Simple living and food growing has created a better life for my family and I. I never thought it was possible for us to be so relaxed, have lots of free time, and be happy and calm.
We are even starting to grow our own food and cook it, and make fun things from scratch together. Let me tell you about the steps we took to get here.
A stressed out life
After the birth of my second son last year I spent my days at home trying to keep a perfect home and care for my baby, but not coping well. My to-do list was huge and I would often be literally running to get my list done in a day.
After a particularly stressful day, I decided that I’d had enough. I wanted a better way to live. I wanted to enjoy the time with my family instead of constantly thinking about the next job to do while I was with them. I needed to give myself a break and take time out for me.
This was hard to achieve until I started simplifying my life.
What is simple living?
I turned to simple living so we could get more of what we wanted into our life, and get the unwanted stuff out.
As a family we started reducing the time we were spending on things that didn’t directly contribute to the essentials of living: having a fairly clean home, food on the table, clean clothes, clean bodies and home/school/work supplies.
Then we added to this what we wanted, what we valued. This for us is:
- time together as a family;
- space and quietness in our day (not busywork);
- time for ourselves and our hobbies;
- a food garden;
- self-reliance (making things from scratch); and
- a life that is sustainable and kind to the earth.
We took the first steps in clearing out the unecessary, the things that took up the most time and caused the most unhappiness and stress.
The first steps to simplifying our life
Step 1 – Lower your household standards
First we simplified and minimised the housework. Not getting rid of it all. Just the need to have an immaculately clean house all of the time. This was the hardest thing to do. It took time to allow myself to be less than “perfect” (according to my standards), and set lower household standards. But now it feels great, and I’m not running around all day.
Step 2 – Divide housework and jobs over the week
Next I wrote a list of what housework was essential to do for a moderately clean home and assigned a day to each job. Each job only takes 5-15 minutes. Not much time out of the the day.
Some days my husband and I don’t even do these jobs when our energy is low. That’s okay because our standards aren’t impossibly high like they used to be, and we value our family and self time more. Here’s our housework list below (written on our family noticeboard):
These two steps whilst they seem small, have actually made a HUGE difference to our life at home.
Housework has taken a back seat to everything else. My husband and I have more patience with the kids, and more time to sit with them and really get to know them and make them feel valued.
We have a lot more time to get outside and play and exercise as a family. We see our parents and siblings more. We get to do our hobbies and just relax and recharge. We have time for food growing, which we are really enjoying (and we are getting some awesome tomatoes!).
Next post I’ll talk about the next steps we took in simplifying our home: the family noticeboard and organisation station.
How did you start out in simplifying your home and life?