DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

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

20 February 2014

Starting your simple life

I got some good news from Penguin yesterday. Down to Earth is being reprinted again. :- ) I've received many emails from people who have said it's been an important turning point in their lives. I am proud and humbled knowing Down to Earth had a positive effect on so many people. Thank you all so much for your support of my book. 

♥:♥:♥

I reinstated my email last week and as reliable as clockwork, got five emails from new readers asking how to start living a simple life. It's the most asked question I get. I hope this helps.

You've been thinking about it for a long time, you've decided to simplify your life.What now? Well, there could be a hundred answers to that question but let's take the simple road and work out what is possible in those very early days. The path ahead will be different if you stay at home to work or if you go out to work, but there are a few similarities. The main one being how you deal with money. Paying off debt and reducing spending play an important part in living a simpler life. It's also often the one solution people don't want to know about. The first step in dealing with your money in an effective way is to know how much you're spending, and on what. Start tracking your money. Get a small notebook and every time you go out, write down what you spend. Don't cheat, this is only for you, no one else will see it. Track your spending for at least a month. When you add it all up, you'll have a very good record of your spending habits, how much you spend and what you spend your money on. That is where you start organising your money and paying off debt. There is more about it here.


I've found that many people who do simplify want to live a healthier life as well. They want to improve the quality of the food they eat, cut out preservatives and eat fresh, local food. They try to cook from scratch whenever possible and sometimes that means creating a vegetable garden in the backyard along with a flock of chickens. Travelling this route will allow you to be as self reliant as you can be in a suburban or urban home. For the non-garderners it means finding local food or markets and traders whom they trust and support with their hard-earned dollars.



If you got this far it tells me that you've started changing your mindset and have moved away from what is considered "normal". Continue to focus on where you're heading, don't take any notice of what your friends and family say, if you think you're doing the right thing, continue on and disregard the naysayers.


Organise yourself. If you're working outside the home as well as in it, or if you're like me and want to simplify as much of the housework as you can, you'll need to be organised so you can do it all. Simply living often means more work, but it's work that you often enjoy doing and will give you the life you're searching for.



When you organise yourself, include time for yourself in the mix. Concentrate on relaxing and making the most of every day. Taking time out during a busy day, even if it's just to sit with a cup of tea for 15 minutes, will help you keep going. You're worth it, never forget that.

Start making some of your own cleaners such as laundry liquid, cleaning paste, vinegar cleaners and soap if you feel you want to. That will help you on two fronts - it will reduce the cost of your weekly groceries and it will create a healthier home for you and your family. Take every opportunity to live with fewer chemicals in your life.

I just have to smile when I look at Kathleen exploring her new home. 
The frizzles are earning their keep. We got one egg from them on their first day here.


Establish productive habits. I found that by carrying out two daily tasks, it helped focus me on what I wanted - a sustainable and productive home. Your two tasks can be anything that you must do every day, but sometimes miss out on doing them. My two tasks were to make the bed every morning and to make a loaf of bread every day. Each of them didn't take long to do but they kept me on track during those early months. I felt that if I had done just those two things, that I was progressing on the right track and often it motivated me to continue on with more work.

So, just to clarify, here are some things that will help you move from a mainstream life to a simpler one:
  1. Stop spending and start paying off debt. Create a budget, track your spending and develop a plan to start living a more frugal life.
  2. Think about the kind of food you want to eat and look for the local suppliers you need. If you want to produce some of your own food and you have a backyard, start planning a garden. If you don't have the land, look around for a community garden.
  3. If you don't want to produce your own food, look for local markets and providores of good food. Ask neighbours and friends about a local butcher, fish monger, green grocer, dairy, cheese maker and bulk foods store. When you find these shops, support them with your dollars.
  4. Think about how you want to live and live according to those wishes. Develop a list of values you want to live by. Change your mindset and don't listen to anyone who wants you to stay as you used to be.
  5. Organise yourself and establish routines that will help you do the work you want to do.
  6. Look after yourself.
  7. Start making your own cleaners to help with your budget and to live with fewer chemicals. Easy laundry liquid recipe here.
  8. Think of two things that don't take a lot of time that you can do every day. It may be washing up, making the bed, sweeping the floor, or whatever. By doing these tasks you're establishing habits that will help you move further along your chosen path.
There is no doubt that changing how you live will be tough. It's not easy for any of us but perseverance will give you a life like no other. Once you start, keep at it and it will get easier. I would never go back to the life I used to live. I hope that by following your heart and living to your values, you'll say the same thing very soon. Good luck. I know that everyone who reads here will be wishing you well.


32 comments:

  1. Love this post! Particularly the ideas of having a couple of things to do each day that helps form new habits and of making time for yourself. It's too easy to find yourself run into the ground trying to do too much. Also, I think where a person lives also has some effect on how their simple life might be shaped. You have the luxury of a large garden and chickens. I live in a suburb with neither of those. However, I am within walking distance of many resources including a fish quay, supermarkets, bargain stores and thrift shops (not to mention crafting and knitting groups), near a Metro line and have bus services into city and country from each end of my street. Must check out your book!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My journey began seventeen years ago with our budget. I was pregnant with my first child and wanted to stay home which meant I had to figure out how to do that financially! The joy of vegetable gardening came years later when my kids joined a 4H Club and I met people who changed my life. I have found the more I can produce in my life rather than consume, the happier I am. As you say, simpler is often more work but so much more rewarding!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations on your book being reprinted again. It's one book I always refer back to especially the recipes:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello, Rhonda! Thank You for taking time to keep this wonderful blog for so many years now! I have been striving for a simpler life for some years and find your blog very inspirational and helpful. Since I found Your blog just recently, there's a lot of catching up for me to do.
    All the Best!
    Aili

    ReplyDelete
  5. I feel like I haven't been "normal" in years! ;) I'm much more content, though, that's for sure. And there is always something to improve or learn.

    Those frizzles look like a fun pair. Love your new coop, too, so sweet!

    -Jaime

    ReplyDelete
  6. Warm congratulations on the republishing of your book. Wonderful news.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just wondering how last night went for the new girls.....were you able to sort out their roosting problems? And congratulations on your book being re-published, what a good feeling that must be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were all over the place, Nanette. I put an old wicker chair in there and it looks like a few of them slept on that.

      Delete
    2. Ha ha ha ...chooks with minds of their own about where they'll sleep.

      Delete
  8. Is the republishing of your book going to make it available to those of us in the USA in printed form? I can only find it in digital form here so far and I really want a good old fashioned, hold it in your hands, book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, unfortunately, no. Originally Penguin only had the copyright for Australia and NZ, now they have international copyright but it remains up to each country to publish it. Penguin took the book to the Frankfurt Bookfest late last year and I was told there was interest in the USA and Europe but now we have to wait for publishers to move on publishing it. My new book - a small print book with ebook will be available internationally and all the six new ebooks will be sold on itunes and amazon but I think the print book still needs to be ordered from Australia. A few weeks ago, after being contacted by an American lady, I tracked down a print copy in Maine - at Abe Books. Keep checking on book depository too. When they have it in stock, it's free postage internationally. It might be worthwhile to inquire there and see if they'll reorder it. http://www.bookdepository.com/Down-Earth-Rhonda-Hetzel/9780670075928

      Delete
    2. Debbie,

      I live in North Carolina and I have splurged and got my very own hard copy of Rhonda's book. I can't tell you how much I have loved holding it in my hands. The cover makes me smile and every page is a joy to look at, much less to read the words. I mean it when I say that the hard copy of Rhonda's book is one that will remain on my bedside table the rest of my life. So I highly recommend your getting your own good old fashioned, hold it in your hands, copy.

      Diane in North Carolina

      Delete
    3. Aww, thanks Diane. That is a lovely recommendation.

      Delete
    4. Debbie,

      I am currently awaiting my copy of Rhonda's book, thanks to birthday money from my MIL. :) It is being shipped to me here in Illinois all the way from New Zealand. It was free international postage through fishpond.com, and I found that it didn't cost me any more to purchase it through them than if I were living in NZ or Australia. Just a thought!

      Shani

      Delete
    5. Thank you Rhonda and all who responded to my question. I will be checking those sources for the book. :)

      Delete
  9. I`m so pleased that your book is being reprinted.
    Will it be available in UK this time around?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi DW, please look at the comment I made just above. It might be worth it to check book depository.

      Delete
  10. Well said, Rhonda!

    Your Frizzle is so cute!

    Congratulations on the reprinting of your book.

    Deanna

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good morning Rhonda, as an avid reader I have always had a weakness for books and home magazines but have recently reacquainted myself with our local library and am loving it - especially as I can reserve books I want to read online (which feels a lot like online shopping but is virtually free as a reserved item from another branch is only $1.20). I have also reduced my magazine buying to one a month - and I really look forward to it now, rather than mindlessly buying two or three each week and often not having time to read them properly. As I work from home I have decided to keep my morning takeaway coffee ritual as it gives me a structure (up, dressed, hair, make-up etc.) that gets me out the door at 8am and back to my little desk in the kitchen to start work by 8.30am and fills the `tea room chat' gap that working from home can leave. Tiny little changes and working out what works for you seems to be they key to moving forward on the journey - it's exciting isn't it! Love your work, you make me smile every day. Thank you x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaz, this is exactly what I mean about customising your life. You're customising your magazine and book reading according to your values - I do that too. I stopped buying all magazines for a few years, then my sister asked me why I'd stopped reading my fav, British Country Living, when I told everyone else to look after themselves and to not give up everything they enjoy. I started reading it again but now get the e-version. It saves not only many dollars but also the transportation and paper, and that aligns with my values much more comfortably. Your early morning routine sounds perfect for you. And you're right, it's the key to moving forward especially in those early days.

      Delete
  12. wonderful news on your book being republished, i bought one each for my girls & have yet to get it for myself, like others prefer the hand held book version, as digital is useless in a blackout :))

    have a great weekend

    selina from kilkivan qld

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post Rhonda. My husband and I have been living a simple lifestyle for years. I am now at the stage where I do not HAVE to go to the supermarket every week or even every 2 weeks. We are looking to the near future and as we are employed as farm managers we have the option through experience that we could become casual workers if we choose to. Our biggest thing is having a home of our own and this is where the simple life has come in. Around the area we live now the houses cost around $300,000. The region is very expensive for housing though not as expensive as Auckland SO we have decided to look in another area where we could get employment and we have looked at 2 houses-- one was $40,000 and one was $45,000. The 2nd house had a very large section which would accommodate the hens/ fruit trees and gardens. It also was in good condition maintanence wise. I would like to encourage others to think outside the square and as we do not want to have a mortgage we feel the best option for us is to move to another location. We would only be about 2 hours from children/grandchildren so it is no biggy really.
    Karen - NZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, congratulations on your move towards casual work. That is great news. To tell you the truth, the thought of a $300,000 mortgage scares me and I can't imagine signing up to such a huge commitment. Your cheaper houses sound splendid. Like you, I'd much rather do less work outside for wages and use that time to produce what I needed at home instead. I wish you both well. xx

      Delete
  14. congratulations on the reprinting of your fine work!many more people will enjoy it now. will it be sold in the united states?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rochel, please read the reply I made to Debbie's comment above.

      Delete
  15. Good Morning Rhonda, Congratulations on the republishing of your book. It is an amazing book that has certainly changed our way of life ... Thank You :) .

    ReplyDelete
  16. How wonderful that your book is being reprinted Rhonda! It's a beautiful book, and I think every young adult should have a copy of it xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations on the new edition Rhonda dear, that's quite an achievement in this age of ebooks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've always stopping in and visiting. Your such as inspiration. Yes, for me someday I'll get a e reader of some type.
    Coffee is on

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are my simple life fairy godmother. I always look forward to the encouraging advice you offer. Congratulations on the continued success of your book.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Amen, sister! I love how clear your list is. I've been living off the grid for the majority of my 20s, in a tipi during four of the six years, and couldn't agree with you more. Staying or getting out of debt and living within our means is beyond important. I'm so glad you included this here.

    Also, I needed to hear your habits suggestion, so thanks for that!

    Keep up the inspiration Rhonda!

    ReplyDelete
  21. you changed my life back in 2008 but i still need these reminders sometimes. thanks so very much rhonda.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...