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30 September 2007

50 simple things

For most people, myself included, the transition to simple living is quite a long period of time. The idea is formed that it might be a possibility, plans are made, compromises discussed and then it's often a series of small steps until you're really there, living simply every day.

So I thought it might be useful to make a list of simple steps that are all elements of simple living, can be started as small projects, and when bundled together, will make an excellent entry to your simple life. Some are easy, some aren't, but all are worth a try because they will help you, one step at a time, live the kind of life you want. And remember, the way I live, might be different to the kind of simple life you want for yourself. You have to plan your own life and hopefully these steps will help you devise your plan and walk your path.

I've already written about convincing your partner, and I am well aware that often it's one person who starts on the road to simplicity, then takes the whole family with them, in varying degrees of compliance. This list could help you convince your partner or the family, that making life style change is achievable and these small steps will bring it closer.

You might like to print out the list - or modify it to include things you need to do - and show it to your family. See what they are willing to do or if they have any suggestions about what to add, or how to go about your transition.
  1. Stop spending on wants - this is ALWAYS at the top of the list.
  2. Write up a spending plan/budget that will show you where you stand financially.
  3. Pay off debt. The previous step will help with this.
  4. Declutter your home.
  5. Give away or sell everything that is not useful or precious to you.
  6. Give more and expect less.
  7. Smile.
  8. Start a change jar.
  9. Start an emergency fund.
  10. Learn how to bake bread.
  11. Learn how to make preserves.
  12. Grow some of your own food, even if it's sprouts. Everyone can grow something.
  13. Use up all your chemical cleaners and start a green cleaning routine.
  14. Conserve electricity.
  15. Conserve water.
  16. Learn how to read your electricity and water metres.
  17. Stop using the car for short trips. Make every trip out count and do as much as you can so you can cut down on the number kilometres/miles you drive.
  18. Stop buying disposable products.
  19. Stop accepting plastic carry bags at the shops.
  20. Make your own cotton shopping bags.
  21. Make sure you take your shopping bags with you every time you go out.
  22. Learn how to make simple cheese.
  23. Shop locally and support your local neighbourhood.
  24. Be generous.
  25. Keep some chickens in your back yard for eggs, and if you eat meat, for meat.
  26. Plant fruit trees.
  27. Learn how to make soap.
  28. Grow loofahs.
  29. Slow down and relax. The world will not stop if you have a break.
  30. Teach your children well. You are their role model, be the person you want them to be.
  31. Learn how to mend clothes.
  32. Learn to knit.
  33. Cook from scratch. This means cooking from non-processed foods, not cooking with tinned soups and mixes.
  34. Get rid of toxic friends. They will drain the living daylights out of you.
  35. Start making gifts for friends.
  36. Change your idea of what success is.
  37. Reinvent yourself. Do something different today.
  38. Get rid of as many spray cans as possible in your home. Make your own products and put them in pump bottles.
  39. Make an apron.
  40. Wear it.
  41. Explain what you're trying to do to your children.
  42. Tell as many people as you can what you're doing, and why.
  43. Reduce the amount of everything you use. Less salt, less sugar, less meat, less butter, less bread, less fuel, less electricity, fewer clothes and shoes.
  44. Increase the amount of things you do for others. Generosity always returns to you.
  45. Stockpile and shop mindfully for groceries.
  46. Talk to your neighbours. Try to develop a friendly and helpful relationship with them.
  47. Talk to your children. Ask them what they think about global warming, I bet they surprise you.
  48. Save seeds from heirloom vegetables. Unless we do this, our old vegetables will disappear under the weight of corporatised hybrid vegetables, and you will have to buy new seeds every year.
  49. Keep pure breed chickens. They, like the hybrid vegies, are in danger of being lost with hybrid chickens just bred to lay eggs, and not to go broody and raise chicks.
  50. And finally, as that wise man, Mahatma Gandhi once said: be the change you want to see in the world.


  1. Hi Rhonda!
    I've just returned from a few days away and caught up on all your goings on! Congratulations to you both on your anniversary, my "bubbie" used to say marraige is like water over a rock, it grows smooth with time. I didn't expect it to be so sweet when it happens either! Our garden was not seeded in time last spring, and I have boxes of green tomatoes ripening in our basement as we speak. But I will just go ahead and can them all as they ripen.
    The List of where to start is just right for us...and we have already implemented many of the steps, what a difference small changes make!
    Blessings to you!

  2. Good list! (Wildside)

  3. I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying your blog Rhonda. I discovered it a couple of days ago, and have been slowly going through the archives. Very inspiring.

    Great list too. I am doing pretty well on a lot of them, except the first one. Need to work on that.


  4. Rhonda, do you know if Isa Browns are hybrid? I'm thinking of which chooks to get when we get our farm in Nov. I had Isa Browns last time because my fil gave them to me. But they don't go clucky, so I'm thinking they must be hybrid.
    I want egg layers and clucky ones! Which breed/breeds do you have?
    That was a great post, btw!

  5. Rhonda, points 41 & 44 are my favourite probably because they are the easiest to achieve right here, right now. As Niki says, small changes really do make a difference. BTW, I would be interested in some sewing instruction on how to make the stitcheries you do. Do you use just one layer of fabric? What is the fabric? How many strands of yarn in the stitch? Do you use that iron on vylene stuff to stiffen it? etc etc Something for the novice would be good.

  6. I'm at work. shhhhhh ; )

    Hi niki, thank you. : ) I wish you well with all your changes.

    Thanks Wildside.

    Hello Tamara, welcome. The first one is very important, and also one of the most difficult, but everyone can do it. : )

    Joy, Isa Browns are hybrids. I have pure breed Rhode Island Reds - they lay well and go clucky, one pure Australorp and some australorp crosses. If you have a look on the blog, under interesting and helpful sites, look in Chookery. It's a list of all the pure breed chooks. You might see one you like.

    Hi Lisa, good luck working through your list. I'd be happy to do a stitchery post. I'll try to get to it later in the week.

  7. great list.

    I'm pretty happy to see that I'm already doing many of those things.

    cheers Lenny

  8. Thank you for another inspiring post, my friend...

  9. Great list, Rhonda Jean! As I read down through, I was reminded to go get my sprouts out of the sprouter and into the fridge! I'll go over the list again for some specific changes I want to implement. Desert Lady

  10. Well, I'm proud to say that we've done everything except #'s 27&28 and I'm about to try 27 after reading your inspiring and very informative blog!
    My hubby and I are in our early 50's. He still works, but I retired early to make a stab at sustainable living. We bought our homestead 18 yrs. ago and had it paid for in 10yrs. No credit crd. debt, no car payments. Childless by choice. We have 3 acres in Texas and keep chickens and grow our own food. We're just weeks away from being off grid. Life is good. BTW, we've been married 28 yrs. I'm a lucky girl.

  11. Love the list, Rhonda! It felt good to have achieved or be working on the majority of your points. The one that still escapes me is the chicken keeping. I would love to keep chickens but my dear husband is concerned about the resultant smell/eyesore/rodent infestation that would result. I have my work cut out for me :)



  12. Hi Rhonda. Another brilliant post. I will print out the list and put it up on the wall. Many things I have achieved and some I am still working towards. I am taking it one step at a time so the rest of the family don't go into melt down and gradually accept the changes. Over 29years of marriage we have changed from half a plate of meat and side serves of veggies to a plate of veggies and whoops...can you spot the meat there :) so all things are possible. I always enjoy reading your blog, you seem to hit the nail on the head :) BTW belated congratulations for your wedding anniversary, such a heart warming post. Its like visiting with family :) Best wishes Linda

  13. hi rhonda.. can you give me an idea of what you feed your dogs, for $16 for the month.. love your posts happy days margie

  14. Rhonda,
    Great post. We just finished planning our orchard and ordering the plants. They won't ship until Spring, but I am very excited to have this new step under way.


  15. Rhonda - this is just too good :) I linked to you, hope you don't mind. I have that Mahatma Gandi quote pinned to my refrigerator!

    Love reading your thoughts about living simply, and simply living :)

  16. Hi Lenny, Bel, Desert Lady, Donetta and Gypsy Quilter. : )

    Vonne, sounds like you're doing well there. And other couple in the 28 club! Good luck.

    Shell, if you keep the chicken coop clean it won't smell at all. Yes, we have mice and rats, but that's common for our area. We have a cat that takes care of a lot of them. Chooks are lovely in the backyard. Whack DH on the head with the newspaper if he says they're an eyesore. ; )

    Thanks Linda. I send hugs to you. : )

    Margie, we spend $16 a month for 4 kilos of low grade beef mince. We cook one kilo at a time with things like rice, lentils, vegetables to make up enough food for our two Airedales for 7 days. We freeze 5 days worth of it in plastic containers. The recipe for the homemade dog food is in the June archives.

    Hi Kim, how exciting to be planning an orchid. I wish you the very best with it when you start your planting.

    anna, I don't mind at all, sweetheart. Thank you.

  17. thanks rhonda for the dog food tips always interested in your tips for life.. happy days margie

  18. Thanks for the chook link Rhonda! Now I need to find where I can get them in this area :)



  19. Great list...thinks everybody should think about...!nice blog and i love the pics!

  20. Hi Rhonda Jean , I found my way here via Peggy at Hidden Haven Homestead. I plan to try many things you listed.

    I cleaned my windows with vinegar today , no more buying those expensive , chemical window cleaners. The windows look great !

    Thanks for all this wonderful information.

  21. hello nikita and joyceann, welcome!

  22. I recently came across your blog and I find it so informative, I really love it! This is a great list. If people could even just adopt a few of these ideas their lives would begin to be so much better.

  23. 26,27, We are budgeting for trees by May and the soap well I have all the supplies awaiting, and 29...
    That is the relaxing at the moment. Although the kitchen calls to prepare a nice home cooked meal.

  24. oh this is an absolutely fantastic post. I am loving your blog immensely..

  25. Me too!!!!

    Great site!


  26. What an absolutely wonderful list. I'm proud to do many of the things on here and empowered to try the rest! Thanks for sharing.


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