The methods of abstraction and idealization are commonly viewed as basic to both the natural and the social sciences. Since the 1970s, they have also been a focus of attention in the philosophy and methodology of science. However, their nature as methods, i.e., sequences of instructions, has not been adequately explicated. The paper attempts to capture the core of these methods in the sense of simplified sequences of instructions. The proposal is illustrated in a reconstruction of the application of both methods in economics as a representative of the social sciences.