Coming out of lurkdom for this, it’s a great thread!

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.

Can’t remember the website

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.

I do agree with your thinking

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.