What does simple living mean to you? Is there one right answer? Can it be done while working full time outside of the home? I’m going to answer all of these questions below and how I believe it can be done.
Simple living by defintion:
Doing a simple Google search brings up a wide variety of works pertaining to Simple Living. Reducing consumption, possessions, self sufficiency and reducing the use of technology are all part of their definition. They talk about frugality, minimalism and reducing stress. The definition is so broad and covers so many topics. My question to you is, What is your definition of Simple Living? Yours, will more that likely be totally different than mine, which is a very good thing. I encourage you to close your eyes and dream about your future Simple Life. What do you see?
Here is my vision of my future simple life and how it fits in my 3 year plan:
We are working extremely hard on being debt free. All of our consumer debt/vehicle loans will be 100% paid off by the end of 2021. We will still have our mortgage and can concentrate on that after all of our smaller debts are paid. I can honestly say that I do not ever want to have a car loan again. From now on, if we do not have the cash, we will not purchase. Debt has been the worse trap for us and I am so ready to not have the monthly payments. This will free up a tremendous amount of time, as I will not have to work 45 hours a week outside of our home . Then try to find time to grow and produce our food and take care of all the animals and responsibilities here at our home,
WHAT IS NEXT:
Once the debt is paid off, I will be able to work full time here at home. My priorities are being at home, taking care of our animals, cooking our meals from scratch, the blog, the gardens and farm stand. Concentrating on building a wider customer base on the farm side of things and continue to meet members of our community. I cannot tell you how much of a blessing it has been to meet our neighbors through having the farm stand. We are pretty spread our in our neighborhood and I have met a lot of our neighbor when they would stop by and purchase their vegetables. I would be out in the gardens weeding and they would walk over and introduce themselves and we would have a great conversation. Most of them, I would find out are regulars and stop by every week.
I want to be able to get back into the sewing room and craft enough aprons and pot holders to participate in the holiday craft shows and bazaars in the fall and winter. To be able to sell my vegetables in the local farmers markets come spring and summer.
Living a more Simple Life will allow me even more time in the summer to expand our gardening area and utilize even more of our 5 acres. We are currently only using about 3 of the 5. The unused 2, is just an open field that my husband keeps mowed to prevent the weed over growth. It will allow me more time to harvest and preserve even more of our own food for the winter. To become less dependent on the grocery stores and allow us to be more self sufficient.
Our time frame: 3 years
I just turned 37 last week. My #1 goal is to “retire” from my corporate day job by the time I am 40 and pursue a more Simple Life at home, all while still making an income.
wHAT AM I DOING RIGHT NOW, DESPITE WORKING 45 HOURS A WEEK OUTSIDE OF THE HOME, TO PRACTICE SIMPLE LIVING?
My schedule right now might seem a bit nutty to you and a bit crazy and I would have to agree. But, living a more Simple Life is extremely important to me! As long as I am moving forward, I am happy. Because of my busy schedule, I do utilize a paper planner. It is a little old fashioned, I know. I cannot seem to get the hang of using my smart phone as my planner. I first block off my scheduled work times that I will be out of the house. Then I schedule in my blog work time frame and dinner. I give myself 1 to 2 hours a day to work on the blog.
This week, I am learning photography. Learning how to use my new DSLR camera and it is a total learning curve and can be a little intimidating. I also schedule 30 minutes of house cleaning a day. Usually after the outside chores of feeding animals and making sure they are all safe and warm. Then make dinner and clean the kitchen. Some days Dave and I will watch an hour of Netflix and some nights I take a long hot bath with a good book.
Simple living In the kitchen:
I am utilizing all of my cookbooks and trying one new recipe a week. It helps keep me motivated to cook dinners after a long day at work and then work on the property. I choose recipes that feature from scratch ingredients, fresh vegetables, healthy fats and meats. We buy our meat from a local farm. Utilize other neighboring farm stands for the items that I was not able to grow.
For example, my pepper plants refused to grow this year, let along produce any peppers. The weather here in NW Washington state was just too cold this summer. Our neighbor has a green house and was able to grow beautiful, large peppers. I bought the amount that I think I would need for the year. Came home, washed, chopped them up, portioned them out and froze them. They will be used for future soups and chilis. One of the best investments we have made is a Food Saver machine. We freeze most of our vegetables for the year and this machine keeps our vegetables from getting freezer burned. One of thing that is very important to us is knowing where our food comes from. We buy local grown foods as much as possible.
What does the simple living mean to me?
The Simple Life to me means growing and raising as much food as we possibly can. Each year we will add more and more meat options as well as vegetables. Buying from our neighbors before buying from the grocery store. It means paying attention to where our food and household products come from and what is in them. Doing a little bit today to make tomorrow easier so we continue to pursue a more Simple Life.
It means limiting technology and connecting with the people that I love. We do not have cable TV and do not miss it, but we do have Netflix and the internet. We will not eliminate technology, we are just selective with the devices we do have. It is making the things we need and not constantly having to run to the grocery store. We do live a bit out of town. A trip to town, round trip takes almost an hour and depending on how many stores you do have to go to, can take half a day by the time you are back home. We plan our trips carefully. It means learning those old fashioned skills, wood working, sewing, crocheting, cooking, baking, etc.
It is hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it means to me. I know that I could keep adding more and more to the list.
What does Simple Living mean to you and how are you practicing it in your everyday life? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.