A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Simplicity is Relative


As I pack for our family vacation today, I am once again overwhelmed. I have faint memories of what it was once like to pack for a trip and only be concerned about what I needed for myself. Now I must consider the needs of my kids as well. My boys are many things, but being careful packers is not one of them.

Based on my experience as a mom and as the daughter of a boy scout, I always feel the need to be prepared for the unexpected. I have the vomit kit for my two carsick-prone kids, the on-the-go medical kit for the accidents that always seem to happen away from home, and the back-up plan of activities in case we get rain for several days like last year.

I looked at my lists and all the tiny piles adding up around the house today, and I began to get discouraged. That’s when it hit me:

Simplicity is Relative

I would love it if we were down to a single backpack each, but we’re not at that point. Every trip we take, we manage to take a little bit less and that’s what I’m going to focus on today. We have been making awesome progress! Going on an eight day trip is both awesome and a tad overwhelming to me at the same time. Sure, I could go with just a couple outfits and nothing more and just buy what we might need while on vacation. But that’s also expensive and I cannot afford to do that right now.

Simplicity is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Don’t compare your efforts to simplify to anyone else. I was falling into that trap before I snapped myself out of it. I’ve always said that I’ll never be a backpack wearing minimalist with only 47 things to my name. It just brings a smile to my face whenever I think about how far we’ve come and all that we’ve broken free from.

You get to define what minimalism and simplicity mean to you and that’s why I love it so much!

Our Simple Vacation

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on ideas for low-cost, low-maintenance family vacations. I loved all the ideas and I’m sure I’ll be referring to them in the future. Although I love camping, with temperatures near 100 here in Georgia, I can’t stand the thought of it right now. I also don’t know how far away we’d have to drive to find cooler temperatures.

In the end, we decided to go back to the beach. We have a very generous family friend who is letting us use their gorgeous beach condo for free. The drive is farther than I’d like (see reference to car-sick kids above) but we just couldn’t think of an alternative that made sense for us.

I anticipate some very thoughtful times of reflection from the balcony overlooking the ocean. I’ve got a lot on my mind with my future goals for this site and my other endeavors. I am thrilled that I get the entire week off from my job. I haven’t had that chance in an entire year.

Have a great week everyone! You’ll be hearing from me soon.

If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, Family-Sized Minimalism or subscribing to the RSS or the weekly update newsletter in the sidebar. Thanks so much for reading.

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Article originally published on 06/10/2011

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