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The Simpler Way draws on the experiences and insights of many people who are exploring a ‘simpler life’ of reduced and restrained consumption.¬†Topics for discussion include money, working hours, food, clothing, energy, transport, technology, housing, and reducing waste, among many others.

The pathways to simple living will vary greatly from person to person, but whatever your situation and whatever your approach, people need to hear about your challenges and successes.

Your contribution to this great transition is vital, so please share your thoughts,¬†experiences, and practical ‘tips’ by leaving comments on the relevant page.¬† You can begin by clicking on any of the categories to the right.

29 Comments

  1. aloha and thanks for the inspiring work! one important element of life that is conspicuously missing from your site, as far as i can see, is sexuality. it is no surprise as it is a bit of an ‘elephant in the room’ in our culture, and i believe it is time we be courageous about it and bring it into the discussion. sharing sexuality is a relatively simple leisure activity that requires little expenditure of energy relative to many of our other entertainment pursuits, yet can yield much more satisfying results in terms of meaningful relating with others and experience of heightened states of consciousness. and yet, when we engage in sexuality without proper awareness and responsibility of the potential effects of our pleasure seeking, we invite pregnancy, the transmission of infections, and emotional upset that may trigger addictive patterns of consumption. pregnancy has perhaps the largest cost as it brings another human with all their needs and desires into the world. it seems that the effect of sexuality on the simplicity of life, with it’s pros and cons, definitely merits a discussion to at least bring it’s implications into awareness in a non-moralizing and pragmatic way.

  2. Something that we really can apply in our lives. Material things will eventually die, while the values, skills, and quality time we spent with our family are eternal. When you live your life simply you learn to be contented and be happy. You don’t crave of material things because you don’t goal for them. There is really beauty in simplicity.

  3. What a comprehensive and informative guide to simple living. I am going to share this link with readers of my blog “Ahh The Simple Life”, so that more people can benefit.

  4. What s comprehensive and thoughtful guide to living a simple life! I am going to mention your site in a post that I am doing for my blog “Ahh The Simple Life” at http://www.ahhthesimplelife.com/, so that more people can benefit from this.

  5. For fifteen years I have lived where a somewhat Simpler Way flourishes, though people don’t call it that—-it is just the way that things are.

    I am in the Middle Mekong region of SE Asia, comprising Laos and NE Thailand (Isaan).

    When judged on the (purely monetary) metrics of ‘the West’, it appears to be poverty-stricken, but I soon noticed that folk seemed much less stressed than those that I had lived among in the UK, Canada and Singapore.

    It is only in the last fifty years that the ideas of ‘Consumerism’ have started to intrude and have got a bit of a toe-hold amongst the ‘Enoughery’ culture. Fortunately it is only a tenuous toe-hold and can be expected to lose its bit of grip when ‘the West’ crashes.

  6. The things with desires (consumption) is that the more we give into them, the stronger they become. Over time, simplicity will definitely lead to a happier existence as less is more…metta

  7. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I grew up learning about simplicity and self sufficiency from my very wise grandparents. As I grew older I chose the rate race for many years and came to the conclusion it isnt working for me. Now I am embracing simplicity with a greater respect and appreciation. There are things that I would find difficult to let go of such as a washing machine. But really when I’m honest with myself apart from food, water and shelter, there is very little else I need – apart from love, health and happiness, which are all related to simplicity anyway. One thing that simplicty is teaching me is that being at home more is enjoyable and satisfying than I had realised. I love being independant and making and fixing things is challenging but also enjoyable. There are many skills for me to learn such as bread making and sewing. There’s also lots to learn about creating a sustainable home and garden and that feels really inspiring

  8. I find Christmas gift giving a difficult area to modify because my friends are so resistant. One year I asked not to be given any bought item and explained why. A major backlash of screaming and yelling came down on my head. Now I just grit my teeth as my friends give me gifts I don’t want, even though they know full well my feelings about this. It seems that Christmas consumerism is a very difficult thing for them to rethink. I give very simple hand-made gifts to them.

    I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

  9. Hi Alex, thanks for your comment. This website is an attempt to inspire and guide personal and community action, but you are quite right, we live in a society that makes living simply much more difficult than it needs to be. This means that we need to change, not just our lifestyles, but the structures within which we live. The Simplicity Institute has addressed (and will continue to address) this issue (see http://www.simplicityinstitute.org/publications), but in this website we didn’t want to get too much into macro-economics or politics. But you make a good point that deserves attention.

  10. Really comprehensive list of principles for reducing consumption and becoming more “time rich”, as they say. I am in complete agreement with all the suggestions, but what next? How do we enable and empower ourselves to live this way economically, and realistically? I feel that there are certain limitations and barriers when confronting most of these things, in the sense that we are inevitably entangled in the shortcomings of our consumerist society. I like that this is a positive action oriented response towards some of those things, but it is mostly geared towards self-empowerment, and while that is a necessary first step, we need to find ways to co-create with our combined self-empowerment a system that parallels that of our current one, while addressing all the failures in a pragmatic manner. There are so many forces and movements that seem disparate in our world but are greatly related, and in some ways this idea represents a disguised majority that is unable to communicate. I would love to change the world, or at least enable those who want to by bringing them together in some way.

  11. How does this plan compliment and work within the framework and blueprint of the United Nation’s Agenda 21?

  12. This is a message we all can learn more about. I strive for simplicity, less driving, home cooking and mending rather than buying new each day. It’s a part of who I am and I take pleasure in it but I’m still always looking for new ways to do so. My blog sounds very similar to this simpler way group and I look forward learning new methods to incorporate into my life and share with others. Go Gingham, Stylishly Frugal Living is the name of my blog. It’s where frugal, green, and lovely come together.

  13. I second evenstar’s comments (not the absence of a single wage-earner family as part of the conversation, since I haven’t looked, but rather the opportunity therein). My wife and I are also pursuing a lifestyle in which she can work outside the home to maintain a steady income while I would stay home with our son (infant for now), perhaps future kids, and be able to spend time in the garden, cooking, simple home repairs, build a greenhouse, volunteer, ensure quality social time for the kid(s), do a better job managing our finances :-) , etc. etc. We see ourselves as living a relatively simple lifestyle already, but our current dual wage-earning lifestyle is an enormous roadblock. Having a wage-earner is a necessary part of our family from the perspective of being in a walkable community, having resources for education, recreation, time with extended family who do not share our values, healthcare and much more.

    Thanks for a great site. Will continue to peruse, share and chew on this as we proceed on our path.

  14. I fully support this concept and write to let readers know it is more than just an idea. It is a real possibility. I have been making the transition for the past four years. I rented out the house to pay the mortgage, built a 9sqm micro housing cabin, I have reduced my energy consumption so it is met by a small 12V array an heat with collected twigs. I didn’t want to sacrifice the things I really enjoy for this wasn’t an austerity program. This was about a better return on investment. I spend a third of the year sailing on my yacht which I downsized from 63 ft to 28ft and in the process rediscovered a true passion for sailing. The boat is getting simpler and lighter too.
    It continues to be an evolving journey but a telling indicator is the garbage which now fits in a bread bag rather than a wheelie bin. The simpler way is so much fun and I would encourage everyone to start the journey.

  15. Hi Megan, have you read the Ted Trainer essay “How Cheaply Could We Live and Still Flourish?”? I think that essay may answer some of your questions (and his latest book, The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World will provide even more answers). The short answer, however, is that when a society starts consuming less en masse, a totally different kind of economy will to emerge.

  16. Hi I have read some of the meditations, articles and reports from this site and those connected and I find a lot of the rationale very compelling and well thought out. My only question is if fewer of us are consuming who is able to pay the wages for people to work part time or full time. We can’t be like Greece where over 60% worked in the Government expecting the businesses to pay their wages. Also people may downsize their own lifestyle and consumption standards but I wonder if people will be happy to accept simplified and decreased standards of, for example aged care, quality of roads out the front of their house, no traffic lights etc etc. Libraries, education and special disability support services may not be able to continue to be supported in a low consuming society but will need to be paid for by those consuming it. Simply put if people don’t buy meals in restaurants, how do waiters and chefs get paid? If nobody buys books and only go to the library, how do writers and publishers get paid to produce books?

  17. Great site and great cause. I am fully on board.

    Just one thought though; how do we square the circle of wishing to work towards a much simpler life whilst using one of Mankind’s most complex and energy and resource intensive inventions – the internet?

  18. I find it interesting that most writing about voluntary simplicity excludes people who have chosen for one person in the family to stay home and care for children work in the home from the definition of downshifters or people choosing voluntary simplicty. However I see that this can be a choice for a simpler life, which is made possible if you are voluntarily making simpler choices about many aspects of daily life and how you use time and money. Its not always the right choice for everyone and different values can drive the choice but for ourselves in part it was a choice for a simpler life and is coherent with the reasons why people make other lifestyle changes to simplify their lives.

  19. Pleased to have found your great site.

  20. Would have liked to see a section on natural health. Allopathic medicine is certainly not simple!

  21. Great site. Have recommended it.Cheers

  22. Great stuff; really exciting new development. The world desperately needs a simplicity movement. For anyone who doesn’t know about Ted Trainer’s work on ‘the simpler way’ – and are not afraid of contemplating the need for radical solutions – the articles on his website are well worth a read: http://socialsciences.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/

  23. Looks good. I bookmarked your site on the sustainability link library I administrate. Here’s the URL: http://www.circleofcollaborativecommunities.org/pg/bookmarks/read/13362/the-simpler-way

  24. Beautifully simple and right on target. WE would love to help spread the word!

  25. I am stoked to have come across this forum, the url sums up what I have been trying to articulate to everyone that will listen long enough. I hope I can contribute to such an important movement.

  26. Such great advice, and so clearly presented. The challenge now will be turning it into action. I look forward to participating in this discussion / challenge too.

  27. Fantastic initiative. I’m sure I’m not the only one that will benefit greatly from this website / guidebook. As I look through the comments under the various headings, it’s also clear that I’m going to learn from them too, and hopefully contribute where I can. A great resource. Thanks very much.

  28. Looking forward to participating in the discussion.

  29. Would love to include your discussion in ours at seeking community.

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