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The Benefits and Virtues of Voluntary Simplicity

Simplify Your Life!

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  • It has been a long journey spanning thirteen years, but my family of four bought land, moved into a 400 square foot cabin and started building a house with our own hands. We paid as we went working on the land and house on weekends and evenings. The first year we did all our cooking outside and washed clothes by hand. Our milk products all came from our goats and we raised chickens, too. Suffice it to say simple isn't easy.

    We have gradually added back some "luxuries" but have continued to do most of our labor manually. Last weekend we over seeded our pasture with 200 lbs of winter wheat and rye by hand. I enjoyed the sun on my face and felt like lady bountiful flinging seeds and imagining my goats enjoying the fresh green growth in the dead of winter. Life is an adventure!

    - 11/13/2016 10:30:22 AM
  • I plan to re-read this article several times so that I can integrate the wise recommendations into my life! - 11/13/2016 7:43:33 AM
  • I had moved from the east coast to the mid west. I didn't hardly take anything with me. I was also in between living in a place "for just now" and a place I really wanted so I didn't want to accumulate anything I didn't absolutely need. It's AMAZING how many things we can easily live without !! I did end up moving back to the east coast to the area I was born. Again in the moving back from the mid west to the east coast,,,, I didn't pack much, hey I didn't have much. Than it was again taking a place until I could get into a place I really wanted. I've been here now for 3 years and about to move to a unit in the building I prefer. So I have had most things packed up. AMAZING how FAST things build up !!

    Living a simpler life style is MUCH more freeing !
    - 11/13/2016 1:24:00 AM
  • This was an excellent article, and very timely for me. Very affirming, and although I did not read all the many responses, I found them to also be very positive and helpful. Many of us have come to a simpler life not out of choice but because something happened, and I was interested to see how people were able to adapt to make something better, and many have found a strong spirituality as a result. - 4/11/2016 7:20:12 AM
  • Thank you for the Birthday Greetings and for this article on Voluntary Simplicity. I especially like this term. A few years ago when I was struggling with a divorce, change of career, and having the youngest one leave home and start her life I was overwhelmed with the choices. A dear friend gave me a copy of a book called "God on a Harley". It has the most profound impact on my life. I did start over, and keeping it simple became my mantra. I love the simple life. How we define that depends on the person, but I feel I do it very well for me.
    Bless you! - 2/20/2016 4:24:25 PM
  • This is the way I am attempting to live. I don't think I've ever seen it expressed so eloquently as I have here, but then Coach Dean is one of my favorite SparkPeople coaches/writers. All of his articles are worth reading! Thank you for populating my "Favorites"! - 1/29/2016 6:44:11 AM
  • Very good article. This is something I am working toward since I retired. - 11/18/2015 11:37:56 AM
  • MARY_POPOVER
    What a terrific article from one of Spark's finest coaches! I've found there's so much peace and satisfaction to be gained by relinquishing the role of a "stuffologist" ;) It's easier on the earth, too! - 10/15/2015 7:05:03 PM
  • Enjoyed this article very much. - 10/5/2015 5:54:22 AM
  • DEBORAH3498
    Very good article. I too, had to learn the hard way. I had lost my job a couple of years ago and I was totally unprepared. In the beginning, living simply was not a choice, it was just the way it was. But after a few weeks, I gradually learned I did not need all of the things I wanted. I found the difference between the meaning of wanting and of needing. Today I am thriving and doing well. My life is a testament in how God provides and how to trust in Him completely. Letting go of me and holding onto Him. - 8/17/2015 8:18:13 AM
  • CEVIZAGACE
    Simplicity started out involuntarily for me, when I had to stop working because of a chronic disease. I still have some income, but it's a bare minimum. I came to like the simple life pretty soon. Fortunately, I don't own a house so no mortgage, I live in a reasonably cheap apartment. I don't own a car and don't need one - do everything by bike and if it's too far by train. I don't go on holidays anymore, and am always on the search for free or cheap things, free or low budget courses (I love learning), second hand clothes and furniture (or I make them myself). Don't have cable anymore, if I really want to watch things I can always find them online. Started gardening on my very small patch of ground. Stopped buying books but get them from the library now. I enjoy my relatively simple life (which is, compared to life in really poor countries, still quite luxurious).
    Only thing I miss is being able to give my son some extra money so he has to take a considerable student loan, and perhaps taking more classes. - 7/28/2015 4:54:19 AM
  • Two years of unemployment knocked this sense into me, When I FINALLY was able to land a job (PT) I learned to live on that income and enjoyed the simplicity of it. 5 years later I am lovin' life and heading toward retirement in another 5 years. I'll be ready if I do decide to retire but I doubt it. I love my PT job and God has been to good to me.

    Have faith !!! - 3/20/2015 8:20:04 AM
  • This was one of the best articles I've ever read on Spark and I've been here a LONG time. The only issue not addressed was people who must work long hours just to support their family. Companies increasingly treat employees as disposable and demand more and more with the warning "you're lucky to have a job." This attitude is devastating to the individual family and to society as a whole. - 3/20/2015 7:53:14 AM
  • VAINVT
    This was a great article. The suggestions were reasonable and worthy. Although we have downsized, and although I became far more thoughtful about buying new and getting rid of no longer used items, I am way behind many of the people who commented on your article. One thing I'd add to the comments is that when we downsized, I felt "lighter" and less encumbered. It was an eye-opener to read both the article and the comments. - 2/4/2015 7:42:04 AM
  • IRELANDSIS
    Great article. We downsized in 2007 from a 3000 square foot home to a 1000 square foot home for four people. We love it! We have to be more creative with our storage and nearly everything in our home serves a practical purpose and isn't there just to be decorative. We have no attic space, minimal closets, and refuse to pay for off-site storage, so we really have to be careful with what we buy. If we haven't used it in 6 months, it goes out the door to someone else who can find a use for it (donation to charity or a friend). We spend much more time together as a family creating memories than taking care of possessions. It's a good life, but the steps to get here can be overwhelming at first. :) - 12/29/2014 9:58:24 PM

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