Yesterday I wrote about how Becky and I have tried to simplify our thinking about simplicity. Today is all about how we’ve, over the last three years, simplified how we live as a result of that kind of thinking. I want to be clear though that we have not “arrived” – whatever that is – but we feel we’re still in transition toward simplicity.
Here’s some of what we’ve done to simplify our lives so far. Keep in mind that all of this has been done because we think it fits our definition of simplicity: Taking less to give more.
- Moved from 4600 square feet to 1600.*
- Went to one car and it’s paid for.*
- Cancelled cable.*
- Limited TV watching to one hour a day for the kids, and none for me and Becky.
- Grow a small amount of produce ourselves. My father-in-law plants our garden every year.
- Buy some produce from a local farmers’ co-op.
- Buy fewer clothes: taught (are teaching) kids to care of their stuff, patch what rips, and get new clothes when the old ones wear out, not when fashion changes.
- Use mostly condensed fluorescent bulbs and turn off lights if we know we’ll be out of a room for more than a couple minutes.*
- Leave windows open instead of using the AC when it’s possible.*
- Compost everything organic so we use the disposal very rarely and make fertilizer at the same time.
- Recycle everything we can in our area – cardboard, plastic, glass, cans.
- Clip coupons. (Though it’s hard to find coupons for healthier food choices.)*
- Use Samaritan Ministries instead of insurance.*
- Don’t buy new if possible – no matter how pretty and cool new is.
- Borrow and lend.
- Limited eating out to once a week*
- Stopped drinking caffeine. And then stopped it again. And now once again.*
- Slayed Santa*
* = Estimated $15,600 saved annually.
IT’S A PROCESS
We didn’t stop giving our kids gifts at Christmas, go to one car, borrow a mower, and start a garden in one month. Not even in one year. This was a process for us that took years. And there’s more to be done, we know – more stuff to cut out of our lives, more to give away, and more consistency needed across the board. It’s a process.
IT’S NOT FOR YOU
This isn’t a mandatory checklist for you or anyone else to work through. These things aren’t hidden somewhere in the original Greek of the New Testament or tucked away in some forgotten chapter of Leviticus. This is the stuff we’ve tried that worked for us. There’s stuff we tried that didn’t work too. This is our attempt at living more simply based on our budget, lifestyle, values, geography and ability. Results may vary. Lists probably should too.
Still to come: Stuff we’re trying next.