DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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23 September 2008

Why are you simplifying?



These are just a few photos I've taken in the backyard in the past week that really don't relate to my post. I know many of you like looking at our vegetable garden, so I hope these photos will encourage you to comment today.



Many of you know that I'm writing a book proposal at the moment and I need your help with it. I am trying to formulate some thoughts on simple living and it would help me enormously if you would answer the following questions. I want everyone who reads this to not go away without answering, yes, even those who never comment. :- )



QUESTIONS:
  1. Why are you simplifying?
  2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
  3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
  4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?



I am interested in everyone's answers, even those who are still thinking about change but haven't done much about it yet. Thanks for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it.


207 comments:

  1. I really love your blog. I'll answer the 4 questions you posed:

    Why are you simplifying?
    Because I'm tired of constantly being on the run, I can't stand clutter and I want to slow down and enjoy life in a more natural manner with my husband and daughter.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    No one thing in particular, but after I turned 45 I started to think about a slower pace to life.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    We started to recyle what we could and then started to use less of things such as paper products, plastic and that sort of thing. It was gradual and is still continuing.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I intend to continue making the changes to our lifestyle that we've already started. I don't think we'll ever be as self-sufficient as you are but I would like us to be more self-sufficient. We're pretty independent already, being Texans it's natural to us.

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  2. 1. Why are you simplifying? To lower bills and also have more free time in the long run.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I’m not getting any younger and I want to enjoy what time I have left. Is there any such thing as a female mid-life crisis?
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? I’ve always been crafty and tried to save by giving gifts a lot of the time. I’ve also been a sale food shopper. I’ve recently gotten several cloth bags to reuse instead of plastic and am putting them to use more. I also am knitting dishcloths to include with Christmas gifts to family.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I’d really like to plant more food items and learn to can. One thing at a time right?

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  3. Hello Rhonda! To answer your questions...
    We are simplifying for several reasons. We are tired of being slaves to a lifestyle we cannot afford and frankly, don't really want to be a part of. We are tired of eating over-processed, nutrient poor foods and so have made the decision to grow and preserve/store the bulk of our food. We have a HUGE garden, our own chickens for eggs and meat (we just got our flock started this summer!), & our own cattle (for sale and for our own consumption). I think what really set us down this path was when I lost my dear dad a couple years ago to pancreatic and liver cancer. He had worked so hard his entire life and never really got to settle down and enjoy the day to day things that make up a simple life. This was the kicker that told us we need to slow down, pare down, and do more for ourselves.

    The first major change we did was to put in a huge garden, cancel our cable subscription (this was a killer at first), and we sold our expensive cars that we were slaves to. We drive modest vehicles with a lot of miles on them but they work and we take better care of them because we want to make them last so we can continue to achieve our goals.

    The changes we want to strive for is to become 95% self-sufficient food-wise, pay off all of debts (we are getting closer), and to teach our kids the value of a simple life. I think our family is much closer due to the fact that we have to work together to meet these goals. Our kids are thankful when they see the tossed salad on our supper table and realize that we grew that out of the earth with our own hands. It's a very satisfying way of life.

    Kristina in Nebraska

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  4. Kudos, Rhonda Jean, for getting this lurker to actually leave a comment. But since you were so polite in your request, I couldn't leave without answering your questions. :)

    1. I'm simplifying because I've had an epiphany of sorts over the last year that (a) my job (I'm a teacher) is not what runs my life and (b) things that make me and my husband most satisfied and content are those that we cook and craft ourselves.

    2. I'm not sure what really convinced me, although I suspect that finally paying off all my debt (except student loans) and thus being able to save a sizable amount of money has caused me to reexamine what it is, exactly, that I want to do with that money. Big house? Fancy vacation? Expensive clothes? Doesn't seem appealing. I rather like the idea of saving for the future, a future in which I do not always have to work away from the home.

    3. The first major thing we changed was our beef consumption. We purchased 1/8 of a grassfed cow (that luckily was butchered and packaged for us!) and thus have not bought beef (except for the dog) from the grocery store in a year. That was an incredibly liberating feeling which led to making dog food (thanks in large part to your posts on the topic), making nearly all our bread products, and making several other staples at home.

    4. In the future I want to have a vegetable garden. We currently belong to a CSA and get a fair amount of vegetables from them for roughly 26 weeks of the year. I do like supporting local farmers, but I'd love to eat food that I actually grow myself. We've also considered solar heat and becoming a one car family, though I honestly don't know if we'll implement either of those changes any time soon.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Why are you simplifying?

    We wanted a different life for our kids and ourselves that was slower and relied less on others and more on ourselves.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    With more than a few kids, we were going in to many directions and never seemed to have family time.

    What was the first major thing you changed?

    We started growing our own food, veggies and meat.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    We want to become more self-sufficient. Maybe wind and/or solar power.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 1. I am simplifying because I'm aware of the impact even a single person can have on the planet, for good or for bad. I am simplifying because I love the feeling of participating in a simple life, in not being dependent on a consumeristic lifestyle, in doing things for myself and my family in time proven ways.

    2. I became convinced that change was necessary as I've grown and matured. I'm now 41 but would never even have started to think this way in my past 2 decades. The influence of a dear family I've known since my teenage years has been a major influence in my decision to change, as has my introduction to Jewell's blog and your blog, Rhonda.

    3. We've been making small changes over a few years so it is hard to pin down just one.
    A major change for me at the moment is that I am now not frequenting shops for the sake of shopping. I am trying to make as many clothes for myself that I can, including starting to make underwear. My teenage girls think this latter change is gross in the extreme, but I love it! I try to get the fabrics I use from thrift stores or re-purposing things I already have. Thrift stores are my new delight; giving to them and buying from them when needs arise. There's such a feeling of satisfaction in this, I really love it.

    4. In the future I hope to grow enough food in the backyard to feed my family - that's my dream. I want to raise chooks, have a sheep for milk, fruit trees, veggies year round, that sort of thing. Also in the future I hope to use much less plastic and reduce my contribution to land-fill.

    My email address (please don't publish it) is e33mw@optusnet.com.au

    All the best with writing your book.

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  7. Why are you simplifying?
    To live a happy and peaceful life. I have deep respect for the way the Amish live their lives and have read many books (non-fiction) about their lifestyle.

    What convinced you that your should change how you live?
    I suddnely thought one day that "If it only took one more person to make that difference then I wanted to be that one person". At the time I was thinking of shopping bags but this applies to everything.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    The way I cleaned. I got rid of all the chemicals and now use washable cleaning cloths with mostly water. Sometimes I use vinegar and bi-carb.
    The only chemicals in our home now are washing powders/liquid for the washing machine and dishwasher (Herbon for the dishwasher, don't use those other poisonous ones). We do still keep bleach here, as we use this to clean/sterilize our milking machine.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I can still see lots more changes as I take on more and more cooking from scratch (for example making ALL our bread from home not just some); increased garden volume as we are able to plant more fruit trees and extend the garden; adapting more frugal/simple ways with everything. There is always something out there to try.

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  8. Hi Rhonda, I'm a lurker and leave an occasional comment. I love your blog and wish you all the very best with your book. You're such an inspiration and I hope you know it! In answer to your questions:

    1. I'm simplifying because the "normal" way of life holds no interest to me at all. I want to appreciate what I've got instead of constantly craving what I don't have or need.

    2. I suffered a severe bout of depression at the beginning of the year and during my recovery I realised I had to slow down and do less. Once I started I became so much more aware of what was already in my life that was worth appreciating - that was enough to convince me.

    3. The first major thing I changed was taking my time and not rushing. This was alien to me in my previous life! I also started cooking from scratch, growing vegetables and clearing the clutter in my house (and in my mind.)

    4. In the future I intend to learn to knit, sew, stockpile, and build on my homemaking skills. I love this simple life and can see my journey making me and my family stronger, happier and more self sufficient. What could be better?

    Love Wendy from Scotland x

    I

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  9. QUESTIONS:
    Hi Rhonda, I love your blog and read it regularly; this is the first time I've commented. Here are my answers to your 4 questions:

    Why are you simplifying?
    I've been on the path for a while, a long, slow journey. Simplication for me means having the time and money to do what's important for us. I would love to be able to retire and spend some time with my younger dd while she still wants to, lol. This may not happen due to dh's pending job loss but may free up time so I can have more free time with her now.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    There hasn't been a particular defining moment. Recently, the 90% Riot for Austerity has been very compelling. I like our family to eat healthy, organic, local foods; buy 2nd hand where possible;
    reuse / recycle / refurbish; save energy etc.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Stocking up, and as locally as possible on foods, Rx and household products, blankets, jackets, shoes etc. And also turning the thermostat down to 63F and cutting back on water usage even before the drought.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Here in No. CA we're in the middle of a drought. I'd like to capture rainwater; on a smallish city lot that will be tricky but not impossible. Have chickens and/or ducks for eggs and possibly rabbits for meat. Plant fruit trees to be watered with greywater. A solar water heater, possibly some solar panels, a solar oven for cooking. Turn the heat down to 60F this winter.

    LisaH

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  10. Ok, I'll just get my brain in gear.
    1. We discovered that having money and the spending of it doesn't really make you happy, and like Otter Mum, I got so I couldn't stand all the clutter.
    2. Nothing really, there was just this overwhelming feeling that there was more to life and that it was OK to slow down and simplify things.
    3. 3 big things for us: stopped spending and started saving and keeping track of the money that we did spend. Started a compost bin, and a vegetable garden.
    4. Growing more vegetables, maybe having some hens, solar hot water and power (when we can afford it). Becoming as self-sufficient as we are able to.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Our goal since my husband and I started working and living together was to retire by 40. That meant that for the past 9 years, we have invested my entire wage. Luckily I unknowingly picked a growth industry, and have an attractive income.
    Now my husband stays at home to look after our daughter, and our efforts over the past 9 years means that our investments can cover our living expenses. I am still on track to retire before 40.

    It was my husband's idea, but I never was a huge spender.

    First thing we changed, was living on one income from the beginning. This meant budgeting and so on from the beginning.

    Future changes are to move to land (I know your position about living simply anywhere!), raise chickens, have cattle, fruit trees, preserving, knit dishcloths, still many exciting challenges in front of us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Why are you simplifying?
    I am seeking sustainability because I want to help the world as a whole by creating less waste. Plus, I think that the more "stuff" you have, the more stress and time you spend on that "stuff" and I would rather spend time with family and friends.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I think the real root for me is debt. I constantly question why it is worth the stress on me.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    I have majorly changed my way of thinking. Two years ago I thought one of the most important things for me to buy was furniture for my new house that was super nice that could eventually be moved into the house we planned on building in five years. Today I think more about how I can avoid making purchases that don't really benefit me and the world.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I have a strong passion to start growing a ton of vegetables next spring. We have a good amount of land so I really want to use it and start eating what I can grow myself. Being more self sufficent is important to me.

    On a side note, I just recently found your blog and love it. If you get a couple minutes could you post some helpful books about sustainability? I am really on the look out for some good ones. Thanks!

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  13. 1. There are a variety of reasons that I am simplifying. For brevity's sake, I'll keep the list small - peace of mind; control over how I live; minimizing my impact on the earth.

    2. I happened to come to a point in my life where I needed to take stock. I asked some basic questions of myself (are you happy? what is important - truly important to you?) I realized that I had layered unhappiness upon myself and needed a new path.

    3. I have always recycled, but I began to reuse and changed my buying habits to coincide (less plastic, less paper, careful about product packaging). I also started to add to my skills portfolio (knitting, sewing, gardening, carpentry, etc.)

    4. I would like to be debt-free and as off-grid as I can possibly be. I have become very self-sufficient, both out of need (I live alone) and intent.

    I can honestly say that you and Hanno are quite an inspiration and I am very happy I came across your blog.

    Susan in NY

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  14. Why are you simplifying?

    I want my children to appreciate the little things in life and I want to appreciate them more as well. I truly believe the little (simple things) are the big things.


    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    The attitudes/lifestyles of others around me. I don't want to be a slave to my cell phone, the latest fashion trends, a huge, showy home, or anything else that's "the current in thing".


    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Growing some of our own food and herbs.


    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Expanding my gardening efforts and I would love to do things like install rain barrels, solar water heating panels, etc. I'd also like to learn more about herbal remedies, especially since our family of 4 are part of the 45 million Americans that are without health insurance (due to hubby's employer choosing to no longer offer it and not being able to afford a policy on our own).

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  15. Hello Rhonda!
    Here are my answers:-

    1) Why are you simplifying?
    To prepare us for the day we retire and will be living on a pension

    2) What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Poor health, The fast pace of life that I was living wasn't good for me, I had cfs and had to slow down, once I had, I soon realised the benefits of having the time to "smell the roses" and felt so much happier

    3) What was the first major thing you changed?
    Jumping off the consumer wagon as much as possible:-
    Recycling, using and appreciating what we already had and shopping from charity shops

    4) How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Making more of the garden over to vegetable growing, we have been really surprised at how much we have produced this year from a small plot and are quite excited at putting in more veg beds. Also hope to cut our fuel bills or at least lower our usage.

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  16. Good afternoon Rhonda,

    To answer your 4 questions:

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    I grew up this way. My mother was very conscious of recycling (yes, in the 60's - we dropped off glass and paper at manufacturering plants every 6 months!), composting, using up things, using less, and shopping used. She always paid cash, lived debt-free and handcrafted numerous things for the home.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Well, I did do many of the things my mother taught me. However, when I got married I began to try to live even more simply because my new husband had grown up in what has been called a "third world nation". He is sensitive to world poverty and waste.

    3. What was the first major thing you changed?
    I started to shop in thrift stores and at yard sales more often.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Well, my mother as well as continuing in her regular projects, is now into cleaning up public litter in her neighbourhood whenever she sees it, as well as a little guerilla gardening (very openly, mind you) in her village. Maybe I will continue to imitate her example. I am planning on doing a little more handcrafting as my time allows though.

    Hope this helps. May God Bless you.

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  17. Hi Rhonda

    Why are you simplifying?
    Because it feels like the right thing to do.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live? No one thing but just a general realisation that there was more to life than shopping!
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    ALl of the changes have been minor, although togther they have been major. Avoiding waste, is one of my most important. Minimising waste food, energy, heat, money, resources generally.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future? More organised with shopping, more home grown fruit and veg, more forward planning.

    Hope this helps a bit

    Lizzie

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  18. I'll give the questions a go. Some are quite hard to answer though, as initially I didn't exactly have a set goal to start simplifying, it just happened.

    Why are you simplifying?
    I feel it's a better life for us, and our 4 year old daughter. It brings more enjoyment, and is a much healthier life for all of us. I was talking to my husband last night, and he is seeing great improvements in his lifelong asthma.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    My mum helped me start a vegie garden in our then tiny courtyard in our apartment. I enjoyed it so much, that I began to look for other things that I might also enjoy doing.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    Aside from the above vegie garden, the first major thing would probably be to get rid of nearly all commercial cleaners in our house, and switch to natural or simple products.

    What do you see yourself changin in the future?
    I have so many plans for changes. I'd love to become more self sufficient in our food (we had our first egg from our chickens 2 days ago!), and buy what we can't produce in bulk. I'd like to be able to make nearly all of our clothes and homewears myself.

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  19. 1. I am simplifying b/c I want to be less dependent on money and more dependent on what God has given me.

    2. Waste and a culture of materialism that says "I need more" this wasn't making me happy. Also, I feel as though my ancestors did just fine without half the things I deem necessary. More technology and more things just seem to complicate life further.

    3. the first major thing I changed was switching from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. That opened a whole new world to me. it was so much easier!

    4. I see myself changing in the future to growing more of my own food, making our house more energy efficient, and learning how to make more things on our own.

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  20. 1) Because it makes me feel happy. I've felt very content with my life since striving to simplify.

    2) I was tired of feeling stressed and I like learning to care for the needs of my family and not relying on someone else to do it for me.

    3) I started making bread from scratch. I made it a goal to not purchase any store bought bread this year. I've been able to stick to it and now it's a normal part of my routine. I'm trying to figure out what my goal for this next year will be.

    4) I see myself becoming more more empowered, more self sufficient, more content. I want to pass on the skills I'm learning to my children.

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  21. My first time to comment in order to help you with your book. Your blog encourages me to keep at my goals of living simple.

    I began simplifying because we began a pattern of frequent moves due to my husband's job. We soon realized what stuff was worth moving cross country once or twice and most of it could fit in a twelve foot trailer. The first downsize was somewhat painful, but now a move is challenging to me. However our sons (college age) do not want to live that way, and say they will not move but acquire quality things and never give them up. This has been the heart of our simplification issues: freedom to move and experience new things or stay in place and build quality. We compromise some of the finer aspects of the simple life by living simple enough to be free to move. One example is renting because frequent moving sometimes rules out a out mortgaged home, but not always. As a renter you don't always get options for burning wood, keeping hens, garden space, alternative energy options etc.
    We became convinced to change when we realized the enjoyment in living in different locations and experiencing the variety. We thought we would never get over giving up our personal library, but after discovering some wonderful libraries in the places we have lived I would rather have the variety.
    The first major change was rethinking all purchases. Will this be something that will end up being sold at half price three years from now? We now buy everything used or get it free. I gave up any Martha Stewart decorating dreams, but I found I like the eclectic look better. However, we buy all our electronics new and they always go with us.
    Future plans are fuzzy now. We are supporting the college plans for our sons, and then we may have to take a whole new look at the simple life.

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  22. 1. Why are you simplifying? Because I'm old and our old house was filled to the brim. I do NOT want to fill this house to the brim...Less is more is my new mantra
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? Above...plus the damned economy. I don't know if my husband will have a job past November of this year!
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? We are canning A LOT of veggies. We have chickens and pigs.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I see that I will not have the disposable income I previously had. I will just have to buckle down and save more if I ever want to replace anything.

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  23. Thanks for asking Rhonda. Here are my answers...

    Why are you simplifying?
    For no other reason than to be more independant.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Some of the old ways of doing things just don't make sense. Why should we (meaning hubby and I) buy meat when we can kill our own? It seemed to me that as consumers we are loosing our power by letting big busy dictate what it is they think we need... Faster, easier, more convenient. In reality, we need a dry bed, hot shower and good food. Everything else is a bonus! I'm turning to the ways of the past to find my way for the future.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I started turning the television off, only listened to local ABC radio and stopped going into town...if you don't go to town, you don't spend money!You also by necessity become more resourceful with what you have.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    As I get older (am 34 now)I'm becomming more aware of who I am and who I want to be. My life is becomming much more about my home nest and my immediate family. The challenges I set myself are becomming more about living a simple life, being cautious with money and using our 35 acres to become more self sufficient. I don't want to be someone who consumes just because they have the monmey to buy and can.I don't want to end up with a house full of stuff that I don't really need but have been led to believe I need from big business. I just want to strip away the noise so I can hear the silence.

    Hope that's of some help.
    Bron
    www.crankycockatoo.blogspot.com

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  24. Hi Rhonda, I don't comment I just lurk but I love your blog.
    I'll answer your questions.

    1. Why are you simplifying?

    I am trying too. I want to slow my life down and take as much of the commercialism out of my life as I can.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    When life was taking us too fast from one place to the next, and we weren't enjoying the ride anymore.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    The first major thing was years ago when I was first married. I grew up with Television, but I raised my children without it.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I would like to see my husband and I when all the children are gone, living in a much smaller home, some where we can live a much simpler life and growing much of our own food.

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  25. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    Because I feel wasteful purchasing items I could easily make for less. Also, simply to stretch the paycheck further than we've had to before.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I think once I saw how easy the first step was, I couldn't go back.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? This is silly, but I bought canvas bags for grocery shopping and started making our own laundry soap powder.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? Hopefully we can keep moving forward on this path, even with a young and growing family. I hope it becomes second nature for the kids to want less, and use what we have before heading to the store. We'll see- one is only three years old and the other was born last week!

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  26. 1. I started right out of college, mainly because the career life and keeping up with the Joneses lifestyle just didn't appeal, its been 12 years since I graduated and I never regret the decision to keep it simple.

    2. I don't know that I can pinpoint one thing other than voluntary simplicity was just more attractive than the alternative to me.

    3. Honestly I don't know its been such a process and I started right out of college poor that I don't know that I can pinpoint one thing.

    4. I plan on growing much more food - instead of gardening as a hobby its going to be a matter of self-sufficiency. I also hope to lead a simple life that includes my own little cottage industry that not only benefits our simple lives but our community as well.

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  27. We've been benefiting tremendously from your blog for over a year but have never commented. Hope the following is some help. Thanks so much for all your detailed information. We look forward to it every day.
    1. To save money and have even more peace.
    2. With retirement for the breadwinner looming, we have to practise living more simply.
    3. Tracking every purchase. Recycling. Budgeting.
    4. Learning to make do in all areas. Obtaining ideas and inspiration from books and blogs like yours.

    Kindest regards and with much appreciation, I. and L.

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  28. Why are you simplifying? Because I have realized that I am happiest when I am moving slower and am at home. I am tired of the pace that most people keep. I want to enjoy each day, each moment. I am planning to cut my work in half in 7 months.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live? It started with reading Voluntary Simplicity and Tightwad Gazette. I picked these up when my husband went back to school full time. Now I no this is not temporary.

    What was the first major thing you changed? We got rid of the TV. Then we started eating local food.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future? I see myself growing more of our own food, sewing more of my clothes, and becoming more involved in my community.

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  29. This is my first ever comment but have been reading your blog for quite a while.
    To answer your questions -
    I am simplifying my life and my families life because that is what my heart craves - I am basically a country kid living in the 'burbs and really crave that lifestyle. While I can't achieve a lot on a 460sqm block I can put in place some small things that can give me back control after a number of really hard years when I felt out of control....emotionally spiritually and physically.

    The past 12 months have seen me make huge changes in lifestyle - the vege patch is back finally (small as it is) and it allows me to get back in touch with the land.

    I have decluttered, cleaned and simplifyed the household - but still have a little way to go - with other peoples stuff its harder to discard.

    I am buying less "stuff", getting back into my hobbies, enjoying a good book, cooking much more from scratch, paying down debt(mortgage only) and so on.

    this is just the start of a new journey and each day is bringing new challenges and ways of doing things but it is fun and worthwhile especially in these times of great uncertainty.

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  30. Why are you simplifying?

    becasue we have always lived a little like this all home cooked food, no chemicals used in the house, we don't like loads of technology (no big screen tvs here), mainly becasue with 7 kids we couldn't afford to live a wasteful extravagant life. Why more simplifying now? Because I have stopped doing all the chairty things I used to do and now have time for more gardening. Simplifying keeps you in touch with your fmaily and your community and yourself.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    Economics it is cheaper to grow a lot of your own food, cook your own food, clean your own house do your own ironing. I urn and alterations adn mending business and I cannot believe the amount of people who pay me to sew on buttons!!!! Plus we alwasy seem to kae ends meet but I want to be able tosave a little now too I am 45 and our youngest child is 4, simplifying should help reduce our debt.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    i planted more than a few tomoatoes and lettuce I amde the vegetable beds bigger, knocked down the old chicken pen and used the soil form in that to fill my bed extensions. I have sold or donated a load of clutter and ther is more to go (my husband is a hoarder it is hard for him to let go but I am deternmined) clenaing this house with 9 people in it willbe much easier without 46 years of accumulated stuff.


    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I want to grow more even if I have to sell the excessat a roadside stall we have five acres and at the moment the back paddock it like a football field loads of sun and places to grow stuff out there!!! i love the idea of a community garden of sorts somewhere where other people can come and have a plot need to convince my husband though!!LOL
    I will be making sure others know about our little revolution I think I was always a bit embarassed, happy just not ready to brag about it to the more consumerised, but now I will take the suimople word to the streets not sure how but I will work on it!!
    *****
    Of course the reasons go on and on but one thing that has made this crystalise is finding your blog and realising I am not old fashioned and quaint just one of many who wants to do things in a more thoughtful way.

    Treading lightly on our planet is all about quiet revolutions like this let governments worry about carbon emission targets I will use less plastic, no fossil fuel cleaners, recycle my fabrics into quilts for charity, grow my own food, harvest my own water and on our own our fmaily will accomplish more in one year to offset carbon emission than all the sub commitees put together.

    daisymum

    ReplyDelete
  31. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    With two young children, I feel it's my responsibility to educate and encourage them to live life as it was begun. Not in any religious sense by any stretch of the imagination...purely because life is so precious and we are quite fortunate to be here. Food from your own ground is so much tastier to cook and there is a lot more love going into my new-found cooking style. There are too many young women in my circle of associates concerned with what brand their children and themselves are wearing, what a horrible, superficial way to live.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Whilst living in Brisbane I realised what a consumer I had become, every moment I stepped outside our front door money was spent..almost like it had to be spent. Now, my daughters are being raised on acreage - yes we still have the mod cons but we also have our own organic produce and spend very little compared to our city friends. Secondly, I noticed how much packaging is wasted on products. Now, I'm originally from the corporate advertising world so design is important to me yet seeing the recycle bin almost 1/4 way full after a "normal" grocery shop it disgusted me. I think there should be regulations as to how much paper & plastic goes into wrapping one item.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    How often I visited and bought from major shopping centres. Living so close to farmers, I realised how their life was impacted by me not supporting them. I believe purchasing your goods from local suppliers and farmer's markets to be the best change we made. I'd like to think we are aiming to live completely self-sufficient but the hours required to tend our garden and orchard just aren't there for us at the moment. Whilst our girls are so young our energies are focused on raising them and providing creative activities. Your blog gives me inspiration as to what is yet to come, thank you.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Continuing to further my knowledge, associate myself with likeminded people and research the Queensland Solar Homes Program. I'm going to reduce the amount of clutter around the house, people giving inappropriate "plastic" gifts to my children only stay around for so long here. With Christmas nearing I'm asking gift givers to consider books or wooden toys if they must. Finally, I want to learn how to knit and sew, as food and cooking comes naturally to me I can only hope I have some hidden talents in the craft field.

    I've said this before, thank you so much for sharing your world with us.
    Best wishes....from Karen (a local).

    ReplyDelete
  32. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    With two young children, I feel it's my responsibility to educate and encourage them to live life as it was begun. Not in any religious sense by any stretch of the imagination...purely because life is so precious and we are quite fortunate to be here. Food from your own ground is so much tastier to cook and there is a lot more love going into my new-found cooking style. There are too many young women in my circle of associates concerned with what brand their children and themselves are wearing, what a horrible, superficial way to live.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Whilst living in Brisbane I realised what a consumer I had become, every moment I stepped outside our front door money was spent..almost like it had to be spent. Now, my daughters are being raised on acreage - yes we still have the mod cons but we also have our own organic produce and spend very little compared to our city friends. Secondly, I noticed how much packaging is wasted on products. Now, I'm originally from the corporate advertising world so design is important to me yet seeing the recycle bin almost 1/4 way full after a "normal" grocery shop it disgusted me. I think there should be regulations as to how much paper & plastic goes into wrapping one item.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    How often I visited and bought from major shopping centres. Living so close to farmers, I realised how their life was impacted by me not supporting them. I believe purchasing your goods from local suppliers and farmer's markets to be the best change we made. I'd like to think we are aiming to live completely self-sufficient but the hours required to tend our garden and orchard just aren't there for us at the moment. Whilst our girls are so young our energies are focused on raising them and providing creative activities. Your blog gives me inspiration as to what is yet to come, thank you.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Continuing to further my knowledge, associate myself with likeminded people and research the Queensland Solar Homes Program. I'm going to reduce the amount of clutter around the house, people giving inappropriate "plastic" gifts to my children only stay around for so long here. With Christmas nearing I'm asking gift givers to consider books or wooden toys if they must. Finally, I want to learn how to knit and sew, as food and cooking comes naturally to me I can only hope I have some hidden talents in the craft field.

    I've said this before, thank you so much for sharing your world with us.
    Best wishes....from Karen (a local).

    ReplyDelete
  33. My husband and I grew up in frugal homes. When we were married, we had to be frugal with our little income. The habits mostly stuck, but we find that we have to recommit periodically or we fall into little habits of convenience that are less frugal, healthy, and earth friendly. We would someday like our own home with space for a bigger garden.

    ReplyDelete
  34. 1. Why are you simplifying? I believe in contentment and I believe that it comes from within. Complex trappings detract from this and create malcontents.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I didn't really change how I lived, I've been like this my whole adult life. Which is probably because I grew up in a home overly concerned with things and trappings that were unnecessary and didn't bring happiness anyway.


    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I wish to increase my families self sufficiency and the sustainability of our lifestyle. Biggest challenge there is getting my husband on board.

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  35. Hi Rhonda,

    You would be proud of me, I have been mending holes in socks, clothes and bedding tonight to get a few more years wear out of them instead of throwing them out. Just one more small change to my life to save money, inspired by you (Big HUGS)

    Anyway my answers to you questions:-

    QUESTIONS:

    Why are you simplifying?

    I realised Jan 2008 that we could not continue racking up our debts and had to stop being a slave to them and we had to drastically change the way we live to be able to make a difference to the amount we could pay off each month. I stumbled on your blog and thank to you, I now have a passion that is more than just saving money, I actually enjoy activuly trying to go aback to basic and be less dependant.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    The amount of our debts and you :-)

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Cut up my credit cards and stopped all miscellaneous spending.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I have actively stopped misc spending, make my own cleaning products, washing powder, soap, cleaning cloths. I now mend all our clothes and accept hand-me-downs, set a strict budget for food & fuel, slim-lined down all un-neccessary bills.
    In the future I would love to have paid off all my debts, start saving/paying off my mortgage. Make my own presents for friends & family, keep chickens, buy more organic. Just be more & more self sufficient and less dependant of the consumer way of life.
    Be more like you Rhonda :-)
    xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Rhonda, I am coming out of lurkdom for you! You give us so much our turn to give back. You may find as many reasons for simplifying as there are responses, it is such a subjective thing! Here are mine ,Julia
    1. Why are you simplifying?
    Now the reason we are simplifying and the one my husband is on board with, which helps a lot, is to retire early and live just like you and Hanno do! I am 48 and my husband is 41 and he is tired of the daily grind. I started simplifying years before for different reasons, and he was an uber consumer, but now he is on the same page or nearly there it is so much easier. My original interest in simplicity was academic and I can’t remember how but I had stumbled across the concept of Voluntary Simplicity and was reading as widely as I could on the subject (I have a degree in sociology) but wasn’t actually doing anything different. The action of living simply came about because of an involuntary poverty imposed by my daughters cancer diagnosis six years ago that meant we had to maintain two residences on one income, as I had to be in a major city with my daughter for her treatment while our home was in a regional one that did not have access to her medical treatment, where my husband and two sons were. I had time to read as we were spending lots of time in hospitals so researched budgeting and simple living.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    When your child gets cancer it changes lots of things and in my case it changed my perspective on how we had been living. It all seemed so pointless what I had been focussed on in my daily life. During this period of introspection, I hadn’t missed all the shopping or my job and had been spending lots of time with my daughter and our relationship was being much enriched and that I realised was what was important was people and your relationships to them, not the other stuff the world/media would have you think is important. Also all the reading I had done had opened my eyes to a more satisfying way to live.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I just stopped spending money on things I/we didn’t need. Just like that. Just bit by bit I made little changes. I cooked from scratch, stopped watching ads on TV, stopped reading magazines, got my books from the library, gave up a job that made me unhappy, decluttered countless times, it has been a cumulative process over 6 years or so. I haven’t had a haircut in 4 years, cut my husband’s hair myself. Stockpiling. It all adds up. We don’t go out to restaurants any more, our time together is spent having coffee at the beach or pottering at home. No major thing, just lots of things.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Sewing some clothes is next. Gardening and chickens are next. Downsizing our home to a smaller place that uses less power and doesn’t have a pool is next. Maybe even a bigger block of land, smaller house if such a thing is possible! I can see myself getting more and more simple in our lifestyle. In some ways it’s like a game of limbo! How LOW can you GO! We are still carrying a lot of debt (to me and for our stage of life) from the time of our consuming days, Jess’s illness and recent passing. It is coming down but is a frustratingly slow process! It certainly helps to have these skills in these uncertain economic times, but I won’t feel secure till we are debt free. We anticipate reaching our goals in about 10 years

    Hope this helps Julia in Mackay

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  37. Just wanted to let you know I answered the quesions on my blog. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi RJ
    1. I'm simplifying because I don't like the "fast food" lifestyle we are leading - I want my children to grow up with skills and knowing where their food comes from. I was also looking for ways to cut my expenses.
    2. My son's behavioural problems caused by food additives convinced me that things needed to change. I needed to remove all the "chemicals" from his diet and lifestyle.
    3. The first major thing was cooking from scratch, the other things like making my own detergent and cordial seemed to flow on from that. Budgeting has also been a major focus.
    4. Global warming is happening, whether we like it or not. I want to be able to say to my children and grandchildren that our lifestyle didn't contribute to it and to prepare them for an uncertain future where the skills we are all learning will help them to survive and live well within their means. In the next two years I am looking at building a "green" house as well, as my current one is unable to modified without costing more than a new one.
    ciao
    Lis

    ReplyDelete
  39. Because you asked...

    1. Why are you simplifying? Because life just naturally gets complicated if you don't keep eliminating the stuff that isn't working. Sort of the same way we need to clean out closets to keep them uncluttered.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I realized my life was out of balance, I was working too much and had little time for the things that matter most. Right at that time, I lost my father, father-in-law and my full-time job all in a space of three months. Grief makes you re-evaluate things.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? Work changed drastically for me, I went from 5 days a week down to one. Now I work three or four and I can do this forever.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I will likely work less to spend more time with my grandchildren. I keep adding small steps towards my vision of a simple life. Keep the inspiration coming, Rhonda. Thanks for all you do.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm a lurker, coming out of hiding for this post. I love your blog and come every day though. ;)

    1. Why are you simplifying? the biggest reason is to save money. The second is that it makes my daily life easier without so much stuff to care for. It also lends itself to being a healthier lifestyle. Growing my own food has helped my eating habits greatly.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? After I got pregnant with twins I came home to care for them and we were left with my husbands salary, which didn't quite cover the monthly bills. we don't have too much debt, but I was seeing how it seems to be never ending, and started to think of small ways I could save money and make his paycheck go farther.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? I started a small garden this year, the first tmie I've ever grown anything, and ended up with tons of tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers. (I pickled my cucs with your b&b recipe and love them!) Since then, I've started decluttering and giving things to goodwill, given up some disposable items in favor of reuseable, earth friendly products, baking my own breads, I'm sewing my own aprons and mending my husbands clothes, and I have so many more things I hope to do eventually!

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I can see myself incorporating more things as time (and land, when we move) allow, such as keeping chickens for eggs, and growing more and more food to feed my family and have some to make preserves and other canned items to sell.

    Your blog has been such an inspiration to me! Bless you!

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  41. Why are you simplifying?
    Paralysed by depression and stress, unable to work, a bankrupt – that was me years ago; for so long I had tried to right my life by buying ‘stuff’ and it just wasn’t working. In books, on blogs and forums I kept coming up against this term ‘simple living’ and (I’m a great believer in synchronicity!) I knew it was for me.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I had been suicidal on several occasions and I knew that if I didn’t change my way of life, then it would kill me.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I read about various people who’d challenged themselves to restricted spending (no clothes for a year, etc), I decided that I would not buy anything new, with obvious exceptions, for a year. My first year is up but I have continued the challenge, although its not actually a challenge any more, its the way I live.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    My spending challenge has affected other areas of my life
    - I’m learning to eat a healthier, simpler diet, to take better care of myself with exercise etc. and I’m growing some herbs/veg.
    - I'm taking control of my finances and working on building up an emergency fund, learning to make do and mend in ways I would never previously have thought of.
    - Although I’ll probably never be a real minimalist, I’m slowly getting rid of so much of the ‘stuff’ that’s been weighing me down all these years.
    - Because I’m in a rented house I have no options for coming off the grid but I am looking at ways of reducing my power usage (and bills!) and generally want to be living a greener, more self sufficient life – (I really hate how the big supermarkets, banks, advertisers etc try to manipulate us into spending money. It doesn’t work with me any more!!)

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  42. Why am I simplifying? Short answer - Stress reduction. I was a teen Mom and to prove I wasn't a complete waste I worked my way through college while being a single Mom. Having obtained such a great feat as getting my degree I set out to find a great job using it. I hated that job! I hated the entire industry. After years working i that kind of environment I finally had a nervous breakdown and went on medication. I don't want to dull my senses, so the only alternative I could see was to drop out altogether.

    What convinced me that I should change? The birth of an unexpected and very sweet little girl. I again found myself having an unexpected baby (17 years later - when will I learn?) And I wanted her to have a Mom who was genuine, who was available and not stressed out over every little thing. I wanted to be there to watch this little girl blossom and grow and looking into her innocent little eyes gave me the strength to tell my boss I was finished.

    The first major thing I changed was that I quit my job to stay home during the day. I got a waitressing job at night to help with the bills, and then I got my CDL and started driving a school bus. Oddly driving a bus with 60 screaming kids is far less stressful than my previous job.

    What I would like to change in the future is that I'd like to integrate more environmentally friendly ways of doing things than I have now. I've always had an environmental bent - I petitioned the high school to get recycling bins in the 1980s. But I still use way more energy than my guilty conscience would like and I'd like to go vegetarian. My husband is NOT environmentally aware at all, and getting him to go along with reductions in energy consumption and lack of meat (he eats nearly no vegetables) is a major obstacle and one I haven't figured out how to hurdle yet. That wonderful little girl is 2 1/2 now and getting more independent every day so I have more thinking time every day and I'm thinking some day soon I'll think of that magic thing to say to persuade my busband to go along. Unitl then I'll just keep going one step at a time.

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  43. I am simplifying because I am a bit fed up with everything saying Made in China on it. 90% of the "stuff" wasnt even around when I was young. I want a more sustainable life. So far I have cancelled the paper and all the magazines (they have most of them in the library) I have stopped using deoderant (dont laugh - with a 2 minute shower everyday do we really need it. I have bought a Moonkeeper (sanitary protection) dont knock it till youve tried it ! I worked out that it will save $3,000 over ten years - it takes about three cycles to get used to it. I only shop once a week even though I live near the shops and I usually walk there. I cook very plain with the best ingredients I can find including home grown veggies.
    lizzie in chicago

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  44. Why am I simplifying. I'm 63, so I was very affected by the back to the earth movements in the sixties and seventies. I've never had a huge St. Paul-like moment of conversion. I always was attracted to being able to do things for ourselves and economically.We never had debts we couldn't pay off right away except for buying houses...... I cooked from scratch. I bought a lot from thrift shops. We never had big debt except for mortgages and those are paid off now.
    My son became a vegetarian when he turned 18. He is now 26. That made me think more about why to do this. I am not a real vegetarian but am becoming more and more that way. My middle daughter is a postdoc in ecology and I have absorbed a lot from her. My oldest daugther is very involved in a local CSA and has made me think again about local food. They were probably influenced by my ideas when they were young, and now I am influenced by theirs.......It's great!


    I love the wonderful beautiful tough but fragile planet we live on and don't want it to be destroyed and dammaged by our actions.

    This will be tricky. The forces that want to make money by doing harmful things are clever and well-funded. We need to build up more communities so we are not so much at the mercy of their media messages.

    Recycling, composting, avoiding bad chemicals, supplying ourselves from our own efforts as much as we can, all seem like good ideas that we should follow as much as we are able.

    We were always rather ambivalent about television, and I am now amused that my grown up children are really not into it at all, though they all enjoy watching movies of their choice. We all enjoy reading and my hobbies are painting and quilting and music. We listen to public radio and tv and that removes us from the relentless marketing and advertising of our culture.

    I think we need to go over our principles every day and rededicate ourselves.

    But we need to do it gently, kindly, with laughter. It shouldn't be grim!

    Eventually when my son finishes his graduate degree, if the housing market lets it happen I would like to move to a smaller house on less land. I want to make our gardening more productive. I want to do more volunteer work to help refugees to our area since my husband came to the US as a Hungarian refugee when he was 11 years old.

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  45. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    I spent my early-twenties trying to 'keep up with the Joneses,' spinning on my little hamster wheel. I always wanted newer/bigger/better. I started to realize I was doing all of this because I wanted to impress other people, NOT to make me happy (when, in fact, it was making me miserable).

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I hit rock-bottom. I was up to my head in credit-card debt, I had been bouncing checks left and right, and my car had just been repossessed. It was the ultimate wake-up call for me.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? I stopped watching TV and reading chick magazines. Being bombarded by so many images of who I "should" be and what I "should" look like just made me buy more stuff, which ultimately made me MORE miserable.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I'm already 100% debt-free and have been paying off my credit card in full every month. I'd like to become a craftier cook and maybe even start my own veggie garden! I would also love to educate my kids (don't have any yet, but someday) about living frugal--something I never had. My parents are definitely uber-consumers.

    One more question: What is the greatest obstacle you've run across in your simplicity journey?
    Definitely finding balance! I'm a bit OCD at times, and it's hard for me to do things in moderation. It's a bit 'all or nothing' for me, I'm afraid! The tough part for me is trying to find balance between living a semi-normal life as a functioning member of society while still living my life in a way that is true to me.

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  46. Why are you simplifying?
    I realized the way I lived growing up was far closer to the way I want to live as I grow older.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Thinking about the kind of world I want to live in and want my nephews to live in

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Reusable instead of disposable whenever possible and more mindful food consumption

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Making more things (clothes, for one), growing more things (adding fruit to the veg & herb patch, enjoying more things (meaningful work is more enjoyable sometimes than play)

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  47. I've been lurking for a week or so - really enjoying the blog!

    1. Why are you simplifying?

    The simplest answer is money: we have just barely enough to get by, and very little extra - and if we stay in our current careers (my husband teaches high school, I'm a SAHM and doula), our income's not going to get any better, so we need to look in other directions to be able to have enough to live, let alone provide "extras" for our children (most of whom are still notional). I also like knowing exactly what goes into the things we use and eat. Other than that, there's just so dang much satisfaction in the work of your hands!

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    Oh, gosh. I was brought up living more simply than many of those around me. I can't really point at a single thing other than increasing desires to do so - and being around like-minded people.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Consciously choosing to buy less-processed foods.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Continuing to practice simpler, greener living skills, and getting better at it.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Rhonda,
    Ok, even though I read daily and only comment rairly, since you asked us ALL to comment:

    Why are you simplifying?
    because we live in a world that promotes excess. And unfortunately, we have bought into part of that mindset. I want less clutter, less chemicals, and less extras in my home. I want my boys to realize that "less is best" before they are adults. And to be raised with natural products to the best of my ability.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    a big part is my sister who is a vegetarian and natural products user. As well as books that both my husband I have read in the last year and your blog. The little that the media has been sharing about plastics and global warming has influenced me as well.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    we started recycling. and have been for a few years, in this next phase the first major thing was to get rid of a bunch of clothes and toys, and to buy natural cleaning products.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I see us planting some fruit trees in our yard, planting a bigger garden and freezing/ canning more from it. Using more organic and natural products. Eating out once a month or less, cooking from scratch more. And learning to save more money and take better care of our home and ourselves. I will never be totally self sustaining due to where I live, but I would like to get much closer than I am now.
    Shannon B, Oregon

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  49. Rhonda:

    I began to think that I needed to cut back and found your website.

    Why are you simplifying?
    Because of wanting to cut costs. Then due to your blog I am able to continue to so.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Because I wanted to be able to live more independently - just hubby and I.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed? Getting a clothes line and not using the heat cycle on my dishwasher.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future? I see that I will be increasing the size of my garden in order to produce more of our food. Also, of planting fruit trees for the same reason. As I have began to do these things I am more content with the person that I am and am continuing this growth as I continue on this simple life. I am able to see blessings in my every day life that I could not see before.

    Becky Fischer
    Bakersfield, California, USA

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  50. QUESTIONS:

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    I simplify for personal and spiritual growth. As a Buddhist, simple lives make it much easier to reach that "inner peace" so many in our modern societies want, but don't know how to get to anymore.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Seeing myself mirrored in the eyes of all the others around me, and feeling that I was too uptight, couldn't relax, and wanted to be able to know that I CAN make a difference.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I stopped watching TV. That cut out most of the commercialization that I had to deal with on a daily basis. Now I catch my news from newspapers and internet (ads blocked.) I feel much more at ease, without being stuck in high adrenaline TV shows, ads and news.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    No idea. Following my practice I suppose. Trying to live lightly on the land, simplify and enjoy the time I have left on this blue world.

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  51. Why are you simplifying?

    Primarily to rid my family of the 'need-to-haves' which became even more apparent when my small children started school. To save money to spend on things that make our hearts soar - our huge overseas family holiday in a few year's time, doing up our modest home to make it a comfortable nest for our family etc. I get great joy from 'making do', from cooking from scratch, from saving every little cent that would otherwise be wasted on something plastic or useless or worse, something to prop up the confidence of someone in my family. Let joy come from within.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    When I looked at the waste in our lives - was appalling. When I realised that a friend who was working all hours spent $350 on a pair of sunglasses because someone else had the same pair. When I went to buy a new lunchbox for the new schoolyear for no reason at all except that it was apparently 'needed' - rubbish. All these things happened in the space of a few weeks and made me think about how we lived our life.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    I did a budget and opened new bank accounts for the really important things in our lives - savings and dreams. Then started shopping at Aldi, markets and independant groceries with a shopping list, budget and menu plan. This was the start.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Vegetable garden is next and learning to sew is even on the cards - now THAT is saying something.

    xCindy

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  52. Hi Rhonda,

    Well I am simplifying because I got to the point where all the stuff in the house was making me feel overwhelmed. I remembered back packing round Europe off and on for 3 years and how lovely it felt to pack everything I owned into one bag. I wanted that sense of freedom back.I wanted to be able to breath and have time to read and day dream without the nagging thought that the things in the house needed attending to.
    I was slowly convinced or rather I became aware that my health was going down hill and that my husbands stress levels were way over the top. His stress levels are still too high but that is due to his job and his approach to it. I looked back and remembered 1987 and suddenly being allergic to just about everything and the doctor telling me it was all stress related and I had recovered but ignored what he said (ok dumb I know).
    The first thing I did was start the long slow process of decluttering. I had nearly always cooked from scratch but started to grow vegetables. The challenge there is to keep the vegetables coming along every single month and not just one huge crop in a few weeks and then nothing.We have always recycled and had a compost bin.
    My change for the future? A smaller house, a more efficient vegetable garden, chickens, solar hot water and electricity and make my own clothes (I have just bought a simple pattern for trousers and a top).
    I love reading your blog and that of others who are doing similar things. I used to read Janet Luhrs online magazine. I also track spending and have read 'Your Money or Your Life' and I now work a 3 day week. All change takes some thought and action and nerve to keep going but amazingly the world keeps turning and my life is less frantic.My eldest two daughters are also making changes to their lives and I am really proud of them. My youngest has surprised me by not buying designer anything for over a year, so there is hope yet!
    It's just fantastic to read all the other comments and to know that we are a true force in our communities and families by reading and commenting and knowing we are not alone.

    Lots of Love
    Virginia K, Blacktown, NSW

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  53. Why are you simplifying?

    Primarily to rid my family of the 'need-to-haves' which became even more apparent when my small children started school. To save money to spend on things that make our hearts soar - our huge overseas family holiday in a few year's time, doing up our modest home to make it a comfortable nest for our family etc. I get great joy from 'making do', from cooking from scratch, from saving every little cent that would otherwise be wasted on something plastic or useless or worse, something to prop up the confidence of someone in my family. Let joy come from within.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    When I looked at the waste in our lives - was appalling. When I realised that a friend who was working all hours spent $350 on a pair of sunglasses because someone else had the same pair. When I went to buy a new lunchbox for the new schoolyear for no reason at all except that it was apparently 'needed' - rubbish. All these things happened in the space of a few weeks and made me think about how we lived our life.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    I did a budget and opened new bank accounts for the really important things in our lives - savings and dreams. Then started shopping at Aldi, markets and independant groceries with a shopping list, budget and menu plan. This was the start.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Vegetable garden is next and learning to sew is even on the cards - now THAT is saying something.

    xCindy

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  54. I forgot to add to my answers above:

    A major change for me has been to stop using the dishwasher. And believe it or not (for the girl who was hankering after one for so long before she finally got one) it is so much better! The children and I interact more, I feel a closer connection to the nurturing of my family, and I love the feeling of using dishcloths (a fresh one every day - what a treat) that I have made myself.

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  55. I'm one of those who visit often...but, rarely comment. In response to your questions.

    Why are you simplifying?
    I want a more peaceful, purposeful life. I don't want to spend my money and especially my time in activities that do not bring me happiness. I want to be able to enjoy nature and family more.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Probably the biggest factor for me was my retirement. I finally had enough time to really think about my life and how I was living it and decided that I would like to replace the meaningless things with more meaningful activities. My husband and I have always been avid readers and have read books like "Your Money or Your Life" and "Voluntary Simplicity" but I've found that as I age and re-read these books I'm gleaning more and different things from them. I guess my age has something to do with that!

    What was the first major think you changed?
    I started decluttering...and, working really hard to not replace all the clutter. And, I started cooking at home more and eating out less. And, I started tracking our living expenses (utilities, food, etc.) to get a better idea where the money was going. Plus, I've started making bread at home and we love it!

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I will continue to eliminate the things that we do not need (and won't replace them or buy other things). And, we would really like to purchase a smaller home -- but, that will have to wait until the housing market gets better. I'd also like to have a vegetable garden -- but, I'm still trying to convince my husband that it would be worth the effort. He tends to think that buying from local growers at the farmer's market would be just as good.

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  56. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    Just kind evolved to this point because I didn't like feeling stressed all the time and to rid myself of the stress in my life this is where I've gotten too. Now it's more of a feeling of respect for the planet, myself and all the inhabitants of the earth. Plus I dislike greed and hate shopping with a passion.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    My mothers death from cancer just when she should have been able to enjoy her life, and knowing that I didn't want to go back to paid work when I had my children. I had to become more creative with our money so I could stay home with the children.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    I don't really know mostly they have been small changes that add up. Personally probably for me giving up meat has been the biggest change, although I do occassionally eat meat that we have grown and produced ourselves.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Smaller home when the children are gone, installing solar panels is next on the list. Growing more of our own food and becoming more involved with the local community. I don't know what else, I'm always reading and looking for new ideas, it's the whole journey that I love, there is no destination.

    cheers Kate

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  57. Why are you simplifying?

    We've always been a little out of step with our peers -- we chose a smaller mortgage, keeping our cars longer and we have concerns for the planet. Also we are now earning (from choice) less than half of what we did as teachers so simplifying further makes sense.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    The planet and less money coming in.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Spending.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Becoming greener, more self sufficient and earning even less.

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  58. oh the varied reasons and answers r so interesting
    what started this path for me
    a terrible accident involving my 2 year old and a month in hospital.

    i started this road looking at the preservatives in our food after we had a loaf of bread last 2 weeks in our pantry at ronald macdonald house!..yukko...in my search for how familys could afford organic fruit and veg i came across homegrown gardens and veg fruit trees and more. at the end of next month we move to almost an acre block of land with a beautiful house and i see endless possiblities for our home grown food.

    i love our simple daily chores for want of a better word. the kids love them too. making our food gives us all a job to do together. im loving showing the kids seeds and planting and waiting! hehe (our first seeds r taking time...but the weather eeek) why am i simpllifying...for this...to spend time with my children, to actually experience and see them grow not wake up and have them be 20. but to also teach them that we dont have to buy everything. that we should be looking after our environment and that homemade can be as good if not better than anything u buy. living in the country is already simple but with the path im now im i feel more rounded, grounded and together

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  59. Rhonda, Hope you are well! I love how much your blog has grown over the last year. It's a testament to your life and the wisdom you are able to impart to others.
    To answer your question, it's easiest to send you to the first blog posting I ever wrote: http://emcglass.blogspot.com/2007/06/beginning.html as that answers most of your questions.

    However in regards to future changes: I'm continuing to try to increase the small steps and to make professional choices that uphold my values. Once I finish grad school, I plan to get out of debt as quick as I can and I'd love to own property so I can be more self-sustaining. While also taking at least a part time job that allows me to give to others.

    I'm so glad you're going ahead with the book!

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  60. Why are you simplifying?
    Busy life doesnt work for us. It makes us stressed and we dont enjoy life like that. I want my children to grow up understanding that you dont need things to be happy. You can provide perfectly well for yourself.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Health issues. stress levels at work and how much fun we had doing simple things together.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed? my garden. we set up a eggie patch to grow some of our veggies. closely followed by composing.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    More self reliance. get better at the veggie patch to provide more of what we need to eat. When we eventually move to a bigger block (we have a townhouse) we will look for something we can have fruit trees in. I would also like to learn more about preserving and storing food for the winter months. Adding rain water tanks to keep the garden self sustaining. Changing the way we think about transport. and slowing down our consumerness.

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  61. We have lived this way for so long that we really don't see it as simplifying any more.

    Periodically we look at what we are doing and how we are approaching the tasks in hand and if we have found a better way - or even a different way to achieve the same ends, then we give it a go.

    Why did we change?....Because it was rather pointless to be living the way we were, both working ourselves into the ground so we could buy, buy, buy and go for very expensive holidays, so we could have a rest! What a pointless existence it was. And this was the lifestyle we had adopted after having raised our family...During all those years I had been a SAHM and we lived quite successfully on one income - we owned our home, took the regular family type holidays, paid the bills and were comfortable. Why did we change...? Largely because of peer pressure and the expectation that now you were "free" you could indulge yourself! What a laugh!!

    Our first change? We went back to our old practice of doing for ourselves. We were of an age where we could sell up the house in the city and take on the tree change - so we did. Friends and family thought we were insane...but now most of them have done the exact same thing. Our mantra has been "use less - do more"...of course it takes time - and unfortunately the older (and slower) you get, the more time it seems to take - but we weren't planning on going anywhere anyway!

    The future? - More of the same I hope. Our only enemies are time and the weather and with care and planning we keep them both in their place!

    I look forward to spending part of my day with you (and Hanno) and share with you the satisfaction of surveying all your achievements. Life's great isn't it?

    Marg

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  62. Why are you simplifying?

    I am simplifying for many reasons. I want to do my part to leave this earth in better shape than I found it. I want to live my life in a way that brings peace to myself and others.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    It started almost 18 years ago when my first child was born. I was raised believing that I would go to school, have a career, and take on the world. After I held my dear son in my arms, I wanted nothing more than to be at home with him. That started me on a new path but it has taken many years to get where I am now and I still have much further to go.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    The first was getting rid of the credit cards and considering shopping a form of recreation.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I think I will continue to learn and to change the way we do things here at home. I am very interesting in seriously expanding our garden and getting into vermicomposting.

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  63. Rhonda,
    My answers are similiar to what the others have posted.
    I will add that our simple living started with us getting our first of four dogs, our yellow Lab, Lucy.
    We call her our life changer...she made us slow down and truly enjoy all that the simple life offers.
    Just watching her play and romp around brought us so much joy.
    Then, we added our Saint Bernard, Emma. Next our black Lab, Cletus. And our "big" baby girl...our Great Dane, Annabelle.
    Oh my....what true joy they all bring us.
    Hugs to your Alice.
    Blessings my friend,
    Cathy

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  64. Have to be brief- the kids are awake!

    Being a primary school teacher convinced me to change- pure and simple. Kids making through primary school withoput knowing names of basic fruit and veg and never having tried many of them. Needing to be taught where they have come from. Kids only coming to school with little plastic packets full of processed and unrecognisable foods. Making a veg patch with my classes and cooking the produce was definatley the most rewarding experience for both me and the kids. Looking at waste and waste products and their personal impact on the immediate and global environment.

    Many things in the world convinved me to go down this path (I always have a bit but now so more), the main one being the kids I have taught.

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  65. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, so it's a timely group of questions!

    1. Why are you simplifying?

    Because I feel weighed down with "stuff" and the American culture that goes along with it. I see so much rampant consumerism that it just makes me sick.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    I read many inspirational blogs (this one is one of my favorites!) and dealing with my family who regard shopping as a daily entertainment. I don't want to keep up financially any more. I want less work and more enjoyment of my life.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Stopped shopping with my family. They like to meet in a town central to us and have lunch, usually followed by shopping. I started to beg off the shopping and the rest came quite easily.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I see myself living even more simply. I am planning a move in the next few months that will take me away from the city and maybe my full-time job and into a much simpler life style, where I can slow down and smell the roses, so to speak.

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  66. rhonda,

    i really love that you value all of us so dearly. so here are my answers:
    Why are you simplifying?
    I feel happiest with less, but i believe that idea came out of getting older and realizing the things that are most important in life aren't money or materials; they are people. And people can't continue without resources, so we need to conserve our limited earth's goodness for the future.




    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    Your blog did, Rhonda, I'm serious. To expand on that a bit, I think the Internet is actually a great interactive resource; it uses almost no energy/materials, and people can transmit their ideas and skills instantaneously. I read over a dozen blogs regularly and have already racked up an incredible amount of information to use in my own life ... and to pass on to my friends, who will in turn do the same, and so on ... so you have a truly positive cycle of effect on the world at large. it's a beautiful thing. eventually i'm hoping the internet will be free and always available to everybody.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    I became a vegetarian (before I found your blog).

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I may go from being a teacher to a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, with a focus on either working part-time, or volunteering, or both. I'd like to become self-sufficient enough to grow most of what I eat and make most of what I wear and use to clean, etc.

    Thanks again for listening, as always, Rhonda!!

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  67. 1.To feel freedom of managing within our means; simplifying seems so right & so good to me - it feels like I've found something I have always been looking for & wasn't sure what it was.
    2.Over the years I have done many things (sew, bottle, preserve, quilt, use herbs etc.) but not all the time & never thought too much about money.A divorce & remarriage changed my finances considerably & now I am in my late 50's & working MORE to be able to manage - I want to 'retire'at end of 2009 & I see this as a way I can do it. Much as I enjoy my work, I find it tiring & stressful - I want peace & time to 'smell the roses'. Finding your blog about a month ago was an "AHA" moment as everything fell into place for me then (thank you Rhonda !!!)
    3. Growing veggies started about 3 years ago, gradually - at this point we are eating all our own veggies though it won't last all year - so are trying to increase that; then I started baking bread; doing some preserves which I hadn't done for years; cutting down on bills is our current big focus - saving water & electricity & eliminating unnecessary expenditure.Amazingly it is all seeming so easy (simple !) & we are enjoying this journey very much.
    4. In the future I hope to give up full time work & live a peaceful, simple life - growing as much as I can, making clothes, gifts, recycling more, having time to give to my hobbies & to my friends & to help others also. It may mean a move for us to have some capital to live on (we both have elderly parents & adult children & grandchildren) on the other side of the world so want/need to visit them annually - at the moment my working enables us to do this). I love nature & being outdoors - it feeds my soul & I am looking forward to this next stage in my life, preparing for it & gradually moving in that direction right now !
    Hope this helps with your book & good luck with it Rhonda - it will be an inspiration to many !
    Jeni

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  68. Why are you simplifying?
    We wanted to be able to enjoy life better, slower and not waste so much money.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Our weekly grocery bill!
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Started to grow our own food, and make bread and preserve.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We would like to become self-sufficient and are slowly working towards that one step at a time. We have a big vege garden now and have added hens, next are goats and bees and solar or wind power, and we are becoming more locally-focused in our business and purchasing.
    Rachel from NZ

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  69. why simplify? My husband and i just had a baby and i want to stay home with the baby. i want a way that i can help my husband and make any money cover as much as possible.

    why change? i was sick of the way we were living. i hated all the stuff we had aquired an how much space it was taking up.

    the first change? i started making all of our bread from day one. i already knew how to do it. and i knit some dish clothes that same day too.

    future change? we bought a house with some land so that we can have a proper garden. not just the few tomatoe plants i can stick in a pot. right now we are in an apartment without any lawn. just an apartment in the middle of a sea of blacktop. it is depressing really.

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  70. Why are you simplifying?
    For a better future for my family...less stress, less clutter, no debt (which will come in time). And to teach my son good values. It's the only way to go.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We were very much a "spending" family and the debt was just getting bigger and bigger. But now that I have changed that...we are less stressed about money and really appreciate the simple things.


    What was the first major thing you changed?

    Our spending...We only buy what we really need now. I sew clothes for my son and make gifts. And we now have a budget that is working great for us.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    In many ways, I have plans to extend our vegetable garden and organise the house. And generally learning to appreciate the simple things and being alot more self sufficent as time goes on.

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  71. Why are you simplifying?
    A strong part of simplifying is reconnecting with the earth, being aware of your environment & nurturing it as well as ensuring the longevity of old skills (like cooking with 'real' ingredients, knitting etc). It keeps you grounded in an otherwise hectic world.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We moved to a property & were living in a shed whilst we were building. We had no room for 'stuff', we had no scheme water & were surrounded by nature. What we put down our drain directly affected the environment around us. The skills of a simple life were forced on us but enjoyed.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Attempted to remove the use of synthetic chemicals in washing up liquid etc. We found we didn't need 30 different cleaning products & could do so much with so little. I still don't know how to get really bad grass stains & mud marks out of my husband footy jumpers though.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We're back in the suburbs now & are trying to maintain the lifestyle we adopted on 20000sqm to 650sqm. There is a lot more work trying to grow a vegie garden in a small plot than a large one. Strange as it may sound. I am now making my own clothes & hope to continue growing & learning these skills. My hope is that I just maintain what I have already adopted into the future & not resort to doing things the 'easy' way, even after we have children.

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  72. and how could i forget ... I absolutely, positively, gave up WATCHING ALL TELEVISION (what a waste of time! actually .... i don't know how people have time to do it!) giving up paying for Internet was harder, but i just believe it should be free. Anyway saved me $80/month!!!

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  73. Hi Rhonda

    Why are you simplifying?
    At the begining it was to cut the stress of modern living and to live on less when I had to give up work due to illness. Now because of the satisfaction we get from living in 'our' world not the world of the media.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    The realization that we could not and should not continue of the path we were on. There was more to life than working,spending and having stuff.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    We stopped buying stuff we didn't need,decluttered the house,started a veg plot,baked my own bread and started a stockpile.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Carrying on down the path to a complete simple life. Making more of my cleaning products, cutting my use of chemicals.
    Being more organised in my shopping and cooking so eliminating waste.
    Expanding the allotment.
    Cutting our energy and fuel use.
    There are a great many things we want to do and expand on what we do already.
    I would love to get rid of the tv but until our boys leave home I think that might be pushing it.

    Pippa x

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  74. 1.Why are you simplifying?
    Life is simple its us that make it complicated so I guess just want to get back to basics, find peace & be less hectic. Life is too short to be stressed out the whole time.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Always feeling like there had to be a better way, encouraged me to look for that.
    3.What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Recycling i think & i guess being more aware of my water consumption
    4.How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I hope to have a proper garden to grow my own veggies & maybe have a few chickens. I'd like to get solar panels but that will be a good bit in the future

    Best of luck with the book
    Ciara

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  75. cathy c. from IllinoisSeptember 23, 2008 10:39 am

    1. To become a more gentle person both to others and the earth.

    2. Waste. So much waste. I know I didn't have to contribute to it. I had to change and other "simple" lifestyle changes just came. Really they come everyday, it is an on going process.

    3. I started rescuing perennials from modest homes in my town. These homes were going to be demolished to make way for great big McMansions. It was so sad to see great plants headed to the landfil. My back yard is all shade, thus I am unable to grow vegetables but those rescued plants sure are happy! The greed these houses represent to me is gross! I became even more anti-establishment.

    4. I share my thoughts and "tips" with my friends and family. Some think the tips are great and some think I am nuts! This fall we plan to dig up the lawn in our front yard to prepare for a vegetable garden there. I have done a lot of things such as canning, knitting and sewing for a while but I plan to do more of that and less time with television.

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  76. Hi Rhonda,
    I'll try to answer your questions:
    1. We're trying to simplify because I'm already retired and my husband will be in about 2yrs. I also don't like clutter and am tired of running all the time.
    2. see above
    3. One of the first things I did was stop using disposable paper products, except toilet paper. I also enlarged my garden.
    4. I would like to be more self sufficient, give back to the community alittle more then I do now and try to do more baking of the goodies we like to eat. There's always something more we all can do.

    Coleen

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  77. 1. Why are you simplifying? Because I am sick of feeling owned by our possessions - mostly our largish mortgage and our clutter. I want to pare everything back to the essentials so that I have more time to focus on ensuring that we can supply ourselves with what we need.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I've had an interest in this kind of thing for a while but it took becoming Peak Oil aware to really galvanise me into action.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? I put in a vegetable garden for the first time.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I want to live less in my house and more in my garden; I want to spend less time worrying about stuff and more time building relationships.

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  78. wWhy are you simplifying?
    As I believe even a small contribution on my part is helping to contribute to my childrens future in a 'better world' If everyone did just a little bit it really could make a very big difference to what is happening environmentally. Also I find it very self satisfying.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    A son who is asthmatic and has Eczema with no family history.
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Starting to cut out artificial preservatives and additive which means more home cooking and baking, Cleaning our home chemical free and at around the same time I started a compost bin.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Growing more of our own food is what we are starting now and a rainwater tank is high on my wish list too. So being more self sufficient would be the answer I guess.

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  79. Like everyone else, I love your blog and read daily.

    1. Why are you simplifying? I'm simplifying because I feel a need to "clean" my life. Clean it of clutter, bills, anxiety. I've spent too many years wondering where/how/what. Simplifying things makes me feel less anxious.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? The first thing that really switched me over to a simpler lifestyle was my son being diagnosed with diabetes. His needs (doctor visits, medications, healthier food) meant I needed a new lifestyle besides the 9 to 5. That prompted me to open my own business. Then, the food scares started here (U.S.) with tomatoes, then spinach and other produce (healthy food) turning out to be contaminated with various bad things. That started my garden.


    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? I started my own business to get out of the 9 to 5, then started a garden. I've also switched to only line-drying clothes, working on cutting electricity and water usage.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I'd like to find a way to keep our own animals, but we live in town. Our city has rules against keeping even chickens, so we may have to move to a different place in order to do that.

    Good luck on the book proposal!

    Melissa in FL
    nnisigning@gmail.com

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  80. 1.Why simplify?
    Wanting to find authenticity, REAL meaning in life other than what a consumerist and status driven society would have me believe. A big part of that "real meaning" includes not just personal realisations about existence but also needing to feel that my existence here has not contributed to the demise of this planet or other peoples misery in my own or other countries, i.e. "think globally, act locally".

    2.What convinced me?
    Dissatisfaction:- when realising (many years ago) that trying to live to anyone elses standards left me feeling inadequate and that continuing to live that way compromised many aspects of my and my family's life and following on, the wider world in which I lived.
    Realisation:- that I am the most important thing in my life and that living authentically, to what I (underlined) believe in is what I need to strive to do. This made me look more objectively at my life, my society, other societies, how we all impact the world, the rest of the world (apart from just people), and what I want to do about it.

    3.First major change?
    Buying small acrage in the country near family with the view to eventually living there helping eachother, and as sustainably and self sufficiently as possible. This induced a major re-evaluation of our budget and how we could live even more frugally, doing all we can for ourselves here and now.

    4.Changes in the future?
    Finding ways to live as we want on less, with less "stuff", thinking of ways to deal with peak oil, climate change and retirement prospects.
    Investing any money we do spend in thermally efficient housing, solar power, any sustainable ways of living, generally.

    Regards, Marilyn

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  81. Eep! I've never commented here before, Rhonda, but I've been a longtime reader.

    1. There is no one reason why I'm simplifying. It's a combination of neccessity, since we became a single-income family after the births of our children, wanting to bring my children up to be a little less materialistic than their peers (or mine), a desire to reduce my impact on the environment, and a desperate need for a community of people that isn't based on competition or superficiality.

    2. I'm not really sure what convinced me to start changing initially. It happened so gradually that I can't place the date or time when I'd finally had enough of whatever I was doing before.

    3. The first major thing I did to change was to rip up half of my backyard and plant a vegetable garden. This almost felt like cheating, since I LOVE to garden.

    4. Well, the garden alone has led to other changes: cooking from the things we grow, conserving water, composting waste, etc. Eventually, I see our entire (and very small) yard being completely edible/medicinal. Our food changes will definitely continue. Ultimately, I'd like to live as sustainably as possible.

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  82. Why are you simplifying? To have more time for friends and family and make a lighter footprint on the planet.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live? The realisation that if everyone lived the way we do here that the earth could not support it.
    What was the first thing major thing you changed? Planted a vegetable garden.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future? Hmmmmmm... learning more and putting it into practice.

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  83. I have always lived a simple life, cooked my meals every day, line-dry my laundry for the past 13 years, had my first credit card at age 40. Just had a birthday......... 50 something and still have 1 credit card, with zero balance. Ride my bicycle to do my errands. Grow as much of my food as I can. Now more so cause I have a front a back yard. Celebrate holidays, by not celebrating them. All holidays are celebrated with a pot of homemade soup and a good book, knitting or gardening projects. Make my own clothes. A walk on the beach or a trip to the river is a birthday gift to myself. I am just happy to know that more people are doing the same..........less explaining I have to do.
    I love reading your blog. Thank you.

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  84. Hi Rhonda,
    I have been looking at your site for a while now and feel that this request to leave a note is one that I can't ignore.
    We are simplifying our family life in order to slow down and just BE.
    We convinced ourselves to sart when we realised that we were constantly rushing to stand still
    Our first major change was to begin cooking from sctratch and spend family meals together.
    We want to extend our veggie garden and reduce the use of the car. this is the next task on our journey.
    I feel that my four children NEED to realise that true wealth is not how much money or possesions you have but stong familt memories and close friends.
    Take Care
    Sue in Brisbane.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Why am I simplifying? Early on, I discovered that an accumulation of "things" did not bring contentment.

    What convinced me to change how I live?
    I wanted to stay home to be with my children as long as I could.

    What was the first major thing I changed?
    I learned to cook from scratch.

    For the future, I plan to keep learning new skills, one especially being gardening.

    ReplyDelete
  86. 1. something just doesn't feel right with the fast paced consumerism lifestyle that most people have. It feels wrong in my guts. Things don't need to be big and complex to make one happy.

    2. Nothing in particular, just that nagging feeling inside me.

    3. First changes were to start gardening and purchasing used clothing/fixing my own clothing.

    4. In the future I want to pay off my bit of debt and then cut back hours at work so I can spend more time at home with my family and friends gardening, canning, crafting, relaxing and living a more fulfilling life.

    ReplyDelete
  87. I think I started simplifiying as soon as I got married 25 years ago. I got pregnant right after we got married... never really had a chance to use that college ed. as I had to quit work and then never went back.

    What convinced me that I need to simplify further is that in order to raise my seven children on one income all these years and put them through college, etc., I need to cut back even more. Plus I like things more natural, anyway.

    For me, nothing major as it's been an on-going process for many years.

    In the future, I would like to grow more of our own food and eventurally get rid of our mortgage.
    And by the way, I just recently found your blog and LOVE IT!

    ReplyDelete
  88. 1. Why are you simplifying? Well my family was big on material path in the world then husband had a car accident and has substantial neck and back injuries...and we realized that time to reassess.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Husband can work at a desk job although only trained in Law Enforcement...and the pay was a huge reduction in standard of living. nearly 60,000.00 USD per year paycut.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    We sold the big place and bought a run down farm in the heart of nowhere, paid off all debt... to fix this run down, old beaten house and property in need of lots of tlc...at the same time, the children and I worked on local farms and ranches in trade of starter animals...chickens, geese, ducks, Navajo sheep, goats, and turkeys! We jumped in full force...and have not looked back.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Becoming 100% self sufficient- either through barter/trade or via property supplying.

    this is my farm blog where we share our simple life
    doublenickelfarm.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  89. Love your chooky shots. Made my day. Hope you can handle another comment. At 83 by my last count, your eyes must be getting sore!

    1. Why are you simplifying?

    Because my life is too complicated. I'm one of those personalities where if I decide to do something, I have to do it well. I can't stand doing only half a job. So this personality of mine gets me bogged down in the more complex areas of life. I realised I waste too much time trying to fix complex issues I shouldn't even have to deal with. So I tried to shed them into what IS important and what was just wasted time.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    Being honest with myself. I stopped trying to look at the things I was trying to achieve, and asked myself if I was enjoying what I was doing. When the answer was no, I went looking for something different. I've always loved gardening, so I started to search for info on the web about gardening practices. Then you start reading forums and blogs, inevitably finding other people asking the same questions.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    We had a small house in town and a 5 acre property as an investment. When my husband changed jobs we found they weren't offering as much as they promised. With a reduced income, we had to sell one or the other. Only after we let go of the dream of a self-funded retirement, did we realise it was easier sinking money into just one property!

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Just recently I have decided to give up coffee. I've been drinking it for 15 years. It started by asking myself if I needed coffee or if it was just a comfort vice. I couldn't even justify growing my own after I realised my body didn't need coffee, as much as the psychological comfort did.

    So I see myself changing in future, by gradually shedding the things I find are non essential in my life. Be that a beverage or even a mortgage. I've certainly realise that my family is the most important thing to me. Everything else can be sacrificed.

    ReplyDelete
  90. 1. Why are you simplifying?

    I grew up on a farm and led a simple life. I feel like somewhere along the way I was fed a "bill of goods" that said I had to have and do EVERYTHING to be happy! Instead, I'm swamped with stuff I don't use and overworked trying to pay for it! Why did it take me so long (I'm almost 55) to figure out that happiness comes from within! Not from STUFF!

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We are raising 3 grandchildren. I realize that they do not have the skills to be self sufficient if by some chance or cause our economic system fails. They know how to cook and clean, but cook from scratch? Clean with simple products on hand? And, they know nothing about so many other things that I maybe don't do now, but I CAN do! Milk a cow or other animal, grow a vegetable garden, kill and dress a chicken for eating, gather eggs, make butter, can and preserve, etc. etc. An ice storm and a week without power a few years back was very interesting... they kept trying the light switches!! They just couldn't get being without power!

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I have always recycled, conserved, saved, didn't waste, etc. I've added making my own cleaning products, taking reusable bags to the grocery, saving water from baths/showers for our outdoor plants (we are in a drought area), started an herb garden, switched out the light bulbs for ones using less energy, turned back the thermostat, insulated and put in double pane windows in the house, etc. A lot of things to save resources and energy. I've also tried to teach the kids to not waste resources and I would like to teach them some of the skills I learned growing up on the farm.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We are hoping to move out of suburbia in the next 2 years and back to a more rural area. I would like to redo a house and use solar and wind energy as power sources, grow a garden again and live a slower paced life.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Why are you simplifying?
    I am trying to simplify the way I use electricity, the way I eat - by growing more fruits and veggies and cutting out red meat, thinking about my purchases before I buy them...stopping the impulse buys.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    The electric bill is outrageous, my weight has gone up, and the amount of things I have accumulated over the years...there are many things I can do without.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    So far the major thing is cutting red meat out of my diet and eating more fruits and veggies. That is a huge step for me.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I would like to see myself spending less at the grocery store, speinding less on material things like home decor ( I have so much as it is - I really do not need to buy more, even though I want too), Relearning crocheting and sewing more - being more self sufficient and set myself and my husband up for retirement.

    ReplyDelete
  92. After Hurricane Katrina washed away my home, all my possessions and job 3 years ago, I was forced to reinvent my life in a new city and state. I didn't want to work full time again, so I chose to work only occasionally and live very simply. I own very few material possessions, but have rich, full life. I tread lightly on the planet by recycling, reducing, reusing, and repurposing almost everything.

    In the future, I would love to figure out a way to to take extended vacations inexpensively.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Why are you simplifying?
    A better way of living - by far!

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Living on one income in a two income world. We just were chasing our tails not getting financially ahead

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Tracking all our expenses - powerful stuff.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Plan is DH will retire early, we will have home base business we can continue to do in our retirement, expand garden.

    I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments

    ReplyDelete
  94. Why are you simplifying?
    I came of age in the 60's and 70's and the value of "less is more" seemed to always be a part of me. A part that I'd forgotten as my earning (and borrowing) power grew.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    When I realized that buying more "stuff" was not making me happy. When I realized that I have enough. The realization of gratitude.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I stopped buying things I didn't truly need. Repurposing items that before would have gone to the trash.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Putting this mortgage hog of a house on the market and changing up to a place I can afford without working outside the home 60 house/week. Gardening more, more energy conscious.

    ReplyDelete
  95. 1. Why are you seeking simplicity?

    I am simplifying because I want to slow down and have the time to see and appreciate all that God has given me.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    I had become so tired of materialism, debt, and waste. None of it was making me happy and so I began to think about the direction my life was taking. I was reared in a more simplistic home and somehow forgot the joyful creativity of living within my means. I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying life and needed to make some changes.

    3. What was the first major thing you changed?

    I stopped buying stuff and decluttered our home.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Most importantly to become debt free. Additionally, to make more of our food from scratch, be more organized in my cooking to reduce waste; to reduce the use of the TV; cut more of our energy and fuel use; grow some of our own food (container gardening as we have a small shaded lot); and be less of a consumer. I am actually embracing the opportunity to see how I can use and re-use what we already own and learn new skills to help us become more self-sufficient.

    Thanks, Rhonda, for all your sharing and inspiration.

    Gail in OH

    ReplyDelete
  96. Why are you simplifying?
    In many ways the simple life suited my husband and I from the start. We were never big spenders and always made paying off debt a priority. Simplifying allows us to have financial freedom, time together and a better lifestyle.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I was always 'old fashioned'. I was the one still using cloth nappies on my kids when disposables were the convience choose of most. I have always cooked from scratch and baked. Lately I've been more conscious of helping to save the planet so have been more vigilant about saving electricity, not buying over packaged stuff or stuff you don't really need.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    Although we had made many gradual changes switching to solar hot water was probably the most significant change we made. It was a conscious decision to purchase something that was good for the planet and would save us money in the long run - quality over quantity.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We would like to become more self sufficient in the future - a vegie garden would be wonderful.

    Lynda

    ReplyDelete
  97. I really love your blog and have put it on my blog as so. I haven't commented before to you so out of appreciation for what you do I have answered your 4 quesions

    Why are you simplifying?
    Necessity and choice,life is getting to expensive and the merry-go-round of life was getting too fast so we jumped off moved to the country, slowed down,threw out the non-essentials,gone back to basics and started to enjoy life

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    The cost of living and what we were getting for our money- the extras like preservative,chemicals, food that was imported with goodness knows with what on. Wanting and using things that were not really essential or important but cost a lot of money. We were missing out on the important things in life like simple pleasures such as growing vegetable and cooking from scratch, baking bread, giving gifts that were handmade.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    Our cost of living. We gave up the non-essential, grew our own organic food, cut down on electricity usage
    we rely on water tanks and dam water for ourselves and gardens. We insulated the house and have wood fires and we make our own gifts

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We are changing everyday, we now grow our own meat, vegetable, make our own furniture,give handmade gifts, recycle and reuse the tip can be an exciting excursion sometimes and passing what we have learned down to our children and grandchildren.

    Sue

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  98. 1. Why are you simplifying?

    To save money and teach my young children that life is not about what kind of car you drive or how big your plasma TV is.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    You! No seriously, your blog has really helped me, none of our family members or friends live simply so we were tying to keep up with the Joneses, but now your blog has made us realise it is not nescesarry nor does it make you happy. It has been a geat help to get an insight of what it is like.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Prior to stumbling across your blog, I had been cooking from scratch. I am now making my own washing liquid. I also haven't bought any junk to clutter up the house with like I used to. We are also now living within our means. I am also learning to knit.


    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    In the short term, I plan to make soap, get chickens and try vegie gardening again. Long term I would like to become truely self sufficient.

    Libby

    ReplyDelete
  99. Dear Rhonda, Ok I will quit lurking and leave a comment. I started simplifying because I got older and became tired of all the stuff I had to take care of. I started decluttering and working to save money and be debt free. I will continue to do the same and now I also want to be less dependent on others to provide for our needs.I love your blog and read it all the time. Marge

    ReplyDelete
  100. Why - I have always believed and lived a relatively slow life...must have been a hippy in a former life.
    Change - as I have got older (now 43) those deep feelings of a hippy nature are becoming more and more important, and the world is too precious to contaminate.
    major thing: stop spending unnecessarily
    Future: continuing and including more and more each day as I learn more and more.

    Kind regards,
    Julie in Geraldton.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Room for one more?

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    After reaching that critical point in life where 'want' is less important than 'need', and this has changed my perspective.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Learning by experience that less is best, and recognising the feelings associated with simple living tasks, regardless of how small, are so much more satisfying. An overly complicated lifestyle has resulted in stress, and that has resulted in illness or unhappiness...something has to give.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    My relationship with food: learning about food, how to cook properly, where it comes from, the role of animals, getting to know the real effects of processed goods on my body and the planet.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Learning more and more everyday about simple living from places like this blog, and spreading the word.

    ReplyDelete
  102. 1. Why are you simplifying? I want to be able to get to the end of my day and be able to sit outside and drink a cup of coffee with my husband without thinking about all the things I need to do. If we get rid of all the stuff, debt, and bills I can live more deliberately and have that cup of coffee.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? I am a teacher and don't particularly want to keep on for many more years. I stayed home for 20 years while I homeschooled my daughter and have now been teaching in the public school for 6 years. I want to stay home again.
    3. What was the first major thing you changed? For years I have tried to live frugally, but I guess the first major thing was deciding to get out of debt and sticking with it. We are almost there. Also, when my clothes dryer broke two years ago I asked my husband not to repair it so I would have to hang out the clothes. No regrets.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? I want to grow more of our food and get some chickens.

    ReplyDelete
  103. QUESTIONS:
    Why are you simplifying?
    I am simplifying because I need to save more money. As it is going with the world now, I see a future of being very careful with our own personal resources.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I have always wanted to grow my own vegetables and have chickens. My own lousy economy was what convinced me.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    The first major thing I changed was my attitude! Then I set out out to get in the habit of baking my own bread, and I will add more as I get better at doing the "present challenge".

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I will continue to add things to my list of what I do (or don't do) as I make things habits. This way I will be changing myself slowly, but thoroughly.

    ReplyDelete
  104. We began simplifying years ago because we were college student newlyweds and it was 'tighten the belt' or starve.

    Our quest continued largely because we wanted to own a home one day, and now it's because we'd like to pay off our new home in just a few years. We just keep reaching for our goals...the next of which will be to afford to help our sons with college while saving for a comfortable retirement.

    The first thing we changed was to quit buying 'processed' foods and to buy bulk legumes, whole grains and other things through a co-op, so that we could make foods from scratch preservative-free, saving on money and excessive packaging.

    In the future, we plan to continue whittling down to absolute essentials, getting either solar or wind power, and utilizing other means of both saving money and leaving a lighter 'footprint', being responsible stewards of all that the Lord has blessed us with.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Hi, Rhonda! There are already so many comments here. But, since you asked everyone to answer your questions, I will too.
    1) I am simplifying because it helps me feel grounded in life. Chasing after things other people say I should have only keeps me stressed and unhappy.
    2)I was convinced to change the way I live when I compared how I used to live years ago, which was simplier, and how far I had strayed. I realized that I am happier and healthier when my life is simpler.
    3)The first thing I changed was limiting the amount of clothing I bought and wore. I only have as many shoes as can fit in my shoe cabinet, and as many shirts as can fit on one row in my closet. When I stopped and analyzed what I wore, it turned out I wore the same dozen outfits over and over. I still have a way to go to clear out more.
    4)I see myself selling my vehicle and using bus, bike, possibly an electric scooter and getting a car-share membership. I also see myself working at a place that matches my temperment, and does not contribute negative stress to my life.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Hi Rhonda,
    I have just been reading some of the comments other people have written in regard to simplifying & of the 15 or so that I did read I have to agree with them all. We all want the same thing, to slow down and enjoy ourselves and our families. To be able to provide for ourselves. I have found such enjoyment in reading your blog, and today I have made my first batch of your soap, which I am very proud of. I hope it cures ok! I have also made your laundry powder and I made that lemon tea cake that you were talking about a while ago!Yummy!
    The other person who has inspired me tremendously in simplifying is Jewels over at Eyes of Wonder. She is an amazing person!!She takes the time to enjoy the simple things in life.
    I want my daughter (and any future children!!) to grow up knowing how to be able to provide for themselves and to really be happy with what they have. To be able to go outside and pick something from the garden and eat it!
    I have started to bake my own bread and have nearly completed a Waldorf/Steiner doll for my daughter for christmas. I have asked all my family to make something for her for christmas instead of buying more plastic toys that need batteries!! I think she will appreciate them more.
    My journey has only just begun in simplifying & I'm sure it will be a lifetime of learning for our family & I wouldn't do it any other way!!! I wish you all the best for your book & I will definitely be buying it. I will be back to read some more of posts.
    Take care & God bless
    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  107. Why am I simplifying? Because I know I can do better - to give myself more time to do things that satisfy me, to live responsibly as a citizen of the planet, to appreciate the small with the large, the mundane with the spectacular.

    What convinced me that I should change how I live? Because I am young, I thankfully began to receive the message about how and why to live simply when I was in grade school, and growing up has been a lot about how to avoid falling into the trap of pointless consumerism and waste to begin with.

    What was the first major thing I changed? When I was nine I convinced my mother to start recycling, even though we didn't have curbside pickup at the time. When I was in highschool I only shopped second-hand.

    How do I see myself changing in the future? I have so many plans! In the near future I would like to eat exclusively local or organic. And next year get a plot at the community gardens so I can grow things that I haven't been able to grow in pots on my apartment balcony.

    ReplyDelete
  108. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    Because I care about where our planet is going and where I as an individual am going. Our planet needs care and on a personal level I've never been materialistic or seen people who are be very happy.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    The truth is when I got my first job the summer between my 1st and 2nd year of high school I made up a budget. I wanted to know where my money was going to go from the start. Our family didn't always have a lot but I noticed that you can do a reasonable amount with not a lot of money if you think about how you do it. It also became important to me to make some savings on purpose so I would also have some money for the time I was in school and would not be allowed to work. For me it is more a process of refining my system than really making a change from one thing to another.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Like I said, refining the system. I want to make the best with what I do have. I want to help teach my nieces that you don't need to have a designer label to be happy. Your own name has value. Be proud of what you make even if it takes time for you to develop the skill and make up your own style. I really want to move toward having some kind of garden in the future. Fresh eggs would be nice but even if it's just a few containers that would mean a lot to me. I'm sure there is more but that's off the top of my head.

    ReplyDelete
  109. 1. Well, not that I'm good at it, but... I think it's the responsible thing to do. Also, I like learning about new things.

    2. Mostly reading a bunch of different stuff, a lot of it online. Also, I like to sew, and some of the things I read online emphasised learning how to do handwork instead of just buying crap all the time, which was another way into it.

    3. Hmm. A lot of what I've done until now is just baby steps, I can't point to any one thing. I taught myself how to knit. When we moved into our new apartment I bought A-marked (an energy rating) washer and dishwasher, but the big thing was to buy an A-marked dryer (as I said we live in an apartment, and the weather rarely cooperates with drying stuff outside, so it is a necessity for us). The reason it's a big deal is because most dryers are marked C, so I really had to mean it. :-)
    What I've been working on lately is menu planning and buying organic. I wish I could have a garden, but I've found that by planning our menus I don't waste as much food, and we used to buy so much takeout and prepared food. I found out that I don't hate cooking, I hate planning what to cook. ;-) By cutting down on wastage and takeout we can afford to buy lots more organic, even though prices are rising.

    4. My next step I think will be stockpiling. Even staple items are getting really expensive so I need to use the sales more than I have done in the past.
    Also finishing up my apartment renovations so I can tackle the clutter of moving before a whole year has gone by! (ugh.)

    ReplyDelete
  110. I had the feeling that I spent too much time organizing, cleaning, dusting things that were of absolutely no importance to me.
    I helped two elderly relatives to move to retirement homes and saw how much money and time they had invested in things that now were just worthless clutter.
    I sold my car, because I remembered how much I had walked before I had it, how many good talks I had had with my children on our walks to school or on our bus trips, and that I had had no weight problems.
    We want to move into a smaller house with enough land to grow at lesat part of our own food.
    Hilde im Westerwald, Germany

    ReplyDelete
  111. 1. Why are you simplifying? Because it suits my personality and lifestyle.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    A very strong desire to leave the "9 to 5" lifestyle in the corporate world.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I started growing some of my own food.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I aspire to be more self-sufficient.

    ReplyDelete
  112. I accidentally came across your blog about 2 months ago and I check it almost daily. It truly captures me. Here are my answers:
    Why are you simplifying?
    I started simpliflying when it became necessary to start cutting corners and pinching pennies due to the sluggish economy and a work slow down.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live? When I began reading blogs written by people like yourself, I realized that we could become debt free and more self sufficient although it will be HARD work. We are getting older and we need to prepare for the future.
    What was the first major thing you changed? I started recycling things around the house and I cut down even more on the use of disposable items. I quit using paper plates and cups when we moved to the country but now I recycle even more.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Hopefully I will become more sensible about my spending and will begin to make a dent in our debt load.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Why are you simplfying?
    I think our way of life will have to change due to the challenges of climate change and peak oil. I want to be as prepared as I can to deal with these changes.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Reading about peak oil and figuring out that any changes governments adopt to combat climate change would increase costs of energy and therefore everything we buy (which requires oil and electrical energy to make, package and transport them)

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    I started to grow veggies organically.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I want to learn practical skills I don't have like knitting, darning, sewing, preserving food, keeping chooks - things my grandmother would have known how to do, but skills many of us have lost in the last 50 years.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Another lurker who loves your blog answering :)

    Why are you simplifying?
    The cost of things - pure and simple.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We were fortunate enough to have an elderly (though spritely) Italian couple as neighbours. They owned 10 acres (we then had 5) with goats, hens, a cow, fruit trees, HUGE veggie patch and made their own wine. The cow was always called Pepi. When Pepi was slaughtered for meat, the next one was called Pepi :) These people were the salt of the earth and gladly shared their knowledge and their time with us.

    What was the first major thing that you changed?
    Cooking from scratch. Just not letting a lot of stuff with additives and preservatives in the house. Really not good for the kids.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Starting a veggie patch in the garden of our new suburban block (depends on who wins - us or the possums!) and maybe having a few chooks. Watching a lot less telly. Keeping an expense account on what we spend. And probably hardest of all, being content with what I have e.g. being very happy with my less than a year old Suzuki Swift and not wishing that I had a one series BMW instead - so really working on my pride!
    Thanks again for your great blog.
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
  115. 1. I am simplifying to make my life easier. In many ways it's more work, but in many others it isn't or it's much less stressful work.

    2. My children convinced me. There isn't much in the world that I look at and think "Wow that's what I want for my family" That's when I knew I was going to be one of those wierd people who didn't do things "normally"

    3. I started budgeting so that we could pay down our debt to get out of a mortgage.

    4. I will continue to do more on my own. Making more and selling more. The more I can do myself the more I will save and the more our family will become a functioning useful unit.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Why are you simplifying?
    To save money and to have a better quality of life. I now realise that this way of life makes you feel fulfilled and and totally happy - 'buying' doesn't.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live? after many family problems and feeling rather depressed i saw a counsellor who told me that everyone is living in tomorrow and missing out on their whole life. It made so much sense - i am now living for today and that is how i found this blog!
    What was the first thing major thing you changed? Recycling. Being conscious of everything that was put in the bin. Now all food waste and 90% of other waste is recycled. We only put out the wheely bin once a month. Also started a vegetable garden.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future? Hopefully planning a bit more i.e planning to cook home cooked meals all the time so that i make time to do it, planning gifts in advance as there is no time to make something when the occasion is a day away, decluttering the house and only keeping the things that have a use or are special...this list is endless!.
    Thanks for you continuous inspiration Rhonda, Stacey

    ReplyDelete
  117. HI Rhonda,
    Here we go.....

    Why are you simplifying?

    I find that bringing back basic life skills of doing things for yourself immensely satisfying. I feel empowered as a woman and as part of a family to be learning to grow my own food, make and mend our clothing or other textiles around the home, and relying on myself and my family to help get through any tough economic times ahead.


    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    One day I had listened to the news and I had a mild panic moment where I felt a bit like Chicken Licken and thought economically I felt a perfect storm brewing. I had also noticed a week prior that food basics had started going up in the supermarkets, petrol was just starting to rise a bit and the UK banks were starting to feel the pinch from the USA subprime catastrophe.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    I built a larder in my loft made of old pallets and started to stockpile basic foods like tinned tomatoes, pasta, rice, and pulses while I knew they were still inexpensive.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I see myself growing all of our own vegetables and fruit now that I have taken on an allotment (plot of land from the local council). I plan on raising chickens in my own back garden now that I will not be growing veg back there and will have the space for them. I am continuing to learn to knit and sew clothing. I have also taken up walking and plan to learn how to ride a bike to use our shared car only minimally. I have given up the television will start playing guitar more often with my fiance, playing card games and enjoying more family time together as opposed to staring at a television screen all evening. I believe all of these measures will help to bring my family closer together in such strong bonds that we will become able to handle whatever may be thrown our way.

    Hope this helps! :D

    Jennifer
    HomeMattersMost

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  118. Why are you simplifying?
    I gave up work 5 years ago to help me to recover from a work-related breakdown. We then decided to have children and this spurred us on to live a more simple life.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I feel quite strongly that I should be here for my daughter, and the trade off was to have less disposable income. I could go back to work, but I'd miss out on so much...and I'm not sure that I want to have more money than I know what to do with. What a waste. And there's also the issue with my health - I don't want to be where I was five years ago.

    The money we have now works harder; we do have the occasional treat which is worth much more than blindly buying things to cheer oneself up.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I started planning the weeks meals and shopping accordingly. It's an ongoing process and I'm still making savings. I've always enjoyed cooking and baking so there was a shift away from the reliance on ready-meals. More time = better food.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Growing more of my own vegetables and fruit. I don't have a large garden, but there is some space for tomatoes, salads, potatoes in containers, etc. We already have a Rhubarb patch and some strawberry plants. Eventually I will rent an allotment (with my sister!) and grow more.

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  119. Why are you simplifying?
    My husband and I have been married 42 years today! We have always lived a fairly simple and thrifty life.My parents and other family members did the same.Being one of the earliest post war baby boomers this is how we lived and were brought up.I think something has been lost along the way to the materialistic life most people now live.
    We have never had any debt other than a house mortgage which we haven't had for 11 years.My husband retired at 55,I was 51.We are totally self funded.We are financially very comfortable but happiness to me really is living this simple life,spending most of my time in my garden, doing home things,seeing my family and minding and spending time with my 2 grandchildren.I have never followed trends, never wanted to keep up with the Jonses.I have always been environmentally conscious.
    I have a small organic vegetable garden,some fruit trees and plan to extend to my front lawn next year no doubt with a few frowns from the locals!I have two compost bins,a large water tank ,recycle,dont waste etc. etc.and cook from scratch.I was taught to knit when I was 5 yrs. old,sew,crochet and mend.I made all of my and my childrens clothes,some from recycled garments or fabric.Over the last few years I have found it cheaper to buy most clothes,however I have recently started sewing for myself again but find the range and quality of fabric available compared to when my children were young is somewhat lacking.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    On reflecting on all of this as I write, a big driving force for me to live simply and free of debt when our children were young was to be able to afford to give them the best education that we could. We achieved this and just continued on with no desire to change.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    At this time of my life I am happy to continue the simple life although I would dearly love to live an even more self sufficient life in a less suburban area but dont have the support of my husband.(Probably one of the reasons I am so drawn to your blog Rhonda) I will always be trying to improve and will continue to encourage my husband to be more environmentally conscious.I hope long term I will have had some influence on my children and especially my two beautiful young grandchildren who are 10 and 2.
    Reading your blog and others have really inspired me and it is wonderful to know I have many kindred spirits out there.Your suggestions and hints are so helpful.I am enjoying knitting dishcloths!So Thankyou.
    I wish you great success with your book. Patricia Gold Coast

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  120. When I have a quiet moment, I shall come back and read what has motivated other people. For the moment, here are my comments:


    Why are you simplifying?

    We moved here over 20 years ago, as we wanted to move away from the busier pace of life in Dorset, and to have our own land (originally for horses). I was very much influenced by "The Good Life" on TV and John Seymour's Self Sufficiency "bible". That was the way I wanted to live. Due to money problems occurring, living VERY much more simply was soon part of the equation, especially as we had bought this tumbledown old farmhouse with the intention of doing it up! Simple living was soon very much part of the package, from necessity at first, and then habit.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    Initially not being able to afford to buy anything - I was always a make it from scratch type person with food, but it became so that if we wanted something nice, I had to make it - be it food, re-upholstering chairs, curtains, cushions, quilts, crafts etc. Then it became a total way of life. Why pay good money for overpriced crap supermarket food when you can make something MUCH healthier, tastier and more nourishing at home for MUCH less? And have the satisfaction from doing so.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    Probably the way we shopped, and growing our own soft fruit and veg. Where we lived before, there were plenty of Pick Your Own fruit farms, but nothing locally, so I had to plant soft fruit bushes as soon as we arrived. I've always made my own jams, jellies, chutneys and pickles, and home-made wines. I had always tended to do one supermarket shop - then we broke it down and bought and veg fruit from the big greengrocery warehouse; whatever meat was reduced at the supermarket; clothing from charity shops, and we had always used car boot sales and auctions as a way of getting "new" furniture and what we needed for the house.

    We always recycled - not so much putting everything into different bags for the council to collect - but re-using wood, material, doing up "junk". Buying and selling at auction and car boot sale too.


    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    I would like poultry again - provided I can talk my husband into it ("they are a tie"). We have our own water supply here - I would hate to lose that but we need to downsize sometime in the future, and it is unlikely we will find another place that's not on the mains - unless we relocate in rural Wales, which wasn't the plan. We plan to be a bit nearer civilization, as our diesel bills are steep - it's a 20 mile round trip to the town, and 6 miles each way to the nearest shop!

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  121. QUESTIONS:

    Why are you simplifying?
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    ***

    Dear Rhonda, I can imagine you won't get through all the comments till next year, but I'll add my answers anyway, and hope to keep it short. :-)

    1. We are simplifying because we don't want to be slaves to material things. We don't want to be controlled by our whims. We want to live reasonably on a reasonable budget, and like you so wonderfully define it, "tread lightly" on this planet.

    2. To tell you the truth, both my husband and I come from families who have always lived simply. It's looking at others that convinced us we don't want to be sold the materialistic ideals.

    3. Our major change, after we got married, was buying a little cottage with some land in a remote place, so we can live closer to earth and start a garden. Moving away from the highway and the shopping centers is a great adventure!!

    4. I see us in a few years, hopefully with several children, perhaps moving to a place where we can have more land and grow a substantial part of what we eat. Or just better utilize the little piece of land we have. We are making plans on collecting rain water. I also hope to improve my baking and sewing skills by then. Oh and we hope to homeschool!

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  122. Why are you simplifying?
    To live a more resourceful, less consumer driven life. Not for financial reasons but in order to be responsible for what comes into my house, what we put into our mouths and what leaves our house. For health reasons too.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I want my children to realize that water comes from the sky, eggs from chicken, veges from our backyard, bread from our oven etc.
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Amount of rubbish we bring into our house and growing more fruit and vegetables.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Eating and preserving all our own fruit and vegetables. Saving seeds. Reducing our energy and water use by half. Turning my partner and children around to being more independent and enviromentally aware.

    ReplyDelete
  123. katef - www.picklebums.comSeptember 23, 2008 5:16 pm

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    For our children really... I realised that the values and ideas we want to grow in our children really relate a lot with how we live. Also it has a lot to do with finances... not want to be a slave to work or money but also because we are trying to save and build a life now rather than later.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Sort of a slow awareness and a work in progress of just thinking about how we want out family to be.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    We moved. It was something we'd talked about as a 'one day' idea, but a spare of the moment auction saw us doing it now.. not exactly how we'd dreamed but we didn't wait and it is so much sweeter than I imagined!

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Life is always changing and so am I... I am not sure what the future will bring us but we have big plans for renovations to make this house more sustainable, and eventually we'd like to be totally 'off the grid' and energy sufficient... though maybe we will change our minds about that tomorrow!

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  124. Hi Rhonda

    I haven't posted for a while as I had baby Michael on 27/8/08. He is very cute (and takes up a LOT of time at the moment LOL). If you check my Blog I have updated it with some photos.

    In answer to your q's:

    1. WHY - I don't believe this world can continue consuming the vast amounts of energy, resources and keep producing so much waste without something BAD happening to the world. I want my children and their children to have a future. I also want to stop the suffering of living creatures in the world (both human and animal) so do what I can there.

    2. WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING I CHANGED - The first things I did was start to recycle via our garbage collection and stopped buying products that are tested on animals (where ever possible). I went from there....to now using cloth nappies with my new baby, energy saving bulbs, composting, chooks, rescue animals, conserving energy around the home etc.

    3. THE FUTURE - Continue the change and when we get some $$ installing solar hot water, rainwater tanks, vegie garden again and reduce our debt (mortgage). I would like to teach more people about if you live a simple life it helps you reduce debt and be happy and fufilled.

    All the best
    Rachaelxx

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  125. 1.We just like living a simpler quieter life with less things to worry about.I get more pleasure from a job well done, a cuddle from my other half and a walk with the dog than anything I can think of.


    2.I could see that the more the media pushes the next 'must have' gadget or toy/plastic tat,that there are more & more people going into debt or turning to crime to get them.I hate this kind of world and don't me or my family want to be victims of it.


    3.We stopped shopping as a past-time,all the clothes and rubbish I've got just for sake of buying rather than needing sickens me even now.

    4.We are going to try and grow more food,the climate isn't that great here we get such a short Summer but we'll try anyway.At the moment we grow salad crops, apples rhubarb blackcurrants and strawberries we next year we are going to try some peas,beans peppers,tomatoes and see what else we can cram into our tiny garden.We like the fact that growing and cooking our food mean there are no nasty additives in them.

    CB
    xx

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  126. QUESTIONS:
    Why are you simplifying? Because I am tired of living a frantic and chaotic life where I lurch about.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live? Being tired and overwhelmed with work and the clutter in my house. A series of failed fertility treatements has shown me that no-one else will be living my life. I may as well choose my own type of life.
    What was the first major thing you changed? I stopped going into town on a Saturday to go shopping. It was just a habit and surprisingly easy for me to break. I must have been ready!
    How do you see yourself changing in the future? I shall become wise and serene (lol!) From October I am going to be working three days a week instead of five. This is a HUGE deal for me and unheard of at my workplace (unless you have children or are nearing 60)

    I am reading Elizabeth Berg's novel The Art of Mending and one passage made me think of you. I hope you don't mind me cluttering up your blog with a quote? "I like ironing. It's the physical equivalent of staring into middle space. I think it waters the mind, if you know what I mean. As for mending, I think it's good to take the time to fix something rather than throw it away. It's an antidote to wastefulness and to the need for immediate gratification. You get to see a whole process through, beginning to end, nothing abstract about it. You'll always notice the fabric scar, of course, but there's an art to mending: If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is testimony to its worth."
    Can't wait for the book :)
    Sparkly x

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  127. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    It's been a need rather than a desire. I'm not happy any other way. I've explored that and found that it is my minds natural reaction to the complicated, polluted mess that our world appears to be. If you sense something is wrong, it is a natural reaction for your mind to work on ways to get you into a situation that feels right. So I suppose it's a survival thing.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I've lived like this since I was 17yrs old and left home. I could see the way that my family lived was making them, exponentially, unhappy. So, I changed that for myself. I was also an animal activist from 11yrs old which led to a healthy distrust of anything 'adult', so the adults around taught me what not to do!

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    I decided when I was 17yrs that I would not get a driving licence, as I didn't want to be a part of that and that I would not go travelling or holiday abroad, but instead explore Britain, my home. I did this to protect the cultures of other societies, to minimise fuel use and because the money spent on going abroad can buy so much more if you stay closer to home. Britain is stunning, so I have never felt like I've missed out on anything.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Finally, after spending the past 16yrs living frugally and exploring alternative ways of living, we own 47 acres of land. It has a protected ancient oak woodland, a river bursting with life, miles of hedgerows and too much pasture! The aim now is to care for that land, in as low impact a way as possible, and invite as many people to share in that as want to.

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  128. Why? I I feel it is the right thing to do... for me, for my family and for the planet. Having been raised in a "consumer/consumption oriented" society, it's probably also one of the most difficult things I have tried to do(although my immigration to Australia felt like the "hardest thing I've ever done" at the time as well!).

    What convinced me? I think it has been a combination of things: moving to Australia where there seems to be a very environmentally aware culture (I guess that's peer pressure? :) ); being in a place that is still so "unspoiled" and realising what a huge impact humans can have on this environment (positive AND negative); seeing how children can so easily be "inspired" - to be "consumers" or to be "care takers", and wanting to be a part of inspiring children to the latter.

    What was the first change? I suppose for me it was being aware of excessive (and non-recyclable) packaging. from there I moved on to being aware of things like "food miles",fair trade and sustainable product issues and making appropriate shopping decisions (which sometimes means NOT shopping!), establishing worm farms and "installing" chooks!

    Changes for the future? Expanding my newly created garden and upgrading my home to be sustainable (water saving, energy efficiency, etc.)

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  129. Why are you simplifying?
    Firstly because I believe that the things that really matter and bring true happinesss - partner, family, friends, pets and the countryside - are all free. So I've never really been interested in a flashy lifestyle or money for the sake of it, and now that we have a nice home in the English countryside I would rather have more time to spend on these things.
    Secondly because I believe that the planet is being damaged by the way people live now, and I want to live in a simpler way that is more sustainable.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Moving back to the countryside after a couple of years in town (whilst at University) made me very conscious that I belong in the country. Having lost both my parents in their 50's I was also conscious that time is precious and I wanted to go ahead and make the sort of life I'd always wanted - growing my own food etc. Also hearing more and more about how we are wrecking the environment made it seem even more urgent.
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    We bought an old (small) house and put a lot of work into restoring it, then sold it and bought the house we are in now. Again we have had to live in the mess and do a lot of work ourselves - but it has been worth it. We now have the sort of home we always wanted and no debt except the mortgage - we are now working to pay that off in 7 years (we hope).
    The lifestyle changes have been to get 2 allotments and start producing our own food, and to fit woodburning stoves in the living room and kitchen to heat the house in a more sustainable way.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We are gradually cutting down on spending on electricity etc...and as I say the aim is to get rid of the mortgage .... with the aim in mind that I will have to work less and have more time to spend on gardening, and just enjoying the seasons. I have moved to using bicarb, or simple Ecover cleaning products, and hope to do more of this...as well as composting more....and reducing our footprint on the earth...and being more self-reliant.

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  130. Hi Rhonda - of course I'll help. Here are the answers to your questions. I'm on the cusp of change at the moment so not a fully fledged simplifier yet...

    Why are you simplifying?
    Two reasons - money and to train ourselves out of the misconceived fact that 'things' make you happy.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We live in the country which leans towards that lifestyle and a recent bereavement has made me think more about what matters to me in life.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    Writing a budget. This has had a knock on effect with how we do our food shop and also questions the things we buy. We have cats and now they have only natural cat litter etc.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Making so much more myself (I'm very short on time at the moment but hopefully in the next few years I will have more). Making people's presents would be wonderful.

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  131. 1. Because I was tired of the consumerist lifestyle I’d been drawn into. Racking up debts and buying stuff just for the sake of it didn’t sit comfortably with me so I looked for an alternative lifestyle. Also, after becoming ill and realizing that I couldn’t go on living the way I had been, I needed to find ways of making life easier for myself.

    2. You! I read your blog ages ago and thought “this is the kind of life I want to lead”. Ok, my life will never be the same as yours - and neither should it be - but you were the influence that set the ball rolling.

    3. I really don’t remember but I think it was probably using more earth friendly detergents and giving more thought to how my actions would affect the planet.

    4. I’d really like to grow my own vegetables but that can’t happen until I can afford to have somebody come in and fix the garden up. It’s too much work for me although I do believe that I could keep it up if a square foot garden was built.

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  132. Good Morning Rhonda Jean,
    1) I feel the simple life is a healthy life. I've never been bitten by the commercial bug and have never liked tp spend the money one needs to spend to buy all those products. I enjoy doing things for myself. I don't trust all the chemical products the government allows to be marketed.
    2)The convincing started with the birth of my first child. I saw the world through different eyes, I cared how the world looked and that we as guardians, took care of it properly. My second child was born with autism and I started doing research into the food, the environment, the household looking for answers.
    3)I started recycling back in the 90's living in a progressive town that was ahead of others. Then moved out to the suburbs and the town had not yet started. Was so excited when they did. Next was my cooking from scratch to avoid chemicals etc., cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, personal care products.
    4)I have plans to enlarge my garden to be more self-sufficient, we have plans to install a wood-burning stove, would love to start collecting gray water and rain water. Wish my town would allow keeping of chicks for eggs. Plans to start making my own rag rugs, quilts, some clothing.

    Good luck with the book!
    Meri

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  133. Phew! you're getting a good response. I really enjoy your blog - even the days i only have time to look at the pictures it is inspiring!

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    Initially it was to save money, but the environmental benefits now outweigh that in my mind (I'll now make slightly more expensive but more ethical decisions, rather than evaluating things purely on cost). I dislike the high pressure, high stress involved in chasing after wealth, and focusing on the 'simple things in life' is a way to real first-hand pleasure, instead of purchased second-hand stuff.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We had been advised when we got married to try and live off one income and save the other while both partners worked so that if/when one stopped working then there was not only savings to do so, but your expenses wouldn't need to take a huge hit. So right from the word 'go' we were looking at living more frugally than our double-income friends. This was excellent advice, by the way!

    3. What was the first major thing you changed?
    When we dropped to one income to have our baby, we went to one car. We also chose to buy a house we could comfortably afford the repayments.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We are about to get chickens! I wold like to expand my vege potterings from salad greens to actual food staples.

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  134. Hi Rhonda, Good luck with your book!
    Why are you simplifying? - To save money, to save time, to find balance in my life, to care for the environment more than I have before, to save natural resources ie water, energy etc, to become healthier, and also I really want to be able to cut down on work hours so that I can spend more time with my family and friends

    What convinced you that you should change how you live? - My desire to have more time for myself & family as well as my growing knowledge of the impact my consumer lifestyle has on the environment

    What was the first thing major thing you changed? - I started cooking more from scratch and also started paying more attention to what food I already had in the house and planning menus more to work with what I had

    How do you see yourself changing in the future? - SLOWLY! Unfortunately I have been slow to change and every now and then fall back into old habits but I am so concerned with the environment now and also with our financial future that I will continue to teach myself and implement more changes. My goals for the next few years are to work from home & cut down on car usage, walk more, set up a vegie garden, consume less, recycle more and cut most processed food from our diet.

    Tamara

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  135. Hi Rhonda. I'm de-lurking to answer your questions!

    I'm simplifying because I have made major decisions about college and my future recently (I'm studying to be an environmental engineer) and living simply ties in with what I want my future to be like.

    I don't think any one thing convinced me. I've always had an interest in geography and the environment and a love of nature.

    I learnt to knit 2 years ago which was the beginning of the journey for me.

    Learning to sew and growing veg are the major things which I hope to tackle next.

    Thanks for posing these questions. Your blog always helps me focus on the important things.

    Best wishes,
    Fiona.

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  136. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm still at the very beginning really but here are my answers:

    Why are you simplifying / What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    These 2 questions are linked for me. In terms of the 'bigger picture' I'm concerned about what's happening to the world in so many different ways (environment, wars etc). At the very personal level we have a big mortgage and we want to get it paid off so that my husband can spend more time with the family and not have to be such a wage slave. We have so much stuff already and do we really need more, more, more! I want to teach my children the value of the things we have and the life we are able to lead.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    We now recycle, have compost bins (though they aren't doing so well!), and have a water butt. As well as these we consider whether we really need to use the car. We use energy efficient appliances and bulbs. We don't buy the latest gadgets, or follow fashions and I love to 're-purpose' items. Things only go in the bin if they can't be re-used, recycled or sent to the charity shop. I take my own bags with me so I don't need to get a plastic bag. I buy second-hand. I'm hoping to start growing my own veg soon too. Small stuff really but it's a start.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    We hope to be mortgage free and then sell our current house to buy a place with some land. Then we'll grow more, have chickens, etc. I'd like to make a property more environmentally friendly (solar power, wind power, wood burners for heating). Generally reduce my impact on the planet and have a better quality of life with my family.

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  137. 1. WHY ARE YOU SIMPLIFYING?

    My reasons for simplifying have nothing to do with the lofty ideals of most here, I presume.

    Whilst most are probably simplifying for reasons of saving the planet or to slow down their pace of life, my reasons are related to my own self-worth and my own sense of self.

    I am simplifying because I want to be more self-reliant. I don't want to feel that I have to depend on the state. I want to feel like I can provide for myself in as many ways as possible and that means that I have to live simply.

    Basically, I am simplifying because I want to be self-reliant. And thats because I have certain beliefs that state what a man should be and how he should behave in a society of men.

    2. WHAT CONVINCED YOU THAT YOU SHOULD CHANGE HOW YOU LIVE?

    No one thing convinced me to change, it was a gradual growth and realisation.

    I have an interest in Primitive Skills and that taught me how man had to improvise and overcome hurdles in the ancient times. It taught me to be self-reliant in the woods. It taught me that I didn't have to survive in an unexpected situation, but with the proper mindset (and a little forethought) how to prosper in that environment.

    My interests grew from there to survivalism and how to protect myself and my family from expected and unexpected disasters (Y2K was a few years away over the horizon at the time).

    Eventually, I realised that everything I was trying to achieve through survivalism, primitive skills, and my own political views, were leading me towards a simplified lifestyle. A lifestyle where I am responsible for myself and my loved ones. A responsibilty that I am proud to carry and not pass on to another (be that the state, the police, etc).

    3. WHAT WAS THE FIRST MAJOR THING YOU CHANGED?

    The first thing that I took control of on my gradual move towards a simplified life was my finances.

    I'd been living for years beyond my means and I finally decided that I had to take responsibilty and get a grip on my erratic finances.

    At the time, I didn't realise that taking care of my finances would be related to my other interests but in hindsight, I think it was a manifestation of the type of man I was becoming.

    4. HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF CHANGING IN THE FUTURE?

    I see myself and my family moving towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle, which is best described and achieved through simple living.

    We may never be completely self-sufficient, but that isn't the point. The point is to be able to provide for oneself should the need arise, whilst still enjoying the fruits of society.

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  138. Hi Rhonda,

    Happy to oblige:

    1. I am simplifying because the 'modern life' is expensive, wasteful and soul-destroying. I was spiralling downwards into a debt-riddled life and it had to stop. Once I started looking into the concept I saw so many other benefits it made so much sense!

    2. The clincher for me was the environmental impact issue. I want my impact to be minimal and if enough of us live this way then our modernised friends may follow our lead. Its the only way the world's habits will change.

    3. There are quite a few of the skills from simple living that I learned from my Mum, Dad and Nan, such as knitting and sewing, chemical-free cleaning, growing veg, buying from charity shops, etc etc. So I returned to doing all these things at once as they are all things I am familiar with and knew I could do without too much pain. It grew from there. My major aim at the start was to spend less money, to eliminate chemicals from my home as much as humanly possible, and wasting less.

    4. I'm preparing my veg patch to begin in the Spring (I've got a bit going on in the greenhouse at the mo), and I want to get chickens, not too many to start with, for eggs. My village semi won't take too many chickens in the garden anyway, so save a big flock for if/when we get the dream place in the country! I will continue to learn more ways of immersing my whole life in this way of living.

    Hope this helps Rhonda.

    Hugs xx

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  139. Why are you simplifying?
    We have always been into a "simplified" life. I was raised in an old order family and that was our life style. Some things we have never changed such as keeping a garden, but in the past ten years or so we changed churches and went to a more worldly church. We fell into their ways. We came to the realization a few years ago what had happened and we didn't like it so we have purposefully tried to move back.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Seeing things that came out in our children and seeing how we were going against what we really felt and believed.

    What was the first thing major you changed? It doesn't feel like we changed majorly. It feels like we are just easing back into life they way we used to live. I guess if I had to say something major it would be getting back on a budget and getting our finances straight.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Working to find our way back to the way we used to live.

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  140. I grew up living simply so there was already a foundation. Early on in my adult life, I saw those who were on the path to accumulate the biggest "toy-box" and I saw that it was a futile and meaningless endeavor.

    I simplified by eating out less. I also think I wore my wife out with the question "Do we really need that?"

    I have very young children at home so I see the future efforts at purposeful simplification geared at giving my children a head-start on this path.

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  141. Why are you simplifying?
    I have a dream of living a frugal and earth friendly lifestyle.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I am uncomfortable with the 'more, better, best' society that we live in today. I want my 3 sons to grow up well-rounded individuals who have the courage to follow their own path even if it's not what all their peers are doing.
    I am concerned that we do so many things nowadays without considering the impact that they will have on others or the world.

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    We started recycling many years ago when many scoffed at us.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    The first thing I need to change is me! Although I fully believe in building a more simple life I regularly lack the willpower to tackle tasks properly. I need to get rid of the apathy that I sometimes suffer from.
    My vision is to own our own home that is suited to the lifestyle we want to lead.

    Am off to throw my apathy out of the window. As Gandhi said 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world.'

    Andrea in England x

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  142. 1. Why are you simplifying? So we will be prepared for retirement when we will have less money and to live through this mess we are going through right now with our economy.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? Failure of our housing market and people all around us loosing their jobs. And we have grown weary of collecting STUFF and missing out on time with family and friends.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? I quit my management job and took a job making a LOT less so that I could be home more to hang laundry on the line to dry, develope our gardens, prepare our house for sale so we can get moved to our 10 acres where we can have chickens and a bit larger garden as well as grow fruits. We also consolidated debt to one loan company and have started closing accounts... NO MORE credit purchases! OOPS... that was more than one thing.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? We will grow more of our own food. Go into town a LOT less and I will make more of my own clothing. We will prepare nearly ALL our meals ourselves. And we will become completely debt free!

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  143. I suppose I'll come out of hiding now and introduce myself. My name is Brenda and I live in the US in northwest Florida. While we used to live pretty simply, we had gotten away from this life when we moved to a new home 13 years ago. Our new garden was wild and overgrown, not the neat, clear, gardening spaces we were accustomed to, but we loved our jungle and didn't want to mow it down. And while we were mere miles from our old home, the gardening practices that had worked so well there, no longer produced results. Our challenge has been having the time to relearn our skills in this completely different area while raising a family, working and dealing with life.

    The family is essentially raised, and we are realizing how important it is for us to get back to our old life-both for our mental health and our physical well-being. Our first step was to begin recycling as much as our area will allow (I'm afraid our community is a bit slow in this respect), and cutting back on our purchased products to reduce our waste. We then turned flower beds into vegetable beds, and stopped using chemicals in the home and in the garden. These steps led us to build a compost pile so we have wonderful organic matter to enrich our new gardens. It is all a work in progress, as are we!

    In the future I hope, no, I plan, to enlarge our gardening space, while maintaining as much of my "wild" areas as possible. I will continue to develop my recently dusted off stitchery skills and get back to putting food by when there is excess.

    Thank you Rhonda, and all of the wonderful people here, for the encouragement to stay motivated, and the many, many wonderful suggestions. I hope, as I am on my journey, to have something worthwhile to add at some point!

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  144. its going to take you hours to read through all these replies you know..

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    Two reasons.. a) For the sake of my non-existent children, the idea that if this generation doesn't get off their collective backsides our children/grandchildren will be the ones to pay the price.. b) the inspiration of my grandparents, who lived what was close to a simple life and appeared to be very happy doing so, and in replicating the way they lived (with changes for us, i.e. the computer) i'm finding the same happiness.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Again, two things.. a) being aware of the way the world is changing, talking to people and reading a lot, and the inpsiration of my best friend, sez. b) the realisation that what i was reading/seeing around me actually wasn't new (the simple living part i mean), i'd seen it before in my grandparents.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Growing my own veg. I'm not very good at it, but i do try!

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    making more from home. I'm making my own clothes now, some of them anyway, so i want to continue with that, continue with the growing my own veg. I want an allotment so i can try to increase the amount we grow and reduce the amount we buy from the shops. Mostly its a learning curve, learning techniques and so on that enables me to do all of this.

    (I think as well the awareness that at some point, if the apocalyptic visions of the world turn out to be correct, then we'll lose the internet and at that point, unless you have the relevant books, information on how to live, how to do things, is going to be like gold dust. and if the apocalyptic vision never comes to pass, then, well, information is always useful, and i think as we move into a more technological world, the more people will come to seek refuge in simple home crafts.)

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  145. I enjoy your blog and it has helped me a great deal as I am starting to re-think my life and how I want it to be vs. how it has been. I have never commented before however, I am very much interested in the responses from others and I am also very intersted in your upcoming book.

    1. Life moves along pretty rapidly - especially for those of us who are 50+. I have slowly come to the conclusion that I am spending way too much time and energy on "things". If I don't make some life changes, I will never actually be doing what really brings me joy.

    2. I did not have an "ah-ha" moment. Instead, it was just a bit of "unsettledness" in my spirit that kept growing.

    3. I have just finished going through my house and "decluttering". I boxed up all the knick-knacks and "stuff". In order to remain in my home "things" had to meet one of three criteria; they had to be "things" that I use, things that have meaning or things that I really,really enjoy looking at.

    4. I'm not sure except to say that I am striving to have a life that is simplier. A life where I actually get to read the books I have collected, take the walks I have promised myself, enjoy the company of friends and family and a life where I focus more on the here and now and less on the "someday".

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  146. 1. I need a change. 2. I'm tired of the confusion of trying to keep up! 3. spending 4. I see myself changing in the way of buying unnecessary things and purging things I already have that I don't really need.

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  147. #1. To be able to retire at an early age while we can still enjoy our country property. We also have always tried to do our best to protect our ailing planet.
    #2 We live near a large city in a commuter society of mass over-consumption and in order to survive the madness we changed our lives.
    #3 Our first major change was for me to quit working fifteen years ago. We had to stop living in a chaotic home run by two people always exhausted and at odds. Always rushing, always spending money buying lunches, dinners out
    weekends spent doing nothing but trying to catch up on housework, laundry, yardwork just to start all over again on Monday morning. I've been able to be at home with our animals, bake, garden and manage our home to create a peaceful atmosphere that we both enjoy and that enables us to save
    money.
    #4 We are doing our best to become more self sufficient. We will continue to make improvements on our home to make it more energy efficient and of course continue to reduce, reuse and recycle and NOT spend.
    DianeH Caledon Ontario Canada

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  148. Why? a whole bunch of reasons - realizing that even though I was wildly busy (working, ironically, on environmental and sustainability issues), I didn't feel happy or grounded or sustainable myself; wanting a different life for myself and my family (a 2 year old and another due in 6 weeks); recognizing that I'm happiest with my hands in dirt at least some of the time ...

    First major change? Not going back to work full-time after B was born. We recognized that less work, more quality of life was a good trade off for us. Every month since then has brought new revelations and desires.

    In the future? We haven't totally figured that out. We live in a residential neighbourhood that is a trade off for us -- my husband can walk/bike to work (and I work part-time from home) so that keeps us here in the short term. We talk about moving out where we could have a few acres (either near here or on the island in eastern Canada where I grew up), but no decisions yet. Another would be for me to cut back even further on paid work ... but right now we're all about the transition to our second child, which has led to some interesting debates (like my husband wondering why I really need to make jam/tomato sauce 'is that not something we could outsource?!')

    Love your blog and beautiful writing.

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  149. Hi Rhonda,

    here are my answers to your questions:
    1. A simplified live leads to a lot less stress, so that is my major reason, less stress equals more peace.

    2. I wanted to change how I live because having everything but not having peace means I have nothing

    3. A change of mindset, followed by a vegie garden, composting, recycling, thinking about whether something is necessary before I purchase it (in other words is it necessary (will it enhance the quality of my life) or does it just appeal to me because it is the latest gadget/fashion/it thing.

    4. buying acreage, so I can be more self sufficient

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  150. Why are you simplifying?

    I started simplifying when I was feeling overwhelmed by being constantly on the go but didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Trying to establish a routine was like sweeping leaves in a gale.


    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    I've always found modern life unappealing, the constant striving to afford things which advertising constantly urges us to believe will make us better, happier, more popular, more 'fashionable'. I also found it hard to say no in case it made me unpopular.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    I set out last year by beginning to declutter my home and stop bringing more stuff in. Then as my surroundings were clearer my thinking seemed to become easier. I gave up a responsible voluntary position that was more stress than pleasure.


    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    As my home got sorted my attitudes have begun to change. I am now having help to clear the overcrowded 'mature' garden of overplanted shrubs and conifers and am planning a vegetable garden. My attitude to buying has changed completely. I prefer quality to quantity and I don't mind second hand, or paying a little extra to buy from a local retailer instead of a chain. I buy less of everything now, anyway. I volunteer occasionally, when it fits into my schedule, and I enjoy it.

    These are tough times and likely to get tougher. I am concentrating on what I can do to make positive changes, being more self sufficient, making and baking at home, and have already had glimpses of the satisfaction I couldn't buy with 'things'. I have learned that you can't buy happiness. It's something that happens when you are busy thinking about something else.

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  151. 1. I'm simplifying because I suddenly realized that I was turning 50 and feel that life is passing by in fast forward. too much of a rut - on the treadmill to pay for things I don't need.
    2. I have very little saved for retirement and know I can't live on social security. I need to stop spending & budget now. I have one chile in college and another to go also.
    3. I started to make things from scratch & really cut down on convenience foods, eating out & spending in general.
    4. The real estate market is bad right now, so we don't want to try to sell our house, but in four years when our youngest goes away to college we will buy a smaller house with a bigger lot and NO DEED RESTRICTIONS so we can have chickens, a clothesline and a large garden. Until then we will be happy with a small garden (next year) and the farmers markets.

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  152. I am simplifying because I was made redundant and discovered how much I like being at home, running the house and looking after the children. Which was a huge change in lifestyle after 20 years in a management role.
    I was convinced to changebecause to continue to stay at home I need to cut costs and control our spending.
    The first major thing was an audit to see where our money was going each month followed by a budget to allow for essentials. I shop with a list, cook from scratch and bake bread to live within our food budget. This led to trying to use the car less as petrol is so expensive, recycling,composting, knitting, sewing,growing veggies and trying to make do and mend.
    In the future I would like a bigger garden so we could have a few hens but with the state of the housing market we are not likely to be moving any time soon! I would also like to keep chipping away at the mortgage, paying extra off when I can so that we can be free of it as soon as possible.

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  153. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    In the book, "Stalking the Healthful Herbs," by Euell Gibbons, he writes about making a pie from foraged ingredients, and says that such an endeavor "not only will make a good pie, but will do something magnificent for the soul of the cook."

    We find that when we gather and cook food we have grown or gathered, and do other such tasks of simple living, it is magnificent for our souls. We feel a joy that we simply don't get when pulling cans off of the grocery store shelves.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? We both (my husband and I) have good memories of grandparents who lived simply, gardening, sewing, doing their own car repairs, etc -- they had to do these things, living in the Great Depression years, and continued such practices throughout their lives. These people had a contentment in their lives that we want in our lives. While we were raised by parents who embraced the conveniences and automation of the 50s and 60s, we found we had both had a desire to attempt some of the practices of our grandparents -- perhaps to find that contentment they had.

    3. What was the first major thing you changed? For me, it was to begin gardening, preserving food, and learning how to cook homemade foods rather than use convenience foods. While my grandmother loved -- and at 95, still loves -- to grow and cook food, my mother found such tasks to be burdensome, and didn't put a lot of effort into teaching me. We moved far from my grandma, so I didn't learn from her. I learned most of what I know from library books! I began teaching myself these things in my 20s.

    My husband was drawn to hunting, fishing, archery, making his own bows and arrows, and doing leatherwork. These interests in part sprang from his childhood, when he read books about American pioneers and native Americans. He began doing these activities as a child, and has continued throughout his life.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future? Interesting question! My first response would be to say, we would like to move to the country from our suburban home. Funny thing is, twice I have lived in the country, but had to return to more urban living due to a divorce years ago, and the second time, when my husband changed jobs and we lived too far away for commuting. We are in a very modest ranch house with maybe a quarter acre of land, and while we don't like living so close to other people, we have the best soil we've ever had, and our garden was great this year! We gather apples from trees in our yard and neighbors' yards. We live only two miles from my husband's job, only a half mile from a shopping area, so we can get by on using little gasoline. So, it actually makes a lot of sense to live in this more urban area, rather than have the long commute to and from a rural area. We would still like to again own a piece of rural land, simply to have a place for wild foraging.

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  154. Dear Rhonda,
    I love your blog. Since finding it a few months ago I've read everything you've posted and haven't missed a day. I've not left a comment before, but I wanted to as you asked. It is the least I can do to assist you as I believe you have changed my outlook on life and continue to help me in my journey. Youre such a mentor.
    1. Why are you simplifying? As I get older (38 y.o) I get happiness and enjoyment from the best things in life that are free or close to. Consumerism has gone mad. There is no joy to be had in consumption. I like not having a credit card debt. Ideally would like to work less and have more time to just enjoy life.
    2. What convinced me? Not sure really. Just happier being more thoughtful in the choices I make. I think that the message of climate change and dwindling resources makes you stop and think about every action you make and how in some way you can contribute to changing things for the better. Living simply and putting resources to the best use seems the right thing to do now.
    3. What was the first major thing you changed? "Major".. probably purchased a smaller car. But lots of minor things really...eg: walk the kids to school most days, changed all the light globes, reducing products that have chemicals in them, "green" cleaning (vinegar, bi-carb, dishwashing powder eco friendly)stopped consuming fabric softner - not required and so much packaging, making yoghurt therefore no packaging purchase and making powdered milk instead of plastic containers, I cook most foods from scratch, buying in bulk and buying minimally packaged products, using plastic reusable containers in kids lunchboxes instead of gladwrap, stockpiling in my pantry, giving up meat, sewing my own curtains to keep heat in, knitting my own dishcloths (!! - very excited about this one). The list goes on, but it is being aware of how little one needs to live and how resourceful you can be with your own hands.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? Ideally I would love to downsize our home, have one car, grow my own veges, install solar energy panels, keep chickens and be more home oriented and in doing so, work less. I would like to take in the simple things of life more and more and resist the urge to keep up with everyone else. It's difficult. The media and advertising is so persuasive and others who are not living like this consume madly around you. You almost have to shut yourself away and ignore those influences. I am inspired by you Rhonda and Hanno and others who blog about such a way of life.
    Thank you so much for everything you share and offer to us. You are making a huge difference to this revolution back to simple living. Being able to share what happens in your life via your blog is a priveldge that I feel extremly grateful to have. Good luck with your book Rhonda.

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  155. I've never commented here before, but I read your blog regularly :-)

    1. I think it's partly for money reasons, - we're having to learn how to live on a small income, and also it's a dislike of the message we seem to be constantly bombarded with telling us to spend our way to happiness.
    2. Mainly reading and a bit of researching on the web convinced me there is another way..
    3.The first major change was giving up a job which I hated (!!)
    4. It's still very much an ongoing process for me. I still feel like a beginner, lol. So it's hard to answer this specifically.

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  156. I started simpifing mostly to save money, I am much more aware of what I buy now. that has moved into driving less, checking for overpackageing on the things I do buy, turning off the lights, and generslly being more aware of the world around me. Most people think I am nuts when they find out I don't own a cloths dryer. Between recycling and composting I put out so little trash on garbage day that I often put my small bag into my neighbours large black bag, our city won't pick up the small bags. I'm not sure where I will go next I just think one step at a time
    Kym

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  157. I'm simplifying because I want to model for my kids. I want to teach them to be frugal,to conserve, to make things by hand, to be responsible for yourself. I want a close family.
    I feel like it's the right way to live, an awakening conscience , a pull to the past, a desire to live more like my great grandparents than my parents.
    It started with food, wanting organic, then wanting better quality organic, then clean local seasonal organic, then a shift from having a small vegetable garden to maximizing food production in our small yard. That lead to needing more water so we decided to clean and repair an old cistern that was already on our property. After we were collecting rainwater I felt like we can do so much more, and that was a huge life change I look at everything differently now.
    The future is full of possibilities, we are getting an energy audit of our house done which will help us do maintenance to conserve energy(oil, gas, electricity), more food production (garden redesign), more food preservation (canning, freezing, and a root cellar in the works),less driving, an electric car, shopping at rummage sales, more mending and repairing of old things,organizing a community of like minded people (we started a barter group), cooperation with friends, learning new skills, practicing being more aware and living in the moment, and most importantly teaching the children.
    Thank you for sharing your blog, good luck writing.
    I feel inspired now.

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  158. Why are you simplifying?I am interested in being more than just here on this earth. I want to enjoy all that it has to offer and the simple joys that were set in place for us long ago.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?Stress, the need to have more,& the enviroment.
    What was the first thing major thing you changed? I tried to cut out all convience foods and cook from scratch, & grow a little garden. I am now incorporating things like recycling, green cleaning and energy conservation.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future? I hope to be better at all of the above and successfully made the transition from dependant to independant!
    Kim in WV USA

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  159. Why and what convinced me? I lost a beloved pet due to the tainted pet food from China. I realized all the junk the advertisers push on us comes from China. (As an aside, I'm having a heck of a time finding a wind up clock that doesn't come from China!) I look at the nieces/nephews at Christmas -- piles and piles of junk -- more presents then any child should have -- all that money wasted on plastic junk.

    I'm trying to minimize my utility useage as much as possible. I'm so tired of working two jobs to hand over money to utility companies (scared to death of winter coming, but I'll get through it and really look forward to summer).

    First major thing: I decided not to buy anything from China -- therefore I don't spend much money (LOL). I got a new pet and it eats what I eat, fresh meat, veggies, all natural things, no commercial pet food with chemicals. I planted a small garden this year and tomorrow I will buy the vacant lot next door to me and have a much bigger garden next year.

    Future: After getting rid of spendthrift hubby, I'm paying off the mortgage (my only debt) as fast as I can so I can get rid of this job I hate and have always hated. I want my time to be my own, not give the biggest and best part of my day to someone else. I've always sewn, knit, quilted as my Nana taught me all those skills and I love to do it.

    Thanks Rhonda for getting everyone to share their answers. I've read them all!

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  160. Wow, such thought provoking questions! One could write a book in simply replying to your questions.
    Briefly:
    Why?-I don't want to get to the end of my life and realize that I spent so much time of earning a living and climbing the corporate ladder that I didn't enjoy it. There is so much of life to enjoy--but there's too much--you've got to choose what's important to you, cultivate it, and not waste your time on what doesn't further the lifestyle you want for yourself & your family.

    1st thing: Significantly cut down on what I buy. If I drag less stuff into the house, I have less clutter to deal with, less storage issues (we live in a very small house and we are a large family). Do people EVER stop to consider that IF you only buy 1 thing a week you're adding 52 things to your house each year? He who buys what he does not need steals from himself.

    The future: I want bees and chickens and a vegetable garden right in my little suburban backyard. I dream of living in the country--but you've got to start where you are. Right now I live in the 'burbs so that's where I've got to make my stand. I want to be responsible for the food we eat. I'd also love to become the female Ed Begley, Jr. of recycling! Wouldn't that be a hoot?

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  161. Why are you simplifying?
    I have always appreciated a simpler life. I enjoy less clutter, things that i have i use and appreciate. The enjoyment dirived from seeing things you made is so rewarding.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Setting example for my children mainly! They see thing being used differently. And also have enjoyed the many fruits of their labor.
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Food, cutting processed and gardening.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I have done most of my changing years ago. I do find myself being sucked into consumerism from time totime. So for mr it is to stay on track with a simple life.

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  162. Answers to your questions:
    1. I noticed that we were constantly running making all of us tired and in bad moods. I grew up "simply" and longed to go back to that.
    2. I saw my children (5 of them) always wanting to be on the go and not able to take the time to enjoy their time at home.
    3. I quit my job so I could concentrate on our home, cooking, gardening etc.
    4. I see our garden expanding, spending more time on doing things that matter and make a difference.

    Hope that helps, Chris.

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  163. Caroline in CanadaSeptember 24, 2008 1:59 am

    Hi Rhonda,

    This is my first post after months of lurking....

    Why are we simplifying?
    1) My husband and I have both experienced extreme simplicity through living, working and travelling in less developed countries.
    2)I am a highly-sensitive introvert who is easily overwhelmed by the pace and stimulation of life in the 21st century.
    3)We are concerned about the future of the planet.
    4) We get personal satisfaction from living creatively and resourcefully.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live? I've always lived a materially simple life, but struggled to keep my level of busyiness in check. For me, a 10-year bout of chronic fatigue syndrome forced me to evaluate every single output of my physical energy. My health is much improved now and I have learned to consciously manage my energy in a way that sustains me.

    What was the first major thing you changed? Managing all the ways that our money and energy leaks away... Making very conscious choices about how we spend our time and money... Getting rid of our second car.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future? We are both still working full time and it is hard to truly live simply with this kind of arrangement. Our goal is for both of us to exit the workforce over the next four years. We have a clear financial plan that supports this goal. In the meantime, we continue to slowly build our urban homestead and frugal lifestyle.

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  164. A simplified life is all I have ever known. I was raised that way by very self sufficient parents. My mother didn't work outside the home and she did everything creative....sewing all my clothes, vegetable gardening, canning, freezing, a great cook and baker from scratch...we never ate store bought cookies, crafting, etc. I naturally picked up all those values and she taught me the skills.
    I have been married for 28 years and have subscribed to the same lifestyle as I was raised. I don't work outside the home (by choice), and I plan on doing even more in the years ahead to make us as self sufficient as possible. My husband was informed of the closing of the factory where he has worked for 33 years and will be thrust into early retirment. Even if that had not happened, we had planned on doing this anyway. We have always lived within our means and saved for a "rainy economy".
    I enjoy reading your blog and knowing there are others out there with the same principles.

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  165. I've not simplified all that much. Truthfully, it's not something I'd likely given any degree of thought to before I stumbled upon your blog, and I can't remember how that happened; though I believe a search of some sort first led me here.

    Once I found your blog and began reading it regularly (have posted a few times, but mostly am a lurker), I became inspired to live simply. We are not in a place where we can do many of the things you do, such as growing our own food, but I have begun searching for small scale ways we can do more.

    In essence, I think I just gave the answer for both of the first questions. I'm striving to simplify because of reading your blog and having my mindset changed; and I've been convinced to change how I live by observing your way of life (via your writing and pictures) and seeing the 'doableness' of it.

    I've not yet made major changes. We are considering a move to the country, or at least outside of the city limits of town where we can grow our own produce, etc.
    One change I've made, a very simple one done to save money is to make my own liquid laundry soap. The rising cost of consumable items is stretching our budget tighter and tighter, so I am trying to find different means of obtaining the items we need. Next on my agenda is to make my own bar soap, something else I was inspired to do by reading your blog. I've even brought my husband on board to the idea and he's going to help me with it, as my confidence isn't high in that area. ;-)

    As to how I see myself changing in the future, I truly hope that we can become more self sufficient and less dependent on the grocery stores to meet our needs.

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  166. Here are my answers:

    1. For financial stability and we are tired of being run over by all of our "stuff".

    2. Not having enough money to do basic repairs on our vehicles, or for an emergency.

    3. Put away all our credit cards and started using a budget, making a shopping list for groceries.

    4. Saving more, selling un-necessary things, having a vegetable garden again, doing for ourselves like when we were first married (celebrated our 30th anniversary in July.).

    Jaki in MT, USA

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  167. Hi Rhonda,
    I usually read and run, but its only fair that I should provide some answers in return for my daily read.
    We simplified as a reaction to losing one salary (two income household). I had to walk away from a job.
    The first thing we did was to reduce all our consumer bills and stopped shopping, defining a budget for each expenditure and making sure we stayed within it.
    The main factor at the time was necessity, but now that I am working again we continue for a beter life and hopefully an early retirement.
    It's a constantly evolving situation. We have lived this way for just over three years now, and continue to change our practises and projects driving down the bills and mortgage.We are always on the look out for hints and tips and keep a keen eye on the budget, reducing it as we go. The veg plot grows yearly and our skills at crafting etc increase.
    We plan to continue evolving our simple living and have no wish to revert back to our previous lifestyle.
    Thank you for providing an enjoyable read.

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  168. Why are you simplifying?

    As a relatively new wife and mother, I am trying to establish our family's identity, how we will live in coming years, the routines we set now, and how my children will be raised and remember their childhood. I want them to embrace "simple values" as they grow up.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    As a child, I moved back and forth from Hungary to America. In Hungary we lived simply; in America, we lived the typical "American Dream" lifestyle. I much prefer the simple one, and when I moved away from home as a young adult I realized that some people never even stepped outside the typical American experience. It made me even more conscious of the differences.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    We no longer watch TV. I find that this frees up a lot of time, and there is the beauty of silence instead of mindless chatter. (We still watch DVD's sometimes but to us watching a program that we rent on DVD is different than leaving the TV on all day, with its constant commercials telling us what to buy.)

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    As my baby and toddler grow, I assume I will have a bit more time to do household crafts, and plant a garden. I will want to involve them in these pursuits as well. Right now it's hard to find much free time with them needing constant attention.

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  169. We've always had a fairly simple lifestyle, partly because we've never had much money! It's become more conscious as we've realised that a simple life concentrates on what is important - family, food, treading lightly on the planet.

    There wasn't one thing that convinced us because we'd always done things like cook from scratch. If we've speeded up the process it's because there's more and more evidence that the planet is in danger.

    The first major thing we changed was probably our food buying - more local, more homegrown, more seasonal. The more we learn about food the more we have to get our food this way.

    I think we'll continue changing in the future because we have to and because it's right. We're running out of oil and that's already making prices of fuel of all types go up. We won't be able to afford to drive as much, for example, and it's right that we shouldn't.

    And thank you for your blog. I visit regularly, but have never posted a comment before. We live in England, by the way.

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  170. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Why are you simplifying?
    First I must say that I'm an environmentalist so for me it was a no-brainer... a simple lifestyle goes hand in hand in respecting Mother Earth. Although, I must add that I'm simplifying also because I wanted to get ride of the clutter in my surroundings. Plus, I feel such positive energy from my ancestors now that I'm living a more simple lifestyle (I feel the connection I have with them; they lived a simple life).

    What convinced you that you should change how you life?
    Again, the environmentalist thing was a big factor in my decision. But also the fact that I wanted to have less (only what we needed) and appreciate what we have more... be more present in my "simple" life. Enjoy the day to day!

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    We got rid of one car and the dishwasher. We switched from heating our entire big 200 year old farmhouse with oil to entirely with wood.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    To find more ways to be more sustainable and self-sufficient. We have four acres that we want to turn into a small hobby farm (although we don't believe in killing animals we would use the eggs, milk, manure and wool to our benefit) and we are planning on expanding our vegetable gardens. I have already started giving more handmade gifts and will continue working on this.

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  171. Good things for me to give thought to today.

    We are simplifying because life had gotten out of control and it was not the life we had dreamed of. We knew that it was something that we had the power to change. Our dream was of enjoying one another, exploring our talents, giving our children a life with us in it, full of memories and someday, someday growing old together.

    We were convinced we needed to change our lives when my husband's mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. It was this brash awakening that life was short and we had one opportunity to live it. We realized that it would be a great mistake to put off living our life the way we wanted any longer. We wanted to put our family first, money and careers second.

    The first major thing we changed was I stopped working. Well, at an office that is. I scaled back my work. I am a consultant in my field and now work around our children's and family's schedule.
    The first major expense we eliminated is eating out. Your post recently about dining out for your husband's birthday made me realize why I have been putting off a "date night" with my husband. Typically we would go out to eat, but I think I have been avoiding it bacause spending the money on the meal does not seem enjoyable--I think I am going to set up a picnic date for us!

    Changes for the future? I am not sure. Continuing to be mindful of how our money flows out. We want to continue our little city garden and we have talked about a worm bin. My husband has dreams of a solar water heater, but don't laugh, we live in the Pacific Northwest so I am not sure how realistic that is!

    Right now, our biggest change facing us is not a change but a challenge. We have a 12 year old son and we have to balance giving him opportunities and experiences without over extending ourselves or ignoring our philosophies of simplifying. Some parts of these changes we have made are hard for him as he enters the world of peer pressure. Our challenge is honoring the changes we have made and having compassion for this place in life that our son is experiencing.

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  172. Wow did you know what you were getting into when you requested EVERYONE'S thoughts?!

    Why are you simplifying?
    To enjoy life in a simple way, to not require all the excesses of belongings, status, etc. So I can enjoy the small things in life. For peace in life, relationships, neighbourhoods, and the world. Because there are so many people who live simply because of lack of choice, and I have seen examples of this where they possess joy that comes not out of belongings, but out of more important things.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    Knowing people who live simply and realising the kind of life it brings. Realising there are so many others who use so many resources unneededly, straining the earth's resources, spending too much money, and living in an earthly way. Also what was a central contribution to our change was realising our spiritual, Biblical principles encourage living a simple life, and investing not in ourselves and our belongings, but in others and the common good.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    This was due to moving to a new country and having a small budget, but we moved into a small flat and gave away most of our possessions out of necessity.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I hope to someday live in a place where I am able to grow my own food. I would like to make all of my own bread instead of buying it. I would like to work part time, not full time. Maybe when the husband is done with his PhD!!

    Best wishes for the progress of your writing.

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  173. I am simplifying because I am tired of all of our stuff and the financial and time stress that comes with it.

    I've always known that it was important to simplify but I was conviced it was possible when I read your blog.

    The first major things I changed had to do with the environment. I use washable kitchen clothes, we store leftovers in glass containers, we recycle and we changed all of our lightbulbs.

    In the future I see myself better with the garden, compost, using less ziploc bags and making more homemade gifts.

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  174. I am simplifying because I am tired of all of our stuff and the financial and time stress that comes with it.

    I've always known that it was important to simplify but I was conviced it was possible when I read your blog.

    The first major things I changed had to do with the environment. I use washable kitchen clothes, we store leftovers in glass containers, we recycle and we changed all of our lightbulbs.

    In the future I see myself better with the garden, compost, using less ziploc bags and making more homemade gifts.

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  175. The first major thing that I am changing is the way I shop for food. I buy as much as I can of what we need at the weekly farmers' market, and have 2 farmstands that I go to for vegetables and naturally raised meats. I had a small starter garden to keep me in cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs. When I go to the grocery store, i am mindful of seasonality and the transportation cost of every item i pick up. Now I look at a bag of chips and think, "There's no *food* in this food."
    I do what I can to make the things we have in our life by hand, and to share the knowledge!
    karen from maine

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  176. Why are you Simplifying: Because to not simplify means spending more money AND continuing an unhealthy lifestyle for my family.

    What convinced you? Reading some great book and blogs like this one as well as increasing poor health issues as well as high prices at the grocery store and gas pump.

    First major change: The way we eat and a bigger garden...actually eating the fruit off our fruit trees.

    How will I change in the future. I would love to have a home with land where we can have chickens and goats. Depending less on industrialized food and more on what we grow. My short term goal...perfecting the baking of a good loaf of bread!

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  177. Why are you simplifying?
    Because I have discovered other interests in my life - such as gardening, walking and crafting and don't need to fill up the empty spaces with stuff.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    My daughter getting diabetes, deciding to homeschool and having to have a good hard look at my values.

    What was the first thing major that you changed?
    Reducing rubbish and recycling more. And composting.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I aim to have and acre or two where I can live a more sustainable and self sufficient lifestyle. I'd love to be energy independant.

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  178. Wow! Thank you all so much. :- )

    I've read every word of your responses and I really appreciate everyone taking the time to do it, especially all those lurkers who usually don't comment. It took me five different readings to get through them all.

    Thank you all for thinking about your lives and then sharing those thoughts here. It will help me quite a bit with the book - I'm trying to work out my chapters and what will go into each.

    I really love the little neighbourhood we've built up here.

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  179. Whew! Thats a lot of comments...which I shall have to have a good read of...

    for me - a variety of reasons. I do have to admit that probably the primary one is because I feel I'd better "get in there first" before my life is forcibly simplified for me. I dont trust either the government or my employers to have my welfare at heart - so want to find a way to live that doesnt rely on either of them any more than I can help. I worry about the effect that both govt and my employers can have on my life - and want to do what I can to bring my life back under my control and need as little money as possible to live a satisfying/fulfilling life - so I dont have to worry quite so much about the effect they can have on me - well my finances anyways! So - theres no way I could live a self-sufficient life - but I feel "safer" if I do whatever I can to be as self-sufficient as I can and to be as aware as possible of the blandishments of the advertisers trying to get me to buy things that, if I stop and think about it, I often dont actually want myself - they've just convinced me that I do.

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  180. Why are you simplifying?
    Because I don't believe today's way of life is healthy plus I really want our own home and by living a simple life is the only way we can achieve this and still allow me to stay home with our children.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    My husband who was raised and lived in Russia up until three years ago helped me to see how having less stuff makes me happier than always buying more.
    What was the first thing you changed?
    Stopped shopping for recreation and started only buying what we need.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Having our own home out in the country and living a sustainable lifestyle by growing most of our own food and living off the grid.

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  181. 1. Why are you simplifying?
    ~~~For me, simplifying has been a natural process to better align my lifestyle with values of frugality and sustainability, as well as reflecting my believe that my needs are abundantly satisfied.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    ~~~I was motivated to make changes by the desire to be the best mother to my two children, and that meant living my values and ensuring that they would have the best life possible.

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    ~~~The first thing I changed was deliberately minimizing my spending, and trying to buy second hand whenever possible.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    ~~~We are moving to a small farm this winter, and so will be embarking on that endeavor. In light of the current financial melt down in the US, where we live, I see moving towards if not self-sufficiency, then community-sufficiency, to be crucial for our long-term survival.

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  182. 1- Because I was going round the bend. And if Mum isn´t happy nobody is really happy at home.
    2- The more I did and tried to take on, the more I felt I had to do.
    3- I worked less, much less. I downsized in everything (except in size of family).
    4- Just live today. Plan for the future but live today.
    God bless you for this lovely blog.
    Ana - Buenos Aires - Argentina

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  183. Hi Rhonda, Eileen here.
    I am late coming on line today but I want to respond to your post anyway as you have been a factor in my *happy* return to a more simple lifestle. I am stressing *happy* for a reason which will become apparent.

    1 - My original reason for simplifying was just financial. Due to ill health and other circumstances I found myself having to live on a very low income.
    2 - What convinced me to change was mainly financial.
    3 - The first major thing I did was to stop spending.

    I will come to question four shortly. Having had simplicity forced on me at first I felt a bit resentful. Then I started to look at the things I had got rather than the things I had not. I am time rich but cash poor so making better use of my time was an obvious progression. I am lucky that I was taught to cook, knit, sew etc when I was young and these things have always been a part of my life. When I had money I would buy fabric and wool and store them for the days when I would have time to use them, those days have come. I recycle as much as I can and cause as little pollution as I can because I want my grandchildren to have a better environment.
    I now grow some of my food in my small town garden and this gives me much pleasure.
    At the begining of my path to a more simple life I still felt a bit of a failure as I didnt have the money to buy expensive gifts for the people I love (or for myself).
    Now, after reading your wonderful blog and through it many others I have learned to value my time and my skills and these are the gifts I give to my family and friends.

    Now question 4 - How do I see myself changing ? I really dont know. I want to be "greener" and live in a responsible way so I hope I can continue to learn and improve.

    So there you are, I have progressed from an occasionally resentful simple live to a happy and fullfilled one and thats got to be the best change of all.

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  184. I found your blog about 2 weeks ago and just love it. No one else that I have read approaches things with the clarity and compassion that you do.

    Having said that, to answer your questions:
    1. Why are you simplifying?

    Because I am tired of the rat race and US$17,000 in credit card debt hanging over my head.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    Not wanting to have to sacrifice important things (like time) for my infant daughter, just because I couldn't get my stuff (like money) together. I am tired of having to have this new gadget, watch this new tv show, see this new movie, do this new expensive hobby. Life is more than our possessions.

    3. What was the first major thing you changed?

    I consciously quit buying mix and prepared foods, to cook more from scratch. I was taught how, just haven't done it. It's been eye-opening as to how many of these things I already know how do do, and indeed once did without thinking, then abandoned for one reason or another.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    Well, so far, I've started knitting, baking, cooking from scratch, not buying, using reusable shopping bags, and making green cleaners, all again. Once upon a time, I did these and stopped. Now I want to learn to compost, expand our garden, reduce our consumption of electricity and water, and generally quit thinking that a gadget or program will make our lives better. What I want out of life is more time with those dear to me, shared in experiences that might be exciting or routine. This is most important to me. The stuff can't take its place.

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  185. I haven't added a comment for months but I want to repay your kindness and generosity in sharing your life and learnings so here are my answers.

    1. Why are you simplifying?
    Having children made me focus on simplifying in two ways. Firstly, money. I had stopped work so money was a bit tighter. More importantly, having children just made me THINK more about what I regarded as important. Suddenly, expensive perfume, meals in restaurants etc just didn't seem to matter. I was thinking more about the food we put in our mouth, the local community (cheaper Internet versus local pram shop), the future of the actual earth that I would leave to my children.
    Plus, I can't stand clutter and life was just getting too cluttered!

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    It was more of a gradual realisation that the life we were living just wasn't quite right. The realisation that should some horrendous catastrophe strike my country and affect food supplies, I wouldn't actually know how to grow a potato and feed my children. Couple this with the realisation that I LOVE being at home and making a home for my family. I have never been happier although so many of my friends see my life as "empty" compared to theirs. ("What? You mean, you haven't seen a show in five years? Really? But what do you do at the weekends?!" My answer "Um, live?")

    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Probably reducing and recycling. Re-using took a bit longer, mainly because it hadn't occured to me. I am mortified by how many buttons I must have thrown out over the years. Also, I was the first person I actually know to start using cloth nappies.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Gosh, too long an answer to type here. I am far enough down this path to know that this has the potential to be a very, very long path!
    Small goals: definitely growing more veg and fruit. Getting a worm factory established. Being a rebel and getting a couple of chickens (against our house's title deeds but we already have two cats so I say throw caution to the wind!) Purchasing food more locally (even if that means turnips most of the winter.)
    Large goals: moving to a house with passive solar heating (ie not constantly in the shade and impossible to heat), larger grounds for veg beds, renewable energy of some sort, better insulation. Raising my children to understand that more is not better, that adverts trick them, that their own wee personalities are so much more important than being cool.

    I hope that's of use to you Rhonda!

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  186. Why are you simplifying?
    I'm about to have our fourth child and we're over the rush, the keeping-up (even if we think we don't), the fact that we often feel like someone else is raising our kids. Our priorities have shifted for the better.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    That despite our success and good position for a couple our age, we aren't happy. And we both are increasingly distrubed at what society is seeking to teach our children about success and happiness.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Getting into the garden, getting chickens and baking. I have always done certain thins - be relatively frugal, use cloth nappies and make baby foods etc.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Making this more than a hobby or side pursuit, making it the path we walk down together as a family everyday.

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  187. Holy COW! You have 187 comments on this. What good market research. Good luck with your book proposal.

    Why are you simplifying?
    Because I need to spend my time and energy on my priorities--my family and home schooling.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    The Lord. A friend who also struggles with habitual busy-ness read an article about fasting from commitments in Discipleship Journal (Moody) and the idea just resonated.

    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Stopped making any new commitments and started evaluating value/place of current commtiments.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Streamlining even more. But also having room for following the children's interests as they emerge more strongly.

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  188. Okay, I'll chime in, a little late.

    1. Why are you simplifying? I don't know that I am actually, it's more or less how I've always lived. Neither my husband nor myself are very "stuff" oriented (although we do have our moments!) and tend to live fairly frugally. We have no debt other than a mortgage, for example.

    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I was in high school in the 1980s, when the 1960s were in vogue. The "hippie commune" vibe appealed to me and still does, although without the commune! But in terms of being self-sufficient and living off the land in a sense.

    3, What was the first major thing you changed?
    Honestly, I don't know. We lived in a major city and I got a community garden plot and started growing some veg. Maybe that.

    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    Good question. For me, there's the ideal life in which I don't watch TV, eat only organic and humanely raised meat and so forth. Then there's the more realistic version of my life, in which I do like watching some TV and can't afford the humanely raised stuff on a regular basis. (Horrifying that one makes those choices, but anyway.) Growing more veg in my new garden, knitting warm things to wear so the long winters aren't so bad. I guess I'm not sure where is a realistic place to take this. We wanted to get a hybrid car when our last one gave out, but they didn't have them in stock soon enough so we're still all fossil fuel. I would really love to change that, even though we don't drive much.

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  189. Holy Smokes! I had planned on answering these questions this morning, and I was amazed how many people beat me to it! Anyhow, I'm jumping in late on this, but here goes.

    Why are you simplifying?
    Because I've reached a point in my life where I feel trapped by all the clutter and junk we've been collecting and packing around for so long. It's time to get rid of it and make some elbow room!

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    I'm not really sure. It just hit me one day. Maybe my grandmother's genes are kicking in!

    What was the first major thing you changed?
    Making my own household cleaners. It was time to get away from all the chemicals and I've actually had fun experimenting with different cleaning recipes and tweaking them to suit my needs.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I'd like to see us getting more self-sufficient and pay off our debts. I've really been inspired by the life you and Hanno lead, and reading your blog has not only opened my eyes, but helped point me in the right direction to a much better way of living.

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  190. Hi Rhonda,
    Your blog is so inspiring, thank-you so much!
    My answers:
    Why are you simplifying?
    To lead a joyous life, look after our precious planet, set an example for our children and others, to be different that the average person, to save money so we can spend more time doing what we want rather than working to buy lots of plastic and drain the planets resources.
    What convinced you that you should change how you lived?
    I have always been a 'greenie' at heart, but I got very serious about it after having children as it wasn't just about looking after the planet anymore but also about our health and the childrens education (our boys are 5 & 3 and they are home educated in a natural learning/ unschooling style).
    What was the first major thing you changed?
    Our commitment to never buy anything new until we have exhausted all avenues for finding second hand stuff and still think that the item we want to purchase is necessary. Also, maybe more importantly, when we converted every thing we use/eat/consume into organic food and chemical free cleaners (thanks for your laundry liquid recipe it is saving me quite a bit of money compared to buying natural laundry liquid!)
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    We are selling up and moving out of suburbia (house goes on the market in 4 days!), getting some land (at least an acre), building a strawbale self-sufficient house early next year, becoming almost totally self-sufficient. Both parents at home, no mortgage, growing nearly all our food and making some extra cash at the farmers markets is our aim. Also want to spend time helping others lead simple lives.

    I hope this helps, look forward to reading your blog in the future, it is so grounding.

    Erica.

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  191. We are simplifying to give a more wholesome and balanced feel to our life which is very chaotic. To be kinder to the planet and each other. To take time to enjoy simple things and to spend time together as a family.
    Life had become so chaotic and busy that we felt we were missing out on things that were important - a message also which we are trying to have our children grow up with.

    The first thing we changed? We have always recycled and grown some of our food. We now have chickens - which is fantastic! - but we are trying to simplify our food and concentrate on the phrase 'a job for another day' so we don't run ourselves into the ground.

    How do we see ourselves changing in the future?

    I would like to see us succeed in eating simple, healthy, preferably home produced food all the time. To have our work life more under control - as a Vicar my husband often works from home and there can be a lot of people in the house! and not feel so tired all the time!

    Thank you for your inspiring posts.

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  192. Why are you simplifying?
    To save money. Save the planet. Slow life down a bit.Connect with real life again.
    What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    We weren't really doing anything majorly ungreen but the opportunity came to move into somewhere we own outright and we could simplify life a bit more than we had been. I have always made my own bread etc. Got it from my frugal gran I think!
    What was the first thing major thing you changed?
    Difficult to say, but we do grow our own veg now. I wanted to before but the previous property, although allowing chicken keeping, goats etc wasn't right for veg growing. So, although it is different here it is not particularly greener than we were before.
    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I would love to get rid of the TV and other trappings of modern life. Now I have the computer and the Internet I watch less and less anyway.

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  193. 1. Why am I simplifying? I am simplifying because of the shaky state of our economy (live in U.S.) and I want to be truly independent.

    2. What convinced me? Actually, stumbling across your blog was what did it. I hadn't actually thought about it before then.

    3. What was the first thing I changed? I sat down with my partner and together we decided on a budget. Big step for us, believe me.

    4. What changes do I see in the future? I live in an apartment now, and I have the blackest thumb known to man, but I'd love to have my own little house (no McMansions for me, thankyouverymuch) with a garden that sustains my body and my soul. I'd also like chickens, but the boyfriend flat out refuses to even think about it. :(

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  194. My name is Stephanie. I am a 36 year old mother of 3 boys ages ranging from 15 to 4. I live in Silsbee, Texas(home of hurricane Ike).
    I am simplifying because that is in a great part the way my mother raised me. I feel as if the simple life is either deep inside you or not. There is a yearning inside me to grow my food and make things...my life with my own two hands.
    Convincing has not really been an issue with me. I think maturity is maybe a better word. What is truly important in life took a while for me to discover.
    The first major thing I changed was a garden like most. I grew up with an organic garden during my childhood. That spawned me into the realization that the mall was not the place for me either.
    I see myself changing in th future by building on this lifestyle. Just maybe I can get to a point where i can be self sustainable.
    Thank you for this blog. It is a true inspiration. Keep up the good work.

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  195. 1. Why are you simplifying? We started changing things not in an effort to simplify but just to eat better, live better, save money and take better care of the world around us.
    2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? Getting married.. we both had ideas of gardening and such and decided once the wedding was over we needed to put those ideas into practice.
    3. What was the first thing major thing you changed? We gave up using paper towels but keeping a basket of various types of rags/towels in the kitchen. And we put up a clothesline.
    4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? We will be continuously adding to our gardening and learning more about it so we have bigger harvests. With bigger harvests comes more preserving. I love to sew anyway but I want to learn more practical sewing instead of just making cute, crafty things. We are trying to retrain ourselves to reuse things and to look for used things first when we need something. I am trying to relearn the concept of what I need vs. what I want.
    And of course, once we have children, things will be changing quite a bit again.

    It's worth it though. Sitting down to a meal of food you have grown yourself combined with things like bread you made yourself. It's just very soul satisfying. That's why we started down this road. It had nothing to do with being more simple. It had everything to do with life being more satisfying.

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  196. I haven't read all the comments so far, but I suspect that my experience is in many ways the opposite of a lot of people's. Ever since my teens (I am now 50) I have consciously been trying to live frugally and simply, to not waste resources, and to not use "more than my fair share".
    Until very recently our family income was on the low side, with housing provided by my husband's work. In fact he was only paid quarterly, which called for the development of excellent budgeting skills! Most of the time while our two children were growing up I earnt only small amounts from writing, and later on, tutoring. I did however have the time to cook from scratch, plan meals well, garden, make clothes and so on.
    Recently things have changed. Our children are adult and independent, and my husband has a different job with a much better salary. I too am able to earn, doing what I consider to be a very worthwhile teaching job. We have more money than we ever dreamed possible (not in fact a huge amount by many people's standards) My point is, we continue to live as simply as possible. A lot of the extra money has helped our children with postgraduate study that they would never have managed otherwise. We are able to be a bit more generous with treating other people, and have been able to increase our charitable giving. We will be paying off our mortgage much sooner than we expected. (We started to buy a house when my husband changed his job) I think because all this has come to us later in life after years of simple living we don't take it for granted and our expectations are already formed, so I can genuinely say I don't want anything more than I already have. I am so glad that things have been this way round - and when I see my children budgeting sensibly, living within their means and not longing for things they can't have, I am glad for their sake too.
    Thanks for the blog, and thanks for tempting me to comment rather than just lurk. You are doing a marvellous job of encouraging people, including me.
    Bella N

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  197. Why simplify? To have a smaller impact on the planet, while having a bigger impact on our daughters.

    What convinced us? Doing a bunch of reading, both books & online, and learning what was really in the food we were eating.

    1st major change? Baking Bread.

    Future change? We are learning to grow more of our own food, be more self sufficient, and more frugal. We also hope to install solar panels on the roof of our garage/ shop once we get it built, and begin harvesting our rain water with rain barrels. I'm learning to sew, and to preserve food for winter, LOTS of changes are afoot for us, in every way!

    I LOVE your blog, and hope to have a garden as lovely as yours one day. Thank you.

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  198. Why are you simplifying?
    Mainly food right now. I have stored up a pantry, and we eat whole foods or foods cooked from scratch. We do not drive unless we have to. We do not go out to eat.

    What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    The economy. We are in the states. Things have been bad economically here for a while, much longer than just since stocks have crashed. The current President protected the wealthy for a long time, but the stock/bank crashes finally hit them too. Everyone is waiting for the election. Any change will be good. During the last eight years the very wealthy have greatly profited while middle class vanished and the poor suffered, but even the wealthy are loosing income now.

    How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    I will always count pennies and be more frugal with my stewardship of what God gives me.
    I would also love to find some chickens to buy and some rabbits or even a couple of goats. I haven't been able to find any for sale as of yet. When we do, we will raise them for extra food.

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  199. Dear Rhonda...

    I won't say Good Luck for the book, for you are out there forging your own luck and making your life and your life experiences work in the best possible way. I wish you all the best with it, though, and hope that it will be published in Australia at some point in the near future. Remember, I've pre-ordered ten copies!! :D

    Now, down to the....QUESTIONS!

    1) Why are you simplifying?

    A) To live a more satisfying lifestyle; to connect with what’s real; to live more in tune with my intuition and instincts; to carve out a better quality of life for myself and my family; to “step more lightly” on the planet and to step outside the trappings and the deemed necessities of modern life which mostly aren’t necessities at all - without becoming a hermit and squirrelling myself away from society altogether, lol!

    2) What convinced you that you should change how you live?

    A) I guess the real motivation was having children, over two decades ago. I began to really wonder about the world, the planet and what society was becoming, and how I, and my children, could fit into this world.

    3) What was the first thing major thing you changed?

    A) Probably my way of thinking. Whilst I think at times my taking action has been a bit slow, my mind “got it” years ago and is way ahead!

    4) How do you see yourself changing in the future?

    A) Just a progression of what I’m doing now, really, including the learning of new (often old) skills to become more self sufficient; demonstrating to others and the teaching of skills; getting out of debt; growing more and more food, and continuing to work at relocalising my community. Who knows what else, the future is quite a mystery…

    Ree

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  200. Your blog is wonderful! I think you are a kindred spirit. I could go on and on to answer your questions, but I'll try to boil it down:

    Q: Why are you simplifying?
    A: Having spent my pre-mom years in advertising, I was all too familiar with the rat-race, more-more-more emphasis of our culture today. Hollow. Endless. Destructive.
    Now I'm home full-time, caring for my daughter, husband, house, community, and -- in my small way -- the earth. Simplifying is a natural part of my total shift from consumerism to conservation. The rewards are personal, creative, and spiritual. I also feel that I am providing a positive example of responsible values for my daughter, the next generation.

    Q: What convinced you that you should change how you live?
    A: I was lucky that being at home gave me valuable time to think, read and evaluate my place on this earth. In doing so, I noticed the pointless way most people around me were chasing after Stuff -- bigger houses, new cars, expensive clothes, etc. (I live in an affluent suburb of New York City.) Of course, this Stuff requires spending more precious time earning the money to pay for it, and I saw the negative effect this has on family time and being there for your children, and general quality of life. I also became concerned about the oblivious selfishness and unsustainability of this kind of lifestyle, and the damage it does to our earth.

    Also, a real epiphany occurred for me when my mom developed early-onset Alzheimer's, and I realized that every minute we have is precious and should not be frittered away on unimportant pursuits and possessions. I've become a clutter-clearing enthusiast, and I love the results!

    Q: What was the first major thing that you changed?
    A: I got rid of television! Hands down, the best parenting move I've ever made. (My daughter was about two at the time.) It removed the biggest and lowest-quality intrusion into our lives, and the loudest drum-beat for consumerism. We watch quality DVDs on the box, and my daughter is passionate about foreign films, classic Hitchcock, documentaries about history -- things most of her contemporaries haven't a clue about! And we can easily keep up with current events by radio, computer and print. PLUS we've gained so much time to talk, read, do art, garden, cook, volunteer in the community, etc. I don't know why more people don't do this!!! It's very COOL!

    Q: How do you see yourself changing in the future?
    A: I'd like to continue on this path, and also try to find ways to teach children about what I've learned. They are our best hope for changing attitudes that are unhealthy for ourselves and our planet.

    ReplyDelete

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