When we moved to our dream location last year, we vowed to live a “simpler, smaller life.” Who knew that the biggest challenge to living simpler and smaller would be…me? A lifetime of indoctrination into the world of more and bigger is not easy to overcome. It requires a serious mindset shift. And I slip…a lot.
Watching my husband set off on his bike to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner just now made me think of some of the things we’ve put in place to keep our lives simpler and smaller.
- We right-sized our house. Ok, technically we down-sized. We have lived in homes as big as 3500 sq. ft. and as small as 1200 sq. ft. The truth is, our needs are small and simple. We need three bedrooms: one for us, one for our son, and one (or a den) to use as a home office since we both work from home. Check. We need a kitchen. Check. We need a place to eat (dining room). Check. We need a family gathering place (living room). Check. We had to get rid of about half of our furniture when we moved and I had to get rid of about half of my clothes since we now share a closet. I don’t miss any of it. That we have a front porch is a bonus. That we added a (bug-free!) screened in back porch is positively decadent! Sure, I would love to have a proper guest room for the occasional guests we have. But guests are rare and we make due with air mattresses and a trundle when we do have some.
- We have a housekeeper. A splurge. Worth the money and a great time-saver. The time we don’t spend cleaning house is spent with each other. This morning my husband and I took a walk on the beach together while our house was being cleaned
- We order our groceries online. Any chance my husband gets to avoid talking to a human being, he does so this works great for him. We order online, swing through to the special lane at Harris Teeter to pick them up, and bring them home. Probably less impulse buying too.
- We use HelloFresh for meals. We love it! It has given my husband (the cook) three new menus to try each week (they take about 30 minutes to prepare) and the fresh food comes boxed to our door. Less waste and some new tastes!
- We did have a yard guy, but he wasn’t helping keep our plants alive and I can kill them myself without paying him to do it. And we only have a tiny swath of grass that I could cut with a pair of scissors in about 30 minutes (but won’t).
- Next thing I want to try is Stitch Fix which will do my clothes shopping for me. They surely will do a better job than I do for myself (I’m fashion-challenged and will wear shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops any chance I get).
I know some of my simplifying measures are just paying other people to do things for us. But that’s the great thing about it…we would rather pay people to do some of the things for us that we don’t like to do than pay for a giant house or newer cars or rounds of golf or whatever. Everyone’s different. But these things make our lives easier and we don’t feel like we’re sacrificing anything. Others might really want a golf club membership but be willing to clean their own house. It’s all about prioritizing. And everyone’s priorities are different.
The one area in which I just can’t seem to simplify is pets. We have three cats and a dog. That’s a lot of fur in a small house. (Thank goodness for Swiffer.) But it’s also a lot of pet love. And while that doesn’t make my life smaller or simpler, it makes it more wonderful.