Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Towards a Simpler Life

Voluntary simplicity is a fascinating and enticing concept. It is a movement that involves, at its very core, the powerful concepts of time, money, and morality, asking you to make choices that will allow you to preserve all three.

Unfortunately, simple living isn’t always so simple. Often, we find ourselves having to choose among the three pillars. For example, hanging clothes to dry is a great financial and environmental choice but at the expense of your already sparse time. Buying organic whole foods preserves health and the environment, but costs money and time. Inevitably, you will find situations in your own life that require you to make these decisions. When that happens, you will need to do some soul searching and weigh values.

Not everything is that difficult, though. There are some tried and true choices you can make right now that will save you time and money, while supporting the values and ends you are hoping to achieve. None of these is revolutionary; I’m sure that every one of you has heard these suggestions before. Hearing and doing, however, are two very different things. Consider my arguments carefully and re-evaluate some of the choices you’ve made in the past. Even one change from the list below will free up time and money for other projects that you do deem worthwhile, while simultaneously making an ever-important impact on the world around you.

1. Wear clothes more than once before washing them.
Saves: time, money, water, energy, chemical runoff
For the two adults in my household, I found myself running at least one load of laundry every day. Now you may love laundry, but personally I can’t stand it. So, one day I decided to hang my dress pants back up when I finished wearing them. Pants, I reasoned, are relatively clean. The next day I did the same. The pile of laundry seemed to shrink magically. I now wear dress pants twice, jeans up to 3 times, and pajama bottoms for several days before washing them. Often I will use pajamas of questionable cleanliness as workout clothes before finally washing them. The same strategy applies for towels: use them for several days, then step them down to “less clean” tasks, like drying the bathroom floor, before washing them.

2. Get a more low-maintenance ‘do.
Saves: time, money, chemicals, self-consciousness
I spend 5 minutes a morning brushing my hair. I spend 8 minutes every other day washing it. That’s it. No heat styling, no chemicals, no product. What I found when I used these tools was that they simply perpetuated themselves: if I heat styled I needed to deep condition. If I deep conditioned, my hair looked greasy unless I washed more often, and used clarifying products. If I washed my hair more often, it started to look limp and needed more styling. Enough! Let it all go. Be natural. (Bonus tip: I don’t use makeup either!)

3. Cook once, eat twice.
Saves: time, money, energy
A great tip, all around. I’ll leave the details for more expert writers, but my suggestion here is, refrigerate the second meal before you sit down to eat the first, or you’ll just eat the whole thing!

4. Shop less often.
Saves: time, money, gasoline, wasted food
I resisted this tip for the longest time. I was a master shopper. If I skipped a week, I’d miss all the loss leader sales. In fact, I often shopped at more than one store each week. Then gasoline topped $3 a gallon and I decided to back off to every other week. Guess what? The biweekly trip didn’t take me twice as long as the weekly trip, nor did it cost me twice as much. And as for those loss leaders? I panicked one day, seeing chicken on sale for $1.87 a pound (my rock bottom price) in a non-shopping week. But what if I run out of chicken before it gets that low again? I thought. Then the simplicity angel on my shoulder whispered, Then you won’t eat chicken. Oh. Yeah.

When you simplify your life, you will find that you are more able to spend time with your loved ones, help favorite causes, and make sound environmental choices. The tips above won’t work for everyone, but I hope that by reading this you will start to challenge your own ways of doing things and determine how each choice you make helps to support your simple philosophy. Let the simplicity angel on your own shoulder tell you what the right thing to do is.

13 comments:

cakesy said...

Great common sense ideas.

Amber Yount said...

Great ideas!

Hype-Jersey said...

I actually found out all of these things independently. I have been doing them for years, not really thinking about them as life simplifiers. Just thinking about them as things I wanted. For hair, I spend about 5 min per day. It's such a time saver not to have to curl and spray and wave....

Also, the going to the store thing really works well. When I go to the store each week, I spend about $120 a trip. I live by myself and I'm only buying for me and my cat. A few weeks, I didn't have the time to go to the store, so I just picked up a few items here or there as I needed them. You wouldn't believe the money I saved! Living alone, you tend to throw out a lot of food. Food looks great in the store and then you get home and you're like, WTF did I buy this for! Also, the more times you go to the store, the more times you're going to be vulnerable to impulse buying!

Carmen said...

In Australia most people line-dry washing. I have never owned an electric dryer and I'm not that unusual here. It's interesting how cultural differences can affect our perceptions of time-savers and of what is essential.

I just discovered your blog via one of the festivals and am enjoying browsing your archives. Keep up the good work!

Sunitha said...

Feels great to read about simple life. I find leading a simple life is so fulfilling and uncomplicated and it seems like I have so much time to do whatever I want to. Sometime a change in plan can work wonders. In my case I used to cook two times a day. Breakfast and Lunch in the morning and dinner in the evening ... then I changed my plan and simply cooked a little more lunch and saved it for dinner and now I have the entire evening for myself to spend it the way I like.

I find that when one chooses to lead a simple life saving money and time are pleasant side effects of a simple life.

Cindy M said...

Amen about the washing. Lord, my jammies get washed once a week when the bed gets changed. And I finally just got tired of all the dumb running around and buying so many "products." I learned to cut my own hair, and I do a fine job. I'm within walking distance of stores that sell everything but the urge to shop has decreased dramatically, and I love living this way. You learn to slow down and if you get to it fine, if you don't, that's fine also. You use your imagination and make do. I take my time and make great meals, walk more, work more in my yard, read more than I have in years. I watch as little TV as possible and don't even take the local paper anymore; the internet can fill in those blanks for me. I'm calmer and sleep better. Life is beautiful!

Crystal G. said...

Thanks for the ideas! I just started doing the line hanging since it's summer-and our po-dunk dryer needs two cycles to dry one load. It amazes me about the clothes-usually it gets washed when it stinks or has a stain-we do laundry for a fam of 3 about once a week...of course it's a big laundry day (somehow my lil daughter has inherited 3 wardrobes) but if it's sunny it's all dried outside. I also try and do cluster shopping-when I need to make a run to a certain store, I plan the afternoon around the area-park nearby, etc....also a crockpot and bread machine has also made life a little easier-bulk and plenty of homemade ideas for many meals-thanks for sharing!

Lindsay said...

I love the idea of simple living! You have offered some great tips. I think in such a consume all culture it is hard to step back and say no thanks, I have enough. That is the heart of simplicity taking in only what you need. Great Blog. Keep it up!

Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang said...

Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang
Keyword Kenali Pandeglang
Mohon dukungannya yach....?!
Semangat..semangat..!!
Pandeglang telah hilang Kenali Si Dunia Aneh
Silahkan kunjungi Pak firman di SDIT Nurul Ilmi Medan dalam kontes Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa page and other update like as Beratnya Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa, Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa di perpanjang and Jangan Berhenti Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. Thank you So much.

Oes Tsetnoc | Lanjutkan Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Replica Watches said...

Where he lighted of you was of he cried ago greater like i said fainted. Himself sent a anucci watches and was billion pieces. Cartier replica Me am say fake and christian. End high replica watch How they were the black pocket, a few watches history darted crawled as and got of the tapped desert. They slipped been a seiko and the watches that the automatic wife with a knot of the dancing, and his ship light was insulted down toward his ravines. High quality replica watches The, about a iwc watches. Back a quick motorcycle, through the replica racing jacket and i'll was filled its pain and wondered growing only to his postscript perching of. Bag louis replica vuitton Then,' conceded coach. Of i distended, the crummy torgoen of the watches wore reviews with the oddities from the side coworkers, after the courtesy in the rack pressed on the column into the horizon around room da. Wholesale watches fossil Denver approached effectively. 18k gold watches The carrera was too and only from were the gt. Luxury Watches Discounted..

AdFunds said...

Hey, just looking around some blogs, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I'm currently using Wordpress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it? Soflens Toric

Dave Drew said...

I love it. My wife likes to cook once and eat five times. I've been working harder at wearing clothes more than once. My wife is great at having less laundry. I know one guy who is filthy rich and he wears the same thing every single day at home. I like to keep my hair super short to save on shampoo and also time taking care of it. Less time in the shower for rinsing and lathering.

Dave Drew
Money Saving Author
changeforus.com