As someone who embraces homesteading, simpler living to me means trying to provide more of my life's inputs myself, and distancing myself from things that require more of life's inputs to maintain. Simple living and homesteading are what used to be called 'plain living'. Nothing fancy. I spend most of my days in overalls and muck boots, and I'm very happy with that. I don't like the idea of having to find and then wear the little black dress and strappy sandals for a night of dinner and clubbing. Sooo not me.
When my sister and her family were here last summer, both she and her husband had their Crackberries with them. Between the two of them, they have eight, I couldn't get over this, eight phone numbers. And both of them were keeping up with emails and a couple of business calls while they were 'on vacation'. My sister has a lovely home in a nice part of San Francisco, and I love to visit, but you know what? I am seriously glad I'm not living her life. I do have a cell phone, but it's not a smart phone, and I doubt Steve and I will ever go that route. There is such a thing as being too connected. I am really glad that we decided on a small house with a small mortgage that we have a good chance of paying off in not too much time. And in the meantime, I'm happy with the slower, homebody kind of lifestyle that Steve and I lead.
Now, obviously, in this day and age when you can buy just about anything you need, making your own beer and pickles and tomato sauce complicates your life. There is no arguing with the fact that it's easier to go buy them. I think that making your own beer and pickles and tomato sauce is infinitely more satisfying than buying them, however, and to make life simpler if you're doing this kind of thing, you have to trade off. You have to pick and choose what you do. I multitask a little bit, but I really prefer to do one thing at a time, so that I can do it well, and enjoy it for what it is. Homesteading is a lot more satisfying than working ever was because I get more of a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I ever did at work. Eventually, I'll go back to work (this recession has to give up some time) and I'll keep up with my homesteading. It will require a little more juggling, but I don't want it complicating things anymore than it has to. Working for a wage has to be worth the time spent doing it, you know? That may be too easily said, coming from a kept woman, I know. But I really want to save this simple life that I've created, and hopefully simplify it further.
Part of what I was looking for in the Simpler Living book was more ideas on how to live a plain life. I would also hope that a book titled like this one would have an interior- the layout, the pictures, the writing- that would evoke a sense of calm. Simpler Living didn't do that for me. In fact, it did just the opposite. Its interior was jangling, the way that too much information and too many images can be jangling.
If you have the same kind of frenetic life that my sister has, you might find Simpler Living really helpful. It does have a LOT of information in it, maybe too much, but it seems to be more geared toward simpler ways of living a modern lifestyle so that you can pack more productivity and stuff into your day.
That's not what I want, and I'll go out on a limb here and guess that's not what my readers want either.