Simple Living

How to Design Your Own Simple Living Journey

Where Are You Now?

Would a simple living journey help you? Are you stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted by everyday life? Are you getting through the day with nothing left? Wondering why your life is like this? I have been there. The first time, I did nothing about it and nothing got better; it got worse. I didn’t design my simple living journey. One of my biggest regrets.

The second time, I stopped to listen to figure out the source of my discomfort. I wanted to stop running in the hamster wheel. We were running a business in one state and flipping a house 3 hours away in another state. Bills came every day and our credit cards were at their limits. On days we weren’t working our full-time business, we were driving 3 hours one way to work on the other house and driving 3 hours back. It was killing me slowly.

As soon as the house sold, I had surgery and then was diagnosed with fibromyalgia explaining the chronic pain and fatigue. Prolonged stress really does adversely affect your health. This was the tipping point for me. Changes were necessary, and I was listening.

How I Started My Simple Living Journey

We paid off the credit cards and a nice chunk off on our house with the proceeds from the sale of the other house. But I knew I would feel better not owing anything to anyone. So we made sacrifices (no cable, no eating out, spending freezes, etc.) and got out of debt.

That lifted my stress immensely. But I still had another hurdle to feeling well. Our business was an independent food delivery service from a major food company. It was physical work with awful hours that stressed my body forcing me to take high doses of prescription medication with awful side effects. So I was listening again.

I knew I could not keep working. So we saved every dime we could by living frugally (still no cable or eating out). We sold our boat, extra cars, leftover building supplies, and anything else we didn’t use or need. We sold big items but didn’t really declutter.

Finally, we felt we had enough money saved to live on if we lived frugally until we take social security. We had a few years of living frugally under our belts by then. Imagine saving just your rent or house payment every month. That is significant, but we had no debt so our savings grew quickly.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The lesson on all that is simple living is different for everyone. Had I listened the first time I should have taken a simple living journey, I would have cleared my family’s schedule and reduced my self-imposed obligations. I didn’t say no and wanted to be everything for everybody. Maybe that’s you. Maybe it’s not. We are all different and even different times in our lives require a different simple living journey.

So you need not get rid of all your stuff first. That might make things worse for you. If you schedule is like mine was when I was raising my kids as a single mom where are you going to find time to declutter? You will get frustrated and quit. But everyone on Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs talk about decluttering. Even I have a post or two on that.

But I did and still am decluttering. I did it last. More like Swedish death cleaning. I have the time and energy and that makes it easier for me. There is no way I could have started my simple living journey by decluttering. I would have given up and would still be miserable with my life. I would still be in debt and dying on the job.

Your Simple Living Journey

Now you are wondering what step you should take first? You need to figure out the one that benefits you most. You will stick with it if there are big improvements since that fuels your motivation. This is where you have to ask yourself some questions and don’t over-think it. The first answer that pops in your head is your self-conscious speaking up. Listen to that voice. Any answer after that is colored by what others think or want especially if you are a people-pleaser like me.

Your simple living journey has 3 legs. Time, stuff, and debt. How do you know which one to tackle? If you can’t juggle your life now, how are you going to add more to the plate? Quietly think about each leg. Which causes the most distress? That is the leg to work on first. Then you can tackle the other legs. I have a quick questionnaire to help you. It is available when you sign up for my newsletter. I won’t bother you unless I have something useful for you. This questionnaire will help you focus on each leg to pinpoint the big trigger.

If you found this post useful, please share it. I’m interested in your simple living journey so feel free to leave a comment. I’d like to hear what you are going to tackle first.

Simple Living is a 3-legged stool

Simple Living Stool with picture and plant

photo credit: sualk61 Hamster wheel via photopin (license)

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