Simply Living

8 Aug 2006

My family,guided by my husband, try to live a simple life. We don't live in the country and we don't homeschool our children. The life we lead is a normal suburban existence but skip back about 50 years (with some mod cons and a car).

We live in a small house built about 75 years ago. We chose to live in town because we felt it was more earth friendly to live closer to the services we may need to use: schools, hospitals, shops.We have good but not great public transport and we are within walking distance of our bank, doctor, supermarket etc,and quite close to my parents and sister.

We live on 1/3 of an acre and because our house is compact we have plenty of garden with mature trees and garden beds, fruit trees and a vegetable garden. We also have chooks that free range and a variety of pets. We are by no means self-sufficient but we grow what we can. We heat our home with wood.

We make what we can from what we have. My husband works fulltime but is happy (usually) to spend some of his free time mending, repairing and inventing solutions to household problems. I am at home fulltime. I cook, sew, knit, mend, bake and try to be as inventive and frugal as my husband.

Ofcourse we have electricity and modern gadgets such as a vacuum cleaner and washing machine but we do not have a drier or dishwasher or microwave. We try to keep as low tech as we want to be, that is, we decide whether or not a new gadget fits into our lives rather than buying it and changing our lives to suit the gadget. We don't have a mobile phone, we do have a computer.

Our teenage children sometimes feel uncomfortable because they perceive us to be different but they are also quite proud of our ability to be inventive and creative and occasionally come up with some good solutions themselves. We try to accommodate adolescent sensibilities and don't deliberately embarrass them. Most of their friends probably think we are normal any way just not very wealthy. Our young daughter thinks mum and dad can fix or make anything.

Our home is a creative, peaceful place. We mow the lawn with a hand mower, we don't have any noisy electric garden tools. We have television but many evenings are spent with the idiot box silent and the humans making noise instead - conversation, instruments being played,board games, card games, reading, craft, children arguing, homework, listening to CDs. My children don't have thousands of afterschool and weekend activities. We eat together as a family every evening. My teenage sons are happy to spend most of their free time at home (not all ofcourse).

This is our version of a simple life. Sometimes it's hard to be different but then you find someone, either in person or on the net who shares many of your philosophies and you feel more comfortable and more hopeful that the message is spreading. To try live simply is not necessarily easy but it can be deeply satisfying.

I would recommend a book called The Freedom Of Simplicity by Richard J. Foster as a thought provoking introduction to the philosophy of simplicity. We need to have the courage to live our principles even if we only start with baby steps.

( The painting is by Carl Larssen)

7 Responses to “Simply Living”

  1. Thank you for this fantastic post - it's just what I've some to expect! Yes, I do think the message of simplicity is spreading and I truely think it is difficult to find fulfillment (or have a rewarding spiritual life) without Simplicity. We live very similalry to you - our garden is very small (so we're on the waiting list for an allotment)but we do grow a lot of our own food. We have no dishwasher,one small telly in the living room, no car (easier in a small country) and although my eldest child goes to school (a good C of E not 1/2 a mile away)we are a very home based family. I'm finding this easy whilst they're still young, but I'm interested and happy to see that you are still managing it with teenagers!

    PS We also live in a small town because of proximity of amenities. Ironically if we wanted to live a country life two cars would be essential - even in Britain.

  2. You are right, there are differnt ways to live simple. I leanr to to be a bit more simple every day.

  3. Wow - when I come to Australia - I am coming for a visit. What are chooks?

  4. Sorry I forgot to translate. Chooks are just hens, nothing exotic. We even have roast chook which doesn't sound nearly as yummy as roast chicken or chooken as one of my daughters little friends used to say.

  5. In our journey of simple living, which has now spanned more than a couple decades, the one thing we have learned is that simple living comes from the heart and not so much a matter of where you live. Its seeking to remove the things from our lives that cause more worry, concern and work than we need to have. ITs not that hanging clothes or milking goats is simple, its not. Its that your mind is free to spend on the things that matter. You can pray while you hang clothes. You have that moment of quietness to think. Your most rushed moments are not filled with the stress of other people pushing you on. You see the results of your hard work and that is a good thing. Simple living is simply living without the world pressing you on all sides, no matter where you live.

  6. I have always been interested in 'living' as simply as I can, but more so since I had some huge issues in my life and then when I stopped working 6 years ago. My hubby sees things quite a bit differently than I do, but still I do my bit and get a deep satisfaction from it.
    Thanks Jen for sharing a glimpse of your way of life.
    p.s. Love your girls (chooks)! I miss ours :(

  7. I completely agree with your philosophy...I am always striving for simplicity in our life; we live very similar to your family. A great post; thank you!


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.