What is Voluntary Simplicity?

January 19, 2007

According to the Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary 2003-2006 Voluntary Simplicity is a lifestyle that is less pressured due to a focus away from accumulation of goods and more toward non-material aspects of life.

It is no longer a theory that the earth is headed on a collision course due to human consumption.  A 2005 report backed by over 1,000 of the world’s leading scientists warned that almost two-thirds of the world’s resources have already been consumed.  That is a frightening thought.  And even more shameful is that the largest portion of the world’s resources is consumed by the United States in our quest for more, quicker, faster, better products.  We glibly throw away containers that cost more than many people in the world make in a month.  We easily toss precious natural resources down the drain and into the sewers or into huge holes in the ground where we bury our unwanted, out of fashion but perfectly workable items.  Or we buy inferior, cheaply made products that have to be replaced time and time again. 

 This quest for bigger, better, faster and newer is the modern American dream.  Instant gratification is the name of the game.  We see advertisements every day that a new living room suite of furniture can be yours with no interest and no payment for three years.  What they don’t tell you is at the end of that three years the interest has compounded, circumstances may change or the furniture may need or want to be replaced again driving you further and further into debt.  Not only is this modern American dream destroying the environment by using resources at liberty without thought to where it comes from or how it is made, but this constant cycle of debt is endangering  the economy, our health, our mental and emotional health, our families and our communities.  People have to work longer and longer hours to continuously purchase items that drastically outpace their income.   Debt has become fashion and workers are tied to the “company store” to repay their lenders.  

Voluntary simplicity is rejecting the modern American dream of consumption, debt and slave to work in order to find more a more meaningful life.   All ages and types of people practice voluntary simplicity.  Many people reduce as a social justice statement.  Others do so to make a political statement.  And others still are simply tired of being tied to a job they once loved but came to resent after years of grinding away getting further and further behind.  Whatever the reason, the movement is growing across the first world and people are actively seeking a different, better way of life; a life where they are in control, not their debt or their employers.   A life that is full, rich in ways that money cannot purchase and socially and environmentally balanced. 

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3 Responses to “What is Voluntary Simplicity?”


  1. Yes, you are right Sheri, the movement towards living simply and lightly on the Earth is growing, family by family, person by person, day by day and decision by decision. And every time I find someone else who is doing it, my heart rejoices. So congratulations to you, and thank you for starting your blog about it. Please post often.
    Many blessings,
    Marian Van Eyk McCain, (author “The Lilypad List: 7 steps to the simple life”)

  2. chee Says:

    while we all share the same ideas, it would be nice to meet and talk to others who share these ideas. Find them is a chore. Spontaneous responses is a joy. I would like to offer my living room on the net at http://www.realteachers.org

    we can set a time and meet there. email me if you are interested. bchee@yahoo.com


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