Living With Less

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Living With Less: America's Quest for Simplicity
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  1. Amen! I lived well within my means in a 1,000sf house that I bought on my own, was driving a car that was paid off, was saving for the future and was content and loving life when I became romantically involved with a man that spent every penny of a very good salary, and eventually convinced me that I was missing the boat because I wasn’t too. After 7 years we bought a “dream” home together…4,000sf…and he promptly bailed from the relationship, leaving me with a house payment and utilities that take up most of my income, leaving me only money for groceries. My savings is all in the house, and a good part of it will be lost. I’m still driving the same car, 11 years old now. My pre-relationship habits have enabled me to weather this gut wrenching storm, and I dream of the day when I am free of this house and the little under 1,000sf bungalow I will buy and again be content and loving life. Not one thing that money was spent on during the years with him has endured, but my family, my animals and my knowing what is right and true has.

  2. Yes. Yes. This is where I’m heading in this season. That call to a simpler, pared down lifestyle has been pulling at my heartstrings for awhile. The first brave step to unload way-too-much stuff was at your invitation in June, dear Nester.

    Something’s been unleashed since then. Still not quite sure what to do with all this STUFF that was joyfully gathered along the way. But slowly but surely, it is leaving my life. And I am breathing a sigh of relief as the dust settles and the space around me clears.

  3. We, too, have too much stuff. I feel as if we’ve spent our lives moving, sorting, packing and unpacking our stuff. We are now downsizing, selling, discarding, donating, etc and it feels wonderful. It leaves room to breathe.

    • We too have moved too many times, gotten too much stuff. We have recently retired and are downsizing and getting rid of stuff. It feels really good.

  4. We just moved houses. We doubled our square footage, but with 4 kids it was a bit necessary. What was so horrible about the move was seeing all the STUFF / JUNK that we accumulated. I always thought we lived simply, until I saw how many trips it took to move our junk. I will try and always remember your post. Instead of filling up our bigger house with junk, I hope to just fill it with family memories. Thanks for the great post! Also- I’ve read your “Stuff Manager” post to your husband. We often bring it up. I love your blog!

  5. Good post. I was also married to someone who always wanted the biggest, brightest, and newest. I walked away from that almost choking on “stuff.” For ten years I have lived very simply and feel so much “cleaner.” It is good to wake up and not immediately be overpowered by how much you owe and how much maintenance you have to do for all your “stuff.” I watch my adult children go through the cycle of “stuff” and try to wait patiently for them to realize it doesn’t solve anything or bring you happiness.

  6. I definitely think long and hard before I buy anything now! I would say 75% of the stuff that I really want, I end up putting it back on the shelf and walking away from it.

    • I went at simplifying my life with a passion once the choice was made FOR me when my first husband passed away. Working at a much lower income from what my husband had made, I still lived in the 4200 sf house on 4 ac, the shell of the former life, til last child graduated. Through the online HUD auction I bought a teeny tiny 1,700 sf house with “deferred maintenance” – to put it kindly. I redid it with a mindset of rent- grade rather than top-of-the-line. Like, the wood 80’s kitchen cabinets were sufficient once I moved them to the ceiling and made more space by having an open shelf running underneath, with Ikea black iron brackets. The shelves are stocked with simple, easy-on-the-eye, all-white dishes and serving ware, easily found for $1-2 at the resale shop. Open shelving means easy access and party-ready, everyone can jump in and serves, cooks, puts up dishes, no big production. The purge continues through garage sales, curb alerts, truckloads taken to the charity store. Any occasional melancholy is no threat to my contentment when I think how my property taxes are 1/3 less, bills cut 60%, which makes my avg income now completely doable, which I know is a huge blessing right now in tough times. Keep these articles coming, I need them to stay on track, and remind me that even my “little” house is still almost double for a 1950’s family.

  7. This is all a result of the cancer of feminism.

    We can not buy the homemaking that a loving Wife and Mother bring. We can not buy that taste of homemade cooking, the smell of it, the health it brings.

    However the women doing these things were told they were nothing without a paycheck. This was wrong. Their accomplishments were worth more then paper money. They were life giving and even life saving, at the very least they made life worth living.

    You don’t need more stuff. You need to BE the Women God called us to be. That is more, more, then enough and not doing it will leave a gaping hole that can never be filled with enough.

    • As a 24 year old mom to 3, I fully appreciate your comment! My husband and I chose early on to follow Gods intent for the household which meant me staying home. We are sometimes “uncomfortable” in our finances, but there is nothing like being uncomfortable and still in the will of God! You can’t find peace and the promise of eternal life in a bigger paycheck or being able to buy what you want when you want it.

      Thank you for your insight.

      • Stand your post and dont move Honey! God didnt need any help to knock down the walls of Jericho. He just wanted obedience. He will bless you and yours.
        Good job!

  8. Loved this. I just wrote a similar 31 day post yesterday about this. Someone commented that I must be lucky to be in a place in my life where I didn’t have to worry about all the stuff. Hmmm… place in my life?

  9. Such an informative article. I was reading someone’s blog yesterday, can’t remember who. She had set the table with her grandmother’s antique china and she commented on the size dinner plates compared to the size of dinner plates we have how. They were more the size of what we calls las plates now. Just another indication of how we have overdone it in every area of our lives.
    I keep trying to simplify but stuff keeps following me home for garage sale and GW saying, “Please give me a good home. I want someone to care for me.”

  10. A year ago we moved from a home over 2000 sq ft. to a cottage type home less than 900 sq ft. We are a family of four that has seen first hand we do not need all the “stuff”. A 2 bedroom, ONE bath IS doable. It was an awakening for me to see how life can be good with less. Simple has become something we strive to live by now. It has made me really think about what we truly need-vs-what we want.
    Just recently found your blog and am LOVING it! Thanks for all you share here.

  11. Wow, this is such a powerful infographic. So good. Thank you so much, Nester.

  12. Hi, Nester —

    Looked for another way to contact you, but this was all I found.

    I was really startled to see a Wendy Davis ad on your 31-days site. Wendy owns the pro-abortion label here in Texas. Her mediocre rise from nobody to democratic darling is the result of very careful political engineering. Definitely not family friendly.


    • So sorry about that, there are some political ads sneaking through & they are NOT supposed to be there at all, for any side, stance & what have you. My apologies!

  13. Good information. My husband and I have been married 34 years and have always been minimalists. Guess we were lucky we just happened to feel the same way about living, especially since we only dated for 7 months before we married. We raised two successful children in our minimalist way and they are very, happy, well-adjusted, young marrieds. We are still as happy and as crazy about one another today as the day we were married AND we have good friends, so I don’t think we are weird. I guess we are just simple (in the good kind of way :) ).

  14. Well, somebody still needs to buy all the stuff advertised in blogland….so we can’t get too minimalist…lol.

  15. Thirkellgirl says

    Just because you can relate to those sad graphics (I’m assuming you do? did?) doesn’t mean everyone does. We raised two daughters in a house under 1000 square feet, and we rented it for ten years before we bought it. We did what we could to it along the way (before we bought it, not much) and it’s still in process. We have had 1.5 bathrooms (and the second one was known as “the cat’s bathroom” in the basement), no walk-in closets, no coat closet, no pantry, no dishwasher, no garage big enough for a car. Maybe I should start a blog.

  16. I love it!
    I had never thought to calculate square footage per person…we’re at 233.33 right now. HA! No wonder I keep hiding in my bedroom… :)

  17. Help, for the last few days I have been unable to get to the other links for 31 days. The “click here for all 9 categories” does nothing” Is it just me?

  18. I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing. We’ve been getting rid of the excess but this just makes me want to do even more!!

  19. I can’t wait to share this post and pin it. We were convicted of this before we moved to AK, so here we downsized over 1,000sf of home and had the kids bunk up. We also downsized our weekly budget and living allowance. We are saving money, living as a family does together, not hidden away in some crevice of a huge house, and we are thriving!! It frustrates me that we can get this concept at a micro-familial level, but not on the macro-economy level :-(

  20. I’ve been on a never-ending quest to get rid of all the stuff. Sometime this summer I just hit my breaking point and everything went into trashbags.

  21. This really hit home with me when we upgraded to a new tv for our boys X-box (wish we had neither… I blame my husband. LOL!) When we dropped of our old TV to a charity that was going to fix it and then resell it the view inside their warehouse was shocking! PILES and PILES and PILES of clothing, toys, home decor that had been donated. This was right next door to their store, in fact it had once been their rather large shop to begin with but they had moved their store next door because it had more space! The warehouse was PACKED TO THE CEILING! I’m glad people are donating and not just trashing but HOLY SMOKES! My husband and I were shocked at how full the place was. We as Americans have way too much stuff. It really makes me think about what I truly want out of my house and money. Do I want it full of stuff or full of memories. Do I want my money to buy things that collect dust and then are tossed in a donation pile or dumpster? Or do I want them to buy us memories in the form of a family vacation? Sometimes it’s so hard to stop buying since you become so used to it, but sometimes it’s vital to remember that we were put on this earth to serve God, not our stuff.

  22. I am in the midst of an editing season right now. I typically do a couple of big “declutterings” a year, but suddenly my eyes have been opened to things I have had for years — even a decade — that I never use and don’t even like. I’m getting rid of duplicates. I have absolutely no need for two cream and sugar sets. I’m donating the $.99 pair I bought years ago in favor of the adorable vintage cream pitcher my grandmother gave me and a beautiful green blown glass lidded bowl my husband bought for me in St. Augustine during the first year of our marriage. I had 2 plastic spatulas? Why? Who knows. I’m tired of spending so much of my time moving things from one place to another to make room for more things. The older I get the less I want. Pretty soon people are going to start asking me what I want for Christmas. How do I explain to them that I don’t want any more? I want less for Christmas.

  23. Speak about saving time on the acquire in order to extra time in the rooms!

    No ski boot has ever been as comfortable as these.

    Retail net sales grew 66.8% to $ 332.6 million, a boost of forty one.4% year-on-year store sales, wholesale net sales rose 77.4% to $ 274.3 million; license revenue grew 52.1% to $ 29.8 million.
    He’s just a perfectionist to a new degree.

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