Photography: Elaine Fancy Photography
Think small changes won’t make a big impact in your life? Think again. These three experts share their strategies for simplifying your home, health and style!
With summer in full swing, Canadians have adjusted to the "new normal" that is living during a global pandemic. Many have expressed an interest in paring down and living a more simple life. Simplii Financial surveyed Canadians about their state of mind and found they were keen to dial down daily life, particularly with home decorating, finances and daily schedules. Though some expressed stress over the unexpected and changing routines, 76% of Canadians believe simplifying their lives is more important than ever.
Some areas that Canadians were looking to simplify include fashion, food, home décor and organization. So, we tapped into three of Canada's top experts in these fields for their latest pro tips on living more simple lives this summer and all year long.
Simplify your Home
With Melissa Maker
What simple tips do you have for Canadians who are new to home organization?
Start small, with one room or closet. Play music that motivates you to stay focused and have bins marked 'toss and donate'. Anything you decide to keep can be placed in a new 'home' around the house. If you want to make some extra cash with clothing, take nicer and trendier items to clothing reseller boutiques and get paid on the spot.
How can Canadians simplify their homes, while on a budget?
Be mindful of everything you bring into your home — it costs you money as well as emotional and physical space. Freebies, hand-me-downs, BOGOs— these are all clutter traps, too. Buy (or take) what you need, and put what you want on a wishlist. This helps to avoid impulse purchases.
What items around the house can Canadians repurpose for multiple uses?
Anything can become a craft! My two-year-old is happy colouring delivery boxes and gluing grocery store flyer cutouts onto them. Try repurposing yogurt containers or plastic beverage cups as planters for herbs or starters for seeds to be transplanted. And rather than purchasing plastic reusable containers, I'll reuse glass food jars.
What are your top three home organizing tips?
Get everything out of its storage space and as you pick up each item, ask yourself quickly, 'do I need this? Do I use this? Do I love this?' If you don't have a convincing reason to keep it, move on. Avoid the temptation to buy storage bins and baskets first—you'll simply put the items into the containers without consciously slimming your stuff down first. See how Melissa keeps things simple at home with her IGTV.
Simplify your Meals
With Sean Macdonald
What simple tips do you have for Canadians who are new to the kitchen?
Work in a clean space and stay organized. Make sure your knives are sharp at all times. Don’t do too much at once, and start with simple recipes. Try to make as much as you can from scratch and use quality ingredients.
What affordable ingredients are the most versatile?
Onions and beans. Onions are great for adding body and flavour to almost any dish; they are a staple. You can also roast them or grill them and make a composed dish out of them. Beans are very inexpensive and also a great source of protein. They can be cooked and added to a variety of dishes or used as a garnish to a main dish.
What can Canadians do to simplify their budget when grocery shopping?
Before grocery shopping, always check to see what you have on hand in your freezer and fridge at home. Build your menus for meals off of what you already have, and then go to the grocery store to pick up additional ingredients. This way, you’ll spend less money on snack foods.
What is your favourite simple meal to make?
Spaghetti Aglio e Elio. It’s super tasty and you can make it in a pinch. All you need is a good quality olive oil, chili flakes, pasta water, hard cheese and fresh herbs. You can check out how to make it on my IGTV.
Simplify your Wardrobe
With Ania B
What are the staples in a simple wardrobe?
Try to cut down the pieces in your closet to 30 items. This includes shoes! Make sure to include a plain white T-shirt, a pair of darker denim jeans, a good blazer, a mid-length dress, a trench coat, white sneakers, black ankle boots (and guess what, those don't need to be heels!), and because we live in Canada, a good winter coat!
What are the most versatile pieces worth investing in?
Black boots are a staple for every wardrobe, I have a pair of black motorcycle boots I wear with everything—they are over 15 years old! Your denim is also something that you want to invest in, but premium denim is not any better (where quality is concerned), than a pair of jeans you can buy at a fast fashion outlet. You just want to make sure that your jeans go with everything, that they can be worn with a t-shirt and blazer for a casual business meeting but that you can also throw on a loose tunic or crop top and you are ready to relax on a patio for afternoon drinks. Another investment item is a well-made trench coat that you can pass down to someone.
Which pieces can Canadians save on?
With short Canadian summers, think twice before buying another pair of sandals or a sun hat. If this is something that you know you will only wear once, don't even bother buying it. When you want to experiment with some more colour, accessories are a great way to dip your feet in without making a big dent in your wallet. Leopard print and nautical stripes will forever be wardrobe staples.
What simple tips do you have for Canadians looking to revamp their wardrobes while on a budget?
Try to look for a good quality product—if something you bought doesn't last more than a couple wears don't be afraid to take it back. When shopping at any fast fashion outlet, seek out those items that are more premium, (every brand has them but the consumer isn't always aware of this). Ask the store clerks which items are made of quality materials, or in some cases which are the premium collections. And make a plan. When you go into a store with wide eyes, you will end up picking up items you may not need. If the store doesn’t have what you need, onto the next. This will save you money and time. See Ania’s fashion-focused IGTV here.
Follow these experts to see the IGTVs they created about simplifying their lives. For more tips and tricks on how to simplify all areas of your life—including your finances, visit simplii.com.