8 Steps To Creating Your Own Simple Homemade Life

Simple Living

As a follow-up to “What Is Simple Living”, these are steps (goals) that I’ve been using and will continue to use this year on my own path to a simple, homemade life.  I shared that I come from a family of collectors and that was my first challenge – purging the collections.  It was emotional and difficult at times but I can honestly tell you that I am thrilled that I did it.

So the collections are gone and I’ve been pretty good about purging other areas including the kitchen, craft room, knick-knacks and extras including fancy schmancy pillow shams and throw pillows (that J has insisted for 100 years that we didn’t need.  And I insisted we did.  And then I came to my senses that yes, he was right, and tossed them out.  No more wasting time taking them off the bed to sleep and putting them on the bed once it's made.)

My hang-ups now are clothing (including shoes) and books.  My goals for this year are to:
1. Resist purchasing either (even writing this makes me shudder…..)
2. Purge what I’ve got (shuddering again)

We also still have things in storage, both in one outbuilding as well as the second story of our barn.  Although it’s not a tremendous amount (thankfully) it’s still stuff that’s weighing on my mind.  My goal is to go through all of this in spring and do a final purge.

1. Outline Your Goals & Ideal Life
This is crucial to begin with so you can visualize what you're working toward.  This may also change, as your goals evolve, so it should remain somewhat flexible.  Make sure you and your partner are on the same page and you are both working toward common goals.  This way you will be supporting one another, even when others think what you're doing is crazy.

I’m a huge fan of a vision board so that your goals remain visible to you at all times.  It’s super easy and doesn’t need to be fancy at all.  Simply cut out/print items that represent your goals, or even write them out, on a paper or board and keep it where you will see it daily.

2. Spend Less Time Online/On Your Phone
Digital distractions take up a lot of time as well as decrease our communication and presence with those we care about.  Give yourself timeframes of which you check and respond to email, look at facebook and instragram, search something, etc.  When you jump into any of these tasks unconsciously, hours can quickly pass and you hadn’t even completed what you’d logged on to do.  Not to mention the time we spend texting......

3. Let Go
This seems to be the theme for the month.....  Letting go of things is challenging.  We tend to become invested in things – they become a part of our lives.  What we don’t realize, until we begin the process, is that letting go of some of them our things can be liberating.  I’ve found this to be completely true.  Of all of the things I’ve gotten rid of so far, I’ve yet to wish I had kept any of them.

Probably the most challenging items for me to purge were things handed down or given as gifts.  Particularly, things my grandmother has given me.  We have an incredible bond and I have to remember that the bond remains regardless of whether or not I own the items.

Some ideas for purging what you’ve got:

Focus on one room or type of thing at a time.  Don’t feel the need to tackle clothing, books, knick knacks, make-up, candles, and kitchen items all at once.  It will be overwhelming and you’ll give up before you even begin.
Give yourself a reasonable timeframe and stick to it.  For me, I would like to get through the clothing in 30 days so I’ll break up my room (dressers, closet, shelving, shoes) into weeks.  Chunking it down makes me more likely to do it (because otherwise I’ll leave it all for day 29) and makes it feel more manageable.
You Don’t Have To Purge Everything.  If you have collections and love your collections then keep your collections.  If you have throw pillows and love your throw pillows, keep the throw pillows.  Go through and pare down to only the items you love.  And be honest.
Set-Up Space For 4 Piles:  Keep, Donate, Sell, Throw.  There should not be a “thinking about” pile.  Commit to using your initial gut reaction and don’t second guess yourself.
Get rid of the “sell”, “donate” and “throw” piles immediately.  If you keep them for any length of time, this will lead right into second guessing.  Don’t do it.

4.  Realize That Organizing Is Not The Answer
Yes, we need organization for the items we choose to keep, however, organization does not fix the problem of keeping items we don’t truly love.  If we keep our excess and vow to just better organize it, it doesn’t fix the problem AND we end up spending money on organization solutions to keep things we shouldn’t have.

5.  Resist A Coupon Clipping Mentality & Adopt a More Frugal Mentality
You’ve seen the coupon shows?  The items that they purchase, for the most part, are likely not items that they “needed”.  This is not to say all coupon clipping is bad - please don't take it that way.  I think it can be very beneficial, provided you love it or you actually need it rather than used as a justification for our purchases because they were “cheap” or “free”.  It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve saved – if you didn’t need it and don’t love it, it was money wasted (or time or space if it’s free).

Think about all of the small purchases you've made on things that didn’t fall into the “love it” or true "need" categories.  Now think of some of the big ticket items on your someday list.  If you had resisted purchasing many of the smaller items (including clothing you didn’t need), I bet you could have already checked an item or two off of the someday list.  I know we could have!

I’m not a shopper.  I used to be – years ago, but I don’t enjoy it much anymore.  All that means is that I don’t go to the mall just to go to the mall (same goes for online shopping).  That being said, if I do go into a store (or online to Amazon…..)  because there is something specific I am looking for I have a weakness for looking at other things and thinking to myself “ooh….I NEED that!” and buying it.  Now, if I truly “needed” it, then I would have known prior to seeing it in the store.  The reality is, I didn’t “need” it…….  It’s like when I get a new Talbots catalog in the mail.  I didn’t need any item of clothing (this is a fact) until I saw the ADORABLE new pink sweater they featured for spring.  Suddenly I “needed” a new sweater.

6. Learn To Say No
We tend to overbook ourselves because we don’t want to tell others no.  While there are many things we feel obligated to do – for ourselves, for our family, etc., there is likely something in your calendar over the next month that you could have said “no” to.

How does this help to simplify your life, you ask?  Saying yes all of the time (or not saying no and therefore ending up taking on the task by default) eats away at our time and our energy.  Just like anything else, this change will not happen overnight.  It's easy to slide back into old habits and get off track.  Cut yourself some slack.  You've got to be open and honest with yourself and pick yourself up and try it again.

The next time you are asked to commit to something, pause for a few seconds before answering.  Evaluate your current commitments as well as the commitment being asked of you.  And remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation – “I’m sorry, I can’t do that” is an answer that is absolutely good enough!

7. Grow/Make/Create What You Can
Start slowly, but again, goals in hand, strive toward making things homemade where it makes sense.  Household cleaners, meals, condiments, etc. can be so much better homemade rather than store bought.  Go through the process of determining if each item makes sense: 

  • Is my homemade version superior to what I can purchase?
  • Can I find the time to regularly make it homemade?
  • What is the cost difference?

8. Begin Where You Are…..Live In The Moment
Learning to focus on the day at hand and living consciously in each and every moment is a huge part of simplicity.  It's easy when things are calm and good.  This becomes increasingly difficult as chaos enters the scene.

We also tend to judge ourselves based on the perception of where we believe others are compared to where we see ourselves.  For instance, I had someone approach me at the market one day and she said to me “you are so lucky – you are living my dream life.  Someday I hope to be where you are and I can’t wait.”  A couple of things:  1. She’s judging my life based on the limited knowledge she has of it (although I do have a pretty good life, I will admit)  2. She seemed to be tying her happiness in to the “someday” happening.

I’ve made this mistake as well – it’s very easy to do.  It’s actually an unconscious action.  Finding gratitude for where you currently are can be difficult.  It's challenging to believe the saying "you are right where you should be" but you are.  We all are.  So set goals for a new home, a new career, or whatever you desire, but begin where you are and be content and grateful for what you have right now.

Live for today.

What about you?  What processes or routines have you incorporated into your life to help simplify things?

Simple Living


  1. Such a great post, Staci. I love purging, so I can't really relate to those who have a hard time with it. Something else that helps with this is that when you are going through items, if you touch it, you need to make a decision about it right then and there. Being decisive is easy for me and since landing in this smaller house, we have purged even more. I am truly only purchasing what is needed, or what I adore. I'm not much of a shopper either, I'd rather do other things, but when I do buy something, it gets used.

    Best wishes with your clothes project. No doubt you will feel lighter for it.

  2. Wonderful thoughts on the purging topic. It has been really hard for me to do this in the past. But as I get older, it is getting easier. I think I am just really tired of dealing with so much stuff. I have been a collector my whole life, and I also have the problem of going online for something specific and buying three other things I didn't know I "needed." I also have the problem of not having a lot of time to do the purging. We have raised a large family in a large house and now that we only have two children left at home, I am dreaming of downsizing into a smaller home. But my husband says we can't until I get rid of most of my "stuff." I want to, but it is overwhelming. I feel like I could spend all day for months and not get it done. I like the idea of not doing all the purging at once, but breaking it down into manageable bites. I will try writing down a schedule and assigning a specific area or closet or whatever to a certain day, and stop when that one thing is done. Maybe that will help it not seem like such a huge task. I also agree with you that organizing is not the answer. For so many years, I compulsively re-organized my home over and over again, searching for the perfect method. It was only recently that I heard that it isn't the organizing that helps our homes, but it is not having so much stuff to deal with. You just cemented that in my mind! :-) Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed it and was encouraged. :-)

  3. Hi Daisy - I LOVE the touch it theory. That will really help one purge I bet!!

  4. Jennifer - I am a LOT like you. I've had the same hang-ups and challenges. I will tell you that I never want a large home because I just know that temptation to fill it will kick back in. Plus, I don't like the amount of cleaning that is required..... :) I'm so happy to hear this was of help!!


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