When should we use the imperfect tense or the simple past tense?

Both of these tenses are past tense; however, we usually use them for different scenarios whenever talking about the past. The imperfect tense is generally used to describe something which is usual, or happens often. An example would be:

Quand il faisait froid, il n'oubliait pas de mettre ses gants.

The simple past tense, or "passé composé", is used to describe an action that was done once in the past, something that is finished. 

Il a mis ses gants en sortant de sa maison.

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