Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Quest for a Simple Life

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments yesterday. It meant a lot to me. My heart did feel bittersweet yesterday. We had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you did too.

You'll be relieved to know that all the Christmas decorations are in fact, intact.

They will remain that way for another week or so.
Maybe. I can't make any promises.

Now that the holidays are over, I can address what my heart has been mulling over for the last few months.

Do you remember when I was 'let go' (that sounds so much better than fired) a few months ago?

Three months and two weeks to be exact.

I do not want to return to gainful employment.

I feel that if I live a simple, frugal life, I won't have to.

A simple, frugal, self-sufficient life is my hearts desire.

I've been reading Thoreau's "Walden Pond"
and I'm fascinated.

The thought of living simply, quietly, and frugally strikes a chord deep in my heart.

I do not feel impoverished.

I feel extremely wealthy.

I feel a little scared.

It's new territory for me.

I've always been so busy.

These are the things I'm beginning today. They will seem random and crazy to you, but bear with me for a week or two, or year or two, and let's see if we can't figure this out.

I will only go to town once a week.
All of this running has to stop. I will take Aaron to the math tutor and on that day will do all my shopping and errands. When it looks like this outside, who wants to go out anyway? It's five miles to the closest store here.

View from Office Window

I will not buy plastic wrap or Ziploc bags anymore.
I have no idea if there is life without plastic wrap or Ziploc bags, but I aim to find out.
I'm afraid.

I will not buy anything new in the next year.
Yes, you read that right. Did you know that the first blog I ever read was 'No Impact Man'. I was so enthralled by it. I want to do it. If I can't find it through FreeCycle, GoodWill or Salvation Army, I shan't own it. For some reason, this doesn't scare me as much as the plastic wrap withdrawal. I do want to put the disclaimer here that I will be buying yarn and fabric, and I hope you won't hold that against me.

I'm anxious to know your thoughts on this. Could you do this? Do you do this? Am I crazy?

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.


  1. Wow! No plastic wrap? I buy the big industrial sized ones from Sam's Club. I have calculated that I have gone through about 4 in 20 years. My hat sure goes off to you for not buying anything new. I am feeling a stirring that maybe I should try this, too. I will have to pray about it. Have a very blessed day today!

  2. If anybody can do it, you can. It will be fun, I basically live this way now except for the plastic. And I have to pack a lunch for him everyday so I must have it. But I'm a thrift queen. Tay got a gorgeous purse for Christmas that was a Guess designer purse from Plato's closet, she was thrilled. I paid 9 dollars I think for it. All the games and some older movies Steve wanted were all from Disc replay at a fraction of the new prices, this way he gets more and some of the old movies he wanted, you can't find at the stores any longer. Let me know if your in the market for anything, I'm cleaning out closets, crafts and the like, this year and so I may have something you need. Free is always my favorite price. I think you'll find that more people dance to the different drummer than the go with the flow drummer. Love you, me

  3. Not sure about leaving plastic wrap behind. But I find, when I have to think about it, there are usually other ways to do things. We are all feeling a measure of what's happened in this economy. I remember when I charged on credit cards freely and scarcely gave it a thought. Now, the very idea scares me. I realize that I like things I make better than things I buy. Of course this does mean supplies... I love my house and when I spend money it is usually to enhance it. It is both my sanctuary and my vacation spot.

  4. you truly are a woman after my own heart. i started with prrex glass bowls that come with a lid or turnign a plate upsidedown onto a bowl instead of plastics. they bother me. i still have the ones ive had for a while and i intend to use them till they fall apart. i must confess that i used ALOT of plastic wrap when we butchered pig pig. but i felt all in all it was the lesser eveil than letting all that meat freezer burn. it is so nice ot know there is someone out there who feels the way i do and is so forgiving in the way i seem to fail at most fo my concictions miserably (thanks to my adorable children mostly) :) by the way, i have founf the plans for my garden shed and green house!!!! ill have to show you sometime soon! i just cant wait for tillable weather!!!!!

  5. You intrigue me. I've found that most anything you want can be found on ebay ... and I love Goodwill. It's a great endeavor. You are so good for your readers. Do you know that? You make us want to be better, gentler, kinder people. Thank you for inspiring us (me!).
    By the way ... I just took down my Christmas tree and swept the floor. The kids put their stuff away. Ahhh, I can breathe again :)

  6. YOU GO!! I have been shopping thrift for years. Clothes, House Decor, Furnishings, Food ( bread thrift stores/ Low price groceries like Aldi) You would be hard pressed to count 10 pieces of furniture in our house that are not handed down from family or from Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Craig's List. It is not something we do. It is what we live. Even if we had the $$ to buy everything new and retail, I just would have a very hard time doing it....
    It's great. The plastic thing....I applaude you. Still working on that one. I'm with you. I'm reading. I'm inspired. I'm thrilled to read your posts! Keep it coming. Rather than seeing how much we can GET, we like to see how little we can get by on, and yet still be very very content.
    It's not deprivation. It's gratitude for what you have.

  7. So inspiring. I too wonder about life without Ziploc bags. I want to do it. I really do. Not buying anything new for a year. I want to do that to. Not using as much gas, sure, that would be great. Sometimes I have a contest with myself about how many consecutive days can pass without going anywhere. My personal record is 17 days! My hearts deepest desire is to adopt two little girls from Ethiopia. We have already adopted a little girl from China. I want to look at all the ways I can save money and raise money to accomplish this dream. Thanks for the reminder of more ways to do this!

  8. It's a do able goal. I started with "No Impact Man" as well.
    I cook in amounts that we can eat in one meal to store less. When there is leftovers I use old refrigerator bowls (they are flat with a lid) and no plastic wrap. We were doing great without paper towels and have for the last 6 months. Evidently it bothered my mother in law because for Christmas she purchased a case for us.
    My husband has great difficulity not going anywhere. I keep coming up with list for him to keep him busy around home and that seems to help.

  9. Merry Christmas Jayme! Just popped in for a quick visit! You're doing GREAT on your weight loss...good for you! I've not gotten started usual. Don't know what I'm waiting on, but perhaps the sugar coma I'm in right now will motivate me! Every joint on me aches...wouldn't ya think that would push me into it?

    I love your idea of not buying anything new. I follow that fairly helps that I love primitive things! I'm on a mission to sort it, separate it and shuck it in 2010! Anxious to get started! Today however, is a down day..sittin' here in my jammers at 12:25 PM, watching the soft snowfall and catching up on blogs that I've not had time to visit for a couple of weeks.

    I like your idea of no plastic if I could just find a goo deal on milk in a glass jug! I ran out of Saran Wrap a couple of weeks ago and just keep forgetting to buy some...making due and running out of storage containers with lids! Ha! Got me to thinkin'...maybe I need to make less for each meal and I won't have so many leftovers! Hmmmm....that might help my weight go down too??
    Blessings on this cold winter's day!

  10. This is a wonderful thought. I hope you can bring it to light. I think if it was only myself and hubby I bought for it would work. But I have 6 grandchildren that we try and help supply with needed items. And I cannot always find what they need on my days off at garage sales ect. so I do shop for them. But I am a bargain shopper and never buy anything unless it is on sale. Which means I sometimes wait a lot longer than I want when we need something around here.

  11. I think those are wonderful ideas and I'm confident you'll be able to do it. I've been trying to accomplish some of the same things. I try to make fewer trips to town and combine my errands. I hardly ever use paper towels (except for gross stuff, dog related accidents and such) and my ziploc and plastic wrap use is way down. I do reuse the ziploc bags I have several times, just haven't found a way to replace them for all my uses. Any ideas what to put flour in when I buy it in large quantities and then put it in the freezer?

  12. I'm a pretty frugal gal, but.....NO ZIPLOCS??? I use, re-use, and re-use again, but it would take me a bit to get used to no plastic bags, that's for sure! For the most part, I buy very little "new", and am at the Goodwill or thrift store once a week.
    Nearly all of my Christmas shopping was done at tag sales or thrift stores this year, and I think it was the best gifties ever!

  13. Again, we think along the same vein...You wouldn't believe the number of 'simple lifestyle' links I have saved. I've been intriqued by this for years, never jumped in full force though. We did ditch the microwave and all plastic dishware (not ziplocks though).

    I'm feeling really overwhelmed with the STUFF around here, and I'm hoping to do a huge purge in the new year...may even have an in-house tag sale.

    I've especially wanted to simplify our eating and cooking routines again. That I've done several times in the past, and I really want to get back to it. Lots more veggies and beans and fruit, less meat and packaged goods.

    I love a challenge and would be super happy to come along and play's really time.

  14. Oh you. How do you do it? How do you keep a step ahead of me and always know what I'm thinking. I'm spending too much time spinning my wheels and doing unnecessary things. I want simple too. More time for the things that I need to do and enjoy doing. Walden Pond has been on my reading list for some time. Thanks for the reminder. I think I might could do the no ziploc thing, although, with 2 school age kids that mostly take their lunches that would be a big deal! Not buying anything new for a year? Well, I'm sure it would help us get to the village quicker but I'm no sure I have that kind of self control. Oh who am I kidding? There is no way on God's green earth I could do it. But I wish you all the luck in the world.

  15. oh Jayme you can do this!! I mean you do so much already getting rid of plastic wrap would be a walk in the park for you. This past year I have cut so much out of my life that I thought I never could and it is quiet freeing in the process. We are using our Tupperware more and putting stuff in microwave bowl to heat up with a wet towel over the top. I learned to can last year and this year I was up to 300 jars of "stuff" and intend even more for next year. You are such an inspiration so get busy with this new life style I could use more of your inspiration. nancy

  16. I just found your blog and love it. Getting rid of plastic wrap? No biggie!! I haven't used plastic wrap in years...really. I have been dying to do the frugal life. I've read the books, so maybe you can inspire me to get started. I'll keep my fingers crossed..Merry belated Christmas to you and yours.

  17. Yep, I believe that YOU can do anything you set your mind to! And I, too, need to cut back BIGTIME, lol! I love living a frugal is just so umcomplicated! I just posted on my blog about my new year's resolution being ONE word...SIMPLIFY!

  18. You can do this. It's in keeping with your weight loss goals, too. Just letting go of the unnecessary stuff. Seems like you already live an earthy lifestyle, so this should be easy for you.

    I recently re-evaluated our lifestyle and saw that we were just away from home too much. Driving from this to that. There wasn't enough time to just enjoy each other and parent like I want to, so I dropped out of a few things to slow the pace down.

  19. Read fake plastic fish. it is a blog that has changed me. i have made some big changes too. easy ones, like carrying my own bag to the grocery store...and harder ones! I am alos looking at homeschooling a child I am raising. Look forward to your posts.

  20. Just found your blog and love what I have read and am inspired. Would love to do these things. Have tried to be frugal but feel trapped in the rat race. I do carpool to work and feel that helps. I combine errands on trips out, use the library instead of renting or buying books and movies, & reuse plastic items. Did recently purchase a "safe" water container to take to work--ditched the bottled water. God Bless your endeavors! Can't wait to come back and read more.

  21. I love reading Henry David Thoreau. His life of simplicity is so refreshing.

    I like your idea of giving up plastics and buying at Thrift Shops and only going into town once a week.

    I like the sweet and simple life philosophy.

  22. I forgot to tell you...I used to be an RN! Yep, for 23 years now, I've been WASTING my degree! {according to 'some' family members} Never been happier! My hubs and I felt it was the best thing for our girls b/c his work transferred him around the midwest 5 times in 28 years. We went making the best of every move, but it was more important to me that my girls had smooth transition each we chose for me to stay home. Didn't think I would be able to do it for long, wondering what in the world can I do/offer anyone here in my home and HOW would we afford to pay the bills? Boy...was I wrong! My home became organized. sometimes. I actually COOKED and get this...PLANNED MENUS!! Did our own laundry, ironed his shirts, cleaned the utensil holder {that magically attracts every crumb in the kitchen...what's up with that? We put silverware in there CLEAN, yet there are millions of crumbs all the time?}, baked cookies (which I'm not going to do for a good long while now!), made homemade bread, WROTE notes and sent cards via SNAIL MAIL, canned my own home grown veggies and fruits, taught my girls how to make apple butter and honey butter...and cinnamon butter...heck, ANY butter! The list goes on...but you get the picture. We decided to try it for 6 months and see if we could live on one income. 23 years later, I've learned how to cut back on things that aren't needed, {and not even miss it down deep in my heart!} and to go back in time to learn how to be a busy worker at home! IT's liberating!! Also found out that I'm not nearly as influenced by well meaning people that didn't know me from Adam.

    Now, I want a laying hen (or 3). Hubs say's they are too messy and St. John city limits won't allow them. I go to to the grocery store. ;( It won't be long and we'll be trying to find our way to the country! Kid's already did it...they're out in the DeMotte area. Okay...this is TMI for a public post. Next time I want to chit chat over laying hens, I'll PM you! Good day to ya!

  23. I'm going to bookmark this, go to all the sites mentioned and then do my best this coming year to be greener and smarter about the choices I make. Another great post Jayme, you are onto something...

  24. Jayme -

    I love how you write directly to my heart!!

    new year new start

  25. I'm with you on going here & there too much. I return to the grocery store probably twice a week and it's got to stop!! I "just need milk" and end up $100 later. You go Jayme-girl!

  26. Sweetie, I know this blog article is long forgotten, but I just found it!!! Go with plastic containers. When we moved to our farm, that is what I did. Went to walmart and bought 4 of every size they had. Even for my kids lunches each day for school. Chips are in those cool little containers with the attached lids...never to loose that lid again as it slips into the plastic forever land! Wash and repeat. I haven't used plastic wrap, well, in probably a year. Baggies, well I am working on them, because I freeze a lot in them. Have to work on bigger containers for that job.


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