Before we begin with today’s post, I wanted to introduce myself as this is my first appearance on Tiny House Talk. I’m Laura! I’ve been an evolving minimalist and tiny house enthusiast for the past few years. My husband and I are making the jump into tiny house living this year. When Tiny House Talk was looking for some people to supplement content, I jumped at the opportunity. Alex decided he would give me a shot and trust me with some writing. What better way to introduce myself to the Tiny House Talk community than to list the reasons I love living simply?
Living simply goes hand-in-hand with tiny houses and living in small spaces. A small space can only hold so much room for objects, hobbies, and passions. Living in a small space forces people to re-evaluate their values and lead richer lives. That said, here are five main reasons behind my desire to live simply:
1. Eliminate debt and create financial peace. I actually have never been in debt, but have heard many stories about how focusing on simplicity has helped people pay off and eliminate their debt. What I have noticed is a better ability to manage my finances. After I cut back on certain bills, financial obligations, and consumer products that I didn’t need (gym memberships, television/internet services, clothes, etc.), I found more cash in my wallet to spend on the things that really did matter: savings, healthy foods, and unique experiences. As everyone knows, feeling secure about your money brings about a sense of peace.
2. Being a conscious consumer. Living simply doesn’t mean you can’t buy stuff at all and turn down every opportunity that comes your way. It just means you become much more aware of your needs versus your wants. As I progressed on this journey, I learned that most of the things I considered needs were actually wants. There is only so little one really needs. In addition, when it comes to making purchases and choices, I question whether or not the item/experience will add value to my life, whether it is disposable or well-made, whether it could come with us in tiny house or will be something we have to toss, and so on. I’ve been able to eliminate many potential purchases in my life when I ask these questions, as well as things I already had (perk: donations are tax-deductible.). My husband and I have also learned to live within our means and become [more than] content with what we have.
3. Stuff no longer demands my attention. When you have more stuff, you need more room for it. Instead of getting rid of stuff, most people tend to just find larger homes to store their stuff in and drink tons of coffee to keep them running through a busy schedule. That, or they shove everything in boxes out of sight into storage units and pop stress pills in private. Then they have to take care of the stuff, pay for the space to store it, and carry this invisible burden. Life isn’t about stuff! Yet, so many of us are trapped in this cycle of stuff equaling happiness. It seems kind of scary to jump off the treadmill, but it is so worth it. I felt like I finally woke up to the world.
4. Bring more into my life. No, not more stuff. Just more. More things that really matter. With less stuff, an open schedule, and a clearer mind, I have been able to really focus on my values in life. Yoga? Please. Afternoon hikes? Sure! A simple cup of tea? My pleasure! Time to hang out with my best friend? No problem! That dream trip to Europe? A lot more possible now than before! My goals, dreams, and values are clear. My relationships are stronger. I can breathe easier. I have more time to create and connect.
5. Freedom. This kind of ties along with reason number four, but living simply creates freedom. Burdens are lifted. Space is more breathable. Connections are easier. Character is strengthened. Inspiration flows. There is so little holding me back now.
And a bonus reason:
6. It’s fun to be weird, in that quirky-but-cool way. Let’s face it — your friends and family probably think you’re crazy for wanting to kick nearly all your earthly belongings to the curb and live in a tiny space. I know mine raised many eyebrows at my words and actions. My parents still cannot fully understand me. Five years ago, I probably would have considered myself a nut job, too. But now, I secretly relish this reputation that I have. I feel free. I want you to feel the same way.
What are your reasons for wanting to live a simple life?
Latest posts by Laura Norcross (see all)
- 5 Reasons You Should Start Owning Less - March 2, 2013
- How To Declutter Your Wardrobe: Tips for Simplifying Closets & Clothes - January 23, 2013
- 5 Reasons I Like To Live Simply - January 11, 2013
Welcome Laura! As someone who has always embraced minimalism before it was even labeled, I applaud you and your husband and your choice to go the tiny home lifestyle. I have a feeling that you will make a great success of it since you already hold the mindset needed.
Now I must run over and check out your site! Blessings!
have to come to discover that minimalism/simple living was a thing way before it was given a label and so many people (including myself) were blind to it. I applaud YOU for being one the first! Thank you for the welcome and kind words. 🙂
Hi Laura! Great to meet another new member of the Tiny House Talk team. I’m going to be writing here as well and I look forward to sharing with you and everyone here. I’m especially interested in seeing where you take your Tiny House project. With your attitude and energy I think you will make something really special! I have my own tiny house under construction and it is a very rewarding process.
Sweet! This seems like a great team to be a part of! I am glad to hear you are having a wonderful experience building your own tiny house. 🙂
Hi Laura Norcross, I’m a fan of the tiny life. I loved your 1st article for THT. “Invisible burden” — I so get that.
I’ve been reading a book on Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Her buzz words are: “freedom of poverty” & “silence”. It’s not a treatise on celebrating poverty itself but a getting down to the bare bones of what we really do need to survive & thrive.
All 3 phrases jive for me in describing why the tiny life is so attractive to so many people, like me, even if we can’t shrink our worlds.
I love hearing the reasons other people are attracted to the tiny life — thank you for sharing your thoughts. Also, what book are you reading? I may be interested in checking it out — I love to read. 🙂
The name of the book is “Where There Is Love, There Is God by Mother Teresa, edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk,MC. It is a compilation of work from many speeches and writings she did throughout her life.
Are you on Facebook? I happen to live on Facebook & get much tiny/small life info there. I’d like to connect with as many women tiny/small lifers on Facebook as I could. Laura Lavoie (sp?) has graciously let me add her to my page after I sent her a fan email.
I have added the book to my to-read list. Thank you! And yes, I am on Facebook. I use it more to connect with my close friends and family but I have found you and sent a request! (I hope I found the right person.) I love connecting with other tiny life women too!
Hi Laura – welcome to the Tiny House Team! You’ll love writing for and with Alex.
Thanks for this post. I love it. You really hit all the key points of tiny living. Some people do it for the environmental impacts and others do it in order to be prepared and the rest of us do it because it just makes sense with our lives. Getting out of debt was a huge part of it for me and reducing my expenses meant I could quit my job and live my dream. You can’t buy that kind of happiness.
Thank you for the warm welcome. I completely forgot to include environmental reasons! I knew I was missing something. Having a smaller footprint and making sustainable choices (or as close to it as possible) is another reason I’m so drawn to this lifestyle. I love that you are living your dream!! 🙂
Thank you so much for your article! I have over the years gone back and forth in a pendalum swing between getting caught up in consumerism and feeling the need to declutter and simplify. The idea of living simply came into my life at a perfect time, after moving from big house to bigger house to bigger house, and finding at the end of it all that we just had a bigger house payment and car payment and no time to enjoy (or even fix) any of it.
I’ve spent the past couple months (and continue) to declutter and minimize my belongings and my purchases. My family of 5 is downsizing from our 2500sf home to a 28ft camper this summer (which we hope to use throughout our childrens lives to explore the North West and building our dream of a small house from the money we save. (small as in 600-800sf for a family of 5 with a 90lb dog and a dog hating cat). I wish I could live in a tinier house, wish it were practical with the size of my family. But I think the ideals of living smaller and more simply can be applied without living in a trailer based home, even for those of us who cannot quite fit.
As another said, really love your reference to getting rid of the “invisible burden” and buying quality instead of quantity. As someone who has lived in debt (house payments, car payments, credit cards, school loans, etc etc) I can say there is nothing better than the idea of getting out of this rat race.
I love hearing stories like yours. And you are right — not everyone can move into a tiny house. My husband and I hope to get an RV down the road for more travel, and then eventually move in a ‘normal’ [but small] house as a permanent spot. Simple living can definitely be applied anywhere. I wish you luck on your journey! 🙂
It’s difficult for me to equate traveling in a RV or trailer as being more “sustainable” or a smaller “carbon footprint.” Not with all the gas that’s consumed. Both are usually, by definition, not long lived or a relatively “disposable” way of living. Airstream trailers seem to be pretty long-lived but even those I read about people completely renovating the interiors.
I can see spending less on things that don’t matter to you so that you can spend the money you’ve saved on what you would rather do. But seems like you’re fooling yourself(ves) if you think traveling around the US in a RV is a “sustainable” or less consumerist way of life. You just substitute consuming more gas or diesel for other stuff you used to consume.
I don’t think living in an RV is necessarily “sustainable.” The way I see it, traveling in an RV (we want a fifth wheel, by the way) provides a much richer experience than dropping hundreds of dollars to fly around all the time, stay in hotels, and go out to eat — all while paying for a house that you’ve left behind empty. I’d rather see the country from my own home. You’re right — gas is crazy. That’s why we’re considering running on veggie oil. 🙂
Living simply certainly has it’s good points allowing one to do what really matters instead of working for stuff.
My motto is ‘it’s not what you make but what you spend’. By spending wisely on things that last and save future money go up in value you need to work far less and enjoy life far more as you have the time for it instead of working for useless stuff.
So I’m investing in some tiny houses to sell, some EV’s to sell or keep to cut transport expenses mostly done from my clutter.
I’ll in up with a nice 34′ trimaran, itself a tiny home, inexpensive transport and PV, wind generator for all the energy I’ll need the rest of my life for a very low price.
Anyone can do similar in their own way like you have by setting themselves up with a paid for home and energy source, etc gives one the freedom to only do work when one wants at things they enjoy instead of buying into the ratrace so many have been conned into.
LOVE your motto! I need to write that down and put it up somewhere. Sounds like you have a good living situation, too! 🙂
Thank you, Chris!
All good reasons!
When you no longer are focused on what you have or what you need you can focus on who you are.
I like the way you think!
Hi Laura, Really enjoyed what you wrote. And it is all so true: we all have way too much ‘stuff’ that we think we can’t live without, and all it does is weigh us down and drown us in it’s mire. Hooray for the simple life! Maybe more of us will venture that way and gain the freedom to really enjoy our families and friends. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Dawn, I am seeing a trend in simple thinking these days. I really hope more people will go that way, gain freedom, and help make the world a lovelier place. 🙂
One thing I found out in my foolish pursuit of the rat race is that when in debt, one has no money to make donations to causes that matter.
I long for the day when my home is smaller, my needs and wants are clearly in line, my debt is gone, and there is both a bit of savings and money to donate.
I think one of the things that pulled me onto this path and shrinking the material side of life was the desire to donate money and realizing that thanks to allowing myself to be in debt I could not do that good thing. I pulled me up short. Debt means you owe someone that dollar you wanted to give to the food bank. Debt means you owe someone that five dollar bill you wanted to give to the scouts who want to improve the park, etc.
Who do we want to be?
Don’t feel silly about being part of the ‘rat race.’ It’s what we are used to seeing around us so we naturally assume it’s normal! At least you saw the light and are starting to question everything.
I hope you are working towards reducing your debt a little bit each day so you can finally give back the way you want to. I admire that goal!
Welcome Laura! I enjoyed your article and look forward to more.
Thank you so much! 🙂
Great post Laura!
I’m a minimalist as well! 😀
I live in a little apartment with incredibly few things, with a goal of investing in a mini motor home (class C) by the end of the year 😀
Just me, myself, and I.
I started a tumblr blog on it.
Nice to meet you, Lorraine! I’m excited for your plans — best of luck with everything. I hope you will keep us updated. 🙂
Will do! 😀
Think tiny thoughts and live large!
If the truth be told the early settlers were the first simple livers. T.V. shows protray women bring all this junk in waggons, when in fact the waggon held very little. The bed yes, some clothes usually one or two sets. Every day and “church” clothes. a few key pots and pans and a coffee pot. then all the space left was for food and kids. even the family dog and cow walked beside the wagon. These women desirve all the cudo’s they get. Life was very hard! Pioneer women were sometimes tougher then the men. My hat is off to all pioneers then and now.
Bravo!! You nailed it perfectly 😀 That’s exactly how they lived.
And consider people even further back, primitive man, utilizing hides,bones,plants,stone,wood,etc. Nothing was wasted. If they lived large it was mainly their dwelling accompanied by their tribe.
You are so right. Sometimes I have fantasies about living with Ma and Pa Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie — then I remember how difficult their lives really were. So much has changed since then. Yet, we could really pick up quite a few pointers from those amazing women.
A good refrence, sort of ,is the set of books by Jean Auel…about prehistoric living and how it all began. she did 10 years research for her book series. read the books for the best information i’ve seen on how things were done. Better them then me 🙂
No wonder 30 was considered old.
Read them! 😀 Excellent source of reference. Jean did extensive research on primitive man in the caves of France. After I read all of her books, I devoured others like them, seeking books that were more facts than fiction.
Treat yourself to Sue Harrison’s prehistoric novels of the Aleut nation! Sue did mind blowing research for her novels and I’ve since acquired a taste for researching the Aleut’s and their prehistoric lifestyle on the Chain. Venturing their is on my bucket list 😀
I’m so happy you read Jean’s books,too! She blew me away.
I’m a 50-something guy. All my life I’ve done what society expected (paid taxes, worked hard, blah, blah, blah) but, looking back, was it worth it? I’m not sure, frankly. As Dolly Parton said in 9 to 5, “I was born poor and worked my way up to outcast ….” 🙂 I’m tired of feeding the machine .. of being just another brick in the wall. I want off the “hamster wheel.” It’s taken enough from me. So, that’s why I want a simpler life. A life of just “enough.”
At the risk of raising the ire of minimalists, I have to say that we may have few dishes, etc., and have sold many things, but we still enjoy and keep antique quilts, antique toy cars, etc. That said, our 415 square feet home is a drastic reduction from the last house we had (three stories) and the one prior to that which had a 40-foot great room. We may someday want to live with only the basics, but I honestly doubt that. We have moved far in that direction, however.
A fifth wheel is a great choice for travel, although an Airstream is wonderful. These are well built now and much can be recycled when they finally face their last sunset. As to gas, I expect you will stay in each location for awhile, probably using less fuel than many commuters.
Welcome, Laura, and don’t let anyone steal your joy! Let us celebrate our differences as we each strive to simplify in our own way!
Hi Karen. I don’t think what you said would be out of line with minimalist thinking at all. It seems like for most of the people I’ve read and listened to, the biggest goal is to really define what works for the individual and to be mindful… and not just allow society to pressure us into having so much more than we need and when we really get down to it, actually want. I’m sure there are a few that enjoy the fun of counting how few items they can get down to, but I’d say the majority are just really open to people of the same mindset no matter how much stuff they have or the size of their house. It’s all about what you truly want and what makes your life better, happier, more full, etc… and for many people they don’t need to go as small or pare down as much to feel the same sense as freedom as another person who maybe went super tiny and super minimal. It’s so personal I think… just like you mentioned… and I have noticed that almost every prominent blogger or author on the subject of minimalism is always so conscious to share that idea, which is super cool.
Thank you for sharing this Laura! My husband and I made the decision to simplify for a tiny house a few months ago and we just moved out of 2000 sq. ft home and are preparing to start construction on our own tiny home this spring. My parents and most of my friends think we are crazy so it was nice to hear someone else so clearly articulate the beauty of our decisions. Any simplification or downsizing tips you would like to share would be much appreciated!
Thanks Lindsay and good luck! 🙂
Kelli, I agree. Our Tiny Houses are just a manifestation of our decision to live as we choose, to refuse to mindlessly follow the pack. It follows that some of us will choose less than 100 square feet with virtually no possessions while others will live in 1000 fully packed square feet.
I am working on minimalizing my property. I feel like I’m being emotionally and mentally abused by my husband and two of my three daughters. In fact, my husband just stabbed me in the back. I know that when I get rid off my clutter that my life will be less stressful. Stress agraves my illness. We are empty-nesters. We raised five children. I can’t keep up with the house. My husband watches TV. I’d rather read, listen to or play my instruments, draw, carve, pioneer crafts, tat, love my animals, etc. I’m having a difficult time. It’s a struggle besides being bitched at I am a very sentimental person. My kids have given me souvenirs, I’ve kept a lot of their school work (but am finding that it’s beginnig to deteriorate), as a child our family took several unique trips and I collected souvenirs. my mom’s mom took several trips to different counties and brought back souvenirs, and friends gave me gifts. Some of their gifts I put in a garage sale. My have several collections. I thought of choosing a few special pieces from my collections and displaying them in a shadow box or a Mason jar. My dad’s mum gave me her treadle wheel machine, I have my other grandma’s sewing machine, and I have a Viking that does everything. The only thing is I don’t know when I used it last. I’m giving it to my middle daughter, but I don’t want to do it too soon. First, I need to get rid of what I use to use which is a lot. Someone was talking about the “Little Praire” books another interesting source are the Foxfire books. I have until Christmas to clean out my stuff. If I don’t get it all done tough. I have planned to live in a Tiny House for about five years. I’ll have downsized, become fugal and non-materialistic. Bye Paul.