Simple Living. It’s Ridiculously Complex.

the meaning of life is to give life meaning

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{Hello to any new readers from Planning With Kids! If you haven’t been here before, you might want to check out these popular posts: How to Start, 12 Things Happy People do Differently and The Myth of Work/Life Balance.}

 

This blog is about creating a slow home. And another term for creating a slow home is creating a simple life.

What is Simple Living?

The same as success or happiness, it’s vastly different things to different people.

But to me, and on this blog, simple living is:

  • living in a decluttered home
  • living in an organised (enough) home that works for me and my family
  • treading lightly on the earth in as many ways as we can
  • trimming excess and unnecessary stress from our lives
  • eating a balanced diet based on unprocessed whole foods and limited meat
  • being mindful and present and intentional in our interactions with each other and our family and friends
  • being kind to myself – with solitude and exercise
  • growing some of our own food
  • being content with our lives as they are right now
  • being out of consumer debt and living within our means

And in each of those things, I am failing. In some cases, very badly. (Cough cough – being content right now. Cough. Consumer debt. Cough, cough.)

So How Do We Learn to Live More Simply?

1. Priorities:

You need to know why you’re making these changes. Why you crave a simpler life, a slower home, a contented heart. It’s the why that drives everything else. So spend some time getting to know your heart before you move ahead.

This is something you can’t copy from someone else. You need to determine your own priorities, because they need to work in your life, your home, your family.

To determine these priorities, sit down for a minute and visualise your perfect simple life. Run through your ideal day of simple living (while not ignoring reality!) and take note of what makes you light up, what leaves you feeling content and what feels best for your family.

Then note down the first five elements that come to mind. These are now your simple living priorities – your starting point. (You can always shift them later so don’t get too caught up in choosing the right ones.)

2. Choose One Thing:

Of the five priorities you’ve listed, choose one. Then choose a small part of that and make it your first baby step.

For example, if you choose:

The truth is it doesn’t matter WHAT you choose, it’s that you start.

3. Adopt it Whole-Heartedly:

Once you’ve taken that first baby step, keep doing it like it’s your job. Repeat it until it becomes part of your day-to-day life. This way you are building a habit that will last, which is important if you want your simple life to last the distance.

4. Take Baby Step #2:

Choose your next step and work it into your life, day-by-day. And continue putting one foot in front of the other, making strong and intentional changes each step of the way.

Accept That There is No Perfect Life Waiting For You

What you will invariably discover as you take this journey towards simple living is that it’s not a race. You will discover your own way, what works, what doesn’t. And you will learn that there is always something to improve, something new to try, a different perspective. As you master one part of the process, it will reveal ten new things to work on. It’s endless.

But please don’t let that stop you from starting. Once I realised that there was no finish line, no perfect life of simplicity waiting for me around the corner, I relaxed into it. And simple living started to become our lifestyle rather than another list of jobs to add to the to-do list.

And that in itself has been worth every second.

Tell me, what does your ideal simple life look like? (Without swapping the suburbs for a beach in Thailand!)

Are you looking for help in starting your journey to simple living? Sign up to the VIP list here and be the first to learn about the Slow Home BootCamp – launching soon.

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23 Responses to Simple Living. It’s Ridiculously Complex.

  1. Neen says:

    I love this post. Love your blog! You have perfectly articulated exactly how I want to live my life. Thanks.
    Janine

    • Brooke McAlary says:

      Thanks for saying hi, Neen! Glad to see you over here after yesterday.

      Let me know what else you’d like to know about simple living, or if there’s anything else you’d like to see on the blog.

      xx

  2. Jamtart says:

    Hi Brooke! Thank you for your blog, and thank you for this post in particular. It’s a timely read for me, as I’m living with a bit if stress at the moment. I’m going to try the steps you’ve suggested, because a simplified life would go a long way to making me feel better :-)

    • Brooke McAlary says:

      Oh, you’re more than welcome! You made my day in saying that – so thank YOU! I’m really hoping what you find here may help in some small way. There are definitely seasons of life that suck with stressfulness, aren’t there? Let me know if there’s anything I can do, or anything you need particular help with. xx

  3. [...] first BootCamp email will hit your inbox in two weeks’ time and you can start simplifying your life and slowing your home from [...]

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  5. [...] you’re really wanting to live a simpler, slower life and find contentment, then one of the most important things to do is to take control of your own [...]

  6. [...] I’m not focused on living a simpler life. When I let myself play the comparison game. When I convince myself that I am not enough, so I need [...]

  7. [...] But I want to be upfront with you: it’s not easy. In fact, at times it can be ridiculously complicated. [...]

  8. joie says:

    Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! I had a little meltdown last night, because I’m tired of feeling overwhelmed and surrounded by things. And now, I’m staring at a list of 6 priorities that I can work towards. I love having a plan. Thank you for this.

  9. [...] in this quest for a simpler, slower life, we need to realise that things are just things. They may remind us of the grandmother once she has [...]

  10. Terry says:

    I fing it calming to hear of others that are wanting to find simplicity. I thank you for your blog and I will be back soon to read more. My family is also trying to live a life that is simpler, and love to find new ideas.

    • Brooke McAlary says:

      Thanks Terry. I hope you find some useful information here. And good luck in your simple living journey too. It’s work, but it’s worth it. :)

  11. [...] Creating a life of simplicity is not hard. But it is complicated. [...]

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  13. juliehogben says:

    Love your blog! Just found myself saying, yep to each of the bullet points on your list! So excited to know that I am not alone working through this new adventure and that even if my friends don’t “get it” yet, there are others out there who are also on similar journeys! Enjoying the freedom and embracing the challenge day by day! Will be reading regularly and have signed up for Boot camp emails!

    • Brooke McAlary says:

      Julie, that is fantastic to hear! It does help to know there are others going through the same transformations, particularly if your friends and family aren’t on board just yet. Once they see the positive changes to your life, many of them will jump on the bandwagon!

      Let me know how you find the BootCamp too. I hope it’s helpful!

  14. Morghan says:

    My ideal life involves a motorhome. I need to learn how to cut down stuff in my kitchen, there’s more in there (and all of it used) than in the rest of my home even if you count socks individually. I’d love to be able to drive randomly and stop when I’m somewhere interesting, it’s been far too long since I’ve been able to leave Maine and be in Virginia a few days later, then realize it’s tourist season and head to Montana. I realize I’m limited to school break with a kid, but I’d rather she have the gift of wandering instead of the whole life in one city her mom had before we met.

    • Brooke McAlary says:

      Ah, yes. Wandering is a dream of ours too. We did across Canada pre-kids and it is such an amazing way to live. In terms of cutting down on kitchen stuff – it’s a difficult one, particularly if you use it all and enjoy having it at your disposal. It’s when it begins to prove stressful that it’s easier to get rid of. Perhaps you could start by boxing up some of the lesser-used items and store them away for a time. If you don’t miss them or need them in that time, it’s safe to say you can do without…

  15. [...] time (yep thats me!) being more organised or living a simpler life, check out Brooke McAlary - Simple Living. It’s Ridiculously Complex. , Nicole Avery – Planning With Kids or [...]

  16. [...] time (yep thats me!) being more organised or living a simpler life, check out Brooke McAlary - Simple Living. It’s Ridiculously Complex. , Nicole Avery – Planning With Kids or [...]

  17. I actually want to know how come you titled this specific article, _Simple
    Living. Its Ridiculously Complex. | Slow Your Home_.
    Regardless I actually loved the blog!Thanks for your time,Philomena

  18. [...] true, creating a simple life is complex. Working out the reasons behind your clutter and complications isn’t easy. But once you can [...]

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