Voluntary Simplicity – What is it, and why I want it.


Photo by: Generalnoir

I first stumbled upon the idea of voluntary simplicity last year. Having lived in the USA for about six months, I was becoming very aware of the rampant materialism and consumerism which pervades our society. At the time, I had been extremely stressed; unable to sleep at night and was getting sick all the time. I’ve always been a stressful person, but I’ve come to the understanding that most of it is caused by the lifestyle I’ve chosen. I started reading some great blogs and books on the topic of Voluntary Simplicity and realised it was the change my life needed.

What is Voluntary Simplicity?

Voluntary simplicity means doing/having/living more with less–more time, meaning, joy, satisfaction, relationships, community; less money, material possessions, stress, competition, isolation. It doesn’t mean depriving yourself; it doesn’t mean buying “cheap” and always pinching pennies; it doesn’t mean poverty. It does mean wanting what you have, and finding joy in having less; and recovering the connection with other people and with the Earth that alone makes life really worthwhile. 

Voluntary simplicity is a growing movement of people who have realized that happiness and fulfillment do not lie in having more money, or new and bigger things, but rather in the time with loved ones and connection with community. They are questioning the consumer society’s insistence that possessions, especially of the newest design and color, are the means of fulfillment, or that any material possession can possibly be “to die for.”

Great River Earth Institute

Why I want to embrace Voluntary Simplicity

  • I want to spend more time with my husband, family and friends. This is the most important thing in my life and it’s very hard to do when I’m working full-time and running a business on the side. 
  • I want to become involved in my community. I want to feel like I’m making a difference.
  • I want to spend less money in the everyday so I have funds to put towards things I truly value.
  • I want less stress from having to perform in a highly paid job and from a daily commute. 
  • I want more satisfaction in learning to do things for myself, such as cooking, gardening and preserving food. In the past I considered this a waste of time, but now I see self-sufficiency as an essential part of living.
  • I want to be able to enjoy the simple things in life and not have to spend money to be entertained. 
  • I want more time to read and be creative.
  • I want to be healthier and to live to a ripe old age.
  • I want to travel the world and experience all the different cultures. I want the freedom, time and money to be able to do this.
  • I want to live in accordance with my values and I want to give back.


  1. Hear hear… I’m in the middle of How To Be Free by Tom Hodgkinson and enjoying it hugely.. might be worth a read??

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