Living Simply and Simply Living

Author: Marie Drozdziak

Picture: Pixabay

Living Simply and Simply Living

Living simply can be a great adventure, says Marie Drozdziak.

It is 10am. I have cleaned the house, made breakfast, done the washing, and prayed my morning prayers – and I feel great. 

It was a different story this time last year.  I could not get out of bed; I ached all over; I experienced palpitations, shaking and headaches. I also felt anxious, depressed and scared. 

My lowest point was not having the strength to hold a cup of tea. Even walking the shortest distance left me feeling exhausted. 

As a result, last October, I was signed off work with stress and I found myself re-evaluating the way I lived. 

Help In Unexpected Ways

I believe Jesus has healed, and continues to heal, me through the loving support of my husband and children, as well as the prayers of friends and family.

A generous friend paid for me to go through counselling and I received excellent medical care from my GP.

I realised, through prayer and discernment, I should leave my job and focus more on family and home. 

Since this would mean a big cut in our income, I started thinking of ways to save money and live simply.

Help comes in unexpected ways. I was surprised to find that adopting a simpler way of living helped me enormously. 

Top Ten Simple Living Tips

Here are some ways that helped save money, time and resources:

1.    De-Clutter – It is a lot easier to keep a de-cluttered home tidy.  It feels fantastic to have a good clear out, focus on what is essential and give the rest to charity.

2.    Swapping – Switching from gel to soap has reduced our plastic use by 10 bottles a month and has saved about £10 a month.

3.    Cut down on disposables – We no longer use sandwich bags, kitchen roll, wipes, and disposable bottles. 

4.    Free food – There is loads of it around!  This year we enjoyed wild garlic, blackcurrant jam, fruit cordial and apple chutney, with delicious results. We foraged the key ingredients from public places.  

5.    Natural cleaning – We replaced bleach and kitchen spray with white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, and fragrant herbs.  I have been impressed with the results and I love the fact that I can store my cleaning solutions in the pantry.

6.    Make your own food – A favourite in our house is homemade coleslaw.  The ingredients are cheap and simple; cabbage, carrots and mayonnaise.  So why does it cost up to 80p for a tiny, tasteless tub from the supermarket?  Production, packaging and petrol – that is what we pay for. 

7.    Grow your own– Our garden is a roof terrace and we have grown potatoes, leeks, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries and herbs.  We collect rainwater from the drainpipe and store it in old milk bottles to water the plants.

8.    Compost Bin -  This has saved a lot of rubbish going to land fill.  We compost around 5KG a month and next year we will have free compost for the garden.

9.    Buy Pre-Loved – Shopping in charity shops is great value for money whilst also supporting a good cause.  It cuts down on the energy used to produce and transport new products.

10.Time-  We have given ourselves time to ask questions like: Could I make it myself? Does this item of clothing need washing?  Can I fix this?  Thinking about what we do, and how we act, helps save money, use less and be good stewards of God’s wonderful world.

Instruments Of God

Let us hear Pope Francis’ words, and pray for God’s wisdom about living simpler lives: “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (Laudato Si, paragraph 14)

These books helped me on my journey of simple living:

 Zero Waste Home; Bea Johnson, Penguin Books

Food for Free, Richard Mabey, Collins Nature Guides

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