I’ve been interested in sustainability, minimalism and simple living for a long time now. But one topic I’ve seen very little written about is the impact that having children has on both the practice of minimalism and the environment. Like a big elephant in the room, this enormous, but highly emotional issue is almost completely ignored on most simple living blogs. Yet when you think about it, until we are willing to talk about it and examine it from a state of awareness and conscious choice, bringing kids into the world becomes just another cultural norm that the majority unconsciously accepts out of habit and societal pressure. For that reason alone, the big question about whether or not to have children (or add to an existing family) should be on every serious young minimalist’s list of important issues to decide.
Before we get too close to Christmas I thought it might be SMART to remind myself (and anyone else who is paying attention) to not get sucked into the holiday frenzy. You know what I mean. Ever since the beginning of September the retail outlets here in the U.S. have been pushing Santa and all things related. Just like any drug, the pushers make everything seem so harmless, tantalizing and attractive. However, the truth is what makes the season special has very little to do with stuff, and everything to do with experience. That’s why remembering why we do what we do and using our money, time and resources in the service of that which we say we support, is especially critical this time of year. [Read more…]
Several months ago I had the pleasure of doing my first live interview around the subject of simple living. A website named Midway Simplicity.com made it a regular practice to talk with a number of simplicity and minimal living bloggers about his or her version of minimalism or simplicity. I was honored to be included. [Read more…]
This morning I was surprised to see a blog post on the Internet titled something like, “It’s not easy to be a minimalist.” Then when I thought about it, most of the articles I read these days about simple living or minimalism focus on the struggle to de-clutter or reduce one’s debts—as though this new lifestyle was a chore instead of a pleasure. But at the core of how I define simple living are the opulent gifts of freedom, rest, peace, time and contentment. A great outcome from any one of those is a good night’s sleep. While seldom mentioned when listing the benefits of minimalism, I think most people overlook the fact that sleep, and sleeping well, is one of the most luxurious aspects of a richly contented life. [Read more…]
This week SMART Living 365 recommends a website suggested by Thom. He began reading the blog called “The Minimalists” a few months ago and finds that it is one of his favorites. Why? From my perspective, “The Minimalists” is a “sister” website because many of their posts and much of their perspective is devoted to living a less cluttered and more important lifestyle. And because SMART Living is all about sharing and appreciating all the good around us, we can certainly appreciate the gift that TheMinimalists.com bring to the universal table.
I recently read an interview of a man named James Roberts who is the author of a new book entitled, Shiny Objects—Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have In Search Of Happiness We Can’t Buy. It’s a great title and I’m sure there are very few people who would disagree with what it says. But while we may agree with that statement, most people continue to try to buy happiness every single day. Not only do a large number of people spend money trying to buy stuff they don’t need or oftentimes even use, many actually go into debt in the process. Others spend money so indiscriminately they might as well throw it out of a speeding car window. So, what’s the deal with money? And what are we searching for that we think money can buy?
Just over three years ago, Thom and I bought a new home in the “village area” of La Quinta, CA. We called it an experiment because we weren’t sure if we could live in a house that was nearly a 1,000 sq. feet less than the one we had before. Never mind that the new house had 1,400 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and was plenty large enough based on comparables around the world. But with huge changes happening in the economy, and our personal growing awareness in the “green” movement, Thom and I felt it was time to discover if the American obsession with size was just a habit we’d adopted or a true necessity. What we’ve come to know during the last two years is that smaller is plenty big enough, especially when it fits perfectly within your needs. [Read more…]