May 25, 2012

Simple Living Check Up

A tiny home in the woods is a good way to live simply,
but it's not the only way
There are as many ways of doing simple living as there are people. If that is the case, can we ever really tell if we are doing it effectively?

Regardless of how you are achieving your small-footprint, more sustainable lifestyle, there are a few guidelines that may keep you on track.

Most importantly, your efforts should be voluntary. As a reader pointed out in a comment yesterday, it doesn't work if you feel like you are being bullied or shamed into your lower-impact life.

The Anti-Hoarder said, "I once had a friend who thought she could convince me to be vegan by telling me that I was "stupid" not to go veg. Well, she's not my friend anymore, and she didn't convince me of the virtues of the vegan life.
My sister in law has taken a much gentler approach and is having more luck pulling me over to her way of seeing things."

Lasting personal changes have to come from a deep desire within rather than from threats from outside forces.

Luckily, there are more carrots than sticks when it comes to living more gently. If your efforts to simplify are paying off you should notice some (or all) of the following:
  • you are spending less
  • you have more time to do things you want to do
  • you experience spontaneous moments of creativity
  • you are feeling healthier in mind and body
  • your cognitive dissonance, or conflicted thinking about the environment, is dissipating
  • you are walking, riding, and taking public transportation more often
  • you are enjoying cooking and eating wholesome foods
  • you are building a supportive community around you
  • you are sleeping more and feel rested
  • you have a growing desire to unload even more stuff
  • your life is slowing to a livable pace
  • people are noticing you are living differently and ask, "Why?"
  • you are feeling content, and free from the effects of advertising
  • your life feels right and natural, and brings you joy (thanks Poortorichadayatatime)
  • you feel more in control
  • you are thinking, "life is good", more often
  • trees, small animals and children wave and sing as you take your daily stroll through your neighbourhood 
Are you feeling that your efforts to simplify are creating the changes in your life that you want?


  1. I agree. I am vegan but I would have been the last person to convert if I had been pressured. My lifestyle choices are ones I have made not ones other people have pressured me into.

    1. Voluntary choices make for lasting, positive change.

      The bonus is that it is empowering, which emboldens us to make further wonderful changes.

      There is nothing that we can't do.

  2. I never try to pressure anyone, a life is a very personal journey. At the same time this frustrates me sometimes as it seems EVERYONE in my real life pressures me to conform back to the typical way of American thought of what is the right way to live. ( If there really is such a thing no?)

    Usually I take it with a grain of salt but when it feels all those I love are against me and make me feel I am always doing things wrong it can be discouraging.

    I have learned those those that seem to judge the harshest are the least happiest within their own lives and this helps me get through the discouraging times and while our lives may not be right for them, it most certainly is for us!

    This is a great checklist to keep in mind......going to print it to keep it on my fridge now!

    1. We are hearing from more and more people that are feeling the pressure you are referring to, and like you, are saying, "No thanks".

      I try to remember that everyone is under the same pressure - "Do what you are told and continue working and consuming".

      Living differently can be a risky business, and it takes courage.

      We want NBA to be a place you can share (increasingly mainstream), low-impact/high freedom ideas in a supportive community.

  3. Anonymous5/25/2012

    What a great reminder for some reflection to see if I'm going in the right direction.

  4. I am new to the minimalist way of thinking and voluntary simplicity. Earlier this year, my husband and I realized we were exhausted from all of our commitments and from all of our stuff. So, we sat down and prioritized. We dropped out of stuff (even though we have always taught our children to finish what they start) to save our sanity.

    Then we decided to purge. Right after that, I injured myself, have been basically on bed rest for months, am days away from spinal fusion surgery (I can't sit, bend or lift anything), and we're working through that challenge. But I refused to be thwarted by my injury. I called in some help and we are in purge mode. The charity's trucks arrive next week to haul away all of our junk, all of our excess, so I can heal from surgery free from the weight and stress of the clutter.

    I know this is the right thing for us and for our family. We've only just begun our journey, but it feels really good so far. We are dreaming of what we want our lives to look like and we are dreaming BIG.

    I can't wait to see where we are a year from now. It's gonna be awesome.

    1. Congratulations! We love to hear stories of people breaking free of the limitations of a 'stuff-based' lifestyle.

      Your commitment is admirable - no excuses for you. Linda is currently in a wheelchair and it has not slowed us down a bit.

      Dreaming big is THE way to go. Erase all limitations, be crazy, audacious and bold.

      We took time to brainstorm our ideal life, and after that things conspired to make it happen.

      Congratulations again, and hope your operation is wildly successful.

      We are excited for you and your family, and are here to help in any way we can. Let us know how your journey continues.

  5. Saw this article on CNN today. The comments that follow are interesting.

    1. Thanks for sharing the link. My favourite comment was,

      "It looks progressively Democratic... a Marxist Socialist rabbit hutch for the masses.

      Definitely not... a bourgeois capitalist Republican penthouse."

  6. Yes, I thought that was an interesting comment as well. Although the design is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it's not practical at that price, especially without plumbing. And as someone wrote, if it fits in a tractor trailer, why not just fix up the inside of a tractor trailer? It's a bigger space. I think the smallest space I could mentally handle living in would be maybe the size of a hotel room. I have issues. :)

    1. Personally, I would take the $55,000 and see what I could do on my own. I have a few ideas...

      I have spent weeks at a time in tiny accommodations overseas. The thing I liked best was that the smaller rooms encouraged us to spend more time outdoors. Also, they were temporary.

      I could live in 100 sq ft happily if I had access to nature out my door.


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