Structure

We’ve been finding a lot of information on the web recently (it’s great for that…) about “simple living”. The thing is that it’s nearly all about saving money or minimising your impact on the environment. Understandably, the current economic climate is fuelling the simplicity industry even more.

Saving money and minimising environmental impact are great reasons to embrace simple living but they’re not the real reasons we’re here writing about it. As Naomi said in her previous post, we did have a conversation about finally getting some kind of focus and that’s the point, really. Life is a finite resource. What we’re really thinking about is “focused living”. This strikes home even more when you have small children. All (well, some) of that unfocused bibbling about of less responsible times has to go out of the window in favour of some routine.

It also seems that the notion of “economical” is becoming synonymous with the idea of “cheap”. The recession is tarring everyone out to live a simple, structured life with the same brush. People are probably assuming that if you’re simplifying then you’re just cutting costs. That’s a bit like assuming that all vegetarians are health-obsessed (quite a few of the ones I know really aren’t). We’re not advocating a cheap life. Quite the opposite. What we want to do is think about economics in its real sense. In other words, how can we make the very best use of our resources, whether they’re time, money, attention or skills? There are parallels with design. In fact, it’s a designed lifestyle to some extent. It’s constraint and structure that can really make things work and like with all good design we’re problem-solving – trying to work out exactly how we want to do things.

So, things are coming together. Our children have forced us to be organised with our home life. It seems to make sense to extend that across everything. It becomes a kind of natural progression to get rid of absolutely everything we don’t have a need for, properly organise ourselves and put our creative efforts into more exciting activities than shopping.

There is even more of a necessity for us. We run our own business so, to some extent, life and work can’t truly be separated. We’re going to be kicking the whole, unruly mess into (a beautiful) shape. All of this comes back to the idea of simple design. If we get the underlying structure right then we can make the rest of it better. Spending less on stuff means spending more on experiences. Knowing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing means geting more from every bit of our lives.