1. Don’t let any material thing come into
your home unless you absolutely love it and want to keep it until it is beyond
repair. Too much stuff – it’s suffocating us. Purchasing, maintaining, insuring,
storing and eventually disposing of our stuff sucks up our precious life
2. Live in a home with only those rooms
that you or someone in your family use every day. Create a cozy home
environment that fits your family. You will find this is much more satisfying
than living in a museum designed to impress your friends. Spending time and
money to maintain a home that is larger than you truly need diverts these
resources from more fulfilling endeavors.
3. Limit your work (outside of the home)
to 30 hours a week, 20 if you are a parent. To live a balanced life, we
need "down" time – time to daydream, to relax, to prepare a leisurely
meal, to take a walk. If we surround our structured activities with empty
spaces, those activities will become more productive and meaningful.
4. Select a home and place of employment
no more than 30 minutes away from each other. Commuting time is dead time.
It nourishes not the body, the mind, nor the soul. Preserve your energy and
money for more rewarding life experiences.
5. Limit your children’s extracurricular
activities to one to three a week, depending on age. Otherwise, you will
exhaust yourself and your children will grow up addicted to constant
6. Take three to four months off every few
years and go live in a foreign country. Living in a different culture
fascinates, excites, and vitalizes us. It teaches us to live in the present, a
core practice of simple living. We gain perspective when we experience a
foreign culture. We learn how much we have to be grateful for.
7. Spend at least an hour a week in a
natural setting, away from crowds of people, traffic, and buildings. Three
to four hours of nature time each week is even better. There is nothing more
basic, more simple, than the natural world.
8. Do whatever you need to do to connect
with a sense of spirit in your life, whether it be prayer, religious services,
journal writing, meditation, or spiritually-related reading. Simplicity
leads to spirituality; spirituality leads to simplicity. Cultivate a practice
of silence and solitude, even for 15 to 30 minutes a day. Your spirituality
will evolve naturally.
9. Seek the support of others who want to
simplify their lives. Join or start a simplicity circle if you enjoy group
interaction. Living simply in our culture can be a lonely journey. Your friends
and family may still be on the work-and-spend treadmill and are unlikely to
give you support. Participating in a study group will give you support and
validation for your choices.
10. Practice saying no. Say no to
those things that don’t bring you inner peace and fulfillment, whether it be
more material things, greater career responsibility, or added social
activities. Be vigilant with your time and energy; they are limited resources.
If you say yes to one thing (like a job promotion), recognize that you are
saying no to something else (perhaps more time with family). Live consciously