Why make simple living a priority? Here I’ll give you my big-picture answers, ranging from personal satisfaction to that elephant in the room, the effects of overpopulation. This is inevitably quite personal, as other bloggers would answer the same questions in their own unique ways.
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What Is Simple Living?
Simple living means evaluating how we live our lives and how we decide on purchases in the light of the big picture of living on a planet where many of the results of industrialism are pollution and waste. So it means asking questions like:
- Do I really need this?
- Do I have anything already that can substitute for buying this?
- What size home and land do we need?
- What kind of mileage does the vehicle get?
- Why am I thinking of taking that trip?
Books are my weak point, so another question is “Does the library have it?” I check the library website online frequently, including inter-library loan.
Simple living can be done at any income level. If you have less money, it may be obvious that simple living is needed to keep you out of debt or at least to keep your debt down. If you have more money, you may be able to afford some higher quality items that may last for years longer than the cheap-o versions.
Is Simple Living the Same as Minimalism?
Not entirely. Minimalism could be considered at the further end of the simple living spectrum. My husband has minimalist tendencies, more than I do. I admit! Here is our cozy living room in the 1940s adobe house we bought last year in Mew Mexico… more about simple housing further down, but you can see that this is not the home of total minimalists. None of the furniture is under ten years old, and the art is done by friends or family, so it’s not an expensive space. As you can see, our TV is in the dining room, where we may watch it over dinner, leaving the living room more of a center for conversation, reading, playing with dogs, putting up guests, and well, living!
Why Bother to Live Simply?
It’s more satisfying to be doing worthwhile activities rather than consuming stuff.
We have all been massively exposed to the ideas that economic growth is good and that growth comes from the economy expanding. Guess what? That’s not really the case and now more people are getting it.
Do You Eat Simple Boring Food?
Simple, yes, boring, no. We have a large garden and we savor the fresh flavors that come out of there.
While we do eat some meat, we choose good quality, often grass-fed. Probably 90% of the veggies and fruits we eat are organic. See the cooking and food section of this site for more. For example, here’s an article about a low carb winter squash casserole.
Both my husband Kelly and I cook, taking turns. I use a lot of spices, he turns out amazing home-made bread, salsa and jams from the bread machine. We do eat out sometimes or get takeouts, but we like our own cooking best.
What Simple Home Choices Are There?
Ah, so glad you asked! Natural building is Kelly’s passion and you can see a list of his websites here. He’s one of the world experts on earthbag building. Also, we have lived in vehicles at many times in our years together. Clicking on the image takes you to a book he wrote on the vehicles we’ve lived in.
In a nutshell, you can share spaces, rent small spaces, move in with your family, buy something that suits you, and more.
What about Tiny Homes?
Well, I have mixed feelings about them. Having lived in a variety of buses, motorhomes, and the like, sometimes I notice that tiny homes tend to be way more expensive than these sorts of things. But then I have the tremendous good fortune to have a honey who can turn anything into a charming living space! He did help his daughter build a tiny home in San Francisco, and here he is in the main room of our 1983 motorhome:
We lived in that for half a year recently with two dogs, quite happily. We paid way less than for a typical tiny home, even after remodeling and a new refrigerator.
Why Did You Mention Overpopulation Here?
Well, we have been concerned about it since the 70s, and Kelly and I have just been reading this book: Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, by Alan Weisman. It’s fascinating and scary. There was actually more good news than I expected, that as women around the world become educated, they have fewer children.
Will this trend operate quickly enough for humanity to deal with the environmental degradation and climate changes we’ve caused? Maybe. And that’s enough to motivate me to do what I can to live simply so that others may simply live, to quote Gandhi.