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I think it’s funny that people want to move out to the country to have a minimalist lifestyle because they think life will be more simple. As if we don’t have bills to pay, a home to take care of, social media as a distraction, and people driving us crazy…
What I think people are looking for more than “life in the country” is a slower pace. More quality time with family, a more simple lifestyle. Which you can have a lot sooner than you might think. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle where ever you live will make your life so much more at peace.
While the definition of minimalism has to do with music and art. The concept of minimalism really just means living with less. That’s it. It’s not really that complicated.
While living a minimalist lifestyle does mean having less material items it can also mean paring down your social life, the physical space in your home, barn, or even livestock.
That can feel scary but let me tell you how good it feels to live with less. I started taking this habit to small spaces at first. Starting with my clothes and not keeping the pieces I didn’t like because “what if I needed them?”
But as time went on I didn’t miss those things and I started valuing the clothes I did love even more. I had a whole closet I loved that was not being covered over by things I didn’t love.
When you first begin living a minimalist lifestyle it takes time to be consistent with but if you keep at it you will soon see the benefits of minimalism.
Use the K.I.S.S. Method
Simplicity is the best thing you can introduce to your country lifestyle when working to practice minimalism. What the K.I.S.S. movement is all about (I’ll go with the kinder, gentler version of the acronym and call it the “Keep it simple sweetie” movement.) the idea is to do the following:
- Break tasks down into their simplest functions
- Delegate when possible
- Leverage technology to accomplish more in less time
- Eliminate unnecessary distractions that lead to delays and discontent ◀◀ THIS ONE IS HUGE!
I want to hit that last point again because I think if you can grasp that it will LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Eliminate unnecessary distractions. This could stand all on its own. I’ll use my rabbitry as an example. I “could” add a different breed and possibly get more customers.
But that would distract me from my current breed. It’s not necessary for me to add another breed because the ones I have now are working completely fine on their own. People are chomping at the bit to buy them months before I even have any born.
Then if we add that last part on “that lead to delays and discontent.” Ooosh that is so good.
- What slows you down?
- What makes you unhappy?
- What are you avoiding in your homestead?
Taking a clear look at the way you feel when it comes time to do literally anything on your farm will help you feel clear about your goals and what you are doing.
The simpler your homestead and country life become to operate, the more joy you will get from your life, and the less often you will find yourself bogged down and unable to move forward.
If you get nothing else from this post let it be this point right here.⬆⬆
Develop Your Vision
Notice that the header says YOUR vision. Not his vision, her vision, or that other person who seems like a pro’s vision.
Create your vision of what your life as a whole looks like for your country lifestyle. Write it out on paper. Sit with it. Think about it and put it in front of your face so you see it ALL THE TIME. I’m getting pretty hot and bothered can you tell?
So many get caught up in growing more, planting more, harvesting more, preserving more, and when they get to the end of the day they are so burnt out the life they wanted so badly comes crashing down around their ears.
Momentum is certainly important, but not at the possible costs of creating an avalanche that will weigh your life down and kill all momentum you have started producing.
Why is vision development necessary for minimalism in your country’s lifestyle? Several reasons, including the following:
- It helps you avoid shiny new object syndrome
- Defines your mission so you can keep your eyes on said mission
- Eliminates time-consuming detours that ultimately delay you in reaching your truly desired life.
Most importantly, though, is that when you lack a clearly defined vision, all effort is wasted as you have no destination in mind. You’re just wandering aimlessly and there is nothing minimalistic about that.
Define Your Goals
Once you’ve developed your vision, the next step is to define the goals for your homestead so you can live a more intentional life. In order to be effective, goals need to be:
- Actionable. Things you can set into motion immediately. – I want to raise x when the time is right or when I happen to come across them scrolling in a Facebook group. Is not an actionable goal.
- Purposeful. Oriented toward a specific, defined, outcome. – I want to raise chickens so I can have enough eggs for my family to eat them 3 times a week and an extra dozen every other week for baking. That tells you how many chickens you should have plus a few extra for losses and that’s it. If you are a four-person house hold you don’t need 20 chickens.
- Achievable. Don’t set goals so high you can’t reach them. Doing so places you at risk of giving up just before you cross the finish line. – If you want to raise enough eggs for your family like in the example above but you live in the city with a small 1/4acer lot… Weeeell you may have to settle for 3-4 hens and call it good. Some cities do allow chickens and there are several coops that work well for small flocks.
- Specific. You need numbers, facts, figures, and percentages when creating your goals and you need to hold yourself accountable for achieving them. – Sticking with the chicken example if you want enough eggs for your family to eat 3 times a week plus some for baking then about 1 chicken per family member would do the trick. Now, if you live in the country or where predators roam then a few extras (2-3) is a good idea.
Most importantly, goals need to be meaningful to you. Otherwise, you’re simply spinning your wheels and creating the very busy work the minimalist life is meant to eliminate.
Clutter is public enemy number one if you want to have a country living minimalist lifestyle. It’s not just the actual clutter in your barn, in the yard, office, or in your home. It’s the digital, virtual, and Internet clutter too.
Get rid of the things that distract you from your goals as a country living enthusiast, even if those things are Solitaire games on your computer, tablet, or phone. You want to clear out the clutter that occupies your time, your mental energy, and your physical actions during the day so you can shift your focus to things that are more productive and help you get closer to the intentional daily life you want to live as well as the things that bring you joy.
This can be an overwhelming thing. So I want you to take it in small chunks.
Get out a piece of paper and list EVERYTHING you want to declutter. Start with the big rooms then break down each thing in that room if talking a whole room at a time seems overwhelming.
- Living Room
- End Table One
- End Table Two
- Coffee Table
- My closet
- His closet (only touch this one if he’s not going to care, leave it alone otherwise)
- Medicine Cabinet
- Linnen Closet
- Hair products
- Feed Supplements
- Medicine and RX care
- Grooming Equipment
- Gardening Supplies
You could go way deeper than this but do you see what I mean by this?
Now I have two points to this. So bear with me.
1. This is easier said than done. But it is ok to get help doing chores. Your kids can help with a lot around the house. If you have a business side to your country life (even if it is just selling eggs) using tools to help you get the work done is ok. You are not a flop or a wimp because you are getting help.
2. Now on the flip side I also don’t think that you should start doing a ton of different projects and get other people to do your work. I know someone who likes to start a lot of home projects but when it comes to getting the project finished there is ALWAYS someone else wrapped up in it somehow.
Be willing to ask for help and also be willing to say no if adding one more thing to your plate is just too much.
Go Paperless (Where it works for you)
If you have the mind to go fully paperless then go for it. But I simply do not think well when it comes to planning and being strategic with my work.
BUT! I will also say that there is a time and a place to bring in the digital tools that help you get work done faster. Things like templates and tools that make finding info searchable.
Paper can cause distractions, it also takes time to manage, file, and protect.
If you lose that one copy then you don’t have that information anymore. It’s also difficult to make changes and if you do you have to reprint something out.
Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once either. Take one aspect of your life and see what can be changed. Find tools that work for your brain and make the change.
Eliminate as much paper from the process as possible by shifting to online services will help you simplify your life.
Set Office/Work Hours Even If You Don’t Sell Products
This is important in two aspects. One, if you raise animals and or produce to sell to customers having clear boundaries of when they can expect to hear back from you will help with guilt and the feeling of obligation.
But even if you don’t deal with anyone outside of your home as far as customers go. Setting clear times for when you work and when you don’t will keep you focused on your work, chores, and projects while at the same time forcing you to decide if you “really” need to add that new aspect onto your already full plate.
Creating office/work hours gives you time to relax, recharge, and get creative. This is so important to avoiding burnout in all aspects of life.
Oooohh boy. This is a tough one. People who want to live the country lifestyle want to raise, grow, preserve, and do all the things.
The problem with that is that you will burn out FAST and you won’t be able to enjoy the life you are building.
It is not worth going through life at lightning speed just to get all the things done and completely miss the beauty in front of you. It’s just not.
There is no award given for growing all your own vegetables or preserving all your own food. People don’t know you do those things unless you tell them. And if you did they would probably be like “Ok, and?” Know don’t get me wrong.
I’m not knocking growing your own food. But make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons and that YOU are the one who truly wants to do it for yourself. And not because that what you’re “supposed” to do.
Walk away from the idea that you must “go big or go home.” Sometimes, slow growth is the most sustainable and the least disruptive to your life.
How Do I Own Less?
Like anything with minimalist living, it takes practice. You might fall off the bandwagon and that’s ok. If you get back up. Recognize you goofed and make the changes.
Here are some key points to help you practice owning less.
- Just because something is a good deal does not mean you should buy it. If there are two in a pack and you won’t need the second one, get the single item.
- Only buy the essential items and really ask yourself hard if you need that thing you are drooling over.
- Buy a quality item over the cheap one that you will have to replace or fix. This gives you the ability to look at it through the eyes of VALUE.
It can be a hard thing to transition to but not allowing the extra things that don’t need to show up in your house will make a huge difference.
How To Stop Wanting So Much Stuff?
This has to do with what and why are you buying or keeping stuff in the first place?
Sometimes it can be a scarcity mindset where you feel like there might not be enough or that you won’t have what you need right when you need it.
But the thing with that is it’s really ok. You don’t have to have the exact tool all the time. Or not having the perfect piece of clothing for that outfit is ok.
You can make ANYTHING work in the moment you need to.
Know that you will have what you need when you need it and you will be able to find the right thing at the right time.
On the flipside. Having more stuff doesn’t give you peace or fix a problem.
Sometimes buying things can be a mask for what you are really feeling or a fix for something where you just may need to do the work.
Why Having Less Makes You Happier?
Having less stuff will help you appreciate the things you do have. Having less doesn’t overwhelm your brain to the point of not even SEEING the things you do love.
The picture below is a perfect example. If there was just one plant by the window it would look beautiful. But with lots of pots and plants here it seems cluttered and is hard to enjoy each plant for what they are.
Having more fills your brain with noise and that makes it hard to focus on the important things.
These small changes can transform your country minimalist lifestyle. Letting go of things and learning to live with less can feel like you are missing out. But it will give you a better life of freedom because you can spend less time cleaning and more time with friends and family.
More material possessions won’t fill you with joy. But the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle will change your life forever.