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What Is Simple Living? A How-To Guide For Living A Simple, Homemade Life

January 10, 2018

When you think of the words “simple living” the word minimalism often comes to mind, and for good reason since they are used interchangeably much of the time.  With that being said, I recognize for myself that I will never be a true minimalist.  Although I have much appreciation for that lifestyle, I love “things” too much to make any attempts at fully converting.   Additionally, the frugal side of me makes me buy things in bulk which doesn’t necessarily fit with the minimalist theme either.

Instead, the journey that my husband and I have been on for the past 10 years is about simplifying our lives and making things homemade & natural where possible.  And we’ve definitely got some room to improve…..

Lest you think this has been an easy transition for me, let me share with you a little of my history.  I come from a family of collectors.  That means, you don’t buy one of anything, rather, you buy (at minimum) one of everything within the “collection”.  Like lighthouses?  Well then you need anything and everything that has a lighthouse on it.  Like Disney?  Ditto – and there’s a whole lot of Disney memorabilia out there.  Antique dolls?  Ebay, thrift stores, online stores, etc. are full of them.  And there’s a ton of different types (I owned over 1,000 at one point……).

You get the idea.

At some point, about 15 years ago, I just couldn’t take it anymore.  The dusting was taking too much time.  Trying to find space in our home to properly display items was a challenge.  I felt overwhelmed at the clutter.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that we actually rented a storage unit to store “things” that we’d convinced ourselves we needed.

Once I began reading about voluntary simplicity, I gained an appreciation for the thought of owning less things and allowing there to be space in my home.  I also gained an appreciation for the same thought process with my time.  If I agree to take on anything and everything thrown my way, I no longer own my time.  You begin to feel a loss of control over it and now the goal is in keeping our heads above water rather than enjoying moments and having time and space to breathe and enjoy.

What is Simple Living?
There are many definitions that exist, depending on who the author is.  That being said, they are all very similar.

Simple living is basically a reduction of things in an effort to have more.   More freedom, more happiness, more time and more purpose.  

It’s a minimalistic (low consumption) view about owning your time and things versus allowing your things and time to own you.  Simple living takes minimalism a step further and incorporates living a purposeful life.  It’s a more holistic view and approach to life.

What does that mean, not allowing your things to own you?  We must take care of possessions – dust/clean them, have space for them, or store them.  That’s fine if you absolutely love those items.  But if you own things whose sole purpose is to fill up empty space, or gifts you feel guilty getting rid of, or things you thought you should own because you saw them in a magazine, on HGTV, etc., then those things own you.  Those are the “things” we are talking about.

To live simply means that we should only surround ourselves with what adds to our life.  Be it possessions, relationships, or actions, by reducing excess we will be left with only what matters.  

Things that have purpose.

This can also translate into work-life balance for some.  Often, seekers of simplicity seek to spend less money which means they don’t have to work so many hours or maybe not work at such a stressful position, therefore, spending more time doing what they love.

Increasing self-sufficiency is also sometimes tied to living a simple life.  This is where we tie in the “homemade” portion that I’ll speak to next.

What is a Homemade Life?
The obvious answer is making things from scratch.  Taking it a step further, it is hand crafting those items that make sense (financial, quality, time, etc.) for you to make from scratch.

For us, our homemade life includes trying to surround ourselves with natural products as well as adding a touch of self-sufficiency such as raising chickens (for meat and eggs), bees (someday) and growing much of the vegetables and herbs we consume in our garden.  It doesn’t have to be that way for everyone – each journey will have unique pieces.

Putting It All Together
Our definition of a simple, homemade life is this:

Purposely reducing excess in order to focus on things that have meaning.  Transitioning to a natural and homemade lifestyle, making things from scratch when it makes sense to do so.  Living an intentional life (intentional about what we buy, what we keep, what we eat, what we use in our homes, how we spend our time, etc.) and being more present in the moment.  

Breaking it down for our life, it means:

Home – surrounding ourselves with only things that bring us joy.  Limiting our purchases to primarily needs over wants.  (wants only if it’s something we truly love)  Making the switch to natural products, and making it homemade when it makes sense to do so.

Food – eating real, wholesome, unprocessed, food (more on that in an upcoming post).  Keeping meals simple, nutritious, and delicious.  Making meals from scratch.

Relationships – surrounding ourselves with positive, supportive people.

Time – saying “yes” and agreeing to do for others only when we truly want to do so and/or those limited times when we feel we really should do so.

Posts on Simple Living:
Grateful for the Extraordinary on an Ordinary Day
Living In A Small{ish} House
How To Live The Simple Life
25 Ways To Simplify Your Life
Voluntary Simplicity: Consume Less
Making Your Money Work For You
Living Within Our Means
12 Things You Can Do To Change Your Life In 2018

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