room to room entirely, and it was driving me nuts. So I kept two nice throw pillows for the front room, one for our bed in the master bedroom, and got rid of all the others. I love the look of throw pillows, so I might bring them back in the future, but I love that I’m no longer spending ten minutes a day just picking up pillows.

14. Keeping/accepting hand-me-downs that won’t be used in the next couple years

I am frugal right down to my core, so this took me awhile to get on board with, but I got so tired of managing all of “the bins” that had been given to us by family members that I just stopped accepting hand-me-downs past a certain point. My oldest daughter is 8, and I’ve now stopped accepting clothes past a size 10/12 for her, and I’ve also stopped keeping my oldest daughter’s clothes for my youngest daughter (who is only about five months old). Once I calculated out that by the time my youngest would actually wear the clothes, they would be around 15 years old (because we got them as hand-me-downs from my nieces), it didn’t make sense to hold onto them.

My oldest son’s clothes go right into his brother’s drawer when he’s done with them (since they’re only one size apart), and we’re about to the point where we will be set for awhile on hand-me-downs for them, too, so we’ll be instigating soon the same principle of not storing hand-me-downs that are several years away.

Societal Expectations/Pressure

15. Worrying about my house or yard not being picture perfect when people come over

Admittedly, since we’ve been on our most recent decluttering binge since about December of 2022, our house has rarely reached the level of chaos that it so often did before, which makes it less likely to be cringe-worthy at any given point in the day. But honestly, even if it does look messier than I’d like sometimes, I no longer care if people come over and see it that way. The fact is, we live here. So it’s not going to be clean all the time. Period.

I usually do keep our front room pretty tidy the majority of the time because that’s the room a lot of people see since we constantly have people coming over to pick up flowers from our flower farm, but I no longer stress out if people see our house in its less-than-ideal state. I find that most people don’t judge me at all for it (and might even feel relieved to see that I also don’t keep a perfectly tidy house all the time!), and the ones who do aren’t the kind of people I want to spend time worrying about their opinion of me, anyway.

I’ve also consciously tried to stop apologizing for it period if it’s looking a little on the messy side. I stopped caring a long time ago, but I would still often apologize for the state of it. Now I don’t do either 🙂

16. Taking daily pictures of all my kids

This wasn’t a pressure I felt from anybody but myself, but when my oldest was born, I set the goal to take a picture of her every single day. I never set an end date, so I kept taking pictures of ALL of my kids (as we added more) every single day for a very long time. But then I realized that it was no longer fun, that it was just causing me extra stress, and that I was usually taking a picture just to take a picture — I wasn’t being super thoughtful about it. So I decided a few months ago to still try and take pictures of them most days, but to let myself off the hook for every day. And it’s been so freeing! The pictures I do get now are so much better and more thoughtful, and the joy in the process was brought back again.

17. Worrying about keeping up on everybody’s happenings through social media/apps

Right around when I started flower farming, I basically decided that I only had time to keep up with one social media account (for our business) and stopped regularly checking my personal Facebook or Instagram. I also only decided to follow other flower farms, florists, and inspirational quotes accounts on my business profiles, which I have to check multiple times a day.

It’s been kind of astounding, actually, how much less stressed, frustrated, etc. I feel because of this decision, not to mention how much time I’ve gained back.

18. Keeping up with the news

I used to feel guilted into watching the news and keeping up with the news because people would tell me I wasn’t going to be “informed” enough if I didn’t, and they somehow equated me not watching or reading the news with me not doing civically minded things like voting. Not true! I still vote! I just research all the issues in the week leading up to the election rather than listening to all the garbage leading up to it. I cannot tell you how much more peaceful I have felt in general by simply choosing not to participate.

(Also, I’ve noticed that if it’s a big enough thing that I really should know about, I will hear about it in one way or another.)

19. Signing my kids up for a bunch of extracurricular activities or scheduling lots of play dates

I’m not against extracurricular activities or play dates, but I’m very intentional about how often I make them happen. I want the rhythm of the majority of our days to be relaxed, open, and peaceful, and it simply cannot be that way if we’re rushing from one thing to the next all the time. I’ve also found that during particularly busy seasons where we DO have a lot of stuff night after night, my kids actually will tell me that they miss just being at home and playing with each other and going outside in our backyard.

I choose not to buy into the fear culture that my kids will somehow be left behind if I don’t get them into every last thing. I think they’re turning out pretty amazing by just being allowed ample space every day to figure out who they are and what they love.

20. Feeling like I “need” to get out of the house every single day

This is a definite season of life thing (and partly a “living rurally” thing), but now that my kids aren’t all so little, I don’t feel as much of a need to get out of the house every day like I used to. I personally love seeing several days in a row on my calendar without anywhere to be, and I find that having our default mode be “home” most of the time means that 1) I have the energy, time, and attention to make home a pretty wonderful place to be, and 2) whenever we do go somewhere, it feels a lot more special.

There’s a whole lot more things I’ve “quit” in order to live more simply, but I would love to know — what have YOU quit in order to simplify your life more?

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