Thursday, July 9, 2009


I’ve been reading a lot lately about “simple living”.  From, here’s a good description of simple living:

Simple living (voluntary simplicity) is a lifestyle characterized by minimizing the “more is better” pursuit of wealth and consumption. Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in ‘quality time‘ for family and friends, stress reduction, personal taste or frugality. E. F. Schumacher summarized it by saying, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.”[cite this quote]
Others cite socio-political goals aligned with the anti-consumerist movement, including conservation, social justice and sustainable development. According to Duane Elgin, “we can describe voluntary simplicity as a manner of living that is outwardly more simple and inwardly more rich, a way of being in which our most authentic and alive self is brought into direct and conscious contact with living.”[1]
Simple living as a concept is distinguished from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice. Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of voluntary simplicity are ascetics.
For me, reducing the clutter in my life is a stress reliever, as well as having been a goal of mine for a while, to live a more frugal lifestyle. I don’t believe that we need more of this or that to be happy, when your basic needs (food, water, shelter) are taken care of, the rest is clutter. However, this is a very difficult way to live when you’ve been raised in the “more is better” mentality.

I found this group on Ravelry that discusses simple living, and the various ways it plays out in people’s lives, and how crafting can overwhelm an otherwise simple life, or add to it. In reading through that group, I also came across the Zen Blog, which I intend to read from beginning to now. If you check it out, be sure to read the comments on the posts too, the readers often have great tips and suggestions.
Also, a blogger friend has posted about this very subject barely a month ago!

The day I cleaned my desk…

was the first day I read that blog. I intend to gradually integrate this into my home lifestyle as well, but both Matt and I are clutterbugs, and “organize” by making piles, so I know it will be a slow process. But at the same time, we’ve managed to keep our bathroom counter clean, after I took a few hours to organize and clean it :)  I think we can do it, it’s just pushing through the years of ignoring the mess! 

Things like this make me wonder:

If we, as a society, lived a more simplistic life, would we be healthier? Many illnesses seem to be brought on by stress, or exacerbated by it - how much longer, happier lives would we live if we chose to live with less?

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