My six year old is an awesome reader and is playing multiplication games on the ipad. He is also playing games on it too. He keeps himself busy doing many things, not just the ipad. My ten year old uses hers to text and make videos, not so much for math games anymore.
It was in my shoe room, I mean spare bedroom, but I have had to move them to make room for bedroom/nursery for my daughter. The thought has crossed my mind to buy a bigger house eeek… but I’m praying this move my daughter has suckered me into agreeing to, is temporary. I purposely purchased the house I have now to accommodate myself, my puppy and my shoes.
I love what Mark said in her paragraph about downsizing her house. My idea of simplicity is, at bottom, a search for contentedness. I want to identify the things I *NEED*, and then remove everything else, keeping in mind that “need” covers all areas of existence, not just physical things. (So I feel like I “need” my home library, because reading is how I re-energize myself from stress.)
I like ideas that remove conflict. We were continually not getting dishes washed because they’d all stack up so fast and then we’d feel overwhelmed. So instead of us yelling at each other every day to get it done, I removed all the extra dishes, so that each family member had one plate, bowl, cup, and silverware set, and saved out two large microwaveable plates, a large pot, and a large frying pan, and two microwavable casserole dishes. That’s pretty much it. So even if we don’t get the dishes done this meal, there’s not much there, and it’s fast and easy to do.
We had a summer wherein it was exorbitantly expensive, and we’d used the electric oven a lot. So higher cost on running the oven, and higher cost on the AC working overtime to cover the heat that got into the house. So we simplified for a month to see how it worked: we only used the microwave and the toaster oven (that my folks bought us for Christmas). That was three years ago, I think, and it worked so well that we’ve only used the oven twice since then, and I think it was for large trays of Christmas cookies.
For me, simplicity also involves time. I want to know that we as a family have plenty of time to comfortably be together just hanging around the house. Keeping track of a dozen schedules and running here and there, even if we’re all together in the car, is NOT simple for me. Being dedicated to the weirdness of not spending money helps, of course, because it reduces the number of shopping “errands” that seem necessary.
I have my degree in early childhood development, and the part that interested me the most was the amazing power behind environment design. Those classes explored how carefully thinking out the positioning of each item (typically furniture or a category of learning toys) would create a room that allowed the children to explore and learn independently with the least amount of struggle. I have a disability that means a lot of normal home activities are a struggle for me, so I applied what I learned about environment design to my home, and it simplified enormously the steps that I have to take to accomplish things. Basically, it’s taking the idea of ‘don’t arrange a sofa directly in front of a door’ just a bit further than interior design.
So. Simplicity to me is ease of living, and what it takes for me to be contented in my life. Accessed through careful management of time, environment, money, and taking the time to be self-reflective and recognize what it is that you, as an individual, and your family, really needs.
It was an offshoot search when I was trying to find out what Paul’s kids were doing. Couldn’t find any private info about his other two kids, but did find a webpage dedicated to his building a 5 million dollar house. Lots of discussion of whether that was a wise use of his money or not. The house is a small portion of his net worth, so some people agreed that it was his money, he paid cash for the house, and he could do whatever he wanted. But others thought it was too ostentatious no matter what your net worth is. They cited Warren Buffett as being super rich and living in an old small home anyway. Paul’s always liked toys and he’s never been shy about it. He just does his purchasing with cash.
We too live a “simple” life, but everyone’s definition is different. We have the 5 bed, 3 bath house with pool. No, not what I really wanted, but it fit the budget and I needed to find a house in 3 days–that was 21+ yrs ago. We have 6 people living here and 2 birds. I have 4 cars in the drive–need another and a motorcycle in the garage. My “custom” furniture is what my DH had made–tables, chairs, benches–both indoor and out. We have redone the whole yard/pool, pavers and landscaping included. Took us 4 years, but it is done.
we mostly cook from scratch, we do grow some veggies and lots of herbs.
My frustration is people will try to outdo each other and not understand how the other person got to where they are now. I purchase by quality and check for prices. Rarely do I do an impulse purchase and when I do, I discuss it with my DH.
I have a 3yo and an 18 mo; Little boy gets up early so we usually go downstairs and hang out on the couch and play on the iPad. I am consistently amazed at how FAST he “gets” the apps in terms of vocabulary, numbers, matching games, etc.
Little girl is older so gets it even more — she grew up with Mickey Mouse and Elmo on the iPad and is smart as a whip.
At one point I even contemplated getting another iPad so the kids would each have one to play with but realized it’s better if they learn to take turns and share. iPad apps have come a long way IMO.
Trust me though they still play with pens and paper and glue sticks and bubbles, blah, blah, blah. The iPad is just another tool in their educational arsenal.
I think of not being ostentatious with my finances. I don’t think there is a simple definition necessarily.
When I cook – I cook from scratch. I say when I cook because prior to my daughter coming back home, I ate out more often than not because I don’t get the hang of cooking for one person. At least with another mouth to feed, and the fact that she’s home more than she’s away, the food that I prepare doesn’t go to waste. When I cook… I make my own pasta for instance, tomato sauce from fresh tomato’s, bread in the oven, etc. I have the staples – yeast, flour, sugar, eggs, butter and from that I can create any number of things. I haven’t had the urge to grow my own tomato’s or buy chickens to get my own eggs.
I have downsized houses…there was a time in my life when I had the estate, with two fully furnished living rooms, a family room, an entertainment room and all of the trimmings ad nauseum. I realized I was over the top when the inground pool had to be lifted over the house with a crane and it had to be transported to my home with lead cars and all of that. Now, literally the house I live in now could fit in the family room in totality. I now need only a place to sit, eat and lay my head and my little cottage fills that need. No nick nacks no extravagances, my china and silver and crystal is packed away and I hold on to that to pass on to my daughter one day. Gone are my expensive wool rugs that covered every floor, the crystal chandeliers, and most of my custom made furniture etc. I have custom made curtains in the windows – but I sew so I made them all – in every house I’ve ever lived in barring my childhood home, I’ve made the drapery, the duvet coverings, I did all the painting techniques on the walls, with oops paint.
I’m extravagant I guess you could say with my auto(s) but when I pay for them with cash, and maintain them myself after their warranty is gone and keep them 10+ years, the extravagance really becomes one perception, not necessarily my reality.
I do however still maintain the debt mindset, which is why I stick and stay with this group! I am of the opinion of buying the best that one can afford but my thinking has been modified. Buy the best you can afford – pay cash to do it. Buy quality – but pay cash to do it. Buy quantity – but pay cash to do it. Oddly, this is simplicity in living to me. Maybe I’m an oddity or have my concept of simple living wrong.
A simply lived life doesn’t have to ban electronics in my opinion. The fact that we’re all communicating on line gives testament to the fact that we are all computer literate, why not have and encourage the same for our children? A 10 year old computer will still work, but it will be slower and less efficient, but if that is what you can afford, sobeit. But if you can afford a newer model and keep it for 10 years that would be my choice. Thus my feelings about cell phones for teens – I bought the latest model for my daughter and it served her well for a few years because I recognize that teens would rather text than talk – it is the nature of the beast that is a teenager in this day and age. I don’t see it detracting from conversation or creativity for a teen. You generally have to prod them all with a million questions to get them to “talk” to you, with or without a cell phone.
Now if you can’t afford a cell phone, or have to make payments on it (like ATT just announced they were going to give the option of doing), that is an entirely different conversation. Definitely live within your means.
There is no way you can personally know, little on write about everything.
Example the sustainable living mentioned below. Read up on it (via the library for free) and include the books in your bibliography that explained it best for you.
Sources: book, after book will tell you to cloth diaper your kids, but very few tell you where to get cloth diapers or even how to make them.
I spend hours doing research for my six soon to be eight different blogs (just as soon as my word is up and running on the office computer—dang thse o’s). I reference websites, cite books and sources as well as tell were to get certain items. It helps everyone.
Write what you know and know what you write. You, from what I’ve previously seen, are very knowledgeable, expand on that.
Guard yourself, give safety warnings. If you talk about tree felling, then include safety measures and recommend that sometimes it’s far wiser to hire a professional. We currently have two very tall pines that need to come down that we will be hiring done because life happens and we do not want to lose part of the house or the power lines.
Pictures! A photo is worth 1,000 words. People are tuned in to utube and are very visual these days. A cookbook will say cut shortening in with two forks, or a pastry blender. To old cooking pros that is not a problem, but to a novice they might not have a clue. So a photo showing how to use 2 forks for that step is valuable. They might not have a clue what a pastry blender is, so show one being used. It’s a simple thing to most of us here, but to others it’s like the “separate two eggs” comedy skits.
What would I read up on?
Right now I am in research mode on home organization, including all aspects of my home, farm, business etc. I get very frustrated with sites and books that tell you to rush out and purchase this item or that. I’m trying to declutter this place, not add more clutter. I want to use items I already have on hand, but I want it attractive and EASY to use.
Example: scrapbooking paper. Almost every site suggests buying a paper rack of one sort or another some say vertical, some say horizontal, almost all say buy! I don’t want to buy. I want to use what I have.
I found one utube video that showed using priority mail boxes to make vertical ones. Folks, when you have a scrapbooking habit of any volume you are talking a LOT of priority mail boxes. While I will give the wman credit she does stress using used ones, no one I know gets that much priority mail, so people are going to go pick up “just a few” for free from the post office. But they aren’t free, they cost the PO and the PO in case you haven’t heard is in financial trouble.
So I’ve been measuring and using all sorts of normal every day, have to recycle or burn anyway boxes, like cereal boxes and such. It’s taking awhile and I had to work out a pattern on my own for covering them to be attractive and acid free. A good article with photos would have been very helpful.
So organizational ideas that are built from what I have on hand that are functional and attractive.
After I posted my first topic, I realized there are many different facets of “live simply”. Ours is one, but it’s definitely not the only one. I strongly concur that a lot of kids are programmed into perfect little consumer machines, and then spend the rest of their lives living out that programming. And I definitely concur that folks don’t need to be involved with, or interested in, homesteading or farming in order to simplify their lives. I think where I was going with that comment last night was more along the lines of acknowledging that any adoption of ideals, will bring with it some trade-offs. For us, we had to work our butts off physically so that we could build (literally) the life we wanted. We didn’t realize that was part of the trade-off, until we were actually IN the lifestyle. For other households we’re familiar with, who aren’t farming but who have adopted a “simpler” lifestyle, their lives actually got more complicated. They have to work at it to figure out alternatives to the smoothly-packaged, aggressively-marketed choices and options all around them. For instance, what to tell their kids when all their kids’ friends not only have iPhones but FB accounts, and entire conversations occur on FB and/or via iPhone that they can’t share in? How does a kid without an iPhone and/or FB account, participate in that social life? In that quest for “simple”, that’s a complicated issue ExtLoans Co. – long term installment loans online. So, Are there ways to live beyond the merry-go-round of consumerism gone berzerk? Yes, I firmly believe so. But is it “simple”?? No, I think it gets harder every day. For me, living simply means having the closest connection possible between me and the products I need to live. And that has created an entire web of “gotta-do’s”. For others, whose idea of “simple” maybe means less electronic garbage in the house, or less TV, or less junk food, that’s awesome. But the choices and options they’ll have to make to acquire that “simpler life”????? Definitely more complicated than merely drinking the Koolaide and going along with the crowds. I think perhaps that’s why so few people buck the trend. It’s “simpler” to just go along with it all.
But, Bill G. is NOT a proponent of a simple lifestyle. He is a proponent of living within your means. His personal means are valued around 55 million. He does not live a simple lifestyle.
His message is take care of what you have. Once you’ve gone through the baby steps, do what you want with your money.
There are quite a few people on this board that make a lot of money and are able to give their children “things”.
I love the simple lifestyle, but my DH doesn’t. I could live a lavish lifestyle too, but I’m just as happy living simply.
There is nothing inherently wrong with buying kids stuff. Teaching your kids good money skills is. That’s why we are all on this board.
Personally, I would not read a book on simplicity if the main thrust of the book is homesteading and how to do it. I know there are plenty of people like Kathryn and her husband who choose that lifestyle, but for us it ain’t happenin’! LOL I love the fact there there are those who do it. I believe it makes a solid contribution to our country to have homesteaders who are self-sustaining and want to provide fresh, quality products to the community. Now, if homesteading were simply a chapter, or two or three, then that would be fine.
I would like to see this addressed … so many people are filling their lives up with junk, I mean pure junk … products that are of inferior quality, in order to satisfy a whole that more stuff can never fill … whether it’s stuff for the house, more “toys” (cars, boats, RV’s, atv’s, etc.), more toys for the kids, vacations, etc. I am not against those things at all if a person can pay cash without affecting their lifestyle and they’ve planned for it. But too many people are seeking satisfaction in those things.
In my beliefs, there is only One Way to get that deep satisfaction–contentment, if you will, that is through a relationship with Jesus. Not everyone will see it that way and that is okay. Stacy, maybe that is not your frame of reference. If it’s not, then I can understand how that will not be included in your book.
But here’s an idea that jumped into my mind. Dealing with your debt-ridden friends/acquaintances who think that you’re depriving yourself because you don’t buy every single doo-dad that hits the market…
Living with less, mindful shopping and finding satisifaction with what you already own is a major part of Simple Living. I agree with you though, our society very much needs to hear that happiness can come from having less stuff.
I think I may also put some focus on how we, as a society, tend to program our kids to want stuff. I am seriously concerned by the number of little kids I see holding IPads, smart phones etc.. in the stroller while mom does her shopping. Kids bribed with trips to the toy store if they behave etc…
Mo’ joe, mo’ betta. Be sure to add lots of cream and sugar for the full effect. I once got to talking with a fellow tea enthusiast, and we talked awhile about our favorite types of tea. But then she said “but you know, at the end of the day, the flavor of tea doesn’t actually matter. After all it’s really just a vehicle for caffeine and sugar. The flavor is just a nice touch.” Alrighty then. I guess she’s got her priorities figured out. I’ll hang onto the notion that flavor is a tad more important than that. But maybe not by much.
started with a general desire to go out and “live simply” and homestead and raise our own food and meet as many of our own needs as possible, via what we could grow or make on the property. We’ve got a LOT of books on the shelves that talk about this way of life. What we didn’t figure on, was the WORK involved. The books would talk about going out and clearing a spot of land for the cabin or the hayfield. Groovy. They didn’t get into chainsaw safety or felling trees safely or tractor/implement safety or that you’d be so dog-tired after the first day of work that you’d be too stiff to move the next three days. Or that it would take you a whole string of days, when you thought it would only take a few hours. They say every project can be measured in terms of time, money and effort. If you are limited on one of those, you’ll have to make up for it with the other two. In our case, we didn’t have a lot of time, at one point we had a decent amount of money, but dang that “effort” rating went right off the charts. So a chapter or two on “realistic planning” would probably be a good idea.
I’m actually thinking of a similar article, no it wouldn’t compete with yours but rather would be “Chapter Two” of your line of thinking. I’m late getting started on chores tonight so I won’t describe it here, but I’ll write it up tomorrow morning as part of my “did you do your homework” report.
For the past couple of years I have been toying with the idea of writing a book on the subject of simplicity. More specifically, simple living, or as some call it intentional living. Problem is that I’ve never written a full book before (usually short essays or commentaries) and I’m not sure where to start. So I thought I would start with you.
What topics would you like to see in a book on simple living/intentional living?
Obviously finances will be in there, but what other areas do you want to know more about in terms of how it applies to a simple living lifestyle?
What topics do you feel are over done in books on simplicity and should be only touched on with less print devoted to them?
What areas do you never see in a book on simplicity/simple living/intentional living but feel should be in there?
Any help you can give would be appreciated.