Simple living is reducing the clutter of life and space down to the essentials of what is important; allowing what remains to stand out and bring value.
Simple living has been going on for many, many years — Hindu and Buddhist from the east and in the west with Shakers, Mennonites, Amish and Quakers. They practice a life of moving away from wealth and technology. Though simple living is a part of these religions, it is more a philosophy and lifestyle that could, in a sense, become its own religion. Much like the voluntary simplicity movement in the US and the down-shifting taking place in parts of Europe.
People who are active in their simplicity voluntarily reduce their need for consumable goods and put a monetary value on their time as it relates to what they buy. For instance: If you make $100 a day at work and a sofa costs $500, you just spent a week working to buy that sofa — you want to make darn sure it is worth your time and lasts you as long as possible.
This reduction of stuff in our lives not only simplifies the clutter around us, but also the stress 'clutter' in our lives. If you are only working towards maintaining the few things of value in your life, you have a better direction as well as less stress about 'keeping up with the neighbors'.
With fewer consumable goods in our lives, being able to reuse/recycle an item to make it last longer also allows you to live with a smaller 'footprint' in the world. I believe that there is not a religion out there that says we shouldn't take care of the world provided us.
Technology in the simple life is a personal decision. If you feel removing it might be best for you, test it out and see what you can do without. However, minimizing the technology to only the items that bring VALUE to your life, and not distraction, might be the first step to make.
Where do you start?
- Reuse items — Coffee in travel mugs instead of Styrofoam; use rags instead of paper towels.
- Reconnect — Spend time with family, eliminate distractions, go outdoors, or go it alone.
- Rethink — Ask yourself if you need the item. Is it worth the money you make, will it be used, will it be of value?
- Reevaluate — Take a look at your bills and see where you can lower consumption; add a low-flow shower-head, conserve water, lights, etc.
- Reduce — Live in a smaller space. There's less to take care of and less to worry about.