Today is not about choosing to live in poverty. Some people who live very simple lives do choose a life almost cut off from monetary concerns - for example, someone might choose to trade farm labor for a super-simple cabin on the farm and farm-fresh food.
But living with greater simplicity doesn't necessarily mean being poor.
Today is not about choosing to live without technology. Some people do choose to live without electronics - for example, many Amish people live without almost everything we take for granted. Cars! Cell phones! TV! Computers! Even electricity, at times!
However, people can choose to live more simply without doing without all things modern.
A lot of the Simplicity resources I found connected to this day are now dead links. It's possible that this idea and this holiday is less interesting to folks...or it's possible that it is SO wonderful that people living simply no longer feel the need to reach out to the rest of us?
Here are a few things that could make your life a little more simple:
- Wear the same thing.
Most people really, truly do not want to do this, but a few of us like the idea of wearing the same outfit almost every day. Steve Jobs famously wore black turtleneck shirts and blue jeans pretty much every day. I get up, shower, and pull on a random T-shirt and blue jeans, almost every day, winter and summer. (I wear different footwear in different seasons, and of course add a sweatshirt for warmth when it's cold.) People who wear uniforms or who have created their own simple semi-uniform say that not having to decide what to wear in the morning is very freeing, their wardrobes are streamlined, they are able to invest in good quality, classic clothes that look good on them and that they merely have to replace with more of the same...
- Eat the same thing.
It's not actually healthy to eat only a few foods over and over again. However, there could be a way of blending the needs of health with the decision to live simply. (Again, most people truly enjoy eating a variety of foods and do not want to do this!) Here's an example: each week at the grocery store, buy five different boxes of whole-grain cereals, milk, three different kinds of cheese, every kind of fruit and vegetable that is in season, and every kind of canned beans on the shelf. Breakfast would be cold cereal and milk or milk substitute (the variety comes from having a bunch of different kinds). Lunch is several slices of cheese and two pieces of fruit. Dinner is a humongous salad topped with beans. Once in a while there would be a party or a meal out, but streamlining meal decisions while creating variety through careful shopping is just the ticket for some folks.
- Reduce the clutter.
Almost all mail could be junk mail if you get paperless bills. And if almost all mail is junk mail, it's easy to bring it in, fish out the one or two important items, and immediately ditch the rest into the recycler.
Buy items with less packaging, and ditch whatever packaging you do have as soon as possible. Take trash and recycling out often.
Put away grooming items and utensils and tools as soon as you are done or as soon as the item has been cleaned, keeping your living space is clean and neat.
- Decorate simply.
Again, many people do not want to do this, but some people thrive living in a place with a bare, minimalistic style. Simple wooden blinds in the windows, sleek furniture, a single, striking houseplant, and three special items of decoration - and that's it.
- Buy less stuff.
This is pretty obvious, and now that we can stream movies and music, order books for e-readers and browse newspapers on our phones or laptops, we can truly get by with a lot fewer physical items in our homes.
- Get outside more.
Take walks. Picnic out of doors. Spend days at national or state parks. Spend lunch hours in city parks. Go camping. Go hiking. Set up comfortable hang-outs around your house or apartment that are on the porch, on the balcony, in the yard.
- Invite the outside in.
If you can, have an uncovered window or sliding door facing a chunk of nature. If that's impossible, how about a large photo of your favorite kind of natural beauty on the wall?
Happy Simplicity Day!
By the way, you may be wondering why Simplicity Day is today, of all days?
It's a tribute to the life-in-balance philosopher Henry David Thoreau, whose birthday is today! (See link below.)
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