The funny thing about this interview is that it started a few months ago so many of the things we’ll go over have already happened.
But I’m glad to introduce you to Rachel Meeks and her family. The important message here is that they’ve embraced simple living and it’s opened up some amazing doors for them–as you’ll learn in the interview…
Alex:Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book and why you decided to write it?
Rachel: I had a desire to write my ebook Simple Blogging to help others manage the time they spend blogging.
I know it can be a lot of hard work, but most of us don’t have forty hours a week to spend on it. I wanted to encourage people to use their time in the most effective ways possible and help them overcome the challenges I faced when I was getting started such as how to balance blogging time with family time, while still having a great blog.
Alex: Can you tell us how simplifying (in general) changed your family’s life? What has it allowed you guys to accomplish as a family?
Rachel: We have more time to pursue our goals, and simplifying has helped us to realize that our goals don’t look like everybody else’s. Â We have more time to spend together.
One way that we have simplified is we live in an apartment with our two children. At first it was just going to be for the first couple of years of our marriage, but then we realized how much we like the benefits.
We’ve saved so much money and not had to buy a house full of furnishings, so when the opportunity came up for my husband to take a year off from work, we’re able to do it.
We’re going to put the stuff we have here into a storage unit and live in an apartment in Italy for a couple of months.
Rachel's Tiny Kitchen in Italy
Alex:You guys must be so excited! I think a lot of people out there underestimate the power of simplifying, but your family is a great example of what’s possible.
Your motto is “Less, but better” — can you explain what this means to you and why?
Rachel: I have a pair of shoes that I’ve worn almost every day during fall and winter for the last five years.
Initially it was hard for me to pay more for them than I would normally pay for shoes, but I can see now that the quality was worth it.
I’ve saved a lot of time and money by not having to replace them each year. I think the older I become, the less I want to put up with cheaply-made things.
I would rather have fewer things that are well-made.
I apply that philosophy to my time too. I would rather have a few meaningful conversations than a bunch of passing greetings.
I would rather watch one good movie than a dozen television shows that simply pass the time.
Does this make me sound too serious? I still take a lot of leisure time. I’m not super-productive all the time, but I do like to be focused, and that’s not always easy with little kids running around.
Alex: What would you say to other families who want to simplify their lives? And why should they do it?
Rachel: You know, I never really missed anything that I gave away (or that I didn’t buy in the first place). Once it’s gone, you don’t have to think about it. Instead of feeling a sense of loss for the physical things that are gone, I get a sense of freedom.
I am trying to take more risks and get out of my comfort zone a bit (and oh, how I love my comfort), but I could not do that if I had a lot of stuff weighing me down.
Could you imagine an entire tiny house just for meditating? This architect designed and built just that so that he could have a place to quietly get away.
He even included a fountain to mask unwanted sounds so that he could use the space as intended. As I was looking at it though I was wondering: you’d probably think about living in here wouldn’t you?
Well… So did I. The two big windows face east and west so that there’s always sunlight coming through the structure.
Leave it to us to figure out where to put what in this tiny space since it wasn’t designed to live in.
I think you could create two separate sleeping platforms in the lofts by the two large windows. This could create two semi private areas for sleeping. But if it’s just you the other can be left alone or used as storage.
Then downstairs you can create your living space along with a mini kitchen and bathroom.
Do you think it could work? How would you design it for yourself?