Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Monday, May 5, 2014

How I've Simplified

As I continue to pursue a simpler life - a more minimalistic life - I find it encouraging to take a look at how far I've come. Here are a few ways I have simplified my life in the past few years. Perhaps you'll find some encouragement here.

  • Eliminate TV ~ we do not have cable and our standard tv reception is so bad that we have stopped watching network tv completely. We do have a Netflix subscription, but the reality is that we only watch one movie a week (or less). 
  • No gym membership - As a homeschooling mom, getting to the gym would be hard with my schedule. But what I've found in the past several years is that I don't need a gym membership to stay healthy and fit. I have a few workout videos I can do on rainy days, and when the sun is shining I go for a run (with my girls on their bikes). For me there are no excuses not to exercise. And I love being able to model the importance of regular exercise for my girls. 
  • Minimal home decorations - My favorite way to decorate is with nature (plants, flowers, sticks, pinecones, rocks). We have very few wall hangings and no window treatments.  I also have minimized my holiday and seasonal decorations which eliminates the need to find storage space. 
  • Modest home - When we bought our home four years ago, we had grand plans to upgrade almost everything. We've done a few home improvements, but for the most part our home is simple and modest and more than meets our needs. Most days my husband dreams of having a bit more space (our dining area is quite small and we don't have adequate space for guests), and I keep purging to make this house feel big enough. Perhaps someday we'll find something that better suits us, but for now we are content.
  • Borrow from the neighbors - Every once in a while I find myself in need of a garden tool that I don't own so I simply ask the neighbors if I can borrow from them. It's a great way to check in with them and keep the clutter in my garage to a minimum. 
  • No extracurricular activities - Most families I know spend so much time attending their kids' extra curricular activities. Not us. I made a decision a long time ago to avoid falling into this trap. Currently my kids are enrolled in NOTHING and we have every single night to spend as a family. We've tried a few things (swimming lessons, ballet class, family karate, homeschool co-op), but every commitment ends us being so much more than the 30 minute class. It takes time to get ready, to drive there and back and then to recuperate from the activity.
  • Simple birthday celebrations - So far we have managed 9 years of parenting without a single big, over the top birthday celebration. I owe a lot to the fact that we don't live near family, and we moved every year for the first 5 years of my girls' lives. It's been wonderful to keep our birthday celebrations family oriented and simple. The birthday person gets to choose what and where we eat dinner and often chooses a family outing (zoo, hike, skiing or other activity). 
  • Continual decluttering - This is a process that will never end. If I don't stay on top of things, then major decluttering sessions must occur. It seems that once a year or so, an opportunity to pare back presents itself and I jump on board. I try to implement the "one in one out" rule, but the clutter still creeps in and sneaks past me (or more likely I knowingly usher it through the front door!). 
What could you add to this list?


  1. Great tips! I'm definitely flunking on number three!

    1. Your not flunking if you enjoy decorating and it brings you joy. I don't have the "decorator" gene and when I try to decorate, it stresses me out! I love all the pretty pics of your home and the way you put things together.

  2. Staycation. Be a tourist in your own town. See the sights the locals never see. Eat in the cafes. Take a bus tour if your town offers one--you'll be surprised what you will learn about a place you've always lived.

    1. Good one, Linda! Thanks for the addition.