Organized Simplicity: Chapter Two

In this series I will be working through Tsh Oxenreider’s book, Organized Simplicity.

The era of the ubiquitous “suburb” began after World War II in America- people wanted space, but to still enjoy the benefits of living close to the city.  Now, the vast majority of Americans live in suburb communities.  Tsh gently reminds us that what we enjoy are luxuries, not necessities.

  • In 2005, half of the world’s population lived on less that $2 per day.
  • 80% of the world’s population doesn’t have running water, or electricity.

So, can we keep our luxuries AND simplify our lives?  Here’s her advice:

  1. Don’t go to extremes.
  2. Say no, so you can say yes.
  3. Decide what “simple” looks like for YOU.

Her definition of simple living is, well, SIMPLE: “Living holistically with your life’s purpose.”

To break it down:

  • Holistically- all parts work together for good of the whole, and the whole is more important than any one part.  Components can include spiritual, relational, emotional, intellectual, physical, and financial.
  • Life’s purpose- what are you are ABOUT.

The benefits of simplifying and decluttering, or “living simply”?

  1. More Time for people- you have less to do, less to clean, and so more free time.
  2. Improved health- too much stuff stresses our bodies.
  3. Improved financial well-being.  We don’t need to spend money on maintenance of things we don’t love, or buying things we don’t need or love.
  4. It’s an ecological step in the right direction.
  5. When we get rid of things, others can use what we don’t.
  6. We need less space.
  7. We produce less trash.  (Landfill space isn’t getting any bigger, folks!)

This chapter really gave me some things to think about!  One of my favorite things about traveling is how easy it is to keep clothes and things organized- we have what we need, and little else.  Laundry can be done in one load, it’s easy for the kids to keep track of their things, it’s dead simple to keep our temporary living space neat and organized.  What if my home was the same way?  Surely nothing to drastic as asking us all to live out of a suitcase, but do I really need 20 shirts? Do  my kids need 30 pairs of underwear each?  (Somehow, it just stacks up.  I’ll bet half of it doesn’t fit, but they’ll never give up their favorite pair without a fight, so I’ll never know!)

I love living in the suburbs- we can drive to the zoo, we can have a big garden.  Costco is just a few minutes away.  I can definitely see myself breaking from the societal norms around here already- the toddlers aren’t in preschool, we try and keep the toy situation to a manageable chaos.  I stay at home with the kids, and we home school to keep our family life simple.  I like what she’s suggesting, though, and I’m wondering when I’ll be able to stop my life-long hoarding tendencies.  (My parents are snickering right now, I just know it.)

4 Responses

  1. One of the things I enjoy about your posting these is the reminder for me to go and read her book. I keep getting distracted after a few pages.

  2. I clicked over to Amazon and read that the author is the owner of I just began reading over there – great blog, and there is another called I think I read this book when it came out…the cover looks familiar. I’ll have to pick it up again from the library.

    Lately, I’ve really been able to free myself of outside influences and internalized thinking about what’s de rigueur regarding lifestyles. I’m just letting myself pick and choose freely without judgement. It has been an awesome experience. My life just keeps getting more simple and more free. I’m discovering that I’ve got a strong inner-bohemian. We build our own little prisons sometimes.

    • That’s wonderful, Alexandra! I’ve had such fun writing this book up- it’s hard to stop myself from posting EVERYTHING at once, even though I’m much farther ahead in my writing than what I’ve posted. If you click on Tsh’s name up top, it will take you to the homepage of SimpleLivingMedia- simple kids, homeschool, organic, bites, and mom. All wonderful, but Tsh is my favorite writer 🙂 She founded it all, but hired on writers for the various channels as it expanded past her ability to keep up with alone. Great, great stuff.

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