Minimalism Can Save Time

by Nov 7, 20212 comments

Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.

Edwin Way Teale

Simplify – and Find More Time

Less Stuff.  Less Time to Manage it.

These days, most of us are constantly busy and on the run. We strive to multitask more efficiently when often the solution lies in the other direction – to do less.  Frequently, the more we strive to do more and work harder or faster, the less productive we become.  At times, it might seem counter intuitive to slow down but you will find that it can be key to gaining control of your time and your schedule.  Simplify your life to find more time to do the things you love.  Or to just sit and do nothing.  Following are several ways that living a minimalist lifestyle can help you free up more of your time.

Less Cleaning

When you pare down the size of your home and/or your number of possessions, you can reclaim a significant amount of time spent cleaning and organizing.  More possessions mean more cleaning. And it is easy to underestimate how much time you spend cleaning and containing your stuff.

I never used to put things like regular cleaning or reorganizing on my calendar, always thinking it wouldn’t take long only to find a good part of my weekend days would be taken by tasks like washing, sorting and putting things away. Since I have started reducing the amount of stuff, it takes less time, especially since I now set 15-30 minutes every day for decluttering. Think about how much time you devote to dusting various small mementos, putting away toys, vacuuming – or any of the many other tasks associated with just keeping your house clean and tidy. Simplifying your life by keeping only the possessions that add to your comfort or happiness can help you free up lots of time.

Less Searching and Sorting

How often do you find yourself sorting for searching because you don’t know where you put it? It is easy to lose track of things when you have lots of possessions, especially if you do not have a home for everything. Things pile up and that serves as a constant reminder that you have to deal with sorting and managing.  Do you ever run late because you take to decide what to wear because your clothes are not sorted?  Or get frustrated by never being able to find your keys when you are rushing out the door?  Reducing your stuff, and finding a place for all the possessions you choose to keep is another way to find more time.

Less Shopping

When you make the decision to have fewer things and be more selective, you’ll have less need to shop. It will reduce the temptation to spend wandering in stores and buying things that you didn’t plan to purchase. Or travelling multiple times to the same stores trying to make a choice. Have you ever bought something that you already had because you couldn’t find it — or couldn’t remember that you already had it? This is not only frustrating, it can get costly and result in duplication – and more stuff that you don’t want or need. A minimalist lifestyle helps address all these dilemmas by creating a mindset to buy quality and be satisfied with less.

Less Digital Distraction

Part of simplifying your life is clearing digital clutter like unwanted mailing lists, files you no longer need, documents that are not current, and downloaded resources that you have never used.  It also means creating a system so that you can find what you want easily and quickly.  For example, do you have 1000s of unsorted and ungrouped photos with multiple variations of virtually the same image?  Make a plan to reduce to the best 1 or 2 images for each event and delete the rest so if you are looking for a photo or special day, it will be a simple task.  Intentional living will also help you reduce the distractions of social media as you increase your focus on what is most important.  Think of all the time that might free for you to spend on more meaningful things.

Less Prep Time

When you have too many things, there is a tendency for things to spread out and it is is difficult to pursue some of the things that give us a sense of calm and expression.  For example, you might want to create art but every time you wish to do so, you have to make space, gather supplies and set up all your tools and materials.  The energy of this can mean that you decide that you don’t have time.  With fewer things and less clutter, it is easier to get directly to things that you want to do because you eliminate – or at least reduce- the time for set-up.

In Summary

This is an overview of some ways that you’ll find more time once you start simplifying your life and your home. You’ll discover your surroundings are more peaceful and easier to navigate reducing the time it takes to do many of the things you want to be doing but don’t because you can’t find the time. You’ll be able to use your time more efficiently and on the things that bring you happiness.

Take Action

Challenge Questions for Day 7

What is one area where you have a collection of things requiring attention (ex. clothes to be sorted? mail gathering on the dining room table? unused toys and games?)  What action can you take to make it easier and reduce the time you spend searching and sorting?

How can you reduce your prep time so you can find more time for your hobbies or special projects?  Identify one thing you can do to make it take less time to get started.

Declutter Challenge for Day 7

Reader’s Choice

Catch up on a missed or unfinished challenge from the week – or take a day off and celebrate how much you have accomplished with just 15 minutes a day.

Banner Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


  1. Kebba Buckley Button

    Mary Elizabeth, you’ve done it again! You’ve powerfully argued that we get back TIME from simplifying. My simplifying is ripping along. I donated over 1/3 of my clothes that used to live in my master closet. I realized I was keeping many b/c I like to *look at them*, not b/c I needed to wear them. Once I got there, I could release the ones I didn’t need to wear. Oh, and 50 hangars have left as well.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Thanks Kebba. It sounds like you are making lots of progress on your simplifying plan. It is an ongoing process for sure. Are you finding extra time through your efforts yet?

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