“Live simply so that others may simply live.” Mother Teresa
If you’re considering simple living, there are likely many things that you haven’t considered and a few that you have. You may picture simple living as easy and something that is far more fun and exciting than the life that you’re currently living.
Be as it may, there are still some things that you’ll want to ask yourself before you embark on a simple living plan. These questions will help guide you to your answer of “Is Simple Living For You?” There are no right or wrong answers to the questions, these are all personal questions that must be answered individually before you choose your simple life.
These 25 questions will help you to determine if the simple life is truly for you. Keep in mind that these are personal questions, there are no right or wrong answers. The only wrong answers are if you’re lying to yourself. Leading the simple life is a journey, it’s not a destination. So take the time to ask yourself the following questions and put some thought into your answers. You may wish to have a notepad at the ready and write your answers down as you go.
#1. What does “simple living” really mean to you?
The definition of a simple life may have an entirely different meaning to your neighbor than it does to you. For some, it may mean living off the grid. For others, it may simply mean that they don’t take on more than they can handle. What does it really mean to you? When you think of simple living, how do you picture yourself living? Make a list and identify what is important to you in simple living.
#2. What can you live without?
Now that you’ve identified what your personal definition of simple living is, you’ll need to look at your current life and determine what you can live without. For some, it may be as simple as living off the grid, for others, that may be entirely out of the question. This list may be short and get longer, it’s not unusual to start out thinking that you can’t live without some of the modern amenities that you’re currently used to and then decide that you can do without them after all.
Learning to live your life with less stuff will free you up to enjoy those things that you do have in life. Don’t forget technology. A lot of homesteads are not only off the grid, they don’t have clear access to WI-fi so you’ll have to go into town to get online. Consider what you’re truly willing to part with before you embark on your simple living journey.
#3. What do you want out of your simple life?
Picture your simple life and determine exactly what you want out of it. Do you want your very own homestead? Or, do you want to start slowly and work toward your own homestead? Perhaps you merely want to pare down what you already have and are doing in your life and make a more simple life for yourself and your family. Is your life too complicated? Take some time to really consider what you expect for a simple life.
#4. Do you want to spend more time with your family and loved ones?
When you choose simple living, you’ll be able to spend more time with your family and your loved ones simply by the choices that you’ve made. Life on a homestead is much different than the chaotic life in the city. Of course, there are days when the pigs get out and you have to go find them and lure them back to their pen and then mend the fence, but this is typically far less chaotic than being on time for your 9 to 5 job and sitting through boring meetings that are meaningless. Can you think of it as a family adventure when you’re chasing down the escapees?
#5. What steps do you need to take to make your simple life happen?
If you’re seeking a simple life you’re going to have to take the right steps to ensure that it happens. What do you need to do to get started on living the simple life that you envision? Do you need to buy some property, or simply work the property that you already have differently? Do you need to let go of some of your pastimes and hobbies to make it happen? Do you have to give up a luxury car and a more luxurious life? Perhaps you can set up a specific morning routine or afternoon or evening routine. This will go far in helping you to lead a simpler life and make it happen.
#6. How are you currently spending your day? How does that align with your goal of a simple life?
From the moment you get out of bed in the morning you’re busy. But, what are you really doing? Are the things that you are doing in alignment with what you need to be doing to lead the simple life that you’re envisioning? If not, then how can you adjust your life to embrace the simple life? What do you need to let go of in order to lead your simple life? Simplicity is a journey, it’s not a destination. Focus on a daily routine and see how that helps to relax you and put you into a more simple life.
#7. Can You Adjust your budget to lead a simple life?
Is your budget bursting at the seams because you want to keep up with the Jones’, or because you’ve started prepping for emergencies? Here’s a hint, the Jones’ are broke. Yep, true fact. They are mortgaged to the hilt and they have so much debt that they’re juggling all of their bills hoping that no one figures out that they’re late on most of their payments. They’re just keeping up appearances.
So next time you’re envious of their life, remember this. You don’t have their debt. You don’t have their bills and you have no reason to keep up with them. It’s enough to just enjoy your life on your terms. Let go of the things in life that don’t matter. Who cares if you drive an older car? It’s paid for and you don’t have an auto loan that you have to pay on. The same goes for all of those fancy schmancy gadgets that they have. You truly don’t need them.
8.What are your commitments in life?
What all do you have going on in your life? Are you busy with after-school activities for the kids? Are you busy with civic duties? What kinds of hobbies or side jobs are you busy with? Can you prioritize these and focus on just one or two of them in order to streamline and simplify your life? Stop taking on so many extra activities and simply enjoy the ones that you are already doing.
#9. Can you learn to say No?
Are you able to say no to others? If you don’t learn how to say no, you’re going to be taking too much on and you’re not going to be simplifying your life.
Learn to say “No” to the extra activities that others try to put on you. Say no to the extra church activities, say no to the holiday bake-off at the school (unless you are willing to do it and not complain). If it makes you complain later if you feel that someone is twisting your arm to get you to do something, take it from the kids, “Just say no”. It’s really that simple.
#10. How connected are you?
Are you always online? Are you always on your smartphone? Can you leave it alone for a time and get things done? If you can’t, you’re likely not going to do well with a simplified life. If you’re choosing a simple life, you’re going to find that you don’t have the need to be so connected.
Even if you are working from home online part time while you homestead or seek a simple life, you’re going to find that you’re busy on your homestead and you don’t need to be as connected as you previously did. If you can’t limit the number of times that you check your email or twitter account, if you can’t limit the number of times that you have to be on your social network profiles, you’re not ready for the simple life.
#11. Have you created a simplicity statement?
A simplicity statement is a statement that states what you expect out of your simple life. How do you picture your simple life? Are you focusing on specific goals? Do you have a desire to just treasure the simple things in life?
#12. Do you have to have the latest and greatest gadgets?
Are you still trying to keep up with the Jones’? Are you buying the latest model car and the latest stereo system? Or are you happy with the simpler things in life? Are you content with your decade’s old car that’s paid for? Are you content with a regular AM/FM radio?
#13. Do you love the life that you have now?
If you don’t love the life that you have now, what would you do to change it? How will those changes affect your daily life? Will you still commute to work? Or will you work from home and enjoy your life without feeling guilty?
#14. Are you spending enough time with those that you love?
When is the last time you spent the day with someone that you love? What was it like? Was it quality time? Did you have a relaxing time or was it stressed because you knew that you would have to go back to work soon? If you’re not able to treasure the time that you’re spending with others, perhaps it’s time to simplify your life and go back to the basics of family time.
#15. Are you ready to purge your life?
Are you ready to let go of the clutter and big items that are holding you hostage in your own home? Too many of us are holding onto large items that we never use and clutter that we simply pick up, dust, and put back down. Are you ready to let go of some of this stuff and enjoy a more simplistic life?
To do this, you’ll need to let go of items in nearly every room of your home. You’ll need to clean out your closet and focus on only those things that you truly wear and love. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it out. If you haven’t sat in that chair for a year and no one else does, donate it.
#16. Do you want to streamline your life?
Living the simple life can be done if you streamline your life. Instead of multitasking, learn to focus on one task at a time. Do the laundry once a week, weed the garden on another day and mop the floors another day. By streamlining and simplifying your life in these matters, you’ll feel less stressed and actually accomplish more. Learn to focus on one thing at a time and no more.
When you’ve completed that one thing, take a short break and start on the next thing on your list. In this fashion, you’re streamlining your life, learning to relax and enjoy a more simple life, and you’ll find that you are getting a lot more done than when you were multitasking.
#17. Are you getting adequate alone time?
Are you able to free up some time for yourself and have enough private time? Are you comfortable being alone and spending time with solitude in nature or a quiet room? This can go far in helping you to carve out some much-needed simplicity.
Learning to have some quiet and alone time can do wonders to soothing your nerves and soul and help you to focus on what’s really important to you. This time can also be spent journaling, talking to God (as you know him), or simply reflecting on your new found life.
#18. Are you eating in hurry?
Are you on the go so much that you’re cramming food down your throat when you do take time to eat? Are you still able to sit down together and eat as a family? Are you seeking a more relaxed mealtime with family? Did you know that if you slow down you’re going to digest your food better?
Did you know that slowing down will also help you to lose weight? Are you ready to make these changes? Statistics show that families that eat together have a stronger bond than those who don’t sit down to regular meals together.
#19. Are you tired of always being in a hurry?
Living the simple life is all about slowing down and enjoying life. When you’re living in the rat race, you’re not focusing on the things that really matter. You’re too busy thinking ahead to the next thing. Can you slow down and drive slower, eat slower, enjoy the time that you have with loved ones and focus on the task at hand and be present in the moment?
Learn ways to let go of the rushed feeling and decompress from the stress and rigors of daily life as you know it. Learn to let go of the stress and rush and focus on each little thing patiently. Letting go of the rushed feeling will go far in helping you to lead a more simplistic life.
#20. Can you live with less space?
Are you hanging onto your “McMansion”? Do you have so much space that you don’t know what to do with all of it? Are you willing to live without so much excess space? Are you okay with the kids sharing a room and having a smaller home? Have you considered a “tiny house” on your homestead?
#21. Are you ready for some financial freedom?
Are you tired of running out of money every month? Are you struggling and living paycheck to paycheck? Are you willing to live on less to have more freedom? Living frugally means that you’ll be buying less and having less, but the financial freedom of simple living is well worth the effort and you’ll be leaving a much smaller carbon footprint. By choosing to pare down your belongings, your home size and more, you’ll find that you can take time and relax more and enjoy some financial freedom.
#22. Are you afraid to get dirty?
Homesteading isn’t always clean and easy. Sometimes, you’ll be cleaning out the barn stalls, cleaning out the chicken coop, spreading manure in the garden, composting and focusing on things that need to be done around the homestead. Can you live without a manicure or a pedicure? Can you deal with having to wade in the pig manure and wipe your feet before you go back into the house? If not, this may not be the life for you.
#23. Can you live the minimalist lifestyle?
Can you pare your household goods down to the bare minimum things that are required to run your household? Can you pare down your closet, shoe collection, and other stuff? Leading a minimalist lifestyle simplifies life so much and you’ll feel the serenity that surrounds you when your house isn’t cluttered with stuff that you’re not really using.
Can you let go of the materialism that so many are thriving on (or think they’re thriving on) in today’s modern society? Is your yard easy to maintain? Can you do it in an hour or less? If not, would you love a life where you could have your yard done in less than an hour?
#24. Can you plan ahead?
Part of becoming a homesteader is learning to plan ahead. From everything to your dinner menus to what you want to have done in and around your homestead the next week, month, year, etc.?
Instead of having a long to-do list, can you simply list 3 important tasks to accomplish each day in your routine? When you give yourself only 3 simple tasks (simple tasks can be very important too), you’ll find that it’s much more likely to get your tasks accomplished. Planning ahead is all part of learning to live a simple lifestyle.
#25. Are you organized?
Can you organize your homestead so that there is a place for everything and everything has a home? Can you keep the budget, bills, menu, animals and shopping schedule organized and on track? Running a homestead requires some organization and if you don’t have these skills, you’re going to have to be willing to learn them.
Can you think of 10 things that are relaxing for you and make a list so that next time you feel stressed you can do one of them? It will go far in helping you to relax and enjoy life in the moment.
Always ask yourself this one important question before you do anything: Will this simplify my life?
When you ask yourself the above question, if you can’t answer that yes, this makes your life more simple, then perhaps you should reconsider whatever it is that isn’t helping you to lead a simple life.
After you’ve gone through the above-mentioned questions and answered them to the best of your ability, you’ll likely have a better idea of whether or not Simple Living is for you. There are no right or wrong answers. This is a personal journey. It’s not a destination. Part of simple living is enjoying the journey and taking your time to determine if each and everything that you do is in alignment with your goals for simple living.
If it’s too complicated, it’s not simple living. If you’re struggling, it’s not simple living. Simple living is leading the life that you want. Far less stress and enjoying what you do have. Are you ready for simple living?