Right now I am still in the early building phase of my website. For the future, I hope to create a space that not only contains all sorts of information about natural dyeing and the fiber arts, but also share more about what simple living means to me and my family and how we align our everyday life to fit our values.
Therefore I decided to talk about our definition of simple living today, why I chose to incorporate it in my website’s subtitle and why it is the core of everything I write about.
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What is Simple Living?
To me, simple living is an awareness of life. It is centered on reduction without feeling deprived. On the contrary, it is aimed at increasing happiness while simultaneously reducing distractions. I believe that simple living looks different for everybody depending on your values and interests. For me, personally, there are four topics closely related to my idea of a simple life. In short, those are: minimalism, sustainability, DIY / homemaking and living space. Let’s have a look at each one of them in more detail.
Minimalism & Simple Living
This is a very broad and all-encompassing topic and I can merely touch the surface of it within this post. To me, minimalism is the basis of simple living. If you want to simplify your life, you have to start minimizing.
In general, minimalism seems to be often referred to in the context of the number of objects you own or even as a furnishing style. But it is so much more than that. Minimalism allows you to define what is most important to you. It is not limited to tangible possessions but also comprises the way you chose to spend your time. And time is the most important resource of all.
By getting rid of the things you don’t need and use and the activities that are not inevitable and don’t bring you joy, you allow yourself to focus on what is most important to you.
If you would like to dive deeper into the topic of minimalism, I can recommend the work of Joshua Fields-Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. They have a popular website called www.theminimalists.com, a podcast, have written several books and published two documentaries. Especially their first documentary from 2015 called “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things” is worth watching.
Sustainability & Simple Living
This is a topic that I have already mentioned on my website several times. It is essentially the reason why I set up my company the way it is and focus on offering the kind of yarns I do. Way back in 2015 I started reducing the waste and ecological footprint of my family. This is when I became interested in making all kinds of things myself. It was both a way to be more sustainable as well as to increase my appreciation for the labor necessary to make a certain thing, like clothing.
If I can’t make it myself, buying used is always the next option we consider before buying something new.
For me, it all started with Bea Johnson’s book “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying your Life”. It has been translated in more than 25 languages and sparked the publications of numerous other zero waste books and also zero waste stores. Bea Johnson started writing about her unconventional lifestyle on her blog back in 2009 and was able to create a movement and inspire people from all around the world to change their way of living.
DIY / Homemaking & Simple Living
Reducing the number of commitments and dependencies and allowing for time to learn how to make things ourselves has become integral to our life. There are so many things that our grandparents or great-grandparents made themselves and we have somehow lost the knowledge of these homemaking skills. I feel like I am still at the beginning of this journey and try to incorporate more and more homemaking stills into my life. Growing and preparing food is for sure a huge part of it.
Each year we grow a vegetable garden in our small yard and supplement our produce shopping with our homegrown vegetables throughout the summer.
Last year, we learned how to cultivate sourdough and have made our own bread and rolls ever since.
During berry season I always make a lot of jam – mainly strawberry rhubarb which is our favorite – that lasts us throughout the whole year. And last year my husband started being a beekeeper. We hope to get the first honey from our bees this spring.
Our DIY projects are not limited to edibles, though. I have already written several blog posts on things I make myself like candles and deodorant. I also make cold process soap and of course everything fiber related. Natural dyeing, knitting, crocheting and sewing are a major source of happiness for me.
Living Space & Simple Living
What makes a house a home? And how much space does one need to live well? Throughout the years, houses have become larger and larger. In Germany, the living space per person has doubled in the last fifty years – and I expect the trends in the other developed countries are very similar. But does a larger house equals a happier life? Maybe it does for some people. But what’s for sure, a larger house always equals more time commitment to keep up with its maintenance and cleaning. It also equals a higher financial commitment which consequently increases the dependency on a certain income level to fund the house expenses.
We are currently in the process of buying a house. It took us almost five years to find a suitable home that fits our needs. It was only after inspecting a number of different houses before we were even able to pinpoint what exactly we were looking for. We discovered that we both really like old houses since they naturally come with a lot of character and charm. And of course it is more sustainable to live in an already existing house compared to building new. We also discovered that we don’t need or want a large living space. For the reasons I mentioned above, we prefer a smaller home which gives us the freedom of more time and less commitment.
The house we chose is 107 years old and requires a lot of restoration work. I am looking forward to writing more about different aspects of it in future posts.
All of these four topics are intertwined with each other and are the foundation pillars of our simple way of life. What are the most important values in your life? Come share in the comments!