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What’s the Point of Simplifying and Simple Living?

Ugh. Household cleaning. It’s just not that much fun in my book. Neither is dealing with clutter. There’s a lot of talk about simplifying and simple living, but what exactly does that mean? To me, it means living with less stress. That’s not the same as living with less, as in quality of life–though it can mean living with less tangible and emotional stuff, or junk.

When it comes to daily living, my ongoing goal is to keep what I bring into the house to a minimum. It often means thinking twice about whether I really need or want to buy something. Often it means resisting tempting deals and handouts, like a clearance sale or a relative’s recent offer to give me an air hockey table. It means regularly weeding out toys, papers, and outgrown clothes.

I didn’t always have this perspective. Don’t get me wrong. I love shopping. I love buying. But I don’t like accumulating stuff that doesn’t get used, or rarely will get used. And, I don’t like feeling guilty when I see something I’ve bought that still has tags on it, when I know that my money could have been better spent–like deposited into a savings account.

Simplifying is not about deprivation, though it could be if it’s taken extremely far.  It’s about asking, Can You Live Without These?  Like signing up for automatic bill pay and automatic savings, so you don’t have to lick stamps each month.  While we’re on it, by the way, even tweaking out an extra $10 a month out to save will do wonders in the long run for your sanity and simplification goals.  Simple living is about making choices and asking (sometimes) tough questions, like do I really need to hang onto that sweater I’ve had since high school?

If nothing else, simplifying means household cleaning inevitably gets easier and easier each time you have to do it.  For example, if you get rid of a bunch of old, ratty bath towels today, it means fewer to fold next time you do laundry.  Who can fight less laundry?


  • Barry

    Couldn’t agree more! Simplicity and minimalism don’t have to mean we become ascetics. Personally, I think we’re all minimalists already (our ancestors certainly started out that way) and, little by little, we are finding our way back. Great post! 🙂

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