30 Things I Quit to Simplify My Life | How to Simplify Your Life & Simple Living Habits

Intentional Living

If you had asked me 5 years ago what would’ve made me happy, I would’ve told you I was so close. I just needed a little bit more. More clothes, more friends, a couple more things on my calendar. Happiness felt like it would be achieved by striking just the right combination of stuff in my life. Ironically, many of these 30 Things I Quit to Simplify My Life were things I originally added in pursuit of happiness.

Right now, I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time. And the thing that has given me the most happiness has been the opposite of “more.” It’s been removing habits, clutter, crap from my life. Embracing a slower pace. Today’s post is on 30 things I’ve quit to simplify my life that have actively made it better in their absence.

When I started the process of decluttering my life, and trying to live a slower-paced life, the question I asked myself about everything was “does this add more value to my life than it takes away?”

Most of the things on this list aren’t inherently bad. A lot of them actually did add value to my life. It just wasn’t a net positive influence. For that reason, I’ve made the call that they’re no longer habits I want to carry with me. Have a read through, see what resonates with you, and leave a comment to let me know what you’re quitting to simplify your life today ????

30 Things I Quit to Simplify My Life


The first thing I quit to simplify my life has probably made the biggest difference, and that is Instagram (at least on my phone). I struggled with this decision, because I do feel like Instagram holds a lot of value – I’ve learned a lot from the platform, made friends on it, and it’s also just a really easy way to connect with a lot of people in an instant. But what I’ve realized is that I use Instagram as a distraction when I don’t want to deal with what’s actually in front of me. The app has helped me avoid processing and confronting so many of my own thoughts, and, as uncomfortable as they might be, I don’t want to live like that. I’m actually planning to start using my email list more as a means of regular communication and sharing life stuff, so if you’d like to hear more from me, you can find the link for that here.

Using my phone as a hobby

Last month, I read the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, which blew my mind in several ways, not least of which is that I realized how much I’ve relied on my phone as a source of distraction and entertainment. I haven’t had hobbies outside of my phone – I never felt like I had time, but in missing out on that, I’ve cultivated a very low-quality leisure life, and leisure is actually really important. We all need things that we enjoy, that challenge us and use different parts of our brain than we use for work. In the book, the author talks about the importance of physical hobbies as well, and doing things with our hands and bodies, which I’ve absolutely found to be significant. Currently I’m in the middle of trying out a bunch of different hobbies to see what sticks – I’m trying to find things that don’t put strain on my wrists, just because carpal tunnel – if you have any suggestions, please hit a girl up in the comment section.

Excess TV time

The next thing I quit was excess TV time, and I’m not anti-TV, but binging shows is a long-standing habit of mine and I just don’t feel like that’s adding to my life at all. I’ve been spending a lot more time reading, and I just find that to be a much more restful experience.

Going on my phone first thing in the morning

I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory, but starting the day scrolling has just never made it better. I’ve been implementing a few different things to make being on my phone a less pleasurable experience in general for myself – let me know if you want to see a separate video/post on that – but I still don’t want it to be the first thing I look at when I wake up.

Wearing makeup

Out of all the things I’ve quit to simplify my life, wearing makeup has been the most surprising. I love makeup, I think it’s so fun, and it’s never been an insecurity/confidence thing for me, but ultimately the time that this added to my daily routine often made me put off getting ready. Feeling like I wasn’t “done” until I had makeup on was just kind of exhausting, and I’ve found most of the time, I’d rather use that 5 minutes elsewhere. This isn’t a hard and fast, but on a day to day basis, I’ve stopped wearing makeup, and I honestly don’t miss it.

Staying up late

I honestly think it’s hilarious that I’ve lived in like a chronic state of exhaustion for, I don’t know, 10 years – and it never occurred to me, nor was it ever suggested, that the long-term solution might actually just be sleeping more. The lightbulb made it possible for us to stay up later and get up earlier, but a likely unintended consequence is that that became the expectation. I’ve been going to bed at around 8:30 most nights for the last couple of months, and I literally cannot stress to you how good I feel. I’ve been averaging about 9 hours of sleep, instead of my previous 7, and my 3 o’clock slump is gone. Brain fog is diminished, my mental health is drastically improved, and while I do experience FOMO from time to time, I’d rather miss a couple memories in exchange for actually being present in the ones I’m there for.


I don’t know who needs to hear this, but an empty spot in your calendar does not mean you need to fill it. That’s all.

My morning routine

Listen, if having a clear routine for your mornings gives you a sense of structure and purpose, I absolutely love that for you. I have quit the idea of my morning routine entirely and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I might make a separate video on this, so let me know if that’s something you would want to see.

The need for caffeine

I am a coffee girl, I think I’ll always be a coffee girl, but I’ve relied on caffeine for my entire adult life, and I just don’t love that. I always used to say “I’m not myself without coffee,” and at some point, that started to rub up against me, like hmm – if I need an external substance to be myself, is that really who I am? Since increasing my average sleep, I no longer feel like I need coffee, which has been so nice. I usually have one cup in the morning, just because I enjoy it, and then I honestly don’t even think about a second cup which is drastically different from like six months ago


Alcohol is actually one of the first things that I quit, and it had a surprisingly significant impact for me. I’ve never been a huge drinker, but when I started to pull back, I realized that for me, saying no to alcohol was a lot harder than I expected. Not drinking is saving me a lot of money, and I’m also able to be a lot more present in social situations where I’d normally drink. There are so many good mocktails and alcohol-free options now too that I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

My “Just in case” items

When you are in the process of decluttering, it is ridiculously easy to justify keeping items to yourself based on the “just in case” rule. Like so easy. The amount of stuff that I have kept just in case and never used is actually ridiculous. If I haven’t used it in the last 3 months, or year if it’s a seasonal item, and I’m not going to use it in the next 3 weeks, I don’t need it.


Moving into the “mindset” portion of the things I quit to simplify my life – the first thing that I’ve quit is keeping absolutes in my life. For example – nothing on this list is a hard-and-fast rule. I’ve stopped drinking, but I’m not sober – I had a glass of wine at a wedding a couple of months ago, and here and there I wake up and I really want to put makeup on, so I do. I can be a very all-or-nothing person, and while it feels kind of comforting to have a hard line drawn, it’s not been helpful for me in the long run.

Reinventing the wheel

Probably my least favourite side effect of social media is that it can create the false impression that everyone’s a genius. For a long time, I felt a heavy sense that if I wasn’t an expert/the best at any given area, I had NO business trying it, let alone talking about it. Turns out that those people you see online who always have groundbreaking things to say a) are the exception, and b) are constantly reusing content, sharing thoughts and ideas from other people, etc. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be creative or original. You can just be yourself.

Trying to make everyone happy

In May of this year, I accidentally went viral on Instagram. I posted a video of me putting tulips in a teapot and freaking out because it was really cute, and for whatever reason, it got 4 million views. I have no idea how it happened, no idea why, but I got SO much hate, both in the comments and in my DMs. It was not a super pleasant experience, but one thing that I did learn from it is that you cannot make everyone happy. There are always going to be people who will have some kind of problem with something that you do, and just accepting that comes with so much freedom.

Long hair

Simply, it takes too much time that I would rather use for other things. I chopped my hair this summer and I don’t plan on growing it out anytime soon.

Blaming other people/things

One of the best things I’ve quit to simplify my life has been blaming other people or things or events in my life for any bad habits or tendencies that I have. Of course, things that I’ve gone through have affected me, but ultimately, I’m the only person who’s responsible for changing negative thought or behaviour patterns, and putting that on other people was not only unfair, but it was making me miserable.

Fast food

This year, I’ve been trying to take my health seriously. And that means packing snacks when I’m running errands to avoid my weak spot for a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger or Crunch Wrap Supreme. Not only do I feel better, but my budget is a lot happier – have you noticed how expensive fast food’s gotten lately?

Expecting uniformity

I spent years of my life, particularly after becoming self-employed, struggling to find uniformity in my work days. I had weeks where I was exceptionally creative – coming up with more ideas than I could act on in a lifetime. Others where I just put my head down and worked without looking up or getting tired, and still others where I just found myself dreaming all day. This was incredibly frustrating, especially as a planner who thrives with consistency and routine.

But after reading the book WomanCode, and understanding how my hormonal cycle was impacting my brain, I started to understand that not only was uniformity impossible — this inconsistency could be used to an advantage. When you understand what you’re best at and when, learning into those strengths allows you to perform better, thrive in your natural rhythms, and roll with the chaos of life’s unpredictability.

Productivity for productivity’s sake

When I first started my simple living journey, and exploring the slow living habits I wanted to implement, I struggled to navigate productivity. I’m a productivity nerd, and I love discovering better ways to use my time and maintain efficiency. That said, I’m also guilty of tying my perceived self-worth to what I get done in a day.

In reflecting on the things I quit to simplify my life, I think this was one of hte most important. I still love getting things done, and doing it well. But it’s no longer how I measure a day.

Planning my relationships around everything else

Last summer, I did a time audit of my life, and realized quickly that I was falling short in one of the most important areas: relationships. My friends, family, and even my husband were taking a mental backseat to work, chores, and the things I felt like I “should” be doing, many of which were unnecessary altogether.

In pursuit of less, and a more intentional life, I’m reversing this. When planning my weeks, year, or goals, I’m starting with the people in my life. They are more than an afterthought, and deserve my time and energy deeply.

Not following through

I tend to be an all-or-nothing person, and this has led me to make many, many mistakes in my life. I’ve abandoned projects I cared about, fled from opportunities that were incredibly promising, and been a little flaky. I’m not doing that anymore. By removing the things that don’t matter from my life, I have the energy and capacity to ensure that I follow through on the things that do.

The need to be taken seriously

Is everyone going to take me seriously? No. Should I obsess over other people’s perception of me? No. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was: “people are allowed to be wrong about you.”

The need to have an opinion on everything

I don’t know when exactly it happened, but somewhere in the last 10 years, Instagram became the hub of opinions as well as photos. This isn’t all bad, but it’s easy to feel like you have to take a stance on something (even if you don’t know even fractionally enough about it to do so).

Setting monthly goals

This might be a hot take, but I couldn’t leave monthly goals off of the list of things I quit to simplify my life. Monthly goals aren’t *bad*, but they added a lot of stress to my life that wasn’t helpful or necessary. You don’t always have to be working towards a target – it’s okay to just exist for a little bit.

Living beyond my means

This is probably pretty self-explanatory: but living beyond what you know you can spend, whether that’s money or energy, is a recipe for burnout.

Unnecessary appointments

I challenged myself this year to do more things myself (rather than pay someone to do it.) This has included dying my own roots, tinting my brows, and doing at-home gel nails. These just might be my favourite things I quit to simplify my life. It’s honestly so empowering to realize how much you can do yourself. This has saved me money, but my favourite resource by far is time – fitting these thigns in during an afternoon or a slow day has made it so much easier.

Browsing sales

If I’m honest, shopping has been a hobby for me for a number of years. Not only is this wild to me from a financial standpoint, but now, as a minimalist, I just can’t wrap my head around why I thought this was a good idea. Browsing sales felt particularly easy to justify, becaue everything was cheap. But this probably took more money than anything else.

I’ve started researching any anticipated purchases months in advance so that I can track the price and watch sales for these specific items, and I can’t recommend this method enough. We all want to save money, but it can be so easy to overspend at a sale.


When I started my YouTube channel, it was important to me to work with brands I actually really love. I do feel like I’ve done that, and I’m proud of that – but I also don’t feel like doing frequent sponsorships i something that aligns with who I am anymore. As a practicing minimalist, and focusing on content surrounding intentional and slow living, product pitching feels unnatural and uncomfortable.

Buying new home items

Okay – I have no beef with home decor. I love home decor, when chosen well and styled nicely. But we’re currently in a very temporary rental and about to move into another very temporary rental. So when it comes to home shopping, I’m pressing pause for a while. We don’t really have a distinct style yet, and I have no idea where we’ll end up – so until we’re a bit more settled, I’m sticking only with what I already have love.

Toxic home products

Pretty self-explanatory, but since realizing just how much of my home has been filled with toxic ingredients and harmful substances, I’ve committed to only adding things I know are safe for myself and my family.

Choosing options over simplicity

Finally, last but certainly not least – the final thing I quit to simplify my life was choosing options over simplicity. The idea that more is better is just… not accurate. My life is better with less.

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