A Simpler Life

With our fast-paced, fast-food environment, it doesn’t take much to get caught up in all of the stresses and demands of life.  I didn’t realize how much this complicated lifestyle was whipping me out until we moved to Germany – a nation where people work, on average, 400 hours less than Americans every year.  Bicycling is a natural form of transportation – even to the grocery store.  And on Sundays, everything from IKEA to the grocery stores closes, and people take a day to relax.

The list below covers well-liked posts on Making This Home that offer quick ways that you can simplify your home and your life.

If you’re in the mood for a little more browsing, swing over to our Amazon Store for items that have made life simpler and easier at our house (like eco-products, vegetarian cookbooks, appliances, furniture, and accessories). Happy simplifying!


Donate old contacts & glasses

Send handmade cards

Make meaningful compliments a habit

Craft with old cds

Gift a bride-to-be

Document your family’s story

Make a gift card and envelope – tutorial

Send handmade holiday cards – tutorial

Make (free) wrapping paper

Make custom baby gifts

Recycle old shoes

Wrap gifts an eco-savvy way

Donate books to local groups

Write love letters

Give gifts that aren’t stuff

(writing a monthly love letter)

Organizing & Eliminating

Part with sentimental treasures

Organize office supplies

Simplify your paperwork routine

Refresh your closet

Organize shoes

Create an efficient pantry

Use a gadget-free salad spinner

Make buying less a habit – 5 steps

Organizing a beautiful life

Reduce unloved, unneeded STUFF

Downsize without feeling loss

Eliminate junk mail

Make everything digital

Downsize your purse

Part with excess stuff

Find writing inspiration

Rediscover what’s in your closet

Declutter the bathroom completely – 11 steps

(using a gadget-free salad spinner)

Stress Reducing

Spend Sunday like a European

Ask guests to take off their shoes – a poem

Take a breather

Embrace your senses of touch and smell

Enjoy being imperfect

Let yourself get lost in a new place

Resolve to do less and live more

Avoid the temptation to buy new clothes

Cherish more simple moments

Create German cell phone habits

Gain patience

Appreciate your imperfect home

Try Vegetarian cooking

Do less.  Live more.

Make lemonade from scratch

Go on walks

Ignore to-do lists for simple moments

Love a simpler life more – 7 ways

(pausing for joyful silence)

Creating & Decorating

Care for fresh flowers like Europeans

Create a no-shoes-indoors household

Decorate with love letters

Help the environment (& your house!) – 10 steps

Discover why you’re cranky at home

Decorate with paper airplanes

Decorate a small home in 9 steps

Make custom dish towels – tutorial

Avoid a smelly washing machine

Declutter in 10 realistic steps

Create your own mini retreat at home

Create a habit of paper decluttering

Decorate with Mother Nature’s help

Create handmade

Decorate for November

Personal Growing

Make natural face scrub with 3 ingredients

Drink more water

Create a recycling system

Save pennies around the house

Explore your neighborhood with new eyes

Listen to music inspired by simplicity

Try cleaning the kitchen every night for a month

Pamper yourself at home

Avoid chemical flavor enhancers in food

Begin a natural beauty routine

Put the breaks on bad moods

Record your story

Buy less clothes happily

Create simple beauty just for YOU

10 steps to a happier life

(recording my story)


Pick greener laundry soap

Simplify dish duty in one step

Dust without chemical spray

Detox your house like Europeans

Remove water stains naturally

Try soap nuts instead of laundry soap

Give the freezer a spring clean out any time of year

(cleaning water stains naturally)


Serve a nerd’s dinner

Alter oven mits to fit

Make simple hot apple cider

Bake homemade graham crackers

Create homemade marshmallows

Bake fresh breadsticks

Cook rice

Enjoy homemade ice cream

Find vanilla in Germany

Eat seasonally

Create a food mantra

Make homemade cranberry sauce

Bake Lebkuchen – German gingerbread cookies

Find eco-friendly birthday cake decorations

Embrace a homemade food life

Make refrigerator iced tea

Hear the real deal on “German” chocolate cake

Bake German Christmas cookies

Bake American chocolate chip cookies anywhere

Bake roasted applesauce

Avoid chemical flavor enhancers

Cook from our favorite vegetarian cookbooks

Taste Eastern European food

Read our decision to go vegetarian

(serving a nerd’s dinner)

Holiday Celebrating

Get gifts in your shoes from St. Nick

Celebrate St. Martin’s Day with paper lanterns

Eat traditional Czech Christmas food

Dye eco-friendly eggs

Create collage valentines

DIY some classy gift tags

Decorate less at Christmas; embrace more

Roast pumpkin *and squash!* seeds

Sew handmade ornaments

Document the season

Incorporate local food into special meals

Decorate your Thanksgiving table

Make stars & flowers from toilet paper rolls

Capture the season’s moments at home

Read “A Christmas Carol” (better than the movie!)

Serve a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

Bake German Christmas cookies

Decorate for autumn with thrift shop finds

(waiting for St. Nicholas with shoes at the door)

Money Saving

Darn your own socks

Save pennies around the house

Eat a meat-less meal with loved ones

Pinch pennies & reduce waste – 5 tricks

Rework the wardrobe you already have – 5 tricks

Go without new clothes shopping

Lower utility bills

Go 30 Days without buying new clothes

Resist fast food

Eat seasonally

Give a gift that isn’t “stuff”

Take the No New Clothes Challenge

(taking a No New Clothes challenge)


Learn something new each day

Snap a picture of everyday life for 30 days

Take risks

Keep a holiday journal

Write a daily journal for one month