A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Simplicity is Relative

familybeach_hortongrou

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.

image credit

Article originally published on 06/10/2011

Attack the Linen Closet

For nearly a week I have been looking at two giant boxes marked “Linen Closet” on them with no clue of where I was going to put all of their contents. Yesterday I decided enough was enough and I dove in. Linen closets crammed beyond capacity are so … [Continue reading]

Simple Giving: Bloggers Without Borders

bloggerswoborders

Today, I'm really excited to share with you a new charity called Bloggers Without Borders. Bloggers without Borders (BwoB) is a blogger-based charity whose mission is to help people—bloggers and readers alike—by harnessing the good will of the … [Continue reading]

How to Go from Books to Bucks

It is a truly awesome feeling to make money from stuff that is cluttering up your house. It's a win-win. You get to declutter your space and make a profit from that feeling. I know how great this feels because we just traded in 17 boxes of books for … [Continue reading]

Minimalist Target: Kitchen Clutter

Clearing out a kitchen is a big job. There are so many areas of a kitchen to focus on that it can be instantly overwhelming. Breaking it into smaller more manageable pieces is definitely the way to go. Today’s target is the kitchen clutter found in … [Continue reading]