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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

Platy 07-22-11 05:27 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12971273)
Sometimes I'm not even sure when free choice is involved. For example, I've always said that I could afford to have a car if I wanted one, so it must be my free choice not to have one. At this point, however, I have long been accustomed to not spending my money on a car. That means I can no longer afford a car without giving up some other expenditure. That's pretty much the same thing as not being able to afford a car. In other words, I'm no longer being free to choose whether I want a car.

Sure. Choices have consequences. But a more common situation would be the people who come here and post "I desperately want to be car free but cycling isn't a powerful enough form of transportation to support my complicated life". I think simple and/or frugal living comes up quite often in this forum because it's highly synergistic with car free living. It's an appropriate topic and very much to the point. Car free living and simple/frugal living support each other.

jfowler85 07-22-11 11:41 PM


Originally Posted by Neil_B (Post 12868702)
BTW, I'm trying to simplify my life too. However, I don't have the assumption of moral superiority some posters do. If some BF posters want to have three TV sets in every room, party on. I don't.

Seems like an implication of moral superiority to me.

Newspaperguy 07-24-11 02:31 PM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12970510)
One thing I think I've learned from this thread is that car free living and simple/frugal living are mutually enabling lifestyle choices. It's easier to be car free if one has a simple/frugal way of life, and vice versa.

I've been in some areas where going car-free would complicate life and where using a car or truck would enable a simple lifestyle. These are sparsely populated rural areas where services are distant and where people use subsistence farming, gardening and hunting to live off the land to a greater degree than those in urban and suburban areas. In such places, a car or truck is used when necessary, not for pleasure trips. Going car-free in such areas becomes a logistical nightmare since there are no other reasonable transportation alternatives to get the basic necessities 50 or 100 kilometres away.

In urban areas, where services are nearby, simple living means going car-free or car-light.

Most of us are not living off the grid or far from the things we need. Because of this, car-free or car-light living and simple living often go hand in hand. But this is not the reality everywhere.

Neil_B 07-24-11 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by jfowler85 (Post 12973105)
Seems like an implication of moral superiority to me.

Or it could be that I simply don't like television. Or that I don't like it to the extent I need to have three sets in every room.

Platy 07-25-11 12:38 AM


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 12979191)
I've been in some areas where going car-free would complicate life and where using a car or truck would enable a simple lifestyle. These are sparsely populated rural areas where services are distant and where people use subsistence farming, gardening and hunting to live off the land to a greater degree than those in urban and suburban areas. In such places, a car or truck is used when necessary, not for pleasure trips. Going car-free in such areas becomes a logistical nightmare since there are no other reasonable transportation alternatives to get the basic necessities 50 or 100 kilometres away.

In urban areas, where services are nearby, simple living means going car-free or car-light.

Most of us are not living off the grid or far from the things we need. Because of this, car-free or car-light living and simple living often go hand in hand. But this is not the reality everywhere.

You're right about that. In present day North America rural living entails a considerable degree of car dependency.

From about 1850-1940s there was an extensive railroad network that penetrated far into many rural areas. Besides food staples, one could even order complete houses and windmills (in kit form) to be delivered to a rail depot, and then hire a mule wagon to bring them to the farm. Smaller items could be ordered by mail. For communication, in at least some places mail ran twice a day. This way of living had its shortcomings, of course, but it did not depend entirely on private vehicles as does our present system.

In Russia, a sizeable proportion of the people have second homes in the country where they can garden and enjoy a getaway from city life. I think this is a wonderful custom that we would do well to copy! Anyway, I'm not quite sure of the transportation arrangements but I think in many cases it is or was possible to get to one's country retreat without a private car. From Wikipedia,


Dacha (Russian: да́ча​ ) is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes often located in the exurbs of Soviet and post-Soviet cities. Cottages or shacks serving as family's main or only home (or districts of such buildings) are not considered dachas, although many purpose-built dachas are recently being converted for year-round residence. In some cases, dachas are occupied for part of the year by their owners and rented out to urban residents as summer retreats.

Dachas are very common in Russia, and are also widespread in most parts of the former Soviet Union. It is estimated that about 25% of Russian families living in large cities have dachas.

...

The means of transportation for people to get to their dachas, besides cars, are "water trams", buses and electric trains, colloquially called "elektrichka" (электри́чка). Due to the high number of people traveling to dachas during the weekends (especially during the summer), traffic typically builds up around large cities, and elektrichkas and buses become filled up.

Platy 07-25-11 07:13 AM


Originally Posted by lilybay (Post 12981542)
Seems your life is rather healthy ,happy and simple.

We disagree about the method, but I think all of us here prefer the healthy, happy and simple life. :)

Headphones 07-29-11 03:57 PM

I'm not sure if this defines as "simple living" but I've always try to maximize every item I've purchased. My laptop for example is about 7-8 years old. Most of the original contents are gone and it usually overheats and shuts off by itself within an hour of use. I only have one pair of shoe at a time; I usually wear them out until my heels and toes start to hurt. My Canon camera(my only camera) was recently fixed by the company for free and it's about 7 years old. My cell phone(LG CU500 flip phone) is 4-5 years old when I was on contract with AT&T/Cingular but I've been on a pay-as-you-go billing for the past 2 years after the contract expired.

I know companies are always trying to get you to update this and upgrade that but I've never cared about being up-to-date with the latest trends.

I'm also a hoarder too so that explains why I always maximize all my belongings and/or keep everything I own. I have a broken refrigerator, microwave and a TV that doesn't work in my basement. They're no use yet I have them. lol

Roody 07-29-11 04:45 PM

I have been thinking about the effects of simple living on family life. My son and his family (wife, their 12 year old son, her mother, and two cats) moved in with me this summer. I never had cable TV or internet in my home, but they always did.

I loved the time we had together with no cablse or internet, and I know they enjoyed it too. We played board games, took late night walks, made up trivia questions, and just talked and joked arounnd.

But they thought they needed cable and internet. When they asked my permission, I was reluctant to grant it. I mean, I told them of course they could install the services, but I told them how much I had been enjoying their company and how much I would miss them if they were absorbed in media all the time and we had no life together.

I don't remember the name, but some sociologist wrote about the concept of modern people being "alone together." Families are in the same home all the time, but unless they spend a certain amount of time doing communal activities, they are really just alone together. I said I would hate to see that happen to our family. Everybody agreed to monitor this and try to prevent it.

Last night was great. There was a thunder storm, so the computer was turned off. We did some of the old activities--played Uno, roughhoused, listened to the thunder and pretended to be scared. For me, this was a lot more fun than the computer (and I do love the computer). Even the 12 year old admitted that he had a lot of fun, and he didn't really miss the computer.

But still I worry about the effects of the "non-simple" life on the family. It would make me very sad to be alone together with my own family.

Newspaperguy 07-29-11 04:51 PM

Headphones, I'm with you on using things until they are no longer usable. Then, when I discard them. I try to find something else which will last. Some things, such as electronic items, become obsolete before they stop working. For example, an old computer might still function for basic word processing, but if it cannot connect to a network or save my work in a format I can use on other equipment, that computer is useless. Likewise, a Beta VCR unit may still have plenty of life, but if I cannot find the tapes in Beta format, it does me no good.

I'm not a hoarder and in recent years, I've been working to get rid of things I no longer need. A few months ago, I got rid of a television I don't watch and some old computer equipment I no longer use. There's no point in having those things clutter my basement. I have also been getting rid of other items I no longer use or need.

Buzz Wired 07-29-11 08:59 PM

"The Box"



I used to refer to television as the box. People come home, turn on the box - it displays other humans doing things the viewers wish they were doing.



The "Box" is now thinned to a panel...kinda ruins the box analogy.



I gave up the broadcast and cable connected to my "box", but still seem like Netflix and internet has filled my "box" void.



Car addiction, caffeine addiction, addicted to love, forum addiction, bicycle addiction, etc.



We are screwy humans!



I read on my internet box (I upgraded to a panel), a certain fanatic group of people have minimalized to less than 100 personal belongings - TOTAL!



That which seems absurd, draws me in!



So, a former car junkie, womanizer, consumer and hoarder - is now becoming a minimalist?



Weird but true.

Smallwheels 08-07-11 04:32 AM

Lately I've been thinking about minimizing the power I use for things. I have compact florescent light bulbs in my lamps. I use twenty-five watt fans in two rooms to keep them comfortable. My cooking is done electrically for everything. One way I'm trying to cut down on that energy usage is to use my slow cooker. It takes longer but uses less energy.

The last thing I need to change is one of my computers. It is an HP tower that has a continual draw of at least two-hundred watts. It peaks at three-hundred. It really should be replaced with a laptop. Those just draw sixty-five to eighty-five watts at their maximum. Since I use a separate screen connected to my other computer (a Mac Book) the laptop probably uses less than its rated maximum power. The external screen is on and the laptop screen is off. The 23" LCD screen uses only thirty-three watts. The HP tower is my spare computer so it isn't used too often. Only when I need to use Neflix Silverlight and when I encrypt documents is it required. Most of the time when it is on I'm running Linux instead of Vista. When Netflix will work on Linux I'll never need Windows again. Not needing Microsoft products will greatly simplify my life.

Lately simplifying my life has been causing me an annoyance. People keep contacting me about the items I'm selling on Craigslist and they don't show up when they say they will, or they keep postponing when they will come get the items. It's like the universe is conspiring against my simplification program. I'm slowly making the effort and the things just won't leave.

Buzz Wired 08-07-11 08:50 PM

Smallwheels,

Some electronic devices still draw power when turned off. Unplugging them or turning off the powerstrip / surge protector they are plugged into will reduce some electrical usage.

Funny you say simplifying causes trouble - similar story here. My troubles, woes, discomfort are only electronic in my simplification plan.

Its like the "system" has kicked me to the curb?



Simple Man, with no plan,

Buzz Wired

AdamDZ 08-09-11 01:45 PM


Originally Posted by hnsq (Post 12134927)
I want to start out by saying I am asking this sincerely. I am not trying to troll in any way. I am honestly just trying to understand.

What is the big deal with 'living simply'? If you live within your means, save money smartly, don't overextend yourself, why is it necessarily a good and noble thing to have less 'stuff'? I want to be debt free, I don't want my stuff to be the most important thing in my life, but given that, why is it a worthwhile thing to try to live with less?


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12147696)
It's a matter of doing what I really want to do, instead of doing what people are always telling me to do.

Sorry for responding to an old question, but Roody said it. I, like many people probably, was caught up in this whole carrier thing: you need a better job so you can buy more stuff. It's easy to get carried away: new stereo, new TV, new this, new that. It becomes a way of living that controls you. Even worse if you get in debt to get all the things you "must have". Some people live and die like this never knowing any better. Some don't care. By the time you know, you need a bigger apartment for all the stuff and more and more money. For some people, such as myself, it can get to the point when you start thinking if this is really what you need? Do you really need that job only so you can attain a level of lifestyle that is accepted by the society.

So people like start researching the simplicity. I want to get rid of stuff from my life. I don't want to work 9-5 any more and I don't want to owe money any more and I don't want to own so much stuff any more. It's become distracting, consuming my time, my energy my very life. I want more time and less stuff so I can truly enjoy what I like most: bikes, computers and photography. And within these hobbies I want to keep things to the minimum.

I want to do what I want to do, not what's dictated by the norms of society. I don't watch TV and many people think that's weird. I still have a 2nd generation iPod and people keep asking me when I'm going to get the iPod Touch. No thanks, I don't need to "touch", it just plays music and as long as it works I'm happy with it. I don't care any more what people think.

So for people like me living simply is a big deal because it's a paradigm shift that requires life changes and some real preparations and efforts to achieve it. If you already live simply and never made the mistake to be sucked in into the the consumerist way of life, you're lucky and you don't understand what the big deal is. It really is not that easy to purge stuff from your life that you worked for for years. I know for a fact that I don't need most of what I own but ti get rid of it is not easy. I don't want to just throw stuff away. Selling stuff takes time. I do this from time to time and then take break. I can give some away too, but I'd like to get some cash back for what I'm getting rid of.

Although, I may get to the point that I'll just start throwing stuff away.

As someone else said my biggest space eaters are tools bikes and outdoor equipment, plus I play with computers so I have 3-5 ay any time plus a closet full of computer parts. I have probably three large boxes worth of clothing, that's it, it's the bike and tech junk that takes up a lot of space.

I have hundreds of CDs too that I never use any more, they're all ripped to MP3 and I just don't care for CDs any more, but they're hard to get rid of. I was able to sell some DVDs and computer games though. I have lots of decoration, figures, sculptures, plush animals that really need to go too :)

So I know I have too much stuff but I'm having hard time getting rid of it. I need to start going through closets methodically and with extreme prejudice.


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 12178571)
Years ago I had a realization about things. It was a big one for me. It might not apply to others as strongly as it did for me. I realized that part of my attachment to things I really liked was due to believing I might not ever have another thing like it, or be able to get another thing like it.

What is your attachment to a piece of tissue paper? It probably isn't very strong. What is your attachment to your very favorite thing? Much stronger I bet.

I've sold cherished guitars, numerous other musical instruments, World War II memorabilia, and recently several inherited jewelry items. How could I do such a thing?

There are an unlimited amount of things yet to be created that will probably be better than the things I've sold and cherished. If I believe that I'll be able to have such things in the future (if I want them) then there is no need to feel so bad about letting go of older things. There will be things in the future that I will be able to cherish just as much.

Enjoy the things you have now and let them go when you don't really need them. Keep the things you want to keep. Things only become a burden when they hold you down.

Has anybody ever seen videos of hoarders? There are some people who can't let go of anything and their houses are full to the ceilings with junk. Their lives aren't very simple. Their minds are stuck on keeping everything in its place and constantly worrying about their stuff. To me simple living is the opposite of that. Less stuff equals less worry. It allows my mind to focus outward instead of inward.

I guess I'm in a lucky position that I'm not emotionally attached to any physical possessions. I have a few notebooks with drawings from when I was a child and a fountain pen I used in college, but that's all. Everything else I own can be replaced if needed without any emotional loss. Even my bikes. The only "things" I would never want to lose, that are irreplaceable are my photographs, which are in digital format and live on various hard drives and internet servers.

I have favorite tools and clothes, I like my PC and my bikes but I could easily replace them with something equally worthy and enjoyable.

I think I have partially hoarding personality when it comes to bike and computer parts. It's the "you never know when you're gonna need it" personality. I have no problems throwing away clothing, furniture and household items though.

***


Originally Posted by Dan The Man (Post 12189724)
I think the thing about stuff is that we tend to invest our identity in material possessions. Some people will say that this is caused by modern consumer culture, but I think it is part of human nature, which consumerism exploits.

Think what defines you? What makes you who you are? Most people think that there is something inside themselves that is their core persona. But start taking away the things around them and they will most certainly become different people. At least some part of your identity is your environment. And your environment includes all the things that you own.


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 12190558)
Dan The Man I really like your point of view on possessions.

But what if the possessions redefine you as someone you're really not? Someone you're not comfortable being in a long run? What is the real "you", "me"?

Smallwheels 08-10-11 09:45 PM


Originally Posted by AdamDZ (Post 13058545)
But what if the possessions redefine you as someone you're really not? Someone you're not comfortable being in a long run? What is the real "you", "me"?

Only people who look at their lives and wonder where they are and where they're going will ever notice.

If someone asks that of themselves then they've reached a crossroad in their life. It is then that they can choose a new direction or continue on the same path with the possessions they have. If the choice is to change paths then everything can be dropped at once or gradually the load can be lightened in preparation for the journey. Since most paths are mental choices instead of physical paths, the journey can begin immediately. The possessions that were previously defining the person could be shed quickly or slowly.

I knew a guy who told me of his crazy antics on his big sport motorcycle. One night he said he rode a wheelie down a very tall bridge and around several corners late at night at speeds over one-hundred miles per hour. When he got home he realized just how insanely he was acting. He had a wife and children to think about. He stopped riding motorcycles that night because he realized he would continue to do crazy things if he kept the motorcycle. The next day he placed an advertisement in the local newspaper to sell it.

Having too many possessions for one's comfort isn't a dangerous thing. Getting rid of them doesn't need to happen overnight.

duckbill 08-11-11 12:06 PM


Originally Posted by AdamDZ (Post 13058545)
But what if the possessions redefine you as someone you're really not? Someone you're not comfortable being in a long run? What is the real "you", "me"?

______________________________________________________________________________________________

What if everything you own but the clothes on your back was destroyed in a fire? Would you be a different person?

Roody 08-11-11 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by duckbill (Post 13068844)
______________________________________________________________________________________________

What if everything you own but the clothes on your back was destroyed in a fire? Would you be a different person?

Well, you'd certainly have to do laundry more often. :)

But no, I don't think you'd be a different person. Most people would live differently for a while, but as soon as the insurnce check came in they woul resume their former lifestyle as soon as they could. I think real change comes from within, not from an external event.

duckbill 08-11-11 01:19 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 13068950)
But no, I don't think you'd be a different person. Most people would live differently for a while, but as soon as the insurnce check came in they woul resume their former lifestyle as soon as they could. I think real change comes from within, not from an external event.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________


When my father passed away after a long illness, (ALS), I felt a major loss. This event affected me like no other. It was only after he was gone did I realize how much he had been as a important part of my everyday life. I know now, a thing or possession has only a fleeting value.

wahoonc 08-11-11 07:59 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 13068950)
Well, you'd certainly have to do laundry more often. :)

But no, I don't think you'd be a different person. Most people would live differently for a while, but as soon as the insurnce check came in they woul resume their former lifestyle as soon as they could. I think real change comes from within, not from an external event.

I do agree that real change does come from within, but quite often an external event triggers it, look at you and your heart attack, or do you consider that internal :D

Aaron :)

kevin_stevens 08-12-11 02:16 AM


Originally Posted by duckbill (Post 13068844)
What if everything you own but the clothes on your back was destroyed in a fire? Would you be a different person?

No. Everything but the clothes on my back and my car was destroyed in the Oakland firestorm. I evacuated seconds (well, under a minute) from having to abandon the car and jump into someone else's further up the line.

I drove to an (absent) friend's house, broke in through their patio door, took a shower, and finished watching the football game. (shrug) I was astonished, but sympathetic, at all my fellow displacees during the weeks that followed, who were *severely* traumatized by the loss of their "stuff" - it wasn't their homes, it was their wedding albums, mementos, childhood things they kept talking about.

I never had most of that stuff. I lost everything I owned in a (different!) fire when I was a teenager, then a flood a couple of years later. You learn to keep the important things in your heart and your head.

I have more stuff now, but except for the responsibility of placing the cat somewhere, I could walk out my front door tomorrow and never look back.

KeS

Road MTB 08-12-11 03:13 AM


Originally Posted by Neil_B (Post 12979835)
Or it could be that I simply don't like television. Or that I don't like it to the extent I need to have three sets in every room.

Max I've ever heard of is one in the living room, kitchen, bedroom(s), and (for some extravagant rich people) one in the bathroom(s). I agree with your statement that this many tvs is absurd, I personally only own one.

I-Like-To-Bike 08-12-11 07:33 AM


Originally Posted by Road MTB (Post 13071920)
Max I've ever heard of is one in the living room, kitchen, bedroom(s), and (for some extravagant rich people) one in the bathroom(s). I agree with your statement that this many tvs is absurd, I personally only own one.

How many bikes owned by one person do you consider "absurd"?
Don't be too quick to judge others by their possessions lest ye be judged, eh?

Roody 08-12-11 07:45 AM


Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike (Post 13072396)
How many bikes owned by one person do you consider "absurd"?
Don't be too quick to judge others by their possessions lest ye be judged, eh?

I think number of bikes owned is a much more interesting question for this thread.

I own two, but we have four in the household fighting for space. All of our bikes were bought used, but that's because we're cheap, not simple.

Neil_B 08-12-11 07:52 AM


Originally Posted by Road MTB (Post 13071920)
Max I've ever heard of is one in the living room, kitchen, bedroom(s), and (for some extravagant rich people) one in the bathroom(s). I agree with your statement that this many tvs is absurd, I personally only own one.

Could you show me where I wrote that owning multiple television sets is "absurd?" Darn my memory but I don't recall writing that thought.

I did write, "If some BF posters want to have three TV sets in every room, party on."

Smallwheels 08-12-11 05:09 PM

I was in the situation of abandoning most of my stuff when I lived in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. I took the things that would fit on my motor scooter. I was prepared to abandon everything left in the house if it would have flooded. There was no insurance on any of it. It all survived and I returned to collect it before moving to Montana. It would have been easier for me to start a new life with the things I had on the motor scooter.

Loosing everything due to a natural occurrence would be understandable. Just giving everything away without getting some type of return for their value seems hard for me to do. In a way it would seem like being disrespectful to the work my parents put into getting those things and disrespectful to myself. It would be like admitting all the work I did to get those things was just a waste of time.

On the flip side, if I were very spiritually free and genuinely open to all possibilities, I could walk away from everything knowing it would be easy to get more stuff whenever I needed it. I'm working toward that goal but it's not so easy to do it all at once. Some people spend a lifetime trying to reach that goal and don't make it.

I really envy the people with very few possessions who are enjoying the life they have. That is why I enjoy reading this thread. It inspires me to continue to lighten the load.

Roody 08-13-11 09:01 AM

The spiritual aspect of giving things away is interesting. Buddha gave up the kingdom that his father left him and begged for his living. Jesus made many anti-materialist statements. He even said that if all you have is a cloak, you should cut it in two pieces and give half to a stranger. Very few of their followers have gone that far.

By our modern standards they didn't even give up much. Jesus belonged to a working class family. His personal belongings probably would have fit in one carton. Buddha was a prince and he owned lots of land and buildings, but when it comes to personal belongings he probably owned less than a typical 10 year old today. It's amazing to think that besides landed estates, the average American probably owns more "stuff" than an ancient prince did.

As for giving things away, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are trying to give away most of their money. I don't know if there's a spiritual reson for their generosity. It isn't easy to give away that much money. Even with large staffs to help, they probably make as much on interest as they can give away. Even if they give away hundreds of millions a year, they are barely touching the principal. I do respect that for men who were so motivted to garner wealth, it must be emotionally difficult to turn around and give it all away.


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