Recently, a friend sent me this message. Does it sound familiar at all?
“I was reading your blog, and you mentioned being a minimalist.. HELP!? Please, how did you start this…
I am drowning over here, so much so that I wish our house would burn down so I can start over, and not bring anything into the house! (I know, terrible)
Are there websites/books/resources that you can suggest that will help me take the steps toward doing this? I am losing my mind!“
Do you resemble any of her remarks?
In answer, I told my friend that part of why I embrace simple living is simply because of my personality. I’ve always liked being neat and organized. I like routine. I despise clutter. I was one of those kids who never had to be told to clean her room.
I’m not saying my way is best.
It takes all kinds to make a world.
But sometimes, simplicity can mean the difference between meeting your goals and not meeting them.
It’s the difference between getting what you want and not getting it.
The difference between chaos and sanity.
A Simple Kind of Mom
I think it was after having my third child that I got serious about simplifying. I got serious about meal planning. I created more routines for my life and my days. I cleared out more clutter. And even more. I started getting picky about what I let into my life.
Especially now as my life has changed even more since then and I have more responsibility, I have to keep things very simple in order to minimize stress.
- I keep my home simple. Everything from the color scheme to the decor is simple and clean looking. It’s restful on the eyes. There isn’t too much “stuff” everywhere. I just say no to tchotchkes.
- I keep my grooming simple. When it comes to my wardrobe, I know what I like, what looks good on me, and I keep dressing simple. A uniform, if you will. Most things in my closet are black and white, with a little pink and red thrown in for accent. I also don’t fight my natural look too much. I let my hair do its natural thing (curl), I use olive oil to clean and moisturize my face, and it takes me two minutes to do my makeup when I go out.
- I keep homeschooling simple. We do a lot of stuff together (like history and science) instead of teaching everything separately. I focus on the basics.
- I keep cooking simple. Most of what I cook is one pot dishes that consist of meat, a grain and veggies. I don’t get fancy or try to reinvent the wheel. Snacks are simple things like fresh fruit, cheese and flax crackers – stuff the kids can grab themselves. I also prepare the same dishes over and over – the ones that are winners with my kids.
- I keep homemaking simple. I use vinegar, baking soda and castille to clean everything. I don’t buy housecleaning gadgets (although I would sell my soul for a Roomba!) that gather dust. I decorate so as to minimize housework in the first place.
- I keep my business simple. Instead of trying to do and learn something new all the time, I stick to what I’m good at and what works for me. I draw good boundaries and say no a lot. I focus instead of getting sidetracked by new projects all the time. I don’t let social media stuff overtake me.
- I keep fitness and health simple. I don’t use supplements except cod liver oil (unless I’m ill). I prefer to let food be my medicine. I keep my exercise routine simple. I have a gym membership and do a 30 minute total body workout three times a week.
There are a lot of other examples, I just can’t think of them right now. Simplicity also means not being a perfectionist and trying to do and say everything.
Simple living is for me about making choices. Choices about how you really want to spend your time. Choices about how you really want to spend your money.
It’s helpful to ask yourself questions before you bring anything new into your home. Do I want to dust this? Do I want to pay to insure it? Is it going to stress me out if the kids knock it over? Etc.
As for recommended resources for simple living, here are a few:
Simple Living Books?
Anything by Don Aslett. His books are fantastic if you want to simplify cleaning and get rid of clutter once and for all.
Your Money or Your Life will help you understand your relationship to stuff and how it really impedes you from your goals – especially in the area of money.
My favorite One Pot Meals cookbook is well worn with many food stains. A good sign of a much loved cookbook!
Simple Living Blogs?