Living Deliberately – A Voluntary Simplicity Lifestyle

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

A Voluntary Simplicity lifestyle isn’t about deprivation & sacrifice. It’s not necessarily an EASIER life, but a simpler life. Slowing down, living more deliberately. A life that begs you to stop & smell the roses! 

A life of voluntary simplicity isn't a life with less work, but a life less stressful. #TexasHomesteader

Voluntary Simplicity – What Is It?

It’s been around for a while but seems all the rage now:  Voluntary Simplicity. I guess like most things, it probably means different things to different people. 

For me voluntary simplicity doesn’t involve deprivation or sacrifice. It simply means shunning things in my life that don’t add any value.

This will be different for every individual but for me I’m shunning things such as boredom shopping, fast fashion or fast food.

Then I’m replacing those things with things that DO matter to me! For me, that’s self sufficiency, eco friendly living and more intentional relationships with RancherMan, my family & friends.

I’m shunning all the mindless noise in my days.  

Voluntary Simplicity isn't deprivation & sacrifice. It's a higher-labor, slower-paced life that begs you to stop & smell the roses! #TexasHomesteader

Voluntary simplicity is often a higher-labor yet slower-paced life. But it’s often softer on the earth as well which is very important to me. And it’s also usually less expensive too. So it’s good for the budget as well. 

But for me the most important aspect is that it’s good for my spirit.

Voluntary simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creativity.

Simpler Days

The term itself is a little misleading since a “simple” life is seldom (if ever) a life that involves less effort. 

For instance it’s acting on voluntary simplicity to hang my laundry under that Texas sky instead of quickly stuffing clothes into an electric dryer. 

Clean sheets hanging on laundry line is an example of Voluntary Simplicity. #TexasHomesteader

And it’s practicing voluntary simplicity to wash those clothes with Homemade Laundry Powder that I’ve made myself. 

It’s voluntary simplicity to work our vegetable beds, plant, weed and harvest fresh veggies from my own garden instead of grabbing whatever is offered at the store as I’m walking down the produce aisle.

By growing my own food I’m practicing the local food movement in its purest form. 

Healthy vegetables & produce from the garden in a wicker basket. #TexasHomesteader

It’s a lifestyle that’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly a good fit for me!

Shunning The Copy. Paste. Repeat Kinda Life

I don’t know what initially lead me to the voluntary-simplicity lifestyle, although even as a youngster I had an old-fashioned spirit.

But as I grew into adulthood and began making my own way, I got caught-up in the typical swirl of life.

As a young adult with small children, a full-time job and the new-homeowner excitement that comes with that period of my life I was having fun playing grownup. I was maintaining my life but it was just a very day-to-day existence. 

Every day was much the same as the day before. Of course I was clawing all week for those precious few weekend hours when I could slow things down a while and actually enjoy my life.

But even back then I longed for a life that was deeper in meaning.

I started pushing back from the status-quo life. I was looking for more. The first thing I started looking toward was providing more for my family.

Providing For My Family

My vegetable garden was designed and planted. I wanted to grow fresh, wholesome food for myself and my family. 

Vegetable garden in NE Texas. #TexasHomesteader

It would cost pennies on the dollar compared to what I could buy in the store. And that grocery-store food would have been shipped from who-knows-where – far away.

But raising a garden would also take a bit more of my time. Voluntary simplicity.

Serving Homemade Meals To My Family

I also started cooking more from scratch. It was a gradual change, starting with making my own Homemade Yogurt. I used the excitement of that success to make more & more of the things I used to buy.

Eventually I shunned most pre-packaged foods completely. I now make RancherMan’s Favorite Honey/Oat Sandwich Bread from scratch. A couple of times a week, even.

We haven’t purchased sandwich bread in years. Voluntary simplicity. 

A voluntary simplicity lifestyle doesn't mean more work, but it means more meaningful days at a slower, more deliberate pace. #TexasHomesteader

Don’t worry – it doesn’t take near the amount of time you’re thinking. I use lots of Shortcuts For Making Bread!

Then I started making almost all of our meals from scratch too. Wholesome food being served to my family. 

Food free of some of the questionable preservatives present in way too many convenience foods on the grocery store shelf these days! 

A voluntary simplicity lifestyle doesn't mean more work, but it means more meaningful days at a slower, more deliberate pace, such as homemade food. #TexasHomesteader

More of our meals now contained a homemade entrée, some steamed or roasted fresh vegetables from the garden and maybe a fun rice side and cold sliced garden-fresh cantaloupe. 

Don’t worry, once again – I have several shortcuts I use to make Homemade Meals Daily The EASY Way!

You certainly learn the shortcuts living this voluntary lifestyle.

Work smarter, not harder!

Eco-Friendly Benefits Of Simple Living

Here’s a nice surprising benefit that I’d not counted on when I started down this voluntary simplicity lifestyle path: The huge Eco-Friendly benefit.

This simple life I lead surely saves money that’s for sure. Doing things for yourself is almost always less expensive than having things done or made for you by others.

But the crunchy side of me is thrilled over the many eco-benefits of a simplicity lifestyle too!

There’s less buying a whatsit shrink-wrapped in yet more plastic. I use what I have, or make something to fit the need quite well.

Have I mentioned how much I hate plastic?? 

I hate plastic and do everything I can to shun it coming into our home. #TexasHomesteader

Case in point – I really wanted cute red/white gingham napkins. But how could I justify buying new napkins when the cloth napkins we’re currently using are perfectly functional and look almost brand new despite years of use?

I battled with my desire for new brightly-colored napkins versus my financial savvy side. (and the eco side of me not wanting to toss aside something we already had for something almost exactly like it, just in a different color.)

I compromised my buying self with my eco-friendly & budget-minded self. And it worked out beautifully!

I sewed those cute napkins myself – using a small tablecloth I found at a garage sale for $1. It took a little more of my time, but once again it was a step in Voluntary Simplicity

A voluntary simplicity lifestyle doesn't mean more work, but it means more meaningful days at a slower, more deliberate pace, like making my own gingham cloth napkins. #TexasHomesteaderSee what I mean? The voluntary simplicity lifestyle seldom means less effort. But it often means slowing down, enjoying what you have or imagining ways to get what you want.

Simple Living means using your creativity to carve out a life you love. A life that grants you the wishes of your heart.

And it often also means an eco-friendly life using much less of the world’s resources. And much less of your own hard-earned money too.

Simple Life, Reimagined

Since starting on this voluntary simplicity journey decades ago my days have become significantly more meaningful. 

Instead of getting that rush from buying that new whatsit from the most fashionable stores, I get that same charge by sitting on our back porch with RancherMan watching the sunset at the end of a busy but fulfilling day.

We sit in our older wooden rockers, glasses of wine in hand, and watch together as that brilliant sun sinks into the western sky.  

Voluntary Simplicity isn't deprivation & sacrifice. It's a higher-labor, slower-paced life that begs you to stop & smell the roses! #TexasHomesteader

Life, More Meaningful

I plan to keep expanding my reach for self sufficiency as time passes. It’s almost something that’s become like a fun hobby for me to stretch my self-sufficiency muscle.

It satisfies the crunchy-green me as well as the old-time soul I’ve always had. 

Live simply my friends! 


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44 thoughts on “Living Deliberately – A Voluntary Simplicity Lifestyle

  1. elvira

    A clothes line. Tomorrow I am going to ask my husband to put up that clothes line again. Having to manage with a little wire rack is making me to use the dryer way too often. I loved the tone of contentment and purpose in your post.

  2. Kristi Stone

    You and I sound a lot alike, Tammy. I love the simple life myself, and get so much joy out of just sitting outside, soaking up the morning sun and watching my animals and grandson play together while I sip my coffee. It’s a life of hard work, but it’s a good life. 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes Kristi – both our hearts are certainly in the simple life. What a joy! It wasn’t always so, I had to intentionally strive to live simply at first and push away the other rushed distractions bombarding me, but after a while it’s become second nature to me. Lovin’ this simple (and AMAZING) life!

      1. Kristi Stone

        Yep, me too. Still working on it. It feels like life can get REALLY busy still lately, but I think that has to do with having kids here at home still (almost adults now), and I think it will be until they move on to their own places and with their lives. No complaints here, just an observation, of course.

        My heart was not always toward the simple life either! But over the years the longing for things to be less complicated and dramatic has really been a huge draw for me to move this direction. It’s a blessing, and great to be encouraged by other like minds, like yours. 🙂

        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          Sounds like we’ve both experienced the same thing Kristi, it was really hard to focus on deliberate simple living when my children were at home. Busy family lives change over the years and our path to simplicity becomes more & more straightforward. You’re certainly on the path that works best for you – kids at home do make for a busy schedule! But you’ll find that one step at a time, one change at a time, voluntary simplicity becomes easier as life changes.

  3. Connie

    I thoroughly enoyed this post~ no I do this or do it this way ~ just a plain this is what works for me! Refreshing to those of us striving for that peace of mind simplicity but unaable to achieve it yet. Its my hope to get to a point to no longer rush and worry and be overwhelmed. To just do the things I love, ( cook, bake, and create for my family ) though that may even be more work its an effortless work because its wanted appreciated and loved. Thank you again for reassuring this dream of mine!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      What a sweet, thoughtful comment Connie – thank you! Each of us accomplishes our own desired level of simplicity based on our situation in life right now. Those situations change as the years go by – babies grow up, we move to a different city, etc. Maybe it’s too much to plant a garden this year, try a container garden instead. Or it’s too time consuming to cook from scratch every night, maybe start with a few nights a week. We’re all on our own paths to simplicity. Keep striving until you get to your own comfort level.

  4. Kara @ Home With Purpose

    I love your mindset! You summed it up perfectly: “Voluntary simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creativity.” I think deliberately simplifying is good for the soul. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday!

  5. Cecilia

    I have to agree with all above…great post! I can’t remember when the need to get off the treadmill and slow down became a huge need for me but I remember the overwhelming desire to slow down and enjoy life. I have simplified as much as I can in the city and I’m looking forward to the day we move to our farm permanently. I too hang my clothes under the Texas sun and often wash my dishes by hand. I enjoy reading your blog!

  6. Olga Elder

    Bravo! Said so well. I hadn’t heard, “Voluntary Simplicity” as a movement, now I know were organized 🙂 I will share, share, share.
    I recently wrote about gathering fire wood and how much more we appreciate heat for it. Being engaged in the process and not “ready made” helps us to appreciate and be grateful…the world needs more of that 😉

  7. Karen

    Beautifully expressed! We too, once lived similarly. Then a job loss, new job, move to the outskirts of a city changed it all. I am grateful for where we are now and enjoying the benefits of living where we do, but sometimes miss the quite stillness – watching the sun RISE over our barn, or set across the road behind a sea of green grass and trees; hanging our laundry and watching it flap in the wind; smelling the earthy goodness of the garden being turned open each spring and the dew sitting softly on the budding leaves of trees. Coming to your place is such a sweet reminder of that peaceful feeling. Thank you for sharing your life here!

  8. Dolly Sarrio

    I love how you put it because it is how I feel and live. It is not that we have to live this way it is the way we choose to live.

  9. Rhonda

    I love this post. It made me stop and take a deep breath. It is a great reminder for me to stay focused on my own progress in simplicity. My journey is complicated by my love of creating art projects, but I am slowly finding a balance by creating things from old objects and giving them a new purpose. I will follow your blog on bloglovin. Rhonda Thanks again for writing such a motivational post.

  10. Heather Jackson

    I love this post. It was all just spot on, and that sunset photo is simply breathtaking! I’m off to milk my cow now instead of running to the store, so I totally get where you are coming from! 😉

  11. Erin Blegen

    Ahhh…what a breath of fresh air it is to read that there are others just like myself! I too, since a child, have longed for a life years before my own. When things WERE more simple- the world was more simple. And I too LOVE that you clarified that to live simply isn’t easier- it’s often harder. SO true! But doing things the hard way is good for the spirit, isn’t it? It makes you feel useful and good. And that you’re doing things the way we were intended to.

    Thanks so much for sharing, a truly enjoyable read 🙂

  12. Carol Cook

    Simpler to my husband and me is living in a small cottage, buying only what we need, not watching television and enjoying each day on the beach. Now that I am retired we hope to grow some of our food in our tiny garden.

    I admire your life style because you are living life. Working all week at a job you don’t love only to have a few weekend hours is no life.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Carol – you’re right, if you’re not doing what you love for a living it’s time to take a good hard look at what your lifestyle is costing you not only financially but in terms of life enjoyment. If you’re having to work 50-hour weeks and travel away from your family often at a job you dislike so you can afford that large house or fancy car, what’s the real cost?

  13. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I definitely feel like I’m rushing too much and not relaxing and enjoying the moments. I love your emphasis on creativity because to me that’s what life is really about – approaching things with an open, creative mind willing to experience each moment as fully as possible.

    Thanks for linking up to Fabulously Frugal Thursday!

  14. Barbara

    If I didn’t dislike FaceBook so much, I’d wish there was a “Like” button on this post. I think you and Rancherman are truly blessed. I enjoyed his post on electricity!

  15. deborah

    There are times I want to just throw the laundry in the dryer, but it doesn’t take that long to pin it on the line and I enjoy seeing it flapping in the breeze. My one exception is when the Kansas wind is whooping hard! Then I don’t hang laundry. Not worth the struggle! 🙂 I really liked your thought that “simple” doesn’t mean less effort.

  16. Shan

    What a wonderfully endearing post. I understand completely!

    A few years ago I was a full time working Mom caught up in all the worldly desires.
    If you had told me then that I would end up living in the country, making homemade EVERYTHING, line-drying clothes and home educating…I would have laughed you out of the room.

    Funny how God knows best and it takes us some time to figure all that out {or me anyway}

  17. Jen Harris

    Love what you said about living simply not meaning deprivation, but creativity! After years of living in “survival mode” due to family crises, I’m making a real effort to add richness to our lives through creativity these days. Looking forward to exploring more of your blog…visiting from Family Fun Friday today. 🙂

  18. Amy Schaffner

    Beautiful! You’re right, simplicity can be harder but so much more rewarding. I’m on my own journey to simplicity, I just wish I could do it on a farm like you!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Amy, I hear ya! RancherMan and I started pursuing our dream of living on a homestead several years ago. In the meantime we bloomed where we were planted and slowed things down where we could. Even with the children and soccer practice, PTA meetings and full-time corporate careers there were places to simplify. Gardening was calming to me and preserving its produce spoke to my heart so those are primary places to focus on. It took several years to finally attain our dream of living this life but it’s everything we dreamed and more. Don’t stop dreaming and taking baby steps toward that dream – It WILL happen!

  19. Mary Jo Pehl

    One thing that’s cool about trying to use up everything in my fridge and shelves is that it gets me trying new recipes!

  20. Summers Acres

    I always enjoy your posts. A clothes line is on our “to-do” list. I haven’t had one in 18 years! Gorgeous sunset. Thanks for sharing!


  21. daisy

    I echo your sentiments here. This life is not necessarily easier, but it is simpler and much more meaningful. Continued blessings…

  22. Sandra

    Beautiful Pictures, I especially love the last one.
    I have a sign that says SIMPLIFY! I think I need that reminder often.
    Enjoyed your post!

  23. Country Gal

    Hello from Ontario Canada .
    I understand what you mean about Living Deliberately – Voluntary Simplicity . I was raised on a farm and to got caught up in the whirlwind of life as I grew in to an adult and now am retired and living in a beautiful old farm house built in 1895 in a country valley village not far from the north shores of Lake Erie . This area is full of beautiful country side , Ports , farms and wonderful wild nature and some right in our own back yard ! I am slowly getting back into home grown and home made remembering how I was raise on the farm as a kid living off of the land ! Simple , yet calming and peaceful with the odd shaker upper every now and then . Hubs AKA Papa and I love the quiet simple at home life , with our girls Miggs our dog and Harley our cat and of course all the nature we have here . Nothing like sitting on the porch in our rockers just dreaming the day away ! Your blog is wonderful and right up my alley or rather country road hehe ! Thanks for sharing ! Have a good day !

  24. Heather Kallimani

    I love that you said “even as a youngster I had an old-fashioned spirit”. Me too! And now that I’m older, I get to live the old-fashioned-ness that I have wanted! It gives me so much satisfaction at the end of the day. I couldn’t ask for anything more! And I am hoping to instill that in my own kids. Anyway, great post! Totally agree! 🙂

  25. Heidi

    I loved your article. It describes the way we live our life and why. There is no deprivation here. We are all better for doing a little work along the way. It becomes enjoyable.

  26. Carol

    Today is my first visit having found you via Our Home Away From Home. I like your mantra of “living deliberately”.

    We have tried to live simply for quite a few years and now that I am retired, I am determined to be better. I talked at dinner tonight about starting to compost and hope to plant vegetables next year when I clear a spot.

    I have a long way to go, but I know we can simplify.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Carol, retirement offers so many more ways to simplify your life so you may be pleasantly surprised that one thing easily leads to another. If you’re looking to start a compost I wrote about the procedure here —> It will give you an idea of the basic procedure. It’s easy – go for it!

  27. Tricia

    What an absolutely beautiful piece you have written.

  28. debra@ HOMESPUN

    Enjoyed this post as well! 🙂

  29. Sparkling74

    Love seeing your clothes hanging on the line. It’s my favorite chore in my fairly simple life. Love your post!

    1. Christine Becken

      Your blog today, and the picture of the clothes on the line, was so timely! Last evening we were working on lists of where to start when we get to Leonard in less than 6 weeks (!!!) and I told David, “I want a clothesline right away.” I grew up with one and haven’t had one in decades, but I still remember the peaceful feeling of hanging up clean damp laundry, and later the wonderful sun-kissed smell of the clothes as I would bring them in and put them away. I am so excited to embark on this new journey!

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        Yes, Christine. Yes, yes, YES!!! If you don’t already have a clothesline at your new home I’d recommend the one we use. It’s a retractable and removable two-line clothesline. We hang it on the tetherball pole and string it to the wall of our garage where we hook it on two decorative hooks we’ve anchored into the brick. When the laundry is done I simply retract the lines and bring it inside until next time. No ducking underneath to mow or walk around our yard – it works great for us. –> I know you’re excited for your big move. Woo-Hoo!!

  30. Lori

    Living simply is not depriving yourself or your family. How many times have I said that to people I know! Before we had all of these modern conveniences, we didn’t feel deprived, and now that we have them, we all fully know we can survive without them, just as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did. I know people who say they couldn’t live without a dishwasher. I have NEVER used one in my 43 years on this planet, and I don’t need it. I think part of it is just. pure. laziness.

    1. victoria witte

      That convenience thing is a real vicious circle. We have all these things that “save time” but the time saved is often not used to slow down and refresh people. Instead they begin stuffing in more and more optional things which aren’t necessary for a reasonable life and which in the long run don’t provide rest or satisfaction. It’s as if people get so accustomed to running around in a frenzy that just sitting down, resting, reading, talking with others, contemplating,——- being truly leisurely—–seems to them to be a waste of time.

      Victoria in Indiana

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        Well-said, Victoria. Oftentimes frazzled folks are using those convenience items so they have more time to sit in front of the TV. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think TV is bad in & of itself, but in my opinion far too over-utilized. I used to think the frazzled lifestyle was just the way it was when you grew into an adult – I was so pleased to find out it didn’t have to be that way!

  31. Candy C.

    Lovely post! Nobody ever said simplicity was the ‘easy’ way but it certainly is the most soul-satisfying way for me! 🙂

  32. Heather

    I love to read stories like this! About 5 years ago, right around the time I had my first baby, I started to really look at the way food was produced. It was alarming to see how things have changed, and that I was so accepting of it, even though my mom had a huge garden when I was growing up. The food was the trigger for me, and then it just became a spiral of other things that I could do to live more intentionally. It is amazing to see the changes we have made in just a few short years, and also how far we still want to go. But, it is an exciting journey! I’m glad that you still find joy in it!

  33. Pat

    Oh! Bravo!
    I’m clapping my hands…I loved this post. You put it so eloquently…exactly how I feel.
    I love this
    **** Voluntary simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creativity****

    I get so jazzed to take something ugly, used up, small and insignificant… and turning it into to something of beauty, something useful again–saving the seeds to dry on a piece of newspaper to be sown later gets the wheels of my mind going.
    When I plant that rooted sweet potato— I’m thinking of all the ways, I want to eat SWEET POTATOES later on…
    Great post.
    Hope you had cool temps today in your part of Texas. We had 78° and drizzle all day!!!
    I was thankful to turn off the A/C and eat outside on the porch. 🙂 ~ Pat


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