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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life Tribe

post #1 of 177
Thread Starter 
We had a great discussion, but I wanted to start it over. This is esp so we can have others join us.

So Introduce yourself and..
-discuss what brought you to this place
-how is this path and what has it taken you to?
Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?

Understand, not everyone is at the same place and this is a support thread to help you reach what it is you are looking for in this lifestyle.

-Some of us, its finding happiness in their careers or life,
-Some, it maybe just cleaning out material items such as decluttering,
- others its just trying to declutter their brain and life and find what it is that is missing.
Or, you just need to slow down or take some time to sort out what is cluttering up your life, shelves, or just brain.

Here is our previous discussion:
post #2 of 177
subbing. Be back to post later
post #3 of 177
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
subbing. Be back to post later
post #4 of 177
Introduce yourself
Hi, I'm Summer and mama to 2 girls. I am slowly becoming more of a WOH mama which is hard for me to acclimate to...but I'm doing it

Discuss what brought you to this place
I came to the idea of living simply when we bought our first house shortly after getting married and we realized that we didn't have a lot and we were both ok with that.

How is this path and what has it taken you to?
Since I started paying more attention to living simply I've found that the pace of life is slower, my mood is better and I have more time and attention for my girls. I've also got more time to do things, like sew or craft, because I know where all of my supplies are! DH is also on board and is doing a lot as well!

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?
For myself it is all of the above! It's material items that are given as gifts, committments to too many things and occupations that require giving a LOT of ourselves so we have little to give to those we love.

DH and I are both committed to our family, but we are having to make sacrifices in order to pay the bills and so that means more work and less family time. So the time and money that we do have means more to us because we realize the effort that they require and therefore we are less likely to go out and just buy "stuff".

And, since we started this journey...I can now go to Target and get just the items on my list That's a HUGE thing for me! (and I realized that I don't miss anything)
post #5 of 177
I'm Cat, I'm mama to one DD 17 months. I'm here to listen to other mama's ideas on how to simplify and be more organised. I've just increased the amount of time I WOH to four days per week which has many benefits but I need to be organised about it so that when I'm home I can spend as much time as possible with DD rather than rushing about trying to get things done for the week. I think it's an overabundance of material stuff, a lack of storage, and a very full schedule that I'm juggling.
post #6 of 177
- Introduce yourself
I'm Ashley, A SAHM to two preschoolers, and wife to a great hubby.

- what brought you to this place?
realizing that stuff isn't making me happy like I thought it would.

-how is this path and what has it taken you to?
I've literally just started this path, and I'm not really sure what it entails, but I'm reading and doing what I can.

-Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?
For me, It was just realizing that I had been working so hard for so many years to get all this junk. And none of it made me happy, YKWIM?

What do ya'll do to live more simply? I literally just started this journey today, so any suggestions would be helpful! TIA
post #7 of 177
I'm krystal and what brought me here is a need to live as simply as possible because anything other then simplicity is way too much for me.
post #8 of 177
Originally Posted by simonsmama View Post
What do ya'll do to live more simply? I literally just started this journey today, so any suggestions would be helpful! TIA
Hi Ashley

I totally recommend reading some books about living simply...for one about parenting I adore Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
post #9 of 177
Thread Starter 
My turn!

Introduce yourself
I am Amy, sahm to 2 dds aged 8 and 4. I have been on the voluntary simplicity wagon for several years. Most likely decades but I didnt know there was a name for how we live our life...

-discuss what brought you to this place
I learned at an early age, I am not a good multi tasker (is anyone?) and also, when I am on the receiving end of a multi tasker, I always feel as though the person is thinking about something else or looking over my shoulder at the next thing coming.
Which lead me to- hey if I am doing more than one thing at once, something is suffering. If I am on MDC, my kids are not home or doing something else such as playing, in class etc. If I am driving, I am driving and maybe singing along to the music playing or chatting with my kids or the passenger. I can chat with you while making dinner or washing dishes, folding laundry. But I cannot fold laundry while vacumning or have dinner while reading a book.
Social texting in a social situation is a no-no for me. texting we are here, pick up milk on the way home is one thing but going back and forth is a whole nother...

-how is this path and what has it taken you to?

For myself and my family, its much easier to stop and smell the roses or whatever it is to observe...
When we have smaller portions to work with, our lives stay thinner. For holidays, we attend one function, not 3 in a day. We have no problem turning down invites when life is too hectic. Its very easy for us to spend a day together as a family and turn down anything and everything and not feel guilty for just showing up, feeling like we had to do this etc. I am not saying this is what we do 100% of the time, but if its needed, we will do just this.

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?Too much "stuff" around me clouds my judgement and the energy really overwelms me. I have also found that items start to own you, instead of the other way around.

Also adding from the original thread...

Not just pocessions, but living simply requires several other things in your life.

knowing when you're full.
Knowing when you are tired.
Saying No to people because you are one of the above or something else.
Not joining something.
knowing your limits and your families limits.
knowing how to slow down, smell the roses or whatever it is in front of you.
working to live not live to work
post #10 of 177

Introduce yourself

I am Laurie, mother to 4 (ages 2, 4, 6, and 9).

Discuss what brought you to this place

We bought a small house - under 1000sqft - 9 years ago (right before ds1 was born. At the time we thought we would only be here for a year or two before relocating to a new city. Life changed and we decided to stay here, but since our family has grown and our house hasn't we have needed to learn to live simply or risk being overwhelmed by stuff.

How is this path and what has it taken you to?

I used to be an avid thrift store shopper and bargain hunter. I loved finding unique and interesting stuff. I collected books and other things. Since committing to living simply I have gone down to bare minimums in many areas and I feel so free. Our whole life has changed! We spend less and get out more. Our house no longer feels small. I no longer need to buy all sorts of storage for things I rarely use......I have very little that needs to be stored.

This has really changed my outlook, I no longer hang onto things "just in case". I just trust that I will always have what I need. It feels more positive!

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?

I no longer have too much of the material clutter. I still find I am too busy, it isn't that I have a problem saying no though....I am pretty good at that one. I just am a homeschooling mom of 4, so even doing very little for each child can take up a lot of time! I am working on urban homesteading as well, so I am still learning how to get it all done in a day/weak/season while not feeling over worked and over stressed.
post #11 of 177

Introduce yourself
Hey, I'm Caroline. Not yet a mama, except to my furbaby. Starting a journey to a simple life with my DP.

Discuss what brought you to this place

I grew up surrounded by materialism. It was the primary value of my childhood. My mother even admited the other day, that her generation and her parents generation went quite overboard on materialism. My parents are both pack rats. I grew up surrounded by stuff, and with stuff as such primary importance, and it really didn't make us happy. I think it made us less happy. My DP also wants to live a simpler life. It's hard for me (and probably DP, who also grew up surrounded by things, with pack rats for parents) to move away from having lots of things. I know that living a life surrounded by stuff, and where stuff is important, is not what I want.

How is this path and what has it taken you to?

I'm really just starting out. I've donated two bags of clothes and a couple books, and it's HUGE. discovering how easy it is to take stuff to the out of the closet really helps. It's literally across the street from work, open a lot, AND has a parking lot if I need it. makes things easier. However, it's so hard for me to get rid of stuff. I have this dream that someday we'll only have things we love and use regularly and find beautiful. However, I'm a long way from there. I keep thinking I have so much stuff I want to keep. So far, I've been getting rid of the stuff I really don't mind getting rid of. And it feels great. I'm not sure what I'll do about the stuff I'm attached to, but don't really use or want to keep. It'll require me to keep growing to get there I think. Someday, I hope to have very little stuff, just what we need, and because we don't have a lot of material needs, not need to work at work we don't like, or spend a lot of time away from family, and be able to live simply.

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?
Right now, it's material things. Until I simplify the material things, I don't think I can simplify anything else in my life.
post #12 of 177
Introduce yourself
I'm Ceci, mama to DS (4.5) and soon to be mama to another DS! I'm a SAHM who babysits occasionally for extra money since our financial situation has gone down the tubes in the recent economic downturn. DH and I are working towards de-cluttering and simplifying our lives and doing a complete overhaul of our home currently!

Discuss what brought you to this place
Honestly, I never gave living simply a thought until I became a mama. Until then my life (and job) involved multi-tasking and consuming all. the. time. I spent years living out of a suitcase on the road so when we finally did settle in one city, we accumulated as much "stuff" as we could...not really noticing the build up...just focusing on finally being able to "own our stuff".

How is this path and what has it taken you to?
The larger changes started when DS was 18 months old and I quit my job to stay home with him full time. The income loss of going from two incomes to one was a bit of a shock and we started streamlining and simplifying in order to make it work. It was not easy and put a strain on our marriage that we almost didn't overcome. But we did and now things are better than ever! Simplifying and focusing on what is really important to us has brought us closer as a family, made us healthier, and has given us the strength to face the tough times together, as a united front.

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?
Really it was that we had too much of the wrong stuff going on in our lives, spending on frivilous things like eating out, which was negatively affecting our health and our pocketbooks, buying things like DVD's and books when we could just as easily have rented them from the store or just used the library more. It's really been a huge shift in perception for us. One that has, honestly, been reinforced by our current economic situation which gives us little other choice!

I feel like I've rambled past my allotted time so I'll stop now... Looking forward to our discussions!
post #13 of 177

I'm Mel, I'm married and have one DS, age 2.75. Right now, we are going through a time of not really simple living in order to get to a simpler place, I guess. We are looking to put our house on the market by the end of this week, and hopefully sell it...and hopefully move back to our home state closer to family, another value, like simple living, that I really didn't consider as important as I should have until I had my DS. We'll be moving into a much smaller space. I also hope eventually to convince my DH to dial back on work a little. He has a really good job with awesome benefits and really good pay but is it worth it if he thinks he needs to work all the time, yk? He is going to try to transfer within his current job to our new locale, but after a few years there I want to see if maybe we can each work PT or something. I don't know if that's more simple or not, but I feel like it would give us more time as a family and each more "different" time so he's not frazzled from work and I'm not frazzled from being with kid(s) all day. If that makes sense. I don't know, we will see where the journey takes us, I guess.

So right now it's basically decluttering and getting the house ready to sell, so material simplifying. I have taken two full carloads to the thrift store in the last week and freecycled mountains and mountains of stuff. Our house is really empty and it feels great. We have the garage left, that's a big hurdle I need to overcome, because it feels like DH's domain and I just don't even know where to find anything in there...

Another thing I did to get our house ready to sell which I personally think helped simplify our lives was have someone come in and clean our house top-to-bottom, and I am having someone else come and rake and pretty up our yard. So we don't have to.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this thread! I love the daily inspiration in my inbox!
post #14 of 177
I'm in.

I am Ruth, mama to three sprigs and loving homeschooling and my own schooling.

We just found out that we will be moving overseas for a year and I have about 8 months to get the house ready to leave. We will have someone housesit and I need to go through our closets, the storage areas, the garage -- everything!

We also have some real house repairs to do and I need to get motivated to start that. Permits, builder's quotes, and money! Just a lot of stuff to keep organized and on track.

Our stuff isn't too bad really, just kind of random. We have a lot of boxes that we moved in with 7 years ago and they are still unpacked. What the heck is in all those boxes?!?

We have kids, we have random messes, we have crazy storage solutions that don't always prove effective. Well, that all needs to be cleared up.

We are not overly complicated in our lives, just not always purposeful. And that is the focus of my summer -- to be purposeful in my decisions.
post #15 of 177
Adding some more, because I think I missed the main focus of this thread is about simplifying one's whole life not just the 'stuff' aspect.

Time -- Dh and I had a long talk about our summer plans. Kids here do a huge amount of stuff in the summer -- sports camps, science camps, YMCA camps, art classes, soccer lessons, it goes on and on and on.....well, it is easy to get sucked into the go-go-go mentality. I do it every summer. And then I have overly tired kids and an overly tired mama.

So, my big change this year is that we will do one week of science camp. It is a day camp and only 4 miles from our house. And the kids love it. That's it.

We stay busy with our day to day lives -- swimming at the pool, farmer's market and our CSA. There really is no reason that I need to bow to social pressure and schedule my kids all summer.

Off to fix lunch. I'll think of more later.
post #16 of 177
Thread Starter 
Hi Ruthie! I always love your contributions!

Last week for Spring break, we did a anything goes week. The kids planned it! They had a slumber party the first weekend with a cousin at our house. Then they planned out to go a musuem with her family the next day. The whole week had summer like weather (hey in the windy city- its an awesome gift!) so we did a "park crawl" one day and ended up having a picnic at the final park. Another day, DH got home early and we all walked to our local dairy queen. We ate outside on our patio every night. Then they spent the night at the cousin's house and we had a date night.

In the midst, my parents arrived for Easter, we had dinner with them, our families etc and it turned into a great week just by going by whatever suites our fancy.

I raised my voice twice, and honestly it was to call the kids to lunch or dinner. I did have a few rules- no tv between 10am - 3pm. Usually at 4pm, the kids were tired from all the fun, they could watch a bit. With exception to the park day (were beat!) they turned off the tv within a few mninutes and found something else to do.

We started a no plans summer last year and it went well. This year, the girls have been talking up what they want to do this summer. With exception to a week in late July where dd1 goes to our parish for a day camp ( a block away) the only thing planned is the local pool. We have a membership every year and literally after our whole family goes 7 times, its paid for. By 4th of July its already paid for itself twice.

So on the plans, is many pool days, once a week park day to a different park every week and a picnic lunch there. DH and I want to take longer bike rides so that is also added into the mix.
post #17 of 177
i do enjoy this thread.


zoebird online; jenifer irl. mother to hawk, wife to ryan. we live in wellington, nz, having moved here from pennsylvania. we own our own business--a holistic health center. i teach yoga.

discuss what brought you to this place

this is a lot of stuff to talk about. hmm.

i guess it starts at about age 27 or so. just before i turned 27, i realized that when i was younger, DH and i talked about having kids at age 27. and yet, i felt no where near ready, and my lifestyle was such that there was no way i was ready. we just knew we didn't want to bring a kid into the mix.

we had a vision of how we wanted to live when having a kid. there were things we wanted and things we didn't want. and so we set goals to make that possible, to create that. and then set to work on it.

after 5 yrs of effort, we achieved most of our goals, and emotionally felt ready to have a kid. so, we did.

this put into stark relief for us how we needed to really go for the gusto. go for all of it.

what we had achieved emotionally, spiritually, and financially were excellent. but we had still hedged toward our parent's values, seeking their approval and inclusion. we'd stayed safe in some ways, rather than taking necessary risks. and, after having a kid, we were able to see this.

the first year was really tough. well, he's only 19 month old, so it's not like we've been at this stage long, but a lot happened.

we found an opportunity to buy a business in NZ, which would help me achieve my career goals. simultaneously, it creates more opportunity for DH to reach his career goals, and moves us to the city where we want to live.

so, it took us to that next step. in the process, we got to get rid of pretty much everything we owned, because we didn't want to move things that weren't important to us to the other side of the planet.

this was very liberating, because much of what we had was a reflection of our parents, our parent's values and design style and lifestyle and goals and definitions of success and 'being good/right.' they weren't ours.

so, we were able to shed them, and move to the other side of the planet.

how is this path and what has it taken you to?

i think that we both feel liberated and excited about the possibilities.

we discovered after our first purges and keeping the home as it was organized and clean, that we felt more freedom emotionally and that we were able to create more effectively. we were more relaxed and had more time on our hands. we never felt like we had that "another thing to do" hanging over us.

when we moved here, that also included some mental/emotional/familial clutter. how my family or his family defines success doesn't mean anything anymore. we don't have obligations to keep things because they might come over and see it or whatever (which is part of what we did before).

now, we are in a space of defining things ourselves. we are defining our goals, lifestyle, way of thinking and being. we are experimenting, but also cautious about moving forward-- particularly with "stuff." we err to the side of caution in making any purchase because we don't want to buy something and then regret having purchased it later.

when we do make a purchase, it is well thought. our bedroom furniture, for example, is exactly what we wanted since we were here in 2007. after three years of wanting it, no reason not to get it. we'd saved up and were able to buy it without debt.

so, our biggest process here is to remain clear in what we want and how we want to get there, and then follow that. keep to the course.

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?

we are at this "blank slate" stage where we can really create from scratch--where everything can be consciously chosen to be exactly as we want it to be.

we aren't inheriting unconsciously from our past, but consciously creating our present and future.
post #18 of 177
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

we aren't inheriting unconsciously from our past, but consciously creating our present and future.
Love this.

So Introduce yourself: I'm Jenna, SAHM of a 4 yr old, nearly 3 yr old, and a newborn.

discuss what brought you to this place: I guess "ecologically friendly" living brought me to the concept of simple living and I got really excited about the freedom associated with ditching the "stuff" in my life.

how is this path and what has it taken you to?
Unfortunately, life has sorta gotten in my way in terms of ditching my stuff (and emotions, can't forget that! ), so I'm still sort of in the beginning of my path, imo, but I am conscious of our purchases, etc...
Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else? I think i sort of answered this - definitely overbundance, but also living thoughtfully/planet-friendly...
post #19 of 177
So Introduce yourself
Howdy. My name is Heather, I am married with one sweet DS-(4) and one furry Boxer dog (10)

Discuss what brought you to this place
I have always beens into simple living, except back about 10 years ago, it didn't really have a name. It has always just been the way I have lived. I enjoy travelling and exploring and taking memories, not stuff with me. I cannot live in a chaotic lifestyle, whether with the material , mental, emotional or physical clutter. Over the years it has morphed, as my lifestyle has changed (moving 9 times, marriage, child, college, work...etc) But the common thread is simple living. I am interested in a greener lifestyle along with just being able to have the time to do what I really want.

how is this path and what has it taken you to?
It is my hubby's and mine ultimate desire to live a fantastic life, travelling and finding opportunities as a family. We eventually want to retire to the beach...nothing fancy, just something small that we can close up and travle and but still enjoy when we are home...but we don't want to be 80 by the time that happens. Right now we are working down some debt but making great strides. It has taken several years of going without (or so I thought) but we emerged on the other side a little more enlighted...and light on our loads in life too.

I am probably the odd gal out here as I have an executive job that I love. I work in healthcare and absolutely love my career choice. Simple living allows me to balance life a lot more easily. When I come home, it's all about my family and not about acquiring more stuff or having to clean a huge home or polish the silverware. I get the quality time I need, save some money, the environment and my sanity all at the same time.

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?
Right now, I am recovering from surgery. I am WAAAYYY off track over the past 4 months and it's time to dive back in and get things in order, all around. I am finding as I head into my mid 30's, stuff, even though I am not one to desire things, has really less and less meaning with me. I do have to replace several items that are just worn out but I do not even gush over new or used like I used to, which was minimal at best. Priorities have made me realize what is important and having lived this way for somet time now, I am amazed at what I can lived without.
post #20 of 177
Hi all, what a great thread. I just love coming to this board bc there is so much I want to read.
I really want to simplify my clutter and our lives bc I keep filling everything up. If I had a 4000 sf house, it would be full...if I had more free time I would fill it w/ more volunteer work (I have many causes that I am passionate about and there is just not enough time in the day to do it all).

I am motivated to do something about my clutter bc many in my family have too much stuff. My dad's house looks like that show, "Hoarders". It hit me when I turned 35. What am I saving all this crap for??

ANyways, want to learn from all of you.
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