DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

27 August 2008

Dive



I wrote yesterday about my life and how I have changed. I want to take that a step further today and write about how you might simplify, if you haven't already done so. When I do something new that requires me to change my behaviour, I think about it for a while, work out the ins and outs of it, I might do some reading, think some more and then I dive in. Often the diving is the most difficult part of that process but when that first step is taken, it's usually easier than I imagined.

A change towards a simple life is similar. From the outside it looks difficult - you want the peace of mind it brings, you want to regain your independence and live well, you want to be environmentally sound, but it looks like hard work. Instead of holding yourself back, I encourage you to dive in. It's okay to be a bit scared of change, it's normal to be apprehensive, but don't let that stop you.

Dive.

Your first step might be to declutter one room. It might be to stop buying coffee on your way to work. You might start taking lunch to work. Maybe you'll start hand washing dishes, or hanging the laundry on the line to dry instead of machine drying. Or will you start stockpiling and cooking from scratch? Drawing up a budget would be a good first step. Or will you say "no" to that next invitation for lunch with the girls so you can save that money and spend some time relaxing at home. There is also mending, learning to knit, starting a vegetable garden, looking for an organic supplier of local vegetables, buying milk from a local dairy or bartering. There are so many first steps, I have to stop now or I'll be here all day. But the big question is, what will your first step be, or if you've made your first step, what will your next step be, or your next?

It really is as simple as making the decision to simplify and then doing those things you want to have as part of your life. Everyone will decide on different things, and you might want to do things I've not written about nor ever mentioned here. You don't have to tell your family or friends what you're doing, or you might have a family meeting to talk it over with them, the choice is yours. The important thing is to start.

You'll probably find, like I did, that once the move towards simplicity has started, a new thing can be added each day or week, and once you have that momentum happening, nothing will hold you back. In six months time you'll take stock and see just how far you've come.

I'm not going to lie and tell you that every single thing you do will be easy and will bring you joy. It won't, some things will be a struggle. I think you'll fnd that overcoming difficulties and persevering will bring you to a place where you'll feel you've done your best and you'll feel good about that. Look for joy in your everyday life and try to find happiness and contentment in your life. Celebrate your new skills; it's okay to feel good about what you're doing.

I hope that as you settle into your stride you'll start not only doing for yourself but also for others. Generosity and kindness are the icing on the cake for me and I hope you will get the same amount of pleasure and satisfaction from giving to others as I do. I'm not talking about grand gestures - there are none of those in a simple life - it's more about the tiny, and often silent, things, that with a small effort from yourself, will make a difference to someone else.

As you can see, there is no formula for simple living. It's diverse, there is no one size sits all. That's what makes it wonderful - when you think carefully about what you want in your life and then start doing those things, it feels right. Your version of simple living will be different to mine and everyone else's, even though we will have elements of it that are similar. But when you get it right, when you work on your own version of your life, and not that one designed for you by advertisers and marketers (or friends), when you set to and start doing for yourself, when you regain your independence and feel deep within that you're doing the right thing, then, my friends, you'll know you're on the right path and a team of wild horses won't pull you away from it.

I'd love to know what your first step will be, or was. :- )


38 comments:

  1. I didn't get a chance to comment on Monday but I'm thrilled that the book is a go. I know it's a long process but you have many faithful readers who will be waiting with great anticipation.
    As for today's post, I had to laugh because you point out that not all the changes will be easy-I can attest to that. One of the things that has been hardest for me is giving up paper towels. I used to go through about a roll of paper toweling every day and a half. I really didn't think I could give them up but agreed to try. I have to say it was very hard. Instead I'm keeping a stack of clean dish towels/washcloths right next to my sink so that they are more easily available to me. I know that to some this would seem like such a little thing or would be easy to do without but for me it wasn't. Now every time I use a towel where I would have used a paper towel before, I feel good about it. :-)

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  2. I think my first step was last October, when I started making my own laundry detergent. Then I made all the Christmas presents, made my own cleaners, got serious about composting, planned my garden, started making clothes for my daughter and myself, starting making our own bread/yogurt/granola/wheat flour. Just recently I started making my own dishwasher powder. One step just leads to another!

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  3. I, too can't wait for your book. You are a woman after my own heart. I look at my simple living as a challenge to see how well we can live on very little. I have always enjoyed simplicity in my life, but the real test came 3 years ago, almost to this day, when everything we owned was swept away due to a hurricane. We lost our home, possessions, my job and our life in New Orleans. Reinventing my life took courage, but we did it. We have few material possessions, but now live in a new city and state and we love it here. I spend money on just the basics for living plus my bills, which I have reduced to the bare minimum. I buy no paper products except toilet tissue, no plastic. We eat home cooked meals, no convenience food or meat,bake from scratch, borrow movies and books from the library, and spend a great deal of time outdoors walking and swimming. My 19 year old attends college on grants and spent the summer studying in Europe on a full scholarship. I make baby quilts by hand for my own pleasure.

    I really enjoy reading your blog!

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  4. One of my 1st steps was to try to use cloth bags for smaller trips to the store instead of plastic. I haven't made the transition for larger quantaties yet. Another thing I'm doing is knitting some dishcloths for myself as well as for gifts. I'm also going to make more of my Christmas gifts this year. Oh and I've started hanging clothes out to wash more. I work full-time so I don't have time to iron everything plus I feel my time and the cost of the dryer would balance out so instead I dry the clothes for 10 min then take them out right away and hang them on hangers outside. The only things I still dry completely in the dryer are the underthings and towels. It's saving me about 2 or 3 loads of drying a week.

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  5. I too am looking forward to your book. I started on the road to simplicity by decluttering, took about two years doing it off and on. I have always cooked from scratch but have gone onto bread, cakes and biscuits. I mend more things now. I have reduced my working week, follow a budget and once the morgage is paid off in hopefully less than two years then I am quitting work. I will look after my grandchildren a couple of days a week and I will expand our vegetable garden. Things do flow once you take the first step.
    Love your blog Rhonda.
    Have a lovely day
    Virginia K

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  6. I just wanted to wish you good luck with your book.

    Gill in Canada

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  7. I absolutely love your blog site. I am in Mississippi and my husband found it when he was searching for aquaponics. Your site has led me to other wonderful sites thank you. Here is my husband's website
    www.hattiesburgfungi.com

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  8. I've made a firm commitment to ride the bus to work rather than drive my gas guzzling SUV. I plan my meals more carefully so I don't have to run out for that one ingredient...hang out clothes on the clothesline, pack lunch daily, plant a garden, knit washclothes (and socks and sweaters) and think carefully about every purchase from both an environmental and financial standpoint.

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  9. Hi Rhonda,
    Since falling onto your blog 6 months ago, our little family has made big changes. Our 1st changlege was to start a compost bin. That on the go, other little things around the home have followed. Cooking from scratch, making bread & yoghurt. Scott takes his lunch to work. Mending items was a huge move for us as I had to learn how to do it. I'm now moving on to crochet. We make alot of gifts now & found that our friends & family love our homemade alot better then 'store bought'.
    I am going to try my hand at making soap soon, when I have a day without the little man around. We also started a vegi patch.

    For those new to this whole experience, I can tell you it is daunting at first,Like Rhonda said, you don't know where to start, but you want everything that you know comes with the simplicity of a simple lifestyle. Baby steps. That's all it takes. Take your green bags for the shopping, we keep ours in the boot of our car. cook from scratch, you'll be amazed at how quickly your skills will improve over a short amount of time. Just start is the main point.

    Hope everyone has a great day
    Take care
    Chrissie & Co.

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  10. OK, this is going to sound so lame and pampered, but for me, the first big step is letting go of our 2X a month housecleaners. Where I live, in suburban NYC, I don't know a single woman who cleans her own home! It's not like we are all heiresses or oil tycoons or anything - but it is a very affluent, upper middle class place, and most women I know say they "need" their housecleaners at least every other week or they'd "go crazy." Well, we are pinched for pennies here (though far luckier than most, and of that I am always cognizant) - and it is lunacy to hold onto such a luxury. I am strong and capable, I have a willing husband to help me out, plus FOUR not-so-willing kids who need to know how to clean so they can take care of their own homes one day.

    So I am a little worried that I will be grumpy and out of sorts while we get into some kind of cleaning schedule - I hate when the place is untidy, and I will need to be patient and calm while everyone is getting into the swing of pitching in. But I am excited to "take control" of my own home in this way, and to say NO MORE to a supposed "need" that is so clearly a WANT. Wish me luck - I take so much inspiration from you, Rhonda, and from your readers who are clearly eons ahead of me in this simplifying journey - but I am trying!

    Kate in NY

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  11. Great post. It's so hard for me to work out what my first step was, mainly because I began many steps before I actually ever heard of simple living as a concept. I only knew that I wanted more meaning from life, and was searching for a way to get it.

    Maybe it was choosing to stay home and be a housewife instead of going to work, especially after the birth of our first child. Or was it the fact that I choose to use cloth nappies instead of disposables, or make most things for the new baby? Or perhaps it was the vegie garden I started when our daughter was 12 months old that really started me on the journey to composting, searching for better food for our family, and opting for resuable shopping bags instead of plastic.

    None of these were done with the aim of simple living in mind, yet all have contributed to the journey we're on, and to where we are living now, nearly 4 years later.

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  12. Rhonda,
    I began like many of the other ladies....making my own laundry detergent, not using paper towels or napkins, gardening, hanging clothes on the line. However, the main thing we changed was US...we slowed down and found JOY in the simple things...watching our 4 dogs romp and play in the yard.

    Blessings to you my friend,
    Cathy

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  13. I'm so happy for you about the book. I'm sure you will do a great job with it.

    I thought you might also be interested in this post

    Stop Putting off Chickens, Seriously
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Happy-Homesteader/Get-Chickens-Now.aspx?blogid=1510

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  14. Our first step was buying our lovely home with 3 acres almost 5 years ago. Although even when we lived in surburbia we grew some veges. Now we grow all our own meat, and about 75% of our summer veges. We are working on the fruit and putting in more gardens this year. We now have grey water recycling, I buy almost no processed foods, we don't have takeaway's anymore, we try to consume less and I sew lots, and am trying to knit. Still lots of other things we can do though. I'll look forward to the book.

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  15. Great post. It's all so overwhelming sometimes, and I really feel as if I'm never quite doing enough. My first step was a getting a composter on Freecycle. We had a garden this year and have done lots of u-picking of fruits and veggies. We use reusable bags and recycle.

    I've been feeling so overwhelmed with the clutter though. It's been over a year now that I have been wanting to declutter, and it all feels too overwhelming.

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  16. My first step was to start baking bread. I used to bake it when my girls were little and I had more home time, becaseu I was an at home mom. Now that they have grown and don't need me to do for them or stay at home with them I found I had a smaller ampunt of time. I work full time now, and have to because I am single. So, every Tuesday I have decided that I will bake bread. I did two loaves last week and found that I don't need to bake any this week, so next week I will only bake one. (Maybe two and then put one in the freezer!) I have also been making a list of things that I need that are out of my way to get and get and then when my list wweems long enough, I make a plan of attack...where I go first and then work my way back home. I do grocery shopping on my way home from work, because it is literally on the way. Next week I think I will try my hand at the vinegar. Starting it at least. Since we are coming into our hottest time of the year weather wise, I will be hanging my laundry out to dry. It's funny, becaseu the more I think about this way of life, the more I realize I have actually been doing a lot of it all along!

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  17. I began my pursuit of the simple life back in 1999. I learned to make my own pie crusts! My mother had me convinced that making my own crusts was too hard. That "Everest moment" led to learning how to sew & make jelly. We now live on 4.5 country acres with chickens, milk goats,rabbits & 5 children. My husband loves having me home & claims he doesn't know a woman who works harder. I homeschool our 3 oldest, bake bread, butcher chickens, can our garden's harvest, milk the goat, cook totally from scratch, and sew/mend our family's clothing. I am immensely fulfilled, teaching my children many life skills and have my husband's admiration. It is amazing how one skill leads to the next. Please understand, I share this to inspire you ladies and to prove Rhonda Jean's point.
    -Leslie in MO, USA

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  18. I'd love to know what parts of simplifying were a struggle for you!

    For the people having trouble with decluttering, do look at Flylady, especially if you find yourself getting overwhelmed -- I do agree that decluttering is simplifying. (Disclaimer: I help moderate an Australian Flybaby forum.)

    My own challenge is to get hold of some heritage-breed chooks... a bit harder in Sydney!

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  19. Tylee (California)August 27, 2008 1:37 pm

    Each New Year's I set a goal to learn two new skills for the year. After reading your site for the past few months, I'm well ahead of what I'd hoped to learn. Your site is such a blessing and tremendous resource. I haven't used plastic grocery bags in months, I'm working on handmade xmas gifts for everyone, and just this week I learned how to knit from your the links you provided.

    I now have a garden, hang our clothes, make our cleaning supplies, sew, embroider, knit, can, etc. Next up...soap making, I can't wait! My grandmother would be so proud. She was the only person I knew who could do all of these things, but she passed away 25 years ago before I was able to learn. I am so proud of myself for teaching myself, yet feel a little odd to be the only 35 year old I know who enjoys doing these things.

    You'd be pleased to know I taught two friends' 10 year old daughters how to embroider and sew this summer. Those girls are now making gifts for their family members, so thank you for the inspiration!

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  20. The first step? Hmmmm. Since I've always found pleasure in making things I can't really count that because so often in my former "unsimple life" making things was merely a hobby. Spinning luxury fibers and weaving can cost a small fortune as can making a dress from expensive fabric. I know how to do these things but I need to learn how to do them in a wise and economical fashion. I've made a pact with myself - finish unfinished projects and create only from the materials I have on hand. I shall be deliriously happy doing just that for the next ten years! The REAL initial step for me is looking at the debt I've accrued over the years and for the first time seriously knowing that I have a choice in the matter. That feels powerful.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, Rhonda.

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  21. Dear Rhonda

    What another lovely post today, thank you, and it has been such a pleasure to read all the comments.

    I have relearned behaviour and habits that use to be second nature as a SAHM, but were put in the too hard basket when I started to work fulltime as the children grew older. It is funny how the basic “chores” like cooking, cleaning and gardening become food for the soul and spirit when done with the right attitude and thoughts of love for the family.

    Tylee’s comments reminded me that my daughter and I would often arrange an afternoon in the school holidays to “play ladies” with a group of friends, of all ages, this involved an afternoon tea with the best china and dainty cakes and then spending time knitting or cross-stitching etc, it was a lovely way to pass on these simple pleasures to the young girls, who always looked forward to these gatherings and learned so much.

    For me now the fun is trying to convince my family to live without paper towels!!

    Clare

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  22. I like the eating an elephant approach - how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time!
    Then nothing seems overwhelming and everything is possible. The first step I took was making our bread, it felt really satisfying to be making something so fundamental and such a basic necessity for my family. Then I moved on to cooking all our meals from scratch, which meant I was menu planning and shopping carfully from my list. Still got a lot of that elephant to eat but I've made a good start.

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  23. Morning Rhonda,
    Reading your latest post, I did'nt realise how many changes I had made.
    I now, Wash dishes by hand, line dry washing, buy organic veg & milk, bake cakes & cook dinners from scratch, use homemade cleaners around the house, repair clothes rather than throw out and replace. I have also started handmaking birhday presents. I have made a pretty shopping bag for a friends up coming birthday.

    All of that is only in 6 months, and it happenned so gradually I only now realised how far I have come. It does'nt feel like a struggle, it feels like I have always been doing it.

    It is thanks to this blog and you that I have come so far in changing my life.
    xxxxxxxxxx

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  24. Hi Rhonda
    Living in a rural part of the UK I was already doing some of the things you suggested. I think the first real step we took to start simplifying our life was to stop buying stuff we didn't need or in a short time want. Decluttering naturally followed. Then I found your site and realised what I was actually doing had a name and lots of other people had the same ideas.
    I now grow fruit and veg on our allotment.
    Bake bread every day.
    Cook from scratch, no take aways or ready meals at all.
    Make and mend our clothes etc. My husband repairs household equipment and maintains the home.
    I stitch and I'm learning to knit.
    Make cards and gifts for family and friends.
    Use freecycle or buy secondhand when we want something. I gave lots to freeycle when we were decluttering and still do.
    Don't use the car so much but it is dificult in our rural location.
    Reassesed how much power we use and I'm finding ways of cutting down.

    My next step is making my own soap and cleaning products. I would also like to cut down on the amount of meat we eat.

    Thanks again for your help in all of these things.

    Pippa x

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  25. Hi Rhonda Jean

    In all the time I have read your blog, 2 things have stood out to me and I "remind" myself of them quite a lot. I thought I'd share it with you re: the book ideas.

    Here it is:
    1. Enjoy the process of the project or chore you are doing. It's not about how quickly can I get it done and then admire it, but to relax and enjoy the time it is taking to complete the task.

    2. The term 'work' is not a nasty four letter word. That is what manufacturers and retailers want us to believe so that we can buy gadgets and other things to avoid us having to do any 'work'. Work as you say is OK and it keeps us moving and when we are working for ourselves and becoming more self-reliant, then we'll feel great about the 'work' that WE did that went into that task.

    I know your book will be a success! Good for you on going for it!

    Jennifer

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  26. My first step? Hmm. I'm not even sure. I *think* it was when I discovered bring-and-swap fares. I got so many lovely clothes in good condition that I realized we don't always have to buy new. Now I find special delight in being creative and getting things in alternative ways, or making them myself, or swapping, instead of just stepping into a store and buying.

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  27. I suppose my first step to a more simple life was many many years ago when I was a student and discovered buying clothes for pennies at jumble sales (rummage sales) was a great way to save money. I've always been 'careful' with what I spend but over the years I've sort of jumped on and off the simple life bandwagon, depending on work / life commitments. There have certainly been times when I've been more reckless with my spending and have lived on expensive ready meals or takeaways - mainly because I was short of time and / or felt I 'deserved' to be pampered or to make life easy for myself.

    Now I'm really into the simple life and couldn't imagine buying ready meals, not baking my own bread or buying something new if I could get it second-hand. I still have many other things I'd like to do - keep chickens for one - but I take everything one step at a time. I so agree with what you said in your post - just dive in, start with one thing and others will surely follow.

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  28. Tylee - I share your situation. I'm 31! Everybody thinks I'm getting old before my time, yet actually the reverse is true. Since beginning the simplifying I've never felt happier or younger. To be 'young' is not to follow the latest trends or worry about what the celebrity world is up to (WHO CARES?!?!). Its about enjoying life and living how you want to live, and caring about the things that really matter. Well that's life really, at any age.

    I've always done certain things like buy from charity shops, have occasionally baked bread, grown tomatoes etc, and growing up in a very poor house hold taught me to live on little. However that all went out the window when I started earning my own money and moved out of home and I got myself in a bit of a mess financially. That's been hard to shake off. But that was what catalysed my present journey to simplification. There's so much more to do, but these last 8 months or so have been an eye-opener. The more I do, the more I want to do. The simple life, I'm convinced, is the only long-term cure for depression as I sure know nothing else worked for me. I have knitted and embroidered more in the last 3 months or so than I ever have in my entire life, and I LOVE IT!!

    Good luck to those just starting, and utmost respect to those who've become accomplished at it :-)

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  29. Rhonda, after starting our home vegetable and fruit garden, my first step was a google search for home made soap and cleaning products. I feel I've come some way since then....but I do wish my cottons were as neat and tidy as yours! Oh well - there's a job for the morning. Lisa x

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  30. Thanks for the inspiring words. I enjoy learning new skills like knitting and sewing that can give you a sense of independence. But what I enjoy most is teaching my two teenage daughters the value of such skills. I am proud that they would rather make someone a gift than buy one at a store. They are very much the typical teenagers with their ipods and cell phones but they love baking bread, making soap, knitting scarves and especially sewing. So for me it is all about balancing the modern world with a simpler lifestyle. Thanks for helping.

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  31. I learned when I first moved out of the house and went to college that if I want groceries, I go to the grocery store, not a big box store. Why should I buy towels at the same place I buy milk? I hear many times from friends that they can't believe how much money they spent when they went grocery shopping. Well it wasn't on the groceries, it was on the stuff they didn't need. And I tell them the same.

    Secondly-I switched jobs. I spent 5 years traveling for work, up to 75% of the time away from home. I stepped down a level in my classification but the long-term difference in the pay rates wasn't worth my sanity. It took a year to transition into being home everyday. And then I started getting into enjoying and taking my time doing stuff around the house.

    The biggest reason for change-having my daughter. I can't control alot of things but I can control the food that my family puts in their mouth. We have a garden, I or my husband cook from scratch most of our meals. I now make our own laundry soap and shampoo/rinse. I'm learning to knit.

    How am I going to pay my simple life forward? Teach my husband and daughter some essential life skills. Talk with friends here at work and show them my small changes. My co-worker mentioned last week that he'd like to start a garden as he loves the extra produce that I bring for him and his family but he's not sure if he'll have the time. I think he thinks if it's not done 'just right' that you can't have one. I told him to start small but just try it.

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  32. Fifi, I loved your comment about the simple life being the only real "cure" for depression. I couldn't agree more. So many people think just the opposite - that they will finally find happiness when their kitchen is redone, or they find the perfect couch, or they "work out" enough to fit into their "skinny jeans" again, etc. etc. I know so many women - mostly stay-at-home moms with successful husbands, who have everything taken care of for them - they don't have to physically "do" anything except decorate their homes, entertain on the weekends and drive their kids around to sports practices - and they are so depressed and they can't figure out why! They probably feel bad for me because I don't have all the "help" and all the trappings of success - but the more I simplify, the happier and more content I am. I just wish I had more local friends to share in my enthusiasm for all things simple - baking, cooking from scratch, stockpiling, etc. - and since I am new to all this, I have may questions. Not many people I know in "real" life "get-it" - so it is wonderful to have an online community to turn to.

    Kate in NY

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  33. Question on homemade vinegar-I have an open bottle of white wine. Do I sit it outside for a couple weeks with the cork in it? Or should I remove the cork and cover the opening with a piece of cloth? I was thinking I should use the cloth.

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  34. Mine was to start cooking more from scratch. I still break down sometimes and buy something for the ease of it, but when I look back even a year I see how much we have changed our eating habits.
    I also started a little garden this spring. I had no yield from it but I learned why and will be working to rectify that for the fall.
    Thanks for a great post!

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  35. Six years ago we realized that we were not living and raising our children the way we wanted. Our first step was for me to leave full-time employment and become a full-time stay at home mom. Over the last six years we have been on an amazing adventure. It hasn't been easy, but we have brought ourselves to a place where we eat a home cooked meal together every night, we have a small garden (we live in the city), we compost, recycle, I make bread and yesterday I taught myself to make and can jam! Most of these things I was taught or watched my mother and grandmother do--yet I had abandoned having these things in my life when I was in my 20s (peopled teased me so I stopped doing them).

    My husband and I were not aware of the label "simple living" we were looking for a real life with meaning. Over the last three years we paid off all debt (except the house) and saved. We were not sure exactly what our "goal" was but we were driven. Six months ago we decided to take a huge step and my husband left his corporate job of 15 years and started his own business. Our modest living combined with our savings puts us in this position to take a chance. This chance is one more step in our meaningful life.

    I appreciate your website every morning with a cup of tea. Thank you. After reading your post I often find myself reflecting on my journey to the amazing life I have now.

    I will close by sharing the silliest thing I removed from my life that helps keep me grounded--No more magazines. (I love magazines too, so this was not an easy task). Well, I did not remove all magazines, but most. I found that there were magazines (and their advertisements) that left me wanting things and feeling incomplete unless I had what they were selling. Those subscriptions have not been renewed and I don't pick those magazines up at the store. By limiting the external sources telling me what I need (we also watch little to no tv) I find myself "wanting/needing" less and oh so much happier!
    Deb in PacificNW

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  36. We got off the bus as my husband calls it. We were sick of not getting ahead on one income in a two income world.
    So we tracked all of our spending - the most powerful tool ever!
    From this we began our simple - Good Life.
    Thankfully we had no debit (just house) but with tracking finances & saving where we can we are saving money - life comes along & gobbles it every now & and then - like when my car was written off - but we had the cash to pay for a new car - good feeling!

    We have hobbies that generate money more than use money - hard work & a tie but all the family enjoy it.

    Grow our own meat, a summer garden - we need to be fully netted due to pukeko's attacking it - on the list of must do's.

    Use the library - I stopped buying books that was a big one for me.

    Buy real nice coffee at supermarket & make own at home - & now I just do not enjoy brought coffees very much at all.

    I cook from scratch & we eat lots of fresh food - shopping mainly on outer iles of supermarket buy meat in bulk from home kills, shop at farmers roadstalls, preserve summer crops.

    Have a price book for grocery shopping & buy usually items on sale - this is a huge saving! And become quite a hobby of mine- we have an old pantry in car shed where I stockpile.

    Home school the children & very pleased to be able to teach them many life skills, including budgeting. The other best thing we do is give the kids a clothing budget & pocket money.

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  37. my first step was a few years ago, supporting my new boyfriend (now husband) in his decision to buy some land in a quiet rural area (ireland) where he and I now live. We had no electricity or plumbing (or sewage service) and a small little cabin. we now have solar pv, are building our next wind turbine ourselves, make Christmas gifts, have a sawdust box (and dreams of a drop toilet) when we build our own timber framed home mainly from salvaged and scavenged and saved from landfill materials. We strive for simplicity- it is still a challenge but the journey is good! ;-)

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  38. I remember when I decided to embark on making things simplier and caring for the enviroment more everyone around just kinda chuckled to themselves, but now they see I had the last laugh. Although I have not come full circle in my course to lead a simplier life I am well on my way, and it all started with recycling and cutting down on paper products. It has now blossomed into so much more and I can't wait to see what is next.

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