What is voluntary simplicity or simple living?


What exactly is voluntary simplicity, or “simple living”?  There are so many ways to live a simpler life, but what is the purpose of simple living and how do you start to do it?

This definition of voluntary simplicity from 1936 by Richard Gregg, a student of Gandhi’s, clearly explains what a simple life is in practical terms.  It’s the most comprehensive and easiest to understand that I’ve found.

I found this quote in the classic book by Duane Elgin “Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich“.

Defining simple living

“Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of
many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life.

It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose.

Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not
be relevant to the purpose of another.

The degree of simplification is a matter for each individual to settle for himself”.

How to apply this definition to your life

In a nutshell simple living involves inner and outer deliberate reorganisation/simplification of your life for a purpose.  

My purpose is to create a happier home with more family and self time whilst living more green and sustainably.

I’ve started reorganising my life so I’m doing less of the work that takes me away from this purpose.  Less housework and errands, and putting in place simple daily and weekly routines using the easy methods in Part 1 and Part 2 of my previous posts.

What’s your reason for living more simply?


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