Years ago, I read several books on the topic. My husband and I were in a financial situation where there was little money to spare and using the simplicity principles made that little bit stretch further. There was lots of grace to be had. Willingness to live simply feels a lot better than the fear and bitterness that can accompany times of want. Here are some of the practices of those times.
- I recycled clothes. For us that meant relatives passing clothes around from person to person until the clothes wore out. Back then, there weren’t stores around where a person could buy second-hand clothing. But they are plentiful today and I struck gold at one of them last week.
- We had a garden and I knew how to can and freeze foods.
- I learned techniques like making butter stretch by mixing it with powdered milk and making my own home-made syrup. I cooked from scratch.
- I wasted very little. For example, I saved the tablespoons of vegetables left on my children’s plates, rinsed them, and threw them into a carton into the freezer to use for casseroles and soups later on.
- I used less meat in recipes, such as ground beef in a casserole. Noodles, rice and potatoes were good and cheap fillers.
- I sewed, making our drapes and curtains. I mended, making linens or clothes last longer.
- I hung my clothes on a clothes line rather than use a dryer (which I didn’t have), even in the winter.
- I kept attune to any opportunities offered in our small town for free entertainment and took my children to the library where they could get books rather than buy them.
I found these efforts to be creative and even spiritual. I think sometimes about those who are struggling to make it today in our economic situation. I would love be of service to them to help lighten their burden. But rather than write some book listing my ideas, I would want to bring people together where they could share ideas and support one another in their efforts. There is a movement started years ago by Cecile Andrews, author of the book: Circle of Simplicity – Return to the Good Life. Like many of her contemporaries, she advocated much of what I was doing as listed above, but she preached the importance of community. I went on line to recall the name of this creative woman and I found that simplicity circles are alive and well to this day. I think it would do my soul wonders to revisit simplicity and consider finding or forming a circle. Anyone want to join me?