Living a Simpler Life

by Catherine Haug, October 30, 2011

In sorting through my library of books to trim my collection, I came across one about simplifying your life (1). I decided to give it another look; perhaps there might be ideas here to help us on our path toward sustainable living. This is the first in a series of posts inspired by ideas in this book.

Just what is ‘a simpler life?’

Here are a couple quotes to contemplate:

Living a simpler life means:

  • “Having ‘more’ with ‘less'” (2)
  • “Getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value” (3)

It has to do with minimizing excess, chaos, and complication, of course, but I think it goes beyond ‘stuff’ – external stuff. It’s also about the stuff or baggage we carry in our psyches.

“Nothing external to us can give us permanent and true happiness. We actually have all we need to be truly happy within us.” (2)

Where to begin?

Living sustainably involves minimizing our footprint on this planet; but how and where do you start?

The book (1) starts with purging excess ‘stuff’ from your environment (home, office, car, etc.), but the Simple Living Manifesto (3) has this action farther down the list, after some mental exercises to prepare you for the task. Some of us do these mental exercises automatically, without thinking about them; others of us would do well to focus on them:

  • What is most important to you?
  • Evaluate your commitments, time
  • Simplify work tasks, home tasks
  • Learn to say No
  • Limit your communications (phone, cell phone, email, texting, Skype, etc.)
  • Limit media consumption (TV, radio, internet, magazines, etc.)


  1. 30 Days to a Simpler Life by Connie Cox & Cris Evatt (published 1998, by Penguin Group)
  2. Think Simple Now: A Moment of Clarity
  3. Simple Living Manifesto: 72 ideas to simplify your life by Leo Babauta

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