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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life - Page 3

post #41 of 199
Dh and I were talking about budget and such things yesterday. WE are so incredibly blessed it would be wrong to say otherwise- especially compared to the vast majority of the world. However, it is still also true that we keep a tighter budget than a good number of those around us because we choose to be responsible and live within our means, save up for expenses before they happen(and then have to borrow money or live on credit cards) and save for retirement. If we just ignored all those things we could be living a lot more luxuroisly but we just cannot do that. If I thought about it too much it would likely annoy me. If I thought about how those who drive these nice new cars and have the fancy clothes and purses are seen as successful, strictly by this outer facade I am prone to get angry.

However, I REALLY try to focus on our lifestyle as a positive thing. When you don't have the money to do other things you have to put your joy and focus into the things that really matter. Dh and I are so very happy- unfortunately that is not the norm. My kids are amused generally by simple things and don't expect to be entertained and catered to- that is a very important thing to me. I get to stay at home and take care of our household and our children that is also a very important value to me. To me I look at that choice a lot- yes we could have a lot more material items if I worked, but would the "cost" be worth it- not in a million years. So, even though it would of course be nice to have more money we more than have the basics so I am just thankful for that and try to keep my eye on that. besides the fact as a religious person I don't see it as positive to try and be storing up things. I see it as a good goal to try and live as austerely as we can - so we can have more for others- both time and money and just so things aren't our focus.
post #42 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post
Anyone feel like the term "voluntary simplicity" doesn't exactly apply to you? I mean, I know I'd choose this lifestyle no matter how much money we had, but the truth is that we don't really have a choice right now.

Like you, financially I am forced to live simply. But I also feel fortunate that I have learned to make good financial decisions for my family. I've recently started couponing and will start stock piling, as well. I am much more strict as to what equals a want and what equals a need these days. And I've found that I really enjoy living this way. The part of my simplicity that has nothing to do with money is how I choose to spend my time. It's about being able to slow the pace of my days down and realize that sometimes "more" for my family means less obligations and commitments and more time to just be a family and relax.

When my stepdaughters were here for a couple weeks this summer, every day was consumed by some event or engagement. I found myself running, running, running until I ran myself ragged. It just didn't feel right to me. They're coming for a week at Christmas and I'm committing only to those events/gatherings that work for us as a family, such as going together to see a community Christmas play, driving around to look at the lights, attending my Quaker Meeting's Carol Sing. There will be activities and mostly they will take place in the home. There's a lot of relief that comes from letting go of the guilt associated with feeling like I have to do/attend/buy/visit X/Y/Z or I am somehow depriving my family. Likewise, Christmas is so much less stressful now that I've consciously chosen to simplify it, to keep what's meaningful, to adopt new traditions that work and to let go of what doesn't work. Spending too much money during the holidays doesn't work for my family (and even if we had more money, I would still opt for a simple Christmas where the focus isn't on gifts or what we can get but on relationships and bonding as a family). This year we are starting a tradition where each immediate family member gets 5 gifts: something they want/need/play with/read & pajamas. And each person will have a stocking. That's it. Realizing that it could be so simple put the joy back in Christmas for me, a joy that I haven't experienced since childhood.

I feel GRATEFUL to have been forced to simplify in many ways and find my niche in life, so to speak.
post #43 of 199
Thanks for snapping me back into reality, mamas. Sometimes I just get a little down about circumstances, but you all are reminding me that it is a gift to learn to live simply and be grateful for all that we have.
post #44 of 199
We are by choice simple living.

We find living within our $$ means is much easier than chasing something that others who do not live like we do. I have noticed that buying a certain material item or buying a showier house, car, purse, shoe, whatever does not mean instant happiness. After a while or even a few minutes, the item stops the status and then you are right back where you started but whatever money you put out poorer.

When I choose NOT to buy the flashy item, it feels so empowering or even give away an item I no longer need to someone else who needs it even more empowering. It makes room in our home for other things or to move onto something else.

Dont get me wrong, I can spend money and spend it away. If we need something, I will spend more for an item because it needs to last, deal with my wear and tear etc. I will spend a lot of money on a pair of pumps, but will wear them for a long long while. I bought a pair in year 2000 for over a $100. I wore them for work twice a week for 2 years and then over a few times until I got rid of them last year. They were getting out of date. I just replaced them and spent about that amount. Again will wear for a long time.
post #45 of 199
Living a simpler life is a freeing expersightience in which all of my family have found rewards. Stopping to look at what is around us brings it's own joy. Spending time plating those older games created wonderful memories and has bought my children and myself closer. I will be the first to say we are not model examples of living a simple life, but we have learnt and gained a lot from doing what we do.

As to decorations, I love my almost bear walls, and prefer the sight of the birds coming to the feeders, the trees ,and flowers I planted H the deck. Haloween and Christmas is a totally different matter, though I prefer understated decorations then.
post #46 of 199
Subbing with GREAt interest! We're currently in a 4BR, 2BA FULL BASEMENT 2200 sq ft Ryan Home built a few years ago and planning to sell in the spring for a 2 or 3 br! Its a bit frightening as everyone around us thinks we are nuts... It will be an adjustment, esp for our DDs who will possibly end up sharing a room. BUT I love thinking about how just 50 years ago the average home could have fit into our garage.
post #47 of 199
So, I've been home this week so far because my younger DD has HFM disease. I'm loving it (despite the crying child velcroed to me) and my DH loves it. I've been able to cook a hot lunch for him and actually get to do some things I like to do. Too bad I'll be going back to work on Thursday.

I'm working 50 hours a week and it's getting really old. When I took this job it was supposed to be three or four 9-10 hour days. That would be fabulous right now. I work at a daycare and a staff member went to another job a few months ago and for some reason our director has been dragging her feet hiring someone else. She's just scheduling the rest of us for 5 days a week. I love kids and I love that this job allows me to be with my younger DD every day (older DD is in 1st grade) but I'm really burned out. It's sad when it takes your kid getting sick to get a "vacation."
post #48 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyKelly View Post
I just ordered Living the Good Life: How One Family Changed Their World from Their Own Backyard. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1740663128
Has anyone read it?
This looks like a great read! I'm putting it on my "to read" list.

I'm glad this thread is getting a revival! I've been on a MDC "vacation" and now that I'm back I realize how much MDC and threads like this support my parenting/family choices.
Whenever I'd log into MDC while on my "vacation" of too-busyiness, it would seem like I had nothing to contribute or just couldn't "get into" the mindset of the mamas (papas) here. I was running my kids around, running errands and being "busy". It was summertime and it seemed there was always something to do or some place to go. With the extra hours of daylight it seemed like more reason for us to continue on with our day.

My wake-up call came when my oldest DD woke up and immediately asked "mama, do we have errands to run today?" as if errands were the most fun and the best thing to do in a day. I explained that errands aren't fun and I would rather spend time at home with her and her sister, but I realized that my actions weren't reflecting that.

Since the weather has turned and Fall is now upon us I am forcing myself to slow down and re-consider all of our scheduling and commitments. We are doing less and having more fun.
My children are finding ways to amuse themselves in our home and I'm cooking whole, healthy meals again, sewing projects and taking time to spend caring for our beautiful home.

So simple living to me is not necessarily staying home all the time or budgeting money, but rather its staying connected to the things that really matter the most, Family.
post #49 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Om Girl View Post
My children are finding ways to amuse themselves in our home and I'm cooking whole, healthy meals again, sewing projects and taking time to spend caring for our beautiful home.

So simple living to me is not necessarily staying home all the time or budgeting money, but rather its staying connected to the things that really matter the most, Family.
Very well said!

To me simple living is about a healthy balance.
post #50 of 199
Thread Starter 
Quote:
So simple living to me is not necessarily staying home all the time or budgeting money, but rather its staying connected to the things that really matter the most, Family.
Amen, Summer!
post #51 of 199
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by simple living mama View Post
Quote: Purple Sage Anyone feel like the term "voluntary simplicity" doesn't exactly apply to you? I mean, I know I'd choose this lifestyle no matter how much money we had, but the truth is that we don't really have a choice right now.

I am in the same boat but am happy with the lifestyle. Im okay with the title. Even low budget people can make bad buying choices so yes, it's a choice.

Purposely living simple keeps me conscious of what I bring in the house and what I spend money on. When my husband and I lived over in NZ while he was in school, our home was very small. It reminded me of living on a boat. After a while I started to think of things in terms of how much space they take up. The more "things" we had, the less room to move about. It became real clear how important things were and how unimportant other things became.
:

Does anyone else read Rhonda Jean at Down To Earth? So inspiring!
post #52 of 199
Subbing. This is one of my life-long interests that I have a tendency to do a feast-famine thing with. Well, never really a famine, because we never spend too much money at one time (except for our vacation to Hawaii this summer, but so worth it!) but in terms of reading about it and actively striving toward simplicity, I could definitely do with a more constant reminder. This thread seems just the thing!

I'm particularly interested in trying to remain true to our ideals as we ready to expand our family this coming February. I don't really think we *need* anything for the babe, but you know how seductive advertising can be. I'm usually fairly immune, but there *are* pregnancy hormones involved right now.

One goal that we have as a family is to find DH a job with WAY less hours/stress. He used to teach at the community college level full-time which was AWESOME - 3 day work weeks, huge chunks of time off for holidays/summer, it was amazing. In order to get back to the part of the country we really wanted to live in, though, he's taken a way more stressful 8-6 kind of job, and we all just hate it. He doesn't mind the actual work, but the time away from family really really weighs on him. We'd much rather have less money and more free time together. So we're always on the lookout for some other type of working arrangment that allows for more time off. How do others manage this, if you do? I feel lucky enough that I can stay at home full-time with the kid(s), but it would be nice to have DH around more, too. I so envy folks like Sara and her hubby over at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly and others who have figured out a way to "unjob" themselves.

Glad to be a part of this thread!
post #53 of 199
I would be interested in joining. I love living a simple life..though I feel there's so much more to learn!

I think one of the hardest things for us is people feeling bad for us? If that makes sense. They feel like we're "poor"..wait a minute we are but that's a different subject...they feel like since we chose not to have cable(), not to have a huge house, chose to have one car, and to not buy our kids the newest clothes/toys that we're somehow in need of being saved! I just don't understand it? I do love and appreciate it but it does get frustrating! My family can't believe that right now I'm in the middle of making holiday gifts. I got offered $ to go and buy dc their presents, I really don't know how to explain that it's not about that! It's about teaching them the value of homemade..the love and energy that's being put into something. That they don't need everything the want in order to be happy or to feel loved

Today I saw yummy veggie patties(like the Jamaican beef patties) and instead of buying them I decided it was finally time I tried to make them...when I told this to my aunt she thought I was insane...So M-I-L took ds for a bit of nana time and dd happened to take a nap(how I managed free time I'll never know) so I decided to get my hands dirty and start making veggie patties...well they are in the oven right now and they smell AMAZING! And it was so relaxing getting my hands into the pastry! Even if they don't taste as good as the store bought they will be soo much better!..Sure I could have used that time to clean the house but I need time to get lost in my thoughts! Away from the noise!!
post #54 of 199
Oh yum, veggie patties!! Recipe??
post #55 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
Oh yum, veggie patties!! Recipe??
I used a base recipe from Vegan Soul Food..I found the link to the recipe here

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/foo...n-patties.html

But I changed it up, I had no coconut butter so I stole margarine from M-I-L(we don't use margarine), and I used all ww flour, so the dough wasn't quite like they usually are. Mixed up the spices ect, added more, added two chili peppers from our garden it was great all the veg was organic and local.

They we're AMAZING!! I ended up making 8 large patties and dh and I each ate 2 last night and he took 2 for lunch and I ate the other 2..I'm planning on making a triple batch so I can freeze some for fast lunches/snacks.
post #56 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by caiesmommy View Post
I think one of the hardest things for us is people feeling bad for us? If that makes sense. They feel like we're "poor"..wait a minute we are but that's a different subject...they feel like since we chose not to have cable(), not to have a huge house, chose to have one car, and to not buy our kids the newest clothes/toys that we're somehow in need of being saved! I just don't understand it? I do love and appreciate it but it does get frustrating! My family can't believe that right now I'm in the middle of making holiday gifts. I got offered $ to go and buy dc their presents, I really don't know how to explain that it's not about that! It's about teaching them the value of homemade..the love and energy that's being put into something. That they don't need everything the want in order to be happy or to feel loved
My MIL is the same way - she cannot understand how anyone could want to not have all the "stuff" that she considers a normal part of everyday life, like all the gadgets people get for their babies and lots of noisy plastic toys and all kinds of kitchen appliances and I could go on and on. She thinks that when I turn down her offers to buy us these things that I'm just trying to be polite or something, but the truth is that we don't want all these things.

What I'd like to pass down to my children is that ordinary life is very fulfilling. I'm striving to pay more attention to the seasons and the weather, to celebrate nature, to be mindful while doing everyday chores like sweeping the kitchen and folding laundry. I want my children to grow up with a sense of peace and happiness that comes from within - which is so against everything our consumer culture puts out there.

Making things yourself is so much more rewarding than buying things. But then again, I've always hated shopping.
post #57 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post
What I'd like to pass down to my children is that ordinary life is very fulfilling. I'm striving to pay more attention to the seasons and the weather, to celebrate nature, to be mindful while doing everyday chores like sweeping the kitchen and folding laundry. I want my children to grow up with a sense of peace and happiness that comes from within - which is so against everything our consumer culture puts out there.

Making things yourself is so much more rewarding than buying things. But then again, I've always hated shopping.
These sound exactly like Quaker values. It's one of the things that led me to them. The values you shared are the values I want my children to learn. Being mindful--and teaching mindfulness--is so important to me.

And, um, I thought I was the only woman who hated shopping! My exception is thrift stores and used book stores.
post #58 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post
And, um, I thought I was the only woman who hated shopping! My exception is thrift stores and used book stores.
Right there with ya, and those are my exceptions, too! I had to go shopping for a bra today (body changing with pregnancy) and I thought I would claw my eyes out. Ugh.
post #59 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post
These sound exactly like Quaker values. It's one of the things that led me to them. The values you shared are the values I want my children to learn. Being mindful--and teaching mindfulness--is so important to me.

And, um, I thought I was the only woman who hated shopping! My exception is thrift stores and used book stores.
I always think of mindfulness as a Buddhist thing, but I can see it being Quaker as well. Interesting! Actually, the first people on my father's side to come to this country were Quakers, so I definitely have a fondness for that religion even though I consider myself pagan.

And the shopping thing....I also make exceptions for thrift stores, used book stores, and garage sales. But only when I can shop alone.
post #60 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post

And, um, I thought I was the only woman who hated shopping! My exception is thrift stores and used book stores.
Yes! I can't stand shopping! I only like thrift stores and used book stores and I only like shopping alone..once you get kids involved, or dh's it SUCKS!!!

I got gc's for my b-day and got so flustered shopping that I ended leaving in tears..poor dh thought I was having a nervous breakdown...I just kept rocking saying I HATE SHOPPING I HATE SHOPPING!!!
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