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Simple Living - Start Here!

March 19, 2014

How to begin a simple life is by far one of the most often asked questions I get.  I used to wonder this myself, and spent a good deal of time searching for answers on where to start.  The truth is, living "simply" has to be defined by you.  Each of us will have our own definition, our own goals, and our own idea of what our life looks like in order for us to feel successful.

There are, however, a few things that will be fairly common between us all when we think of living simply.  They are:

Outline Your Goals and Ideal Life
This is crucial to begin with so you can visualize what you're working toward.  This may also change so it should be somewhat flexible.  Make sure you and your partner are on the same page and you are both working toward a common goal.  This way you will be supporting one another, even when others think what you're doing is crazy.

Change Your Mindset
There is a generic definition of success that seems to be taught to us throughout our life and it usually includes a lot of debt and very expensive things.  If you're seeking to simplify your life, consumption will be cut considerably.  "Things" won't be as important - people/relationships, time together, and a sense of community {all free by the way} will replace them.  You have to redefine "success" for yourself and your family and stick to it.  Change your mindset AND your habits.

Begin Where You Are
It's easy to look at someone else's life and think that when I get the house in the country on 15 acres THEN I can begin living simply.  Start where you are.  Whether you wish to someday move to the country, or stay right in the heart of the city, you can begin changing the way you live and, therefore, the path of your life right now.  It's perfectly fine to set goals and plan for the future but make sure you aren't wasting time yearning for something you don't yet have.

Live In The Moment
Learning to focus on the day at hand and living in each and every moment is a huge part of simplicity.  It's easy when things are calm and much MUCH more difficult when chaos has entered the scene.  If you can begin to make this a habit it will make it much easier to remember at all times.

Get Your Money Straightened Out
You'll be focusing on paying off your debt {including mortgage} as well as reduction of spending.  As I mentioned earlier, simplification involves less focus on things and more focus on people and relationships.  There are many ways to budget and reduce debt, find something that resonates with you and get going on it.  Learn to stretch each dollar to it's max.  If you've never tracked your spending before you are likely in for quite the surprise!

Organization Is Key
You can simplify your household {not to mention reduce spending} by organizing both your home and your household chores.  Organizing your things will help you find what you need when you're looking for it.  This will also assist you in any purging you may want to do.  Organizing your time for household chores will not only help you keep up on housework, but will help you find time you didn't realize you had to begin making things from scratch or take on a small garden.

Be Content With What You Have
This has somewhat been covered in a couple of the other sections, however, I think it's important enough to make it it's own bullet point.  This is difficult.  It's hard to not wish for something more.  It's hard to see something that you really fall in love with and not purchase it or long for it.  It's hard to read about other people's stories and not wish for a similar journey.  It's also hard to remember the saying "you are right where you should be" but you are.  We all are.  So set goals for a new home, animals, a garden, or whatever you desire, but be content and grateful for what you have right now.

Grow/Make/Create What You Can
Start slowly, but again, goals in hand, strive toward making things homemade.  Household cleaners, meals, condiments, etc. are all things that are so much better homemade than store bought.  You'll also be reducing the chemicals brought into your home.  A win-win!

Just like anything else, this will not happen overnight.  It's easy to slide back into old habits and get off track.  Cut yourself some slack.  You've got to be open and honest with yourself and pick yourself up and try it again.  It's an ongoing process, a lifelong journey, that we continue to work toward including making changes to our goals as needed.

What types of things do you do to live a simple life?

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