shoes

A manifesto

man·i·fes·to [man-uh-fes-toh]:
(noun, plural man·i·fes·toes.)
A public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives.

The Art of Simple is a blog that believes living simply is a worthy lifestyle choice. It can look many different ways, which is an inherent part of the beauty of “simple living”—there is no one right way to do it.

But while both the process and the result of simple living can look different from one person to the next, there are a few hills this blog is willing to die on. (There aren’t many, further solidifying the significance of each.) Most things about living simply are gray, but we believe these things are black and white:

1. People are more important than things.

2. People can live on and with far less than mainstream cultural norms lead us to believe.

3. Debt is not a tool, and instead puts people in needless bondage.

4. Quality is more important than quantity in almost every facet of life, from tangible possessions, to relationships, to aesthetics.

5. Life is not about consumption, and our daily choices regarding time, energy, money, the environment, relationships, and the stewardship of our resources matter for eternity.

6. The definition of living simply is “living holistically with your life’s purpose.” All the parts of your life are pointed in the same direction, towards who you are and what you were made to do.

We believe there is a marriage between the art and science in pursuing a simpler life. We need both the poetic and the practical on the simple living journey, so the blog shares and values both. We publish content on both the “why” and the “how-to”—a poem encouraging moms to laugh at their dilapidated minivan and an explanation on how to not use shampoo both belong on the blog.

We believe living simply is a journey, not a destination—or, better put, it’s a lifestyle, not a goal. Our seasons of life and geographical location often change frequently, which means we need to continually live flexibly and actively.

And finally, because we believe living simply is a lifestyle, because we believe people are more important than things, and because we believe our daily choices matter for eternity, we believe living simply isn’t only for our benefit. The world and the people who inhabit is a better place when we choose to live simpler, both now and eternally. Simple living is a worthy pursuit, not only for our families, but for our neighbors as well.

Mother Teresa* said it well: “Live simply so that others can simply live.”

The Art of Simple advocates for and encourages all of the above, and we cover many topics within this “simple living” umbrella. And though the blog’s audience is primarily parents, we have plenty who aren’t, and write more about the idea of “simple living” than about “parenting.” Or, maybe it’s better to say, when we do write about parenting, we’re really writing about living simply.

And while we often write from a Christian perspective, we welcome all readers who want to be part of the AoS community, regardless their worldview, faith, gender, geographical location, life stage, or any other variable.

In short, the blog The Art of Simple remains true to its original mission, and will publish thusly: to encourage its readers to live simply.

Tsh Oxenreider
founder, The Art of Simple and Simple Living Media
November 2013

The Art of Simple: A Manifesto
Art by Matt Stevens

*This quote has been attributed to Gandhi as well. Both people are great.