What is Voluntary Simplicity?
Voluntary simplicity is a concept that is often misunderstood. It does not mean renouncing everything and living the life of an ascetic, nor does it romanticize poverty. It does not require moving to the country and growing your own food. It means enriching your life by embracing the things in life that matter the most, and eliminating the things that are unimportant. In the words of author Duane Elgin, voluntary simplicity is "a life that is outwardly simple, inwardly rich."
Adopting a simpler lifestyle begins with examining priorities and assessing what is truly important to you. This might be a meaningful job, more quality time spent with family and friends, volunteering for social or environmental programs, or having more time for relaxation, recreation, and personal growth.
With the important things clearly in focus, you can then identify the things that are unnecessary, create stress, waste money, or stand in the way of accomplishing what you really want to do, and begin to eliminate or release them. These might be activities that take up your time but are not enjoyable, like subscriptions to magazines or newspapers that you don't read, cable television you don't watch, a second or third car that you could do without, or any number of things that produce clutter and take your time and money without adding satisfaction or joy to your life.