simple living: practical ways we are simplifying...

Over the past few years, it's become clear to Landon and I that we have a passion for simplicity in our lives and home.  It has been so fun to discover this and to explore our growing desire for less stuff...materialistic, physical, and emotional stuff.  This whole idea of simplicity is a process, and an ongoing one at that.  But as I look back on our married life, I can see so many positive changes we've made, and how those reflect on our life today.

Here are some practical ways we are simplifying right now.

*We only have one car.  When our first car we affectionately referred to as The Green Beast left our happy little home, we delayed buying another car.  It just wasn't necessary at that time, and we sort of...never bought another.  Right now, in our current location and time in our lives, it's easy to only have one car.  We love it because it saves us money, and forces us to take better care of the one car we do have.  In the future, we may decide to buy a second vehicle, but that time is not right now.

*We don't have cable.  We just don't want it.  Ever.  It would suck away the precious time we have, and we just can't have that.  Our time is better spent not in front of the t.v.  We watch movies or a few shows here and there, but we are working at eliminating a lot of those.

*We are trying to eat a slow-carb diet.  Back in January, we took up a challenge to try something new for 29 days.  Our challenge was a slow-carb diet meaning no sugar, carbs, minimal dairy, and lots of veggies, beans, and protein.  This diet has helped our grocery bill quite a bit.  We've passed our 29 day mark, and we are keeping on with the diet.  I've lost a few pounds, sugar doesn't seem as delicious anymore, and we've eaten so many more veggies than we used to.  Every weekend we take an off day and permit ourselves to eat whatever we want though, which keeps me sane.

*We are minimizing Facebook.  Landon ditched his Facebook account long ago, and I have just recently unsubscribed from all but a few close friends and family.  This keeps my time on Facebook way down from what it used to be since I no longer have a huge newsfeed.  I have more time each day, and I am no longer tempted to compare myself to others.  If I want to see what someone's up to, I can just click on their page and get updated....like it used to be in the good old days of college-only Facebook. :)

*We use flip phones.  We will probably not buy smart phones for a very long time if we can help it.  The way the plans are going, it may be harder than we think, but we have even talked about getting prepaid cell phones.  Right now, it's not worth it to us to pay a large monthly smart phone plan, and we don't want to have the interwebs or tons of apps with us 24/7.

*We are purposely living in a small house.  We like the small space, it's easy to maintain, and we don't have a mortgage right now.  We will revisit the idea of buying a home in the future, but if we do, we will purposely look for something way smaller than the traditional single-family homes of today.  Did you know that the average size of a single-family home in 1950 was 983 square feet?
Here's a good article on the topic.

*We are getting rid of unused items.  It is a continual process for us to evaluate what really belongs in our home.  We have taken monthly trips to the Goodwill donation center for awhile, and it feels so good every time.  We have more space, less stuff to clean and maintain, and more room to breathe.  One time, a random lady even took a bunch of stuff out of Landon's hands as he was walking it into the donation center...helping us help you, girlfriend. :)

Like I said, this is a constant process, and we are always revisiting these ideas to see if they fit in with our current living situation and time in our lives.  If we have multiple children, we'll probably need another car.  If we feel like eating junky food for a week to take a break, we just might do that.  If we need to purchase something for our home, we'll be thoughtful about it and buy it if we have the money.  If we feel the need to up our time on Facebook...no, no that won't be happening. :)

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.  ~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993


Kate Harvey said...

I love this! I haven't thought as consciously as you and your husband have about simplifying my life, but in reading your list, I realize we have a lot in common. We don't own a TV, and don't plan to anytime soon. We will probably get a cheap one in the future just to watch ND games on, but plan to keep it in storage and only take it out for game days. That may sound extreme, but we can watch wholesome TV and movies on our computers, and we simply don't need a TV in our lives. Until recently, we only had one car (I still wish we only had one, but circumstances changed and we were given one by a family member!). Also, I deleted my Facebook after college.

Sorry to go on and on, but this post really resonated with me. I don't think of these things in quite the same way as you do--I think of it as making our lives more wholesome, whereas you think of it as simplification. Nevertheless, our ideas have manifested themselves in similar ways, and that's so interesting! Keep up the good work, you two!

Leah Rife said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! I love your view - wholesome. That's a great way to look at this type of lifestyle as well. I really think it's all about making way for the things that will truly enrich our lives and getting rid of the things that won't. That is what we're aiming for anyway.

Keri said...

I don't know if you've mentioned this website or book in a previous post, but I just recently read the book "You Can Buy Happiness (And It's Cheap)" by Tammy Strobel and it's all about how her and her husband turned their lives around into a very simplistic one. It's very inspirational! It also gives some great tips and such for simplifying. She also has a website called rowdykittens.com that you should totally check out if you haven't already :)

Leah Rife said...

Thanks, Keri! I will check those out!


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