Simple Living is a voluntary way of life in which an individual or family makes a conscious choice to diminish consumption and simplify one’s lifestyle.
“The idea of living with less goes by several names and movements; a few are the simple living movement, downsizing, and minimalism. The main idea behind them is to be intentional about your choices.”
– Tammy Strobel in You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too.
1. Simple Living is a Lifestyle Change:
Contrary to the term “Simple Living” it is anything but ‘simple’. Especially if you are just getting started. I don’t want to burst anyone’s “Simple Living” idea bubble but I believe it is more difficult to follow than just one day saying you are going to live a “Simple Living” lifestyle. For me, more than just committing to living simply I had to make some serious habit changes according to the way we live. After all we aren’t there yet, ours is a story of Simple Living as a work-in-progress.
2. Simple Living is Very Personal:
What simple living means for one person may not be for another. One individual may interpret simple living as moving to a rural location and living off the land. For another individual simple living may be defined by beginning a recycling program. What works for one individual or family isn’t necessarily what will work for another. It’s best if you determine and define simple living for yourself and your family.
3. Simple Living is a Choice
One must remember that “Simple Living” is a choice. Individuals who have chosen a life of “Simple Living” or “Voluntary Simplicity” have made an intentional choice to live that way. “Simple Living” must not be confused with poverty, which is not a choice.
Let’s look at an example of two hypothetical families, family A and family B. From appearances they appear nearly identical. Both families are the same size, they both reside in apartments and they both have one compact older model, used vehicle.
But if we look closer at family A we see the family struggles monthly to stretch the paycheck, they may also be supplementing their income with food stamps or other means. (I am not implying that all families who are in poverty require other assistance, this is just hypothetical.) Basically, this family has not made an intentional choice to live their lives this way. This way of life has been forced upon them.
If we look closer at family B we see a family who has chosen to live this way. They have purposefully chosen to live in an apartment which is adequate for their needs. They may feel that anything bigger is not in line with their values. They have made a conscious decision to be a one car family to be more responsible to the environment and with their finances. More than likely they have chosen jobs which are close to home or permit them other means of transportation. But this family has made “intentional” choices to live this way according to their values.
The key is to remember “Simple Living” is making an intentional choice.
If you are contemplating or pursuing a “Simple Living” lifestyle I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you have any questions about my journey following a lifestyle of “Simple Living” I encourage you to ask below.