May 22, 2013

How We Homestead - Part 2: Living Simply

This is Part 2 in a 5 weeks series called "How We Homestead" hosted by Staci at Life at Cobble Hill Farm.  You can find Part 1 here. Be sure to visit the other lovely women, linked to at the bottom of this post.  

We found this spot on a trek in the mountains. I wish it was my view!

This week's topic is about living simply and how we've tried to simplify our life.

This is such a regular, ingrained part of my life that it's a little hard for me to think of specific things we do. We just do it!

Let me start with a little background. I grew up in a house in I guess what you could call the middle of town. It was my grandparents house, and it housed them, my parents, by brother and sister and I, and my great-grandmother. Starting when I was about 8 and continuing over the years, my grandparents converted a one story, 3 bedroom house (I think it was a 3 bedroom) to a 3 story, too-many-rooms-to-count house. On top of that my grandmother loves to buy people things, so if we ever mentioned anything that we might or might not have wanted at one time, she would get it for us.

Needless to say, I did not grow up very simply. I grew up in abundance and consumerism, and in the end I think all it really did was stress me out. You know all those stories you hear about people who had everything they ever wanted but still weren't happy? That was me. (I am very thankful to my grandmother. She was very sweet and just wanted to make us happy. It just didn't feel right for me.)

I don't like clutter, and over the years I've realized I don't like having too much stuff because it takes up space in my brain thinking about caring for it. It's more stuff to clean and find a place for. And while I'm not a super hippie, there is the part of me that says "this is so wasteful and unneeded."

Another place I wish was my view. :)

So part of our homesteading journey has definitely included living simply. I'll explain how we live simply in certain areas.

Simple Living in our Finances:
As of 2011, we are debt free aside from our house. I can not begin to tell you how this has given both of us a sense of freedom. It has given us the opportunity to pursue whatever we please, because we do not have to worry about what we owe to people. It has also made our actual banking much easier, because I just pay our few utilities at the beginning of the month and then things like gas and groceries come out when we need them. It's also allowed us to look into the future without worry or stress.

Simple Living in our Home:
We try to live very simply when it comes to stuff. For little purchases we usually ask ourselves (or each other) "Do we really need this? Will we actually use it? Does it serve a purpose?" before we purchase anything. This really helps in keeping the clutter and excess at bay. For the big purchases we make sure we save and budget for them, which in itself is a good deterrent for keeping unneeded things out of our lives. We have just enough clothes for each of us to wear, and a few special outfits for everyone. We don't have a ton of stuff, and the things we do have are things we love. We are fairly minimalistic and just like having our special things, not just things that fill up the empty spaces.

We also like to make a lot of the things we have or use. It allows us to spend less money, while opening our creativity at the same time. I can food, bake, and knit. Ben is an artist with metal and can make just about anything, or make some broken work again.

Add to all that the fact that we don't spend a lot of time out of the house doing things - we'd much rather be home, enjoying sitting together on the porch and watching the kids play - and I would say we live a very simple life indeed.

~ * ~
 Visit the other women of the How We Homestead series:
Daisy from Maple Hill 101
Tammy from Our Neck Of The Woods
Amber from Making A Home 


Kessie said...

What a simple lifestyle! We still have so much clutter around here, and it's minorly stressful, just enough to make me stay outside. When we moved and got rid of so much stuff, it was such a relief.

Farm Girl said...

I love to read about your choices and how you love to live simply. I do think it is the best way to live. To lead a quiet life and work with your hands.
I love your articles and I am so glad you are writing down the hows and whys.
They are very encouraging to me.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

What a beautiful post. It's so true that once you are close to being out of debt {besides the mortgage}, it is freeing as well as not so much stuff around. :)

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I agree, I'd much rather be spending time at home with my husband and animals than doing anything away from home. It's so awesome that you guys have been able to simplify your finances so much. We have been working on that and are down to our mortgage and student loans. It's a good feeling!

I inherited the pack rat gene from my grandma, so I'm trying to fight that all the time. David is a minimalist, so he helps me to fight against clutter :) It is hard sometimes, though!

Buttons said...

Oh this sounds simply beautiful. B

daisy said...

I so agree with you about "stuff" taking up too much time and effort. Sounds like a great life.

Amber said...

Hey Meg! We seem to be a lot alike in our views on living simply! We've been debt free (apart from our mortgage) for 3-4 years now, and it is a wonderful feeling!!!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I so admired your commitment to live a simpler life. I do think it might be a little easier for you because you are highly organized. Your food lists are amazing. Great job Meg, you should be very proud of yourself.

Anita said...

Since I began blogging, I began to hear people describing themselves as minimalists. Slowly, but surely, I am moving towards that status, because Oh how I know what you mean when you say that "things" take up too much space in your brain.

I like coming here to visit because it lets me know that a more tranquil environment is possible.

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