Voluntary simplicity.

Photo: Metaphorical Blue Door by Ben Heime

I wanted to first thank everyone for the kind wishes from the previous post. I somehow felt it was apt to share a very exciting tidbit of my life with people whom I've mostly never met but have been my co-conspirators in this blogging project of mine.

As I embark on a new chapter of my life (hence the metaphorical blue door above), I also wanted to share a quote from the book by Richard Gregg called 'The Value of Voluntary Simplicity' (1936):

Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose.

The tragedy in Japan, the current state of affairs in this country and the seemingly endless misfortunes around the world have really question my lifestyle of late - in the way that people think of these things on the abstract, I think of it on a daily, anal retentive basis. I think (and know) that I have more possessions than I need such that it's smothered me tremendously. I'm still not really sure what the purpose of my life really is (and I do mean this in the most pretentious, existentialist way possible *snicker*), but I think that if I try hard enough to (a) avoid exterior clutter and (b) organize my life style for a purpose, I may just be able to reduce mass accumulation and learn to actually consume less to the extent where I can come to peace with myself.

While it may be hard to figure out the long-term prospects of  life in general, I think that for the time being, the few things that may help me achieve the notion of voluntary simplicity are:
  1. Goodwill donations at the end of the March including clothing, housewares and miscellaneous grocery tote bags. I really need to pare down the amount of things I own, it's driving me insane. 
  2. No clothing purchases for the month of March and April, instead I will save up this sweater if and when it goes on sale. 
  3. As an addendum to #2, limit visits to lagarconne.com to no more than 20 minutes per week.
  4. As an addendum to #3, every time an urge for browsing online stores hit, I'll read a book instead.
  5. Buy more local heritage meats, go on meatless Mondays and learn to grocery shop much, much, much less.
I know that this list doesn't necessarily help me simplify my life, but I guess it's a start. The tendency to browse online for hours on end and click on the "Add to cart > Checkout" button is an alarming contributor to why my house is a dump. 


  1. I'm always wishing that my life and living space could be less cluttered. But, seeing images of the tsunami in Japan washing away people's houses, belongings, and loved ones *really* led me to question why I have so much stuff. I'm also planning a big trip to the Goodwill donations center soon.

  2. Jennifer, the images that speak to me most are the ones of just miles and miles of personal items floating around. It just seems like such waste after a lifetime of accumulation, everything can just disappear in a second. It's sobering.

  3. Such a motivational post.

    I've been actively trying to consume less in general, though I think nothing seems to cure me of my habit of buying books. I've been trying to make more use of my library but coffee table books are a different matter altogether.

    I wish eating local was more of a practical choice in Singapore - unfortunately we grow nothing and import everything. The only local things are eggs, some veggies, and mushrooms. It's a start I suppose.

  4. thanks for such a timely and introspective post. i feel the same way as you. it's a constant struggle to resist consumerism. the best i can do is to be more self-conscious and try and invest my time into more productive activities! reading more sounds like a good one! good luck in your endeavors and latest chapter of life!

  5. Great post, and the ideas coincide so much with the general direction of my thoughts right now. I am reading a book 'Simple Living' espousing simple living techniques. Also trying to cut down on blog trolling, online shopping, though I have not been succeeding much in this direction. Liked your idea on reading a book, going to try that!


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