Living Simple Doesn’t Mean Living Small

There’s sometimes confusion about what living simple really means. It doesn’t mean making sacrifices, unless you want to. It also doesn’t mean doing without things that are important to you, unless you want to do without them to help you learn lessons about yourself or the world.

Living simple can also mean living very grandly in ways that matter. It just depends on how you approach it.

How To Define Living Simple

Living simple is about making lifestyle choices designed to make life better — not worse. No one chooses the simple life intending to torture themselves.

In general, those who choose to live simply take the time to evaluate their lifestyle to see which parts of it aren’t in line with their best interests, their highest good or their grandest possible version of themselves.

A lifestyle of simple living involves a number of different practices, and you may choose to adopt all or only some of them. Among these practices are:

  • Decreasing the number of possessions you own
  • Committing to self-sufficiency
  • Basing purchasing decisions on what you need rather than what you want
  • Living with fewer so-called “time-saving” machines like dishwashers, washing machines and food processors
  • Living inexpensively or frugally
  • Choosing to disconnect from electricity or telephone

Again, living simple can involve all of these practices or only a few of them.

It can even involve more radical life changes like living from a backpack with no permanent residence, disconnecting from the Internet or choosing a secluded, rural life.

Real Simple magazine focuses on small steps toward living simple and is available from Amazon.

Real Simple magazine focuses on small steps toward living simple and is available from Amazon.


For most people, however, simple living starts with small changes — like decluttering or disconnecting from cable television. Then, these people choose greater levels of simplicity as they see the benefits to body, mind, spirit and bank account from choosing a mimimalistic lifestyle.

Why People Choose Living Simple

People choose to a simple lifestyle for a variety of reasons and with a variety of expectations. Most choose it hoping it will be a better way of life than the one they are leaving behind.

Some choose this kind of lifestyle for spiritual reasons. Mennonites, for example, promote simple living. There are also simple sects within many other kinds of Christian and world religions.

Others simplify their lives for heath reasons. With fewer stresses from daily life, many people find that stress-related conditions like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and gastrointestinal issues can resolve or partially resolve.

Still others choose simplicity so they can get by with a less time-consuming job and therefore spend more quality time with friends and family.

Reducing your ecological footprint is also an excellent reason to choose living simple.

You may also find that it is a good response to the world’s increasing materialism. Whether it is your intention or not, the simple life is certainly an economical, frugal, non-consumerist way to live.

Final Thoughts

While some who consider themselves minimalists still visit expensive restaurants and consume processed foods, others turn away from these patterns to seek a rural, ecologically friendly life that involves few trips to malls or fancy eating establishments.

Living simple is both a series of lifestyle changes and an attitudinal shift. And while it can mean living a smaller, less impactful life if you really want it to, it certainly doesn’t have to mean that.

In fact, a simple life may be the best way on the planet to live a life that’s truly grand in the ways that matter.

Living simple, in other words, it what you make it.

You get to define the process for yourself, and you get to choose which aspects of simplicity fit best with the goals you have for your life.

No matter which aspects you choose to embrace or reject, if you choose the ones that lead to a better, saner, more productive life for you, you’ll never be sorry.

Living simple is a good choice for everyone, and it could be just what you need to get your life on track.