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My Longing for the Simple Life: Is Less Really More?

virginia's place by katrina madsen berg, 8x10 oil on wrapped canvas

It’s not that I believe my life is overly complicated. In fact, it's simple in many ways. And yet, I have this strong desire to bring simplification everywhere I turn.

When the kiddos and I are cleaning up, I desperately believe that we have too many toys. When I am doing household chores, I ask myself, “Do we really need all of this space?” And “How much stuff does one person or 5 people, really need, or use regularly?”

Maybe my desire for less stuff comes from all the time I spent living in Europe and traveling to various parts of the world where they live with less and are satisfied. Or maybe it is from reflecting upon the economic situation our society has created.

Like many of you, we are on a budget. Really, we always have been, but lately we are more committed, and have been more successful these past few months. The result? I keep thinking about Julie Beck’s Mothers Who Know talk. Specifically,

Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all.

Sometimes I wonder if a life with less would actually be a life with more. I’m beginning to believe that it is.

As we welcome more beautiful children to our family, we welcome more stuff. It’s almost unavoidable. Oh, the boxes of clothing we have stored: baby clothes, clothes for girls, clothes for boys, maternity clothes, fat clothes, skinny clothes… the list goes on and on. We need clothes. It isn't that we have more than we need. But when you add up all the things we aren’t using right now, but will use again in the future, I feel a bit hoard-ish.

We looked at a lovely home this week. It is smaller than where we live now, but has a nice yard and is in a beautiful neighborhood - the kind with mature trees, low traffic, and a stream out front (in which the kiddos immediately fell in love). Its price-tag? Nearly the same as the worth of our condo. My husband said that it would be like living in a 70′s cabin. He’s right, but I think it has all that we need right now. A girl can dream, anyway...

It’s the needs that we are trying to understand. What do we truly need? Getting rid of the superfluous will give us freedom. Like Julie Beck challenges, we must be willing to live on less and consume less. I think that is the key to a happy, simple life - making do with what we already have, and giving up what we don’t really need. We can choose to be happy with the beauties of this world and forgo all that can so easily overwhelm  and distract us from our potential. We can help our kiddos learn to be happy with less, to spend more time learning, creating, and finding joy.

That is what I want.

What are you doing to simplify your life? Suggestions? How do you help your kiddos learn to live on less and love life?


katrina madsen berg is an artist living and creating in Midway, Utah. She is a creator of home, a lover of the designer, and a nurturer and teacher of 3 small souls in the daylight. Read more about her quest for beauty and to create at the daily delights, or check out more of her art at the wasatch back artists online gallery.

Enjoy shopping for quality baby clothing at

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