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.

22 July 2014

The wonderful possibilities of a simple life


Housework is boring!  Hmmm, yes, it might be. If I resented having to do housework, rushed through it so I could have time online or with my friends, or if I'd rather be out shopping, I'd think housework was irrelevant and holding me back. But I don't think of my home or the work I do here in that way. I see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to create the home I feel comfortable in, the home I want to raise children and grandchildren in; the home where I feel content just doing this and that and wandering around in my slippers. It's really all about the mindset. You either see your home as just a place to sleep and keep your belongings or you see it as your project - a work in progress. Taking control of a home can help you feel self-confident and strong, and if you get it right, it will give you a slow, sustainable life, full of wonderful possibilities.


All of us have to work. Not too many of us are born into wealthy families that allow us to do what we want to do every day. We learn very early to trade our life hours for money and to use that money to pay others to prepare food or us, to make our clothes, to produce the products we use in our homes. As the years roll on, many of us find a partner, have children and try to find a balance between what we have to do and what we want to do. Depending on circumstances, some leave work to raise their children and make their home the productive place they know it can be, while others continue working outside the home while treasuring those home hours and homemaking after work and on weekends.


When I left work many years ago, there was no emphasis on simple life. I didn't know what simple life was then, I just wanted to survive. My focus was in putting food on the table every day and saving money by changing the way I shopped for food. It didn't take me long to realise that the best use of the time I now had at home was to self-produce a lot of the things I used to pay for. If I could do that I'd have a very good chance of not only saving money, but supplying healthier food for my family.  So I was like a woman on a mission. I taught myself how to make bread, soap, laundry liquid, cleaners, jams, sauces, preserves, pasta and pickles. When I went shopping, I examined everything before I bought it. If there were too many chemicals and additives in it, I made it myself. Along the way I discovered there were quite a few things we didn't need at all. Doing all that saved a lot of money and I skilled myself to supply my family and home with much of what we needed. While all that was going on, I was smiling more, slowing down and learning to appreciate this calm and quiet safe haven I was living in. I had taken control of my home, turned it from a passive to an active dwelling and changed myself in the process. Doing the housework changed me and my life.


As I worked towards making my home more productive, I turned myself from a fairly sad, overworked, self-employed woman into a happy, energetic and fulfilled homemaker who brought real life back to my home. I felt powerful doing it too. I learned many basic skills, worked hard to improve every day, and every night I went to bed tired. And after a good night's sleep I jumped out of bed early the next morning, eager to do it all again. When Hanno retired and joined me we divided up the house and yard work and both settled into blissful contentment.  Mind you not everything went well.  When I made a mistake (and there were many), particularly when I was trying to learn something new, it made me stop and examine what I was doing, work out where I went wrong and then think about how to make it right. That kind of analytical thinking helped a lot and those lessons were the most valuable because I never forgot them. Mistakes might be annoying but never waste the opportunity to learn from them.


This way of life is very personal. It's all to do with family and what we eat, drink, sleep on, wear, wash, grow and love. Whatever we do here affects and benefits all of us. It's the opposite of a mainstream kind of life that is concerned with shopping and acquisition.  Mainstream life is more about being influenced by what is outside ourselves and our homes. It is rarely personal, it focuses on possessions, status, popularity and living large in a public world.


If you're at a crossroads and not sure how to change your life, start with something that you're currently concerned about. If you're worried about money, start with a budget and re-think how to do your grocery shopping. Paying off debt is key to this way of life. If you want to eat healthier food, start by learning how to cook and bake from scratch. If you want to grow food, start learning how by finding a community garden or a neighbour or friend to teach you. Doing these things for yourself will bring you back to your home and all the goodness that flows from that. I promise you that once you take that first step, life will open up and it will be quite obvious what your next step should be. Just follow that path. It will be long and windy, there will be hills and quite strolls in the park, but it will always be an interesting journey. A journey with no end.


I am a vital part of our home life, I know that. I feel valued and appreciated. I feel the same about Hanno and the work he does. We back ourselves, we're self-reliant and independent. Our work helps make the life we've both decided we want to live and as we slowly transition into older age, this kind of home is ideal for us.  Of course we'll have to modify a few of the more strenuous things when we see the need, but I can see us both living here for many years to come. And bored? Nope, I'd have to be bored with life to be bored with living as we do and I can't see that happening. 

25 comments:

  1. You live an inspiring life! thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Rhonda, as always, your post comes at a time when I really needed it! I have been having some self doubt about the life I have chosen - do "they" think I'm boring, in a rut, not ambitious enough? But I'm living how I choose, doing what makes ME happy, and that is what's important, not what "they" think I should be doing. I'm still working part time and am at my happiest when I am on my own doing my own thing at home, growing my own food, cleaning my house myself and cooking from scratch most of the time. I've learned such a lot from your blog and it's opened up so many other resources on the net. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into sharing your life with us.
    Regards, Maureen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Every now and then you do a post like this that always has something different as well - you always seem to be evolving and looking back and then forward which is something I really treasure about your blog. I always smile when I read them and then I look up at my sink full of dishes , the bench tops that need a wipe down ...and then I just get doing and I remember your wise words throughout the day. xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. A project; a work in progress - yes, that's exactly how I see our home, too. I enjoy being here, and when I'm invited to go out with friends, I'm not really tempted at all, unless it's something I really want to do. I'm not bored in this place.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this post, I had to click on the title from the sidebar of my blog and read right away.

    Just this evening I was preparing green beans for dinner, fresh from our garden. My thoughts went immediately to my mother and the way she loved to grow and cook green beans. There was more joy in cooking those green beans than I'd ever find in a fancy restaurant (although they have their place for special occasion celebrations at times).

    Our journey into simplicity was involuntary, as a result of my husband's disability and then my own illness. But if we both miraculously were made completely well, I'd never want to return to the way it was before. It would just be nicer to have a little more energy. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Rhonda, I would be interested in knowing what “ quite a few things we didn’t need” are/ and were. I also find it interesting to read what people don’t need and what they cut out. Thanks, great post today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I may jump in here. There are so many things we don't need. As an example: I made pasta yesterday. It took me an hour because I hand rolled the dough then cut it by hand. I could have bough a pasta roller and an attachment for my Kitchen Aid to cut the dough to make it pretty. Those two things would have been nice additions to the project. I don't need them. They would take up space and make my life a bit easier. But, I'm looking for simple, not easy and quick. I don't need all kinds of kitchen small appliances, more magazines than I can read, fancy soaps, but one or two dresses, one for weddings and one for funerals. The list goes on, but I hope you get a glimpse into what I am trying to say. You just gave me a subject post for my blog. Thank you.

      Delete
    2. I imagine it would be different for everyone. It would depend on how much time you have, the size of your house, what other demands are on your time, etc. I don't have a dishwasher. There are two of us here, I work part time. It would be nice, but doing the dishes isn't going to kill me, and I guess I'd rather have the cupboard space. If I had a houseful, and many other things to do, a dishwasher would be a welcome help. That's just an example. People are always tempted to keep acquiring things, and a lot of it has to do with what everyone else is doing; we just think we must do the same, that it's the best thing to do. But we need to think for ourselves. :)

      Delete
  7. It's wonderful that you recognise the difference between contentment and happiness. So many people have bought into the advertisers' creed of 'buy this and be happy' that they fail to recognise the positive but different feeling of contentment. As soon as the high from that impulse purchase wears off they have to go out again and buy something else. It's a vicious cycle. It's so lovely to sidestep that cycle and invest in ourselves and our homes. If you're living within your values it's never boring :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Rhonda. I'm going through a bad patch at the moment. We haven't had any income since March and while we live as simply as we can the money is still dwindling. Your post gives me hope knowing that we are debt free and healthy. I will continue to hope that things improve for us soon and try not to loose too much sleep. I should be content knowing that I am doing everything possible to change the situation but in the meantime I will try to reduce our expenses. Your post reassures me that I am okay.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Loved this!!

    Blessings,
    Amy Jo

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your blog is awesome!!! I just posted on mine about housework today...I actually love the calm feeling that a clean house will give...I'm working on cleaning routines for the next two weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My almost 19yr old son is currently not working, so I have given him the job of managing the basic running of the home. Firstly, to keep him occupied and not get into lazy habits, and secondly to teach him skills that will stand him in good stead all his life. Unfortunately he doesnt see the point of it and sees it as something to rush through and resent a little. I love the time I get to work in and on my home, but outside employment restricts that time. I guess I hoped that my son would take a little pride in accomplishing work in the home, but I suppose thats too much to expect of a young adult male!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Some days I feel like I can obtain this goal. Others, not so much. So many family members have been needing me this past month. I can't get caught up on my own life before someone else is asking me for help. I just don't know if I am ever going to get my life to the SIMPLE stage. {{sigh}} maybe closer to retirement and the rest of the family raised. I love reading all your wonderful tips. They inspire me to keep at it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Work hard to improve everyday, It's all about family. I love those statements. I'm getting ready to cut my hours at work to only 10 hours per week. I need to concentrate on my family and the people who mean the most to me. I really don't like housework but I love my family and want to provide the best for them. So I will take this post and reread it as much as necessary to keep improving myself and my home. This is such a good motivator and reminder that life is what you make of it. Thank you Rhonda. xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Rhonda,
    I love your comments. It is fascinating to read about another having values that I share....it is rare. My question to you is in what ways do you feel "valued and appreciated"?

    ReplyDelete
  15. "I am a vital part of our home life, I know that. I feel valued and appreciated." Yes, a thousand times, yes!

    Deanna

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Rhonda,

    Thank you for today's article.

    AnnDenee

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you Rhonda. Your words reflect the satisfaction I feel with my day's achievements - it was a day off paid work for me and I ticked off lots of jobs on my 'to do' list around home. I did lots of washing, a bit of cleaning, decluttering, and organising, and I made a batch of scones with the recipe from your book. I also took some quiet time for myself with a few lovely cups of tea - most important!
    Vanna

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for this. I've often wondered what are the first steps to take to a simpler life. I guess it's my age, almost 50, but I really want to slow down & appreciate things more, as don't the years seem to go by so fast now? I've been very interested in minimalism lately..which is ironic because my job as a copywriter is to encourage people to go out & buy things..so I'm kind of struggling with that a little. It's a job that helps pay the bills, but I'm less comfortable with my career role of encouraging people to spend. This of course didn't bother me when I was younger. lol

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a lovely post, Rhonda. I, too, have learned to enjoy the simple things in life and take pleasure in cooking delicious home cooked meals, keeping my home organized and spending time with family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us to appreciate the little things everyday.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I agree with you 100%. With our family of 7 I could be out working full time to help 'support' our family, but I choose to support us by living frugally, being available to my children, and keeping up with the things that need to be done here at home. So far so good. The only change I would make if I could would to have my husband join me at home. He is happy at his job though and the pay is very good.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Again your post has resonated with me. We bought our house 35 years ago because we both fell in love with it when the estate agent first walked us through it. We saw many others afterwards, but this was the one we both wanted, and I think the previous owners (who built it) would be surprise to see what we haven't changed, as we liked it the way it was. You said a house can be your project - a work in progress, and that is so true. We've been putting our own mark on it bit by bit over the years, and I still love living here.
    My friends and family thought I was mad when I took on Home care as a job when I was 50 years old. I looked after other people and their homes for the next ten years, and I took great pleasure in making each house as clean and comfortable for the residents in the limited time I had available. I did a lot more than I was supposed to; if I saw the windows needed cleaning, I'd do it. If the bedding under the sheets was full of dust and fluff, I'd put it out on the clothesline and give it a good beating to air it out. I could have been fired from my job if the supervisors heard what I did, but my grateful clients never let on!
    The bottom line is, I really love housework, the pleasure that comes from a nice freshly aired house.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You have expressed it so well!

    Your lovely table centerpieces of fresh flowers and napkins are nudging me to share. The peacefulness of doing routine housework gives my brain ample time to consider options and solutions for the journey of a rewarding life. We have allergies to most flowers and want to keep using (even if in a different manner) the things we have had in the family for a few generations, to cultivate a sense of connectedness and create traditions, even if they are new.

    The center of our table has origami folded cloth napkins in the shape of flowers, at the moment, (granddaughter loves to help with the folding) nestled in a family heirloom glass bowl, that also houses the coasters and napkin rings at the bottom. Granddaughter wants to learn new shapes, so I am looking forward to sharing the joy of learning together and enjoyment of the new shapes with the family as we share our tea time and meals together!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello, Rhonda. I'm commenting for the first time, having discovered your lovely blog about a week ago. Reading posts like this is a lovely oasis in my life, and your thoughts resonate deeply. It is wonderful to know that there are so many like-minded souls around the globe, women and men who are ready to step off the hamster-wheel of living by the dictates of corporate marketing and pop culture standards of what life should look like, what we should want.

    At age 57, I'm re-embracing and re-valuing things I have always loved: cooking, baking, mending, quilting, organizing, gardening, and LOVING. Love my good husband, our grown children, our new grandchildren. Love "the girls" and their brown eggs. Love my small rural town in Humboldt County, California, where we have temperate weather, six wild rivers, the Pacific Ocean, thriving farmer's markets, organic/pasture-based meat and dairy, not to mention the tallest trees on earth!

    Here, in a small house that was once my grandparents', I am wealthy in all the ways that really matter. Thank you for that reminder, and for reminding me that the skills I've acquired over a lifetime should never be allowed to lie fallow, especially in world so hungry for authenticity and simple contentment.

    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...