I was late for a meeting with someone I wanted to impress and felt totally overwhelmed as I pawed through my disorganized makeup drawer—the kind that requires some digging around (anyone feel me)? Then I spotted my new favorite item: Onomie lip + cheek stick. I said a thank-you prayer, grabbed it, and applied what I needed to look meeting-ready-enough in the elevator mirror.
Who knew a single beauty item could bring such ease—and joy? It got me thinking about what else I can simplify without even knowing I’m doing it. What might I be overlooking? Here are some ways to simplify without doing a crazy spring clean or mental mindset reboot.
1. Cheat on your pizza.
Recently—albeit a little late to the game—I discovered the magic of cauliflower crust pizza, which basically makes pizza a vegetable. Cali’Flour is my fave (it only has four ingredients) and I can make Hawaiian and Margherita pizzas while feeling like a health-conscious badass. It’s all you need in one! Who needs a side salad when your pizza is doing double duty?
2. Combine coffees.
If you’re feeling a little overbooked, that coffee you have with an old colleague and the other you have with a college friend can totally be combined. You can metaphorically kill two birds with one stone and hey, you make an intro at the same time. Intros are fun! I love to say, “Hey my friend Bruce will be joining us—he’s SO awesome and funny, and you’ll love him. That cool?” Times that by two, and bingo! You just got two hours back and put a potential new friendship in motion.
3. Apps out!
Do you need to swipe more than once to book a table, car, or yoga class? You’re probably in need of an app declutter. We rarely use more than one swipe’s worth of apps. I just deleted an Outlook app for a company I no longer work with, an app I thought was funny in 2014 (… which I kept it around because I paid $3 for it), and a meditation collection I dropped when I adopted Calm. A clean phone feels like a clean fridge. Bliss!
4. Carry less stuff.
Are your pockets bulging? What about your purse? Do you have four unused “loyalty” cards sticking out of your wallet, an old key or two (with no idea what they open) on your keyring, an old Kleenex pack and some stale Wrigley’s Extra you purchased last winter, all jingling around with you wherever you walk? A ruthless five-minute raid will cure that, and you’ll be able to find your pen when you need it too. Regular mini-raids are good for your sanity and your soul.
5. Leave space around your to-dos.
In my corporate job, I had a 10 a.m. meeting, followed by an 11 a.m., a noon, and a 1 p.m. No joke, a former boss of mine kept a tray of water bottles under her desk because she sometimes had no time to get to the kitchen cooler. Madness! Is everything on your calendar really mandatory? What can you cancel or miss? I now leave at least 30 minutes between appointments, and the padding helps me relax. Less busy-ness really does equal more present-moment living.
6. Always ask yourself, “Is this adding to or subtracting from my life?”
If it’s simplifying, it’s good—and adding things can be simplifying, like adding a meal service to your week if you have no time to cook (which also helps you avoid scrolling Seamless for 40 minutes).
Getting some help cleaning your home or caring for your kid, or even taking on an exciting side hustle project, are all great additions. Subtraction is almost always good too: Losing spam emails, unsupportive friends, those jeans you bought in 2013 that still have the label… when you ask yourself the question, you always know.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!