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7 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Next Steps
Here are four practical ways to take your experiments in simple living a little further:

1. Try Transuming. Take a break from your role as consumer and join the new group of “transumers” who prefer borrowing or renting items rather than buying them. This applies to vacation homes, road bikes, even high-end handbags.

2. Barter. I once swapped the preparation of an artist’s résumé for one of his original drawings. With barter, no money changes hands, and you feel as if you’ve gone to market and come home again — with your wallet intact.

3. Couch Surf. Instead of paying for a hotel room next time you’re traveling, reserve the couch (or spare bedroom) at someone’s home. The CouchSurfing network ( offers safe and convenient lodging in nearly 62,000 different cities around the world. Couch surfers enjoy more memorable experiences with the places they visit and also become part of a global community.

4. Break your car habit. Going car-free or sharing a vehicle can enhance your life. People who’ve tried it report reduced stress and surprising savings. If you need a car only occasionally, consider car-sharing services like Hourcar ( or Zipcar (

Wanda Urbanska is a sustainability activist and author of The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life (Krause, 2010). She is the host and producer of the television series Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska, which airs on select PBS stations nationwide. Visit her Web site at

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2:19AM PDT on Jun 19, 2013

Great reminders! Thanks for sharing.

11:01AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

Thanks for this!

Terrie - if you ever come back and check this - why don't you print it up and stick it on the fridge or somewhere you can see it often? You'll probably learn it by heart very quickly and be able to recycle the paper!

11:25AM PST on Dec 6, 2010

Interesting. Thanks.

1:18PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

Ok, so almost 2 months later, this is still in my inbox. Today, between other chores I decided to clean out my inbox.

Dilema: if I put this into a 'folder', it might get forgotten about. If I print it, it will probably get put into a folder, where it will be forgotten about. Not to mention that if I print it, it makes actual clutter vs. visual clutter if left in my inbox.

Neither of these are doing anything to help me simplify my life!

If anyone is still monitering this post and has any ideas, I'd greatly appreciate them!!!

6:55PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

I really liked this article, especially after reading Juliet Schor's The Overworked American. If you're interested in the economic standpoint of the work-spend cycle Juliet Schor is a good place to start. My goal is to learn to live a "simple life." I have not yet chosen how I will define "simple life" for myself. The idea of life "off the grid" is sometimes a romantic preoccupation, but I am, at this moment, still to addicted to my modern conveniences. Anyways, I don't want to hid from the world; I hope to one day change it... after grad school xD

1:24PM PDT on Jun 22, 2010

i'm spending a lot of time on the web. anybody notice how much time we spend on care 2? so, anyway, since i'm here at this desk so muc, i decided to plant flowers in the garden and orchids up and down the trunks of all the trees outside the (5) windows. that way i get some peace while i am online: i don't feel guilty like i am wasting time ~ being online is like taking time out for meditation - which everyone would agree is a good thing...?

8:32AM PDT on Jun 22, 2010

So happy to read this...I am from Mexico and I think that all of the things you mentioned here will improve the lives of a lot of Mexicans. Thank you!!

7:52AM PDT on Jun 22, 2010

idk....this is so over-simplifing simplifying . And like Krista R. says what you love? Very unrealistic. And this is not real life. Most people cannot or do not have the resources to begin a business. If I try to simplify my life too much I get STRESSED OUT! Life is not easy it is hard work. And stress....I can't give up my car or ride share .... Don't make making life "simpler" simple. Not being negative...being realistic.

3:58AM PDT on Jun 21, 2010

I like the community life and garden of your own concepts. I have a little balcony, but am dreaming of having a garden. Even finding an allotment here is proving hard. But not giving up.
Community life is a challenge and questions your dedication and motives. I'm getting involved in promoting the English speaking community here - to help others integrate and to find more outlets and possibilities for our bilingual child. But as each commitment approaches, I find I question my resolve, motives and desire. Most of the time, I'm glad I've committed though.

12:04AM PDT on Jun 21, 2010


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Interesting but some would be impractical. Plants above a pet's condo/bed/whatever needs to be caref…

Great ideas! I have a spool on my front porch. I use it for my house plants in the summer.

What kinds of tea?

How lovely! Thanks for the post.

SUPER ideas --we all need more GREEN!!! THANKS


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