If you are like me, you are on a road to simple and sustainable living. Maybe, you’re at the beginning of the road and don’t know where to start, or maybe, you are one of those people I admire and have it down pat. I consider myself to be nearing the middle because I have learned so much, which I love sharing with you, but I still have a LONG way to go.
No matter where you are on this road, there is one thing we all have to remember. Simple living can be hard work. Seems ironic, doesn’t it? (Learn about why I chose this journey on my START HERE page.) I’m here with some motivation to keep you from feeling discouraged because even though it is a lot of work, it is so rewarding in the end.
Here is the definition of SIMPLE according to Merriam-Webster: “Not hard to understand or do, Having few parts, Not complex or fancy, Not special or unusual” (Find the full definition HERE)
So, “simple” does not necessarily mean EASY! The way I look at the words “simple living” I see, back to basics. Doing things for yourself and not always depending on stores (especially big corporations) for things like food and other needs and wants.
I also see back to nature, as in reducing waste, reusing and upcycling, gardening and composting. All these things were standard living not many decades ago. Our health and earth are suffering from our selfish need for convenience.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!! I put together a list of tips to actually help you simplify simple living and to find a balance that works for you and your family right now. Remember it DOES NOT have to be all or nothing.
#1 First and foremost, you must realize that (especially in the beginning) you WILL NOT be able to do everything, and that is OK.
Don’t even try to do everything. Start out with a few small changes and get comfortable with them, before adding more. Try line drying one load of laundry a week and see how it goes. Once or twice a month get your produce from a farmer’s market. Start small and go from there.
#2 Get the family on board.
Now you know you can’t do everything, but you can do more if everyone in the household is involved. If this is a big change for everyone, there will most likely be challenges, but once everyone is on board, more greatness will happen.
Young kids will love helping out! They are curious by nature, and everything they experience, hands on, will help their little minds appreciate things like learning where their food comes from and growing their own. Also, learning how to reuse and re-purpose things, and mending or fixing things instead of tossing them in the trash. These are mindsets that I feel many kids (and adults) are lacking these days.
#3 Define your simple lifestyle.
Are you passionate about growing your own food and cooking from scratch, but would rather purchase natural cleaning products instead of the whole DIY route? Or, is it more your style to buy your veggies from a farmer, instead of growing your own, but want to can and preserve them yourself? Maybe you can’t handle any commercially made products, so you want to make everything on your own, from laundry soap to deodorant, but hand washing dishes is not your thing. Define what elements will be your main focus. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
#4 Give yourself a percentage to aim for.
If you are like me, you would want to do EVERYTHING I just mentioned, but just plain don’t have time for it all. Say, doing everything equals 100%. Give yourself a percentage of your day, week, or month, that you give it your all. I aim for about 75%. If you WANT to do it all, this gives yourself permission to let different things slide here and there, and still stay on track, without the guilt.
#5 Determine the area’s where you’re comfortable bending the rules,
and the areas that are non-negotiable. So, when you’re aiming for your percentage, know what you’re willing to let slide. For me, one big thing is the clothes dryer. If I’m short on time, heck, in the dryer they go, but I always make my own detergent and I will never use commercial fabric softeners.
#6 Planning equals success.
This one is big, and it is true in so many aspects. I benefit SO much from thinking ahead and planning appropriately. Sometimes I plan my meals out for the whole week, and those weeks always go more smoothly. I know what to take out of the freezer the night before, and I know what groceries I need to buy. It really is an amazing thing and makes cooking from scratch much more doable. (Check out this awesome post all about meal planning for your personality HERE!)
#7 Remember to slow down.
There is such an overwhelming push these days, for families to be extremely scheduled. We fall into that scenario often. I don’t like to be over-scheduled, it’s stressful and complicates things. So, I make a point to consciously slow down.
For example, it is Labor Day weekend, which is a 4 day weekend for us, but we’ve chosen to stay home and enjoy some slow down time. Many people in our neighborhood are out-of-town, so it’s peaceful. We’ve been able to enjoy family time and take a break from the fast paced work week, without much effort. These are the times when I love to bake with my kids and preserve food for storage, all while creating memories and traditions.
If you find yourself in an overwhelming moment, like I have many times, remember these tips. It will help you find a good balance between simple living and standard fast paced life. Depending on the amount of time and space you have, everyone’s ratio will be different, but I feel that in some way these inspirations will apply to everyone.
What keeps you motivated? Are there any inspirations you use to keep life simple? I’d love to chat about it, so leave a comment below and remember to connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
Have a simply beautiful day 🙂