Simple Doesn’t Mean Tiny, Country, Or Off-The-Grid

Almost every time I tell someone that I write about simple living, they say something like, “Oh, I love those tiny houses, too, but I could never live in one.” Or they might say, “I had some friends who tried living off-grid, but they didn’t stick with it.” Simple doesn’t mean tiny, country, or off-grid.

home-22527_1280 Simple doesn't mean tiny, country, or off-the-grid living: Photo of large blue apartment building.

Simple living is a lifestyle choice, but there’s not a one-size-fits-all style of simple living. You don’t have to be a minimalist to live simple. You don’t have to live in the country to live simple. You don’t have to be off-grid. You don’t have to live in a trailer. There are a variety of options.

I currently live in a smallish home. It’s about 1200 square feet. I’m buying my home. Simple living doesn’t prescribe that you rent, buy, or live debt-free. 

5 Ways You Can Practice Simple Living

  1. Rent a small apartment: Personally, this is my favorite option. After my daughter graduates high school and moves to college, I might just move to a large city and rent a small apartment in a high-rise building. Buying a condo in a mid-sized or small town is another possibility. The point is to live somewhere that requires little maintenance. I’ve had a variety of living spaces in my lifetime. A good apartment is simple. Living downtown also provides you access to most everything you need without having to use a car. That’s simple.
  2. Buy a small house: My current set up is fairly simple. I’m buying a small house with a small yard. I like it. The investment will come in handy when the time is right to downsize. But there’s a downside: owning a house comes with responsibilities. You have to maintain your house. There’s regular yard work. There’s painting, roofing, electrical, and plumbing problems that can arise. When you rent, those things are taken care of for you.
  3. Live in an RV, trailer, or tiny house: This is an option for some, but not for everybody. I’ve lived in a trailer. In my situation, the trailer was a rental on a friend’s property. If you own your RV, trailer, or tiny house, you have to have a place to put it. Some people enjoy the traveling lifestyle and simply stay on the move. Some people buy property and live in the country. Some people park their trailer in a friend’s driveway. The downside is this: at some point you might want a more permanent setup. You also might get tired of living in camper-like quarters.
  4. Live in the country: I’ve lived in the country. I still like the idea of living in the country or the mountains. But the older I get, the less practical it becomes. I’m a social creature. I like coffee shops, concerts, and art galleries. I don’t want to have to travel 100 miles every time I want a little entertainment or culture. As we age, we also need to consider convenience in regard to health care. Most everybody I’ve known who has moved out to the country has moved back into town at some point. Add an off-the-grid component to country living and it’s really no longer simple at all. It’s a crapload of work.
  5. Join a commune: Okay, I’m kind of kidding here, but communal living might be a healthy alternative for some people. In parts of Europe, people share households. There are communes in most every state in America. You can find one if you do your research. Living communally can make country living or off-the-grid living more practical. But beware: some communes have specific rules or even spiritual bases on which they’re formed. You don’t want to wind up in a cult.

Simple Living Is Not One Size Fits All

My future goal is to live with as few physical, mental, and fiscal responsibilities as possible. I want to be located in a place that’s convenient. I want to live in a space that’s small, but not cramped. I want to be near social and cultural activities. I want to live with as few belongings as possible, while still having enough to be content.

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