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What is “Simple Living,” Anyway?

I originally started this blog as a creative outlet to help alleviate my depression, prescribed to me by my therapist. I also wrote about what it looked like to simplify my life as an expat trying to live in a new-to-her culture.

This online space was a catalog of my ideas as I was field-testing them in real life.

I also chose this topic of “simple living” because it wasn’t widely written about on the internet at the time, and because I couldn’t find a blog with what I was after, I decided to start my own. (My, how times have changed.)

coffee table mess

“Simple living” is an old phrase, and it’s so broad that it invites as many definitions as there are people who want to simplify. Well, there’s not a one-size-fits-all way to describe what it looks like to live a simple life, but I believe there’s one definition that works for all of us:

Simple living means living holistically with your life’s purpose.

This is what “simple living” means here on this site, and what it also means in my life. The more I explore this idea—in books, podcasts, courses, and in blog posts—the more true it becomes. It works for all of us.

Let’s unpack this definition.

What “simple living” is:

• First, it requires knowing who you are. And from that, it means you have a sense of your life’s purpose. This is your vocation—how your life speaks.

• Then, it’s holistic—all the parts of your life are pointing in the same direction—not just keeping a minimalist home, or biking to work. All the moving parts of life are congruent with who you are.

• These parts play in harmony—that the stuff in your home, how people live there, your physical and emotional health, your calendar and commitments, your relationships—they’re not in opposition to each other.

• It’s a process, not a one-stop arrival. Living simply isn’t easy, but it’s worth time and effort because, in my experience, it’s a better way to live. You’re living out who you were made to be.

I’m not perfect at this, at all. There have been years of downright stress for me and my family, which have made life feel more complicated than simple.

But that doesn’t mean the effort hasn’t been worth it. It has, tenfold. Slowly simplifying, a bit at a time, hasn’t eliminated the crashing waves—but it’s made them easier to ride.

Live Simply print by Katie Daisy

What simple living isn’t:

• It’s not a backwards race to see who can live with the least amount of stuff. Every family is different, so who am I to say that you absolutely shouldn’t have two cars, or that you’re doing something wrong if you don’t grow your own food? Preposterous.

• It’s not a competition. Just because one family is doing X, Y, and Z doesn’t mean it’s best for you. We should learn from each other, yes, and it doesn’t hurt to try something new before writing it off. But no one’s in a contest for Most Minimalist.

• It’s not the end all, be all. “Living simply” for its own sake gets boring. So you save money because you bicycle most of your errands or you line-dry your clothes. What are you going to do with that saved money? You’ve cut out almost all afterschool extracurriculars in favor of more family time and less fighting traffic. How is that time spent?

I believe that relationships are more important than things, and that life is so much better when we live beyond ourselves. Mother Teresa once said:

“Live simply so that others may simply live.”

This is it. That’s what I think this is ultimately about. We choose to live simply—in the way that best resonates with our life’s calling—so that others may simply live.

So that we have extra funds to give where we want to make a difference.

So we have more time to spend with each other and really invest quality time in our kids’ lives.

So we can spend time knowing our neighbors and friends, and not just waving at them as we hurry off to the next thing.

We live with less so we can better appreciate true beauty, in all its forms.

When you hear the term “simple living” on this site, this is what it means. We don’t give awards to the most minimalist household or gape in awe at the family who lives a Spartan lifestyle. It’s so much more than that.

It’s living well—leaning fully into who you really are.

p.s. – If you’d like to explore deeper the idea of vocation and who you really are, check out Like Your Life.

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Erika

    Yes! You have put into words exactly how I feel – no wonder I read ALL your blogs! Haha!

    • Shehwar

      Hi ladies,

      I m new to this site but immensely enjoyed reading this blog. how true it is to understand yourself and your needs and plan your life accordingly. simplicity for me is protecting yourself and family from negativity around u. There are ppl who would try to pull u down how u stay away from them will make your life easier….

  2. Anna

    You put this so well. Sometimes it *does* seem like a competition out there to eat better and live greener and question everything. So you blogged about olive oil conditioner… surely the goal wasn’t just to end up with olive oil on your head?! It’s about treating your body well, honoring the environment, or something else. Simple living is a tool – something that serves a greater purpose.
    I’ve been shaped by the idea of living for the things that will matter 5 minutes after you die. In my worldview, that means God and people are of ultimate importance. If the old adage says that no one lays on his deathbed wishing he’d spent more time at work, I don’t think I’ll be lying there one day wishing I got in one more olive oil rinse! But I might be wishing I’d used my time or saved my money or cared for my health in a way that served God or the people in my life better.

    • Tsh

      “Simple living is a tool – something that serves a greater purpose.”

      Yes, exactly, Anna. Simple living isn’t the end; it’s a means to an end.

  3. Heather

    What a great explanation of simple living! I completely agree with everything you said. I think that each person is going to have their own definition of simple living, and it isn’t about comparing to others it is about community and encouragement. For me, simple living is homeschooling, gardening, making food from scratch, and trying to pare down our “stuff.” It doesn’t, however, mean that we are moving out of our 2500sf home into a 1 bedroom apartment – although I sometimes think that might be a lot easier to clean! It means lowering the levels of toxic chemicals in my home by making my cleaning products and laundry soap, but I still buy detergent for the dishwasher. It is about decreasing the amount of toys that my kids have, but giving them open ended toys to allow them the space to use their imaginations – which tends to be a lot of little pieces that seem to end up all over my house! It is attempting to garden every year, but always buying a CSA share as a back up because I know that my gardening skills are not that awesome.

    Great post!

    • Tsh

      Yes, it’s a lot of ebbing and flowing. And having just as much of a “to-don’t” list as a “to-do.” 🙂

      • Nikki Melton Tibbetts

        I love this “just as much of a “to-don’t” list as a “to-do.”

    • Ali

      I guess I prove your point, Heather, because for us simple living is living in an affordable and lovely 1 bedroom apartment (um, “junior 4”), sending our son to a really great private school, having a small carbon footprint (including a CSA, minimal wardrobe, cooking from scratch, no car) and both parents working in our chosen fields of education and science.

  4. Kate

    Wonderfully put! I have gotten a lot out of your site over the years. It was the first site I found when I was looking to simplify with my new baby 5 years ago (who is now in kindergarten!!) Thank you!

    • Tsh

      That’s fun! Yeah, my kids were 3, newborn, and nonexistent, so it’s fun to think back on that… 🙂

      • kate

        I have gotten so much from your site over the years. Your posts have nothing for you to be embarrassed about! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  5. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    After reading the post title, I literally said out loud, “Good question, Tsh. Good question.” “Simple living” is so ubiquitous, yet interpreted so differently. I appreciate how you flesh it out here at Simple Mom–that it’s not a “race to the bottom” or an end in itself. I often lean toward the side of thinking having less stuff is obviously more virtuous. Maybe. But not necessarily. I recently heard a great talk about not only learning how to be content with little, but to steward much well. We’ll likely have times of plenty and of little, but the trick seems to be to live contentedly in both, always using whatever we have for God’s glory and the good of others.
    For me, “living simply” means defining and pursuing my purpose and priorities and cutting out what hinders them. Your site helps me do these–thanks!!

    • Tsh

      “…not only learning how to be content with little, but to steward much well.”

      Yes, absolutely. Because for my family, it DOES mean not having much stuff, of couse. But just as important is to care well for the things we DO choose to keep, tangible and otherwise. Great point.

  6. Heather Gaither

    Tsh, as a new reader here, I’m very thankful for this post! It’s easy to fall into the “shame game” of feeling like you SHOULD be doing XY, or Z like so-and-so. The whole point of simplifying (at least in my head) is to deliberately think through our family’s mission and then apply that mission to the details of our life (and values are born!). It’s doing things on purpose (or NOT doing things on purpose), to prevent the drift that often results in those “how did we get here” panic moments. For us, that starts with a “dream list” of things my hubby and I want to see grow (or change) in the next 6 months for our life and family. Then we turn those dreams into things to focus on. (Parenting issues to address, financial goals, service opportunities, fun family times, etc.) And then use those focused items to guide our decisions and daily habits for that season. It’s a simple way to grasp the “simple mindset” on a tangible, daily level.

    • Tsh

      Totally! Love that, Heather. And because you’re new-ish, you might like my goal-setting questions for a new year printable. I tend to use this more in the summer than during the actual new year, as part of a mid-year checkup and to plan for a new school year. 🙂 Just FYI.

      • Heather

        Wonderful Tsh! I will definitely check that out. I’m a checklist-gal, so you had me at “printable”. Thanks!

  7. Steph

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Simple living definitely shouldn’t be a competition (yet so easily becomes one)!

  8. Emily @Random Recycling

    Love the reminder here. For me, it’s all about teaching my kids how to take care of themselves in a healthy manner. This means eating real food, taking care of their belongings so they last and limiting the amount of screen time they get. However, we are a modern household with lots of technology floating about. I’m all for it when it helps me be a more efficient mom so I can spend more quality time with my kids. When the technology becomes a distraction, I know we need to prioritize and get back to our values.

  9. Lisa

    I certainly prefer this minimalist – simple living approach much more than getting rid of everything and living in 200 square foot apartment. I believe in less clutter physically, emotionally, in my schedule, etc.

  10. Stephenie@livingbrilliant

    Now I really have to think. And it’s first thing in the morning here. : )
    Anyhow, to me, simple living is living within our means, focusing on what is important in our family and our world. Spending time together in the great outdoors (or the great indoors) without needing screen time constantly and without needing to entertain each other, even though sometimes we ARE very entertaining. Trying desperately to remember to breathe and live in this moment before it disappears. I think that is it.

  11. Whitney

    I don’ think your archives are embarrassing! I was just browsing a few days ago and found them helpful. 🙂
    When I think of how other blogs describe “simple living,” it’s almost always in the context of home/frugality (ie, staying at home, working at home, schooling at home, and being VERY frugal). I think that those things, while helpful to some degree, are not necessarily simple living. What if I don’t feel called to homeschooling? What if I don’t need to pinch every penny? What if I wanted to work full-time, outside the home?
    I don’t see those questions really answered a lot. That’s why I was so excited to see you had enrolled your kids in private school. Not because there’s anything wrong with homeschooling, but it was another person had said, “Yes, we’ve made different choice here and we’re totally comfortable with it.”

    So thank you.

    • Tsh

      Well, I don’t mean all my archives, necessarily. Just the ones I’ve hidden from the general public. 😉

      And yes, we are definitely year-at-a-time, kid-at-a-time people when it comes to our education. We very well may homeschool again down the road (and definitely will when we take our big around-the-world trip in 2014), but I’m not opposed at all to public or private school. It’s a crucially important decision that every family needs to make for itself and then find peace that it’s best for them, regardless of outside pressures.

  12. Pam

    Love this, my only goal in this life really is to be stream-lined enough and peaceful enough to see my family joyful, productive, learning, and at peace 90 percent of the time. Until I see that beautiful tapestry all the time then I will keep plugging away at having a little less, organizing a little more and praying that it will all work itself out and be wonderful.

  13. Karla Archer

    Great reminder. Along our path to simplify, I’ve struggled with the fact that how we do it looks so different from so much I see presented. But it’s what works for us, and it has made us so much more intentional in all areas of our lives, and that is what it boils down to for me.

    How on earth can you consider your archives embarrassing???

  14. Tanya

    Great explanation! Who wouldn’t want more time and money saved up for the ones we love and care about.

  15. Lindsay

    For me it is somewhere between creating more time for the things that matter to me (my kids mostly), and living in a way that i think the planet can sustain. It is a tool that helps me tear away the clutter and focus on the things are important to me.

    I’m loving the archive overhaul btw. I’ve been reading on and off ages and just ran in to a bunch of posts I’d missed over the years

    • Tsh

      Glad to hear! That was one of the reasons I recently revamped them—so the older stuff would be easier to find.

      • Lindsay

        Oh yes, its a real success. And that can’t have been fun. The DIY section just reminded me I’ve had a nasty painting waiting in the shed since new year and I can’t wait for you to put some compost on the bones of the gardening category.

  16. Molly

    To me simple living goes hand in hand with the ideas of “voluntary simplicity” – the idea of intentionally living below your “means” with the goal of improving your quality of life with needing to increase the quantity of things. Like you said this will be different for every person and family (some families could get by with a single bicycle in the city and another needs 3 cars in the middle of nowhere, etc.) but it’s the idea of INTENTIONALLY living in a way that improves your quality of life (and ideal helps improve the lives of those around you as well).

    Duane Elgin, a pioneer of the VS movement, defines it as such ““Living simply is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. It’s about living an examined life where one has determined what is truly important and enough … and then just let go of all the rest. ”
    For us it means trying to be frugal when necessary, always living within our means and putting more value on experiences and family/friend time than new gadgets, fancy houses and wardrobes.

  17. cloud9designstudio

    Hi Tsh!
    Thank you for this post. It really resonated with me. We each have to choose what is best for our own family. And the beauty of that is, that each family is unique. And there are no rules to living simply. It’s keeping your energy focused on making right choices that increase togetherness, nurture hearts and souls, seek beauty and peace, and align with your values. Life is an ebb and flow, and simple living will adjust daily. The constants are being present in each moment, listening, and having a wide-open heart filled with gratitude for all that is good.
    Blessings to you!

  18. Jenny

    I am new to this blog (as well as the blogging world) – how do you ‘convince’ the rest of the family to live simply? It has recently dawned on me that my life, as well as my family’s lives, would be so much easier and less hectic if we lived more simple. Any tips??

    • Tsh

      Well, that’s a huge question, to be honest. The quickest answer I can give is to do things one at a time, remembering that simplifying life is a journey, not a destination. When you think of living simpler, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the moving parts, but really, anybody can only do one thing at a time anyway. Secondarily, I’d start with the things that you can do independently, regardless of how your family feels. Decluttering your own wardrobe, organizing family photos, organizing and decluttering your own personal calendar, etc. Your family may gradually come on board when they see a difference in you. I’d also write a personal purpose statement if your family wasn’t interested in creating a family purpose statement.

      Finally, I did write a book on this several years ago—One Bite at a Time, and it’s an inexpensive, $5 e-book. It may help you get started. 🙂

      Hope that helps, Jenny! And thanks for reading; glad you’re here.

  19. Amy

    Thank you for this. My family recently moved and welcomed our second child. Through all of the transitions and a rough pregnancy/delivery I have been surviving, with a lot of tv in the background for my two year old. I have been wanting to change that and some other things for a few months now. So today I sat down and wrote out some big picture goals, with manageable steps along the way, because I want to live my life intentionally and with purpose. I needed this reminder today.

  20. Katie May

    I love this post! Especially your Mother Theresa quote!

  21. Dana B

    I only discovered your website a month or two ago and love it. Ironically, I recently began my own blog for the same reasons.

  22. Alissa

    I’m with Kate. Same story. Avid reader from the time my kindergartener was just and infant. I always find great nuggets of wisdom and ideas that I want to implement and this is a timely reminder to define simplicity on our own terms.

    Lately, I’m finding the freedom in choosing NOT to tackle certain “simple living” projects or scaling back on grand plans in favor of baby steps. That’s why that first bullet is so important – you have to know who you are and understand your purpose. Otherwise, we risk getting sucked into a vortex of trying to DO EVERTHING in the name of making your life simpler.

    For me, simple living is more about MINDFUL LIVING – making conscious choices about what to keep and nurture and what to eliminate or change (stuff, activities, relationships, etc). Practically, I’m pondering a garden for this spring. The “achiever” in me wants to install 3 raised beds and go with gusto. The more mindful/SimpleMom side of me is recognizing that one smaller bed and a CSA subscription will better mesh with our family vision right now.

  23. Hillary

    Great post! I continually go back to the family mission statement to reevaluate how we are doing. It’s a process, not an end result, especially since families change so much so quickly when there are growing kids involved!

  24. Jennie

    Tsh, I needed to hear this clarification. In the past, to be honest, I’ve felt overwhelmed or frustrated with what i didn’t do after reading many blogs. I think that we get stuck on all the “BIG” stuff with simplicity. I think it couldn’t hurt to talk about all the little stuff that is equally important. For me, I need to recognize how crucial it was to cut my kids extra activities this winter and how that made more time for our after-school hours at home. I’m also much more conscious of my spending choices which in the long run will help save money.

    I guess my point is, i’d like to see more talk about the little changes as much as the big changes we can make to our lives.

  25. Ac

    Fantastic post and much appreciated. I think I’ve read your blog since pretty close to its inception along with a few others. I erroneously equated simple living with minimalism and tried it off and on for several years rarely feeling at peace or at home. What I figured out is that I don’t like a lot of stuff but I do need some stuff to feel like our house is a home. The same is true of our schedule and our finances. I don’t like to be busy and I don’t like to be frivolous with money but it felt like I had become a bit of an austere about it all. As you said, I’ve certainly not figured it out but I’m figuring it out more each day. The journey toward balance is ongoing and sometimes painful but it’s a great way to continue learning about yourself and your family.

  26. Juli vrotney

    Living simply… For my family it is living in an RV…not a lot of room…but we have no furniture to mess with. the hardest thing for me is how to organize with so little to work with.. But it long as the kids put things back. It is a work in progress. we live in ne Texas and so we have the beautiful outdoors.

  27. Sarah @ Fit Family Together

    Tsh – simple living for us is much of what you’ve described – living so we can focus on our priorities.
    But there’s something else here too. It’s about sometimes tackling the hard things up front so that life is simpler later on. I grew up in a household that ignored problems and let them fester until they were unmanageable – overwhelming. My husband and I have created a family life that tries to focus on problems up front, directly so we can relax later on. Even though this can be uncomfortable and hard sometimes, it pays off.
    Last night we lost power and sat around reading essays (our Sunday routine), discussing them, enjoying a meal cooked on the woodstove and playing UNO. Later my husband and I recognized that this simple, lovely, satisfying evening was created not only by focusing on our priorities but also by the hard work we try to do as parents to build a family life that is strong through trust, respect, familiarity and solid relationships.
    Your blog and the community created by it echoes this in so many ways.

  28. Jessica

    Simple Living is something that really started to intrigue me a couple of years back before I had even heard the phrase! It is part of the reason I was attracted to life overseas in Africa because life out there just seemed to move at a slower pace and people seemed to truly appreciate and value family, time and possessions in a way that I didn’t see in the busy British culture that I live in. Plans changed and when we weren’t heading out to Africa I just couldn’t imagine starting and raising a family at home as it seemed impossible to achieve the simpler lifestyle I longed for. I then came across your book Organized Simplicity and this made me realise that simpler living was achievable (thank you!), I just might have to work harder for it! Simple Living, for me, is a journey that I don’t think I’ll ever get to the end of. I just feel that every step I make towards living more simply, no matter how small, is a step that allows me more time and space to truly appreciate the things that add value to my life – this can only be a good thing!

  29. Alysa (InspiredRD)

    This is EXACTLY what hit me the other night as I was cleaning. I was searching for the definition of living simply and you NAILED it. Taking steps towards living our purpose holistically as a family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  30. Aurora

    Hi Tsh.

    I stumbled upon your podcasts before your blog (surprisingly), and I’ve been listening to them on the way to work every day. I just wanted to say that I think you’re awesome. I’m a non-Christian, non-Mom (I’m 22 and a recent college graduate) and non-Midwestern or Southerner (it seems like most of your interviewees seem to be from there). Even though I think our lives and your topics are completely unrelated to my life, I’m kind of addicted. Your sound advice, your hilarious attitude on all things (e.g Justin Beiber) and general life attitude is awesome. I’ll continue to listen in regularly :). I don’t comment often because I am listening to old podcasts (currently on a December 2012 one, but I started two weeks ago from your first one on itunes) ,but you’re fantastic. I’ll continue to read now :).


  31. Sharon

    So well said, Tsh. I am relieved again when I am reminded that simple living isn’t a static thing, but an ongoing, changing process in our families. I also like that you emphasized that the goal of simple living is not to be the family with the least amount of stuff, outside commitments, etc., but it’s so that we can be generous with all of our resources.

  32. LiisaR

    For me it has been a process of discovering what is “enough” for us and trying to keep it at that. I read in a finance book that once we hit the point of having enough, accumulating more things beyond that actually decreases our happiness! Living simply is also about knowing ourselves and what we care about — with time, money, energy, etc. I have learned that I value music, decorating my house tastefully and meaningfully, being in nature, quality time with family and friends, and cooking yummy healthy food. I don’t care so much about fashion, keeping up with the Joneses, maintaining a perfectly clean house, or washing out and reusing plastic bags (even though I think it’s a great idea and I wish I didn’t hate it so much)! I love the approach that there is no “one right way” to live simply — we each have different things that we are willing to let go of, and things that we want to keep in our lives. This post is a great reminder to me to reevaluate once again and make sure our focus is clear. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!

  33. Mare

    Your thoughts are my thoughts! Everything you wrote…I feel the same way. Simple living has become my goal for about the past 4 years now. Not having excess, and not wasting. That pretty much sums it up for me. Living simply is liberating. And it enables us to help others more. 🙂

  34. Krista Durlas

    Thank you. You are such an uplifting gift. I appreciate your ideas and willingness and artful ability to share them so much. I have three mantras that shape simple living for me: “Less stress and more joy”, “Use what you have to make what you need,” and finally, “I am a person of integrity only when my values, goals, and actions are in allignment.” After reading this post, I’m going to add “peace” to the first one and change the second to “we use what we have to make what we need” to underscore the importance of harmony.

  35. Yvonne

    Since my kids are 18 and 13, we have a lot of discussion about ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’ which helps us to make wise decisions about how we use the funds that God has provided to us so that we can use some of those funds to bless our Compassion kids. Last year, we ate beans and rice for dinner every Wednesday night and saved the extra money to purchase Water of Life systems through Compassion. Did we starve? No, but it was a great lesson for our family.

  36. Ashley // Our Little Apartment

    I love this! My site is about simple living – which I take to mean green living and frugal living, as well. (My tagline is “Less Stuff, More Life”)

    For ME, living holistically with my life’s purpose involves owning less so I have to work less and clean less. It involves doing things I love and believe in – like cooking from scratch and spending time with my family, and yes, line drying my laundry. 😉

    I think it’s different for everyone – it’s not about deprivation! It’s about a fulfilling, purposeful life.

  37. Taylor-Made Ranch

    It seems many people these days are searching for a way out of the rush and stress of what life has become. We began purposely slowing things down and trying to live a simpler life several years ago. It’s amazing what doors open up when you start to live purposefully, and not just because “this is how it’s always been done”. Each step we take leads to another step being revealed. Our life now is peaceful and we enjoy every single day for the simple joy it brings us. Amazing.
    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  38. Jennifer Bardsley

    Here’s what Simple Living means to me Tsh. I finally tried skipping conditioner in favor of apple cider vinegar. These past two weeks I’ve had the best string of “good hair days” ever! And I’m saving money!!!! I’m so glad you inspired me to give it a try.

  39. Kelly Wiggains

    Tsh, Thank you for your true-to-life approach to simple living. You make organizing and minimizing easy to understand and (with baby steps) actually attainable. I’ve been reading your posts since 2008, and you have been so helpful over the years. I think the post that resonated with me the most was when you broke down all of the myths about keeping things in your home. It was a life paradigm-shifter for me.

  40. Nina

    For me, simple living means living with enough. This means reaching a point of happiness where any more than that would be clutter. This could apply to physical things but also schedules, relationships, the food we eat, the commitments we make in our lives.

  41. Jamie

    Love your thoughts on simplicity – “living holistically with your life’s purpose”. Thanks for sharing this. Such a solid reminder that it is different for everyone, but still important to be on the journey and not lose site of what it is for you/your family. Thanks!

  42. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    I like that your definition of simple living means to live according to your family’s goals- does keeping one more piece of plastic junk fulfill our goals? No! so into the Goodwill bag it goes… (not always- but usually)

  43. Amy

    Beautiful and right on! I couldn’t have said it better myself! The world has so many “definitions” of simplicity and yet they fall so terribly short. The pursuit of simplicity within the context of selflessness ( how can I serve others, God, my family ) leads to far deeper satisfaction and meaning than just simplifying for my own little corner of the universe. I have read your blog off and on since it’s inception and I am grateful for you taking the time to chronical your journey and learnings. You speak with authenticity and courage- its risky to put yourself out there and share your thoughts. Keep at it- our world despeartely needs sane and grounded women speaking truth!

  44. Zipporah Bird

    Thanks for this. A perfect reflection of Colossians 2:16.

  45. Laurie Hurson

    Hi Tsh ( and everyone),

    Thanks for this blog post! Thinking about what simple living is has been something I have been doing a lot lately. I am a grad student who is really interested in the simple living lifestyle and so reading your blog post was really enlightening. I am actually currently working on a research project that interviews people who are engaged in simple living to learn more about the lifestyle, the practices, motivations and perceptions behind it. Reading about simple living is always illuminating for me and gives me new ideas and avenues to explore so I just wanted to say thanks for sharing. (if anyone is interested in learning more about my project, please feel free to contact me!)

  46. Tarissa

    Hi Tsh,
    I’ve just recently come across your blog and really appreciate that you took the time to revisit what “simple living” means for you and your family. I loved how you described it as a process. That really resonated with me, as our family has been in the process of trying to live more simply. For us, it has been about determining our priorities and then intentionally structuring our lives to be a reflection of those priorities. I get impatient at times and want a swift and sudden change. But, you reminded me today to just keep working towards our goals – one step at a time. And, to enjoy the journey!
    Thanks so much!

  47. Gina Rau

    I’ve reflected on this post, and your definition of simple living many times over the past few days. The past week has given me the opportunity to really sit down and look at what’s important and what is not. I feel like we live a simple life but there is more to simplify. And other areas to enrich. I love the idea of making a to-don’t list and will be working on that soon.

    Thanks Tsh, as always, for sharing!

  48. Eugene Weis

    Keep at it- our world despeartely needs sane and grounded women speaking truth!

  49. asunnyfield

    Realization that joy = happiness by actually doing life’s tasks under my own steam (scratch cooking/gardening,walk/biking/recycling, milking laughter, engaging in surroundings incl. strangers coming into my sphere with + acknowledgement, expressing gratitude for anything & everything…)= zest for living. Life is good when You do Kindnesses AND You alway glean positive results.

  50. Ronnie B

    Great post! Knowing your life purpose definitely leads to a simpler life…in the right way. My life purpose statement is “to boldly live an authentic life of simple abundance, harmony of thought, word and deed, and ever-expanding knowledge for the benefit of self and others; all created on a foundation of physical and spiritual well-being.” Knowing this has simplified my life in a multitude of ways. It’s easier to know what to say “yes” to and when to say “no.”
    Keep up the great work!
    Ronnie B’s latest post

  51. The Maui Taoist

    Living simply allows one to find the essential nature of, who they are, what they do and why, what we really need. Fining our essential nature is the meaning of life……
    The simplest path to enlightenment is to live simply and your true self with emerge.

  52. Andrew Mooers

    Simple living means room in your head, heart, life for more that is cluttered, snuffed out unless you have the discipline and passion to pursue it. Less distractions of busy-ness increases awareness… turns it well up high. When you realize the short ride in life and how important living in today, the moment is. Great blog posts!

  53. Andrew Mooers

    Life can be like layers of blankets… too many and sweltering or at times need a few more, something missing to make you comfortable for your surroundings. To feel good within your own skin. Like your blog! Simple to me means no cost, low cost. Outdoors. Nature, camping, hiking, exploring four season beauty and wildlife.

  54. Shelley Hopkins

    I have to agree with this, especially the concept that we are not in competition for simplest lifestyles. When my kids were young we homeschooled, and unfortunately I found some of that competition mentality in the homeschool community. I remember going to a lunch at a park and each mother was earthier, more wholesome and simpler than the last. I think maybe we women struggle with this a little, when we become stay at home moms we want to embrace the entire culture, same with homeschool, or healthy living, or simple living or Christianity or whatever. There is a fine line between achieving the goal at hand, and turning it into a competition with others in the same sandbox. I am the most humble, or the most simple, or the most (fill in the blank). I don’t think our goals are bad, but that maybe this is how we measure ourselves. It is an easy trap to fall into.
    I am loving this blog, keep up the good work!

  55. Darrik Cheney

    I like the idea that it is a process. Its the whole idea of being sustainable.

  56. Kim

    simple living to me has meant freeing up my time. Leaving space in my days so that I can be open to people and to the present. Not planning so much, or doing so much. Being comfortable with quiet and silence. It helps to have a clutter free home, to stop the endless buying of stuff, but also to stop the endless doing of stuff. It is a discipline of my mind, my heart, and my soul. It is being comfortable with myself in the present.

  57. Rachel

    I’m in love! I was one of those who stumbled upon your blog via the no poo post (which I just started today using the no poo method), and am already falling in love with all you have to offer. THANK YOU!

  58. Jennifer Leclair

    I am just beginning my research. It all began because of a loss of a certain amount of money and wanting to get out of debt with what is left. I would like to buy a small home when the kids are gone or share the one I have now with others to cut down expenses and start traveling. So many ideas and a lot of reading to do

  59. Normel

    This has the wheels turning in my head. Particularly living simpler so others might simply live. Its my desire for our family to give more, but the idea of selflessly living each day to make that happen is so incredible and inspiring.

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