Simplicity: Potty Training with a (Truly) Minimalist Wardrobe

potty training

It’s no secret that our family has fewer clothes than an average family. Much fewer. It’s not because we can’t afford more; we just choose not to have as many. This has its benefits and drawbacks. A benefit is that we have fewer clothes to wash, and therefore less laundry to do. A drawback is that we have to wash our clothes more often, so there’s more laundry. I know, I know, completely contradictory. We have more loads of laundry to do, but each one is smaller. It’s a trade off. Since putting the laundry away is the part of the chore that I hate the most, I’ll take more loads with fewer items in them.

But that’s not the point of today’s post. Today I want to address something that was asked of me during my last wardrobe post: How do you potty train a toddler if you don’t have a lot of clothes to change him into? The answer is very simple. During toilet training sessions, I don’t put any clothes on him at all. This doesn’t work when you go out, obviously, but at home, it works swimmingly. And honestly, I’ve found that it’s too stressful for the child to go more than a few hours at a time when they’re learning anyway. Continue reading

Simplicity: To Top it All Off . . .

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My wardrobe post from this past spring is my most-read post of all time, so I thought I’d take a day this week to discuss changes we’ve made to our current clothing selections.

We each have a few more clothes than we did in May, but certainly nothing approaching “normal” American levels of attire. You’ll remember from last week that we all now own rain boots. These are in addition to our regular shoes. Also, I purchased a pair of sneakers for myself earlier this summer because we like to play tennis; doing so in sandals is, while not impossible, not practical. Munchkin recently had a birthday, and he received as gifts new undergarments, two pairs of jeans (so the old ones went away – they were really ratty), two shirts, and a pair of shoes (slip-on sneakers). Earlier this week, Will traded his sandals out for a pair of black sneaker-esque shoes. His goal was shoes that would be comfortable for walking and go with both jeans and more dressy attire. He’s very happy with his choice. Seahawk is the only one currently still only in sandals and boots. His birthday is later this month (can you believe it’s already October?!!), so I’m sure he’ll end up with new shoes then, if not before. Continue reading

Simplicity: Limiting Waste

simplicity copyI’ve talked a few times about how important it is to me to reduce the amount of waste we produce. I’ve read numerous books on the subject, too. And you know what? No matter how “easy” those authors say it is to live a “zero waste lifestyle,” they’re WRONG. It’s really hard. At least it is where I live.

But I try. And I think we do okay (if my neighbors’ full garbage cans every week are any indication, anyway). We go through, on average, one plastic grocery bag two to three times a week in waste. By limiting our waste, we’re not only contributing less to the landfill (a passion of mine), but also saving the money on garbage service – we don’t have it at all. Because we go through so little waste, we just take our bags to the grocery store and dump them in the public waste bins. And when we do get a surplus of large trash items, we borrow my dad’s truck and take a load to the “transfer center” for a small fee.

So how do we keep our waste low? There are three basic steps. Continue reading

Simplicity: Slowing Down

simplicity copyThings change when you don’t have a car. You have to be more patient. You have to understand that you need to leave the house earlier than you used to. You have to allow more time to get places – and to get home. In short, you have to slow your life down.

It would be easy to decide that we weren’t willing to embrace this slower paced lifestyle. We could take out a loan and fix the car (although maybe not – the cost of the repairs will likely be roughly twice what we’re paying for the car). But instead, we decided that we do want to live life a little slower. We don’t want “Simplicity Breeds Happiness” to be just a catchphrase in our family; we want it to be something we truly put into practice in our everyday lives.

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Simplicity: Like a Child

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We’ve had to start attending a new church recently. Biking instead of driving has forced us to adjust the way we do things, and traveling 18 miles (each way) to church is something we just can’t do anymore. Our new church is the Church of Christ in our town. It’s about a mile from our house, so it’s a very quick bike ride to get there.

There are some noticeable differences between this church and our other one – primarily, the new one offers communion every week whereas our old church did it only once a month, and the new church has no musical instruments. All worship songs are done a Capella (this means without instruments, for anyone who doesn’t know). ┬áDuring the month of August, there’s no children’s church, either. This is to give those workers a much needed break. I think this is a wonderful time to keep families together during church services. It’s good for children to be exposed to what the adults learn in the sermon, so they can absorb “deeper” teaching (rather than just the Bible “stories”), learn to think critically, and ask questions at home.

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