First let me say that I agree… I wouldn’t be happy living a life of purging, scrimping, and deprivation either… but that’s purging, scrimping, and deprivation, NOT simple living. Done right, simple living should be a positive experience, not a negative one… with the emphasis on adding to your life, not taking away from it.
Reader question… “I’ve been admiring your lovely afghans, cross-stitching and baskets. You mentioned sewing in your About This Blog and About Me page and I wondered if you also make quilts. I sew but have never done any quilting and I have become almost obsessed with the idea of making a quilt. I’m looking for an easy beginner’s quilt pattern. Any recommendation?”
There are indeed many good reasons to purge. It makes sense to purge when an item breaks and repairing it isn’t possible or feasible. It makes sense to purge when clothing becomes too worn or faded or no longer fits. It makes sense to purge as tastes and circumstances change. This “purging for a reason” involves only one… or a few… items at a time and is a gradual, almost automatic purge that happens naturally as your needs change or an item no longer fits your lifestyle.
“From your experience, what would you say is the biggest obstacle that people have to living a simpler, truly fulfilling life?”
A reader asked me this question a few days ago, and I think my answer would have to be one word… “inertia.” The prospect of a lifestyle change is so overwhelming for most people, they are understandably afraid to take that first step. I hear from so many people who really want to live more simply, BUT… and I mean this seriously… they’re making “simple living” too complicated.
Reader question… “I read in a book about decluttering and purging that a photograph of an item is a good substitute for actually having the item in your possession. Would you share your thoughts about purging sentimental items and and what you think about the idea of keeping only the photograph and not the item.” –Susannah H.
Yes, it is possible to have most (if not all) of the typical Thanksgiving foods… and to have them be completely soy-free. The downside is that without access to the holiday sales and prepared items, your Thanksgiving meal is going to cost more money and take more time and work to get on the table. However, as long as you are willing to do mostly from-scratch preparation and a lot of conscientious label reading, you CAN come up with soy-free Thanksgiving alternatives. I do this every year for Thanksgiving and for any other special event. I wish I could tell you that after a while it gets easier, but they keep putting soy in more and more foods, so there is always something new to avoid.
I have found that it’s really a continual learning process, because cooking or baking with wood requires a different rhythm and a different timing than cooking with gas or electricity. Most importantly, it requires learning how to adjust to the peculiarities of each individual stove… and that can be quite a challenge.
Reader question… “Last month I inherited a cast iron skillet from a great-aunt. My problem is, I don’t know what to do with it. It looks like it’s in pretty poor shape with rust and a lot of black ‘gunk’ crusted on all the surfaces of the skillet, so I’m assuming I can’t just season it as is. What can I do to bring this skillet back to usable condition?” –Thelma J.