5 ways to simplify your life

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Chances are, your life is messy.

One out of 10 Americans rent a storage unit, according to the Self Storage Association, and 25 percent of people with two-car garages don’t even have room to park inside them.

You don’t have to go to extremes a la Marie Kondo and her "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." There are ways to simplify your home and your mind without getting rid of everything that doesn’t provide extreme joy.

"When you simplify and just have the things around you that you like and need, you can stay focused," said Marcia Ramsland, a San Diego-based organizing coach for business and for life. "Your mind stays focused, and you get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time."

We found products that appear to be created to simplify your life.

Canon imageFORMULA P-215II Mobile Document Scanner $299.99 at staples.com

Get rid of all the paper in your home. "I use my scanner to digitize articles, cards, letters, bills, statements, instructions, pamphlets and more — anything for which I need the information but not the original copy," said Francine Jay, author of "The Joy of Less." "It’s wonderful to eliminate piles of paperwork from my desk and have all the information at my fingertips — or on my laptop or in the cloud — so I can access it instantly and anywhere."

Memo Chalk Jar Starts at $10 at joannehudson.com

No longer will you have to do a sniff test in your fridge or pantry. It’s time to toss all your storage jars and streamline them into one system: this one. They are dishwasher and microwave-safe, and you can label each one, wipe it clean and then write on it again when you have new food inside.

All-Clad 4-Quart D5 Stainless-Steel Saute/Simmer Pan $189.95 at williams-sonoma.com

Get rid of all your other pans, and stick with this one, Jay said. "A chef’s pan is a deep, multipurpose pan with sloping, rather than straight, sides that can be used to sear, saute, stew, stir-fry, brown, braise and reduce sauces," she said. The higher sides keep the liquids in but allow for tossing on the stovetop. It can be put in the oven and is so versatile that it will help you dramatically simplify your cookware, Jay said.

Basak Bath Towel $36 at turkish-t.com

These are soft, lightweight and absorbent towels that take up 25 percent of the space of a traditional plush towel. They also dry faster by air and by machine than regular towels, making them less prone to mildew and friendlier to the environment, Jay said. Their large size allows them to multitask as beach towels, wraps, sarongs, throws, picnic tables and tablecloths.

Pop Art Dry Erase Monthly Calendar $19.99 at containerstore.com

Many people have smart technology to track their sleep, but whenever Ramsland asks her clients what habits they’re working on, nearly everyone says they’re still struggling to manage their sleep habits. "The physical act of recording it yourself and seeing it each night will help make a change," Ramsland said. She suggested hanging this in your bathroom or closet to record your sleep numbers. If you go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, you’ll gain 84 hours of sleep annually. If you do this, you’ll wake up refreshed, which will make your life appear to be simpler.

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