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Learning to Love the Simple Life

June 12th, 2010

The older I get the more I enjoy the simple things in life. Sometimes they’re are a little more work but usually more rewarding. I really love kneading bread by hand, hanging the laundry outside, and sweeping the floor with a broom. I love the quiet time I have during these activities, no loud vacuum cleaner, mixer or dryer; just the swoosh of the broom, the quiet sound of dough, or the breeze rustling the leaves.

It seems like we’ve gotten caught up in having appliances that do chores for us, to save us time and make our lives easier. Then we have to work long hours to buy those appliances and to pay the electric bills to run them. Not to mention, we have to put up with the noise they create in our lives. Doing chores the old-fashioned way helps me slow down and appreciate the little things that might go unnoticed. My chores go from drudgery to relaxing by simply taking a little extra time to do them the simple way. Of course I don’t always do things by hand, but I try to when I can. I sweep every other week instead of vacuuming, I hand make bread most of the time and I line dry the laundry if it’s sunny and warm. Not to mention, I enjoy the lower electric bill and the longer lifespan of my appliances.

Are there any chores you like to do without the help of appliances?

28 Comments to “Learning to Love the Simple Life”
  1. dig this chick on June 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Yes! I so completely agree. Even when not electric my family just generally avoids gizmos that make it ‘easier’. We enjoy the regular ol’ corkscrew wine opener, coffee grinder, stove-top coffee maker and can opener. We make rice and oatmeal on the stove. I find the giant, effortless contraptions to be ugly and really not any easier. Really, when did opening a can of tomatoes or a bottle of wine become hard? Why ‘instant’ oatmeal when the real thing tastes better and maybe takes an extra 37 seconds to make? Why do I need an automated option to tell me when my beans are done grinding?

    I LOVE hanging clothes on the line. I have discovered that even in the winter the direct sun can dry cotton. Such a lovely little realization.

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    • Susy on June 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

      So true. My microwave died several years ago and I never got a new one. Things taste so much better warmed up on the stove.

      We too love oatmeal, we love eating oat groats. I soak them overnight and cook them in the morning with some coconut milk. So much better than instant, which I’ve always thought tasted raw.

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  2. Kylee from Our Little Acre on June 12, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I love thought-provoking posts like this one. Let’s see…doing dishes! Our dishwasher broke last year and we went for six months without replacing it because neither my husband nor I mind doing dishes by hand. I wonder if it’s because of the conversations that I remember having while doing dishes in my earlier days – “I’ll wash if you dry.”
    .-= Kylee from Our Little Acre´s last blog ..Battling Powdery Mildew =-.

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  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nici Holt Cline, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Learning to Love the Simple Life #frugalliving #thesimplelife […]

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  4. Mrs. Mac on June 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

    In the winter I enjoy mending holes in socks … weaving the thread in and out .. back and forth to extend the life of an otherwise perfectly good sock.
    .-= Mrs. Mac´s last blog ..Finally … Some Validation =-.

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  5. sarah on June 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Great Post! Our coffee machine broke on us and since then we have been greatly enjoying a coffee press. I think the coffee is much better. I LOVE the idea of hanging clothes to dry but laundry is a daunting task here with 2 kids. I too enjoy washing dishes by hand every now and then. I find it very relaxing.
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..Garlic =-.

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  6. sarah on June 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    ALSO Our Microwave bit the dust more than 2 years ago (and with 2kids) it’s been no problem to reheat on the stove and we have gained counter space. I can’t believe how much we depend on things to make our lives easier.
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..Garlic =-.

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  7. Lynn on June 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I sweep instead of vacuum, do dishes by hand, chop all my veggies without a processor. Friends ask me why I would take so much time to chop large amounts of veggies when I could use the food processor. To me it is more of a hassle to get the darn thing out, set it up and then wash it. Chopping by hand only requires you wash a knife and cutting board and I actually love doing it.

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    • Susy on June 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      I agree, I have never wanted a food processor. With a good knife I can cut things up as quickly as with a food processor, and it’s much easier to clean!

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  8. Seren Dippity on June 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    You lost me on this one.
    I hate most housework and anything that will do it for me is a plus.
    My dryer was out for a bit last summer and I hung some shirts outside to dry, when I brought them in they were covered in gnats! Yuck. I know better, but emotionally I don’t think the dishes are really clean unless they go through the sanitizing dishwasher. Roomba is my friend. Turn him on and let him go…. when I come back in from gardening my floors are vacuumed! What a joy!
    Push a button to turn on the washer, another to turn on the dishwasher, and one more to turn on the vacuuming robot and while the miracle of technology is at work, I am outside gardening, swimming in the pool or reading a good book. If only they could invent something to fold the clothes and put up the dishes….

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    • Susy on June 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      I do love my dishwasher.

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  9. MAYBELLINE on June 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve thought and I’ve thought till I’m almost thought out. Does barbecuing count? I appreciate the evolution that modern conveniences have brought,

    I do believe I would enjoy chores more if someone else did them.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Garden Update on a Full Stomach =-.

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  10. Norma on June 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    The fabulous thing about getting older is you appreciated life and simple things more.
    Yes, I do like to handwash dishes(can’t stand the time and noise dishwashers make), line dry all my washing and use hand can opener. I do use a vacuum cleaner, but dislike being dependant on it and the noise. Will have to try the broom, but also have carpet in bedrooms :(

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  11. kristin @ going country on June 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I sweep where ever I can and use a lamb’s wool brush thing for cobwebs, but with so many Oriental rugs in the house to keep our feet from freezing, the vacuum is a necessary evil. And evil it is. I HATE how heavy it is and the noise it makes. I used to wear earplugs when I was using it, in fact.

    A dishwasher, however . . . oh, I would love to have a dishwasher. We wash SO MANY dishes by hand. Sigh. It’s probably a good thing we have neither enough hot water nor enough electricity to run one.
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..Lucky Boy =-.

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  12. lara on June 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I love to sweep. Seeing that pile of dirt and sand grow makes me feel so good and I love the rhythmic flow of the broom (I have one of those brooms with a cloth fibre rather than bristles). I love how my house echoes after being dusted and swept.

    We have a dishwasher but we don’t use it, same with the clothes dryer. With the price of electricity steadily climbing here in Australia one of the first things we did was try to figure out how to reduce the energy cost for our family.
    .-= lara´s last blog ..Week 1 food budget overhaul =-.

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  13. melissa on June 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Washing glassware. It started out of necessity (my dishwasher kind of sucks, it gets everything clean but I constantly have residue on glasses) but I found that unlike doing other dishes by hand, washing glassware by hand really relaxes me.
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards =-.

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  14. Lisa on June 13, 2010 at 1:02 am

    I love hanging our laundry out to dry in the sun and breeze. It smells so good afterwards. Especially the sheets!
    I would do it every day if weather permitted it.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Denim Pocket Purses =-.

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  15. Hilde on June 13, 2010 at 3:45 am

    I love hanging the clothes out to dry. Even when it´s cold, as long as it´s dry it will eventually be “freeze-dried”. Is has become a bit of a challenge for me. I also never owned a microwave, or a food chopper. Sometimes I also mix cake batter by hand, if it isn´t the sponge type where you have to beat the egg whItes. And of course, there is all the yard work! You can use all kinds of motorized gadgets for it, but you don´t have to, at least not with the size of gardens we have here (about 600 sqm) Sometimes our neighbours make so much noise, it is louder than at the roadside. Especially the men have to make some noise so that everybody notices how busy they are.

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  16. Kelly on June 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    All kinds of stuff! I don’t like the sounds of motors so I try to keep them to a minimum. I love hanging the clothes to dry, I love sweeping, I love chopping veggies. We don’t have an electric can opener, wine bottle opener, coffee maker or food processor. I hardly ever use the microwave or stand mixer, preferring the stove-top and using my hands instead. The two things I love are my rice maker and vacuum (though I hate the noise the vacuum makes, I love having clean carpets!)
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..And So It Rains… =-.

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  17. Jennifer is Always Sick on June 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I’m getting there. I’ve started out by not having a microwave to reheat left-overs (I use the stove or toaster oven), and washing the dishes by hand when there aren’t many to do.

    I’m actually starting to not like the dishwasher much, but I use it when there are too many to wash and stack in the rack.

    As far as line drying clothes, I hang certain garments in the master bathroom, but I’m afraid it’s far too dusty where I live to hang clothes outside. One good gust of wind and all my clothes would be dirty again. :(

    Lovely post, by the way. I could feel your serenity. Definitely needed that today.
    .-= Jennifer is Always Sick´s last blog ..Sugar High, Sugar Low =-.

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  18. Mary W on June 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

    We’ve been hanging our wash for the last couple of years. We hang clothes inside so they don’t shrink or fade, but needed more room, so I put up a line outside. Now both my husband and I love it. I have a human-powered carpet sweeper at work and it never occurred to me to get one for home, but I will now. (Great post.) I hate the sound of the vacuum so much my husband has to sneak around to do it. One thing about getting old, though, is that I can’t open jars anymore. I have indulged in an electric jar opener and it works really well. (I still use a hand crank can opener.)

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  19. Morgan G on June 14, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I, too, really enjoy line drying my clothes and I love riding my bike to get groceries. It takes a bit longer to get there, but the exercise and sheer joy of the freedom a bike affords is well worth it.
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Spring Edibles Inventory =-.

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    • Susy on June 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      I wish I lived close enough to ride my bike for errands. Truth is though since we work from home we rarely get in to town. To the farm for milk once a week.

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  20. viggie on June 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Scrubbing laundry and doing dishes are my favorites. The warm water and time to think are wonderful. I’m another ones that’s been trying to get away from electric appliances and have invested in antiques like my coffee mill that is still working perfectly after all this time (unlike my stupid plastic coffee grinder that died after 2 years *grumble grumble*).
    .-= viggie´s last blog ..0 Point Weight Watchers Cabbage Soup =-.

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  21. Turling on June 14, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I’m an amateur woodworker, as well as an amateur gardener. I find the older I get the more I enjoy woodworking with hand tools. Everything is slower, quieter, cleaner. Someone can actually be in the shop with me carrying on a conversation. It takes longer, sure. But, I believe the journey is just as important as the destination.

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  22. Caroline on June 15, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I didn’t expect to love this, but turning my garden by hand with a garden fork has become meditative. I had planned to buy a tiller this year, but realized the garden fork is a simple and perfect tool.
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Liatris: I’ve Created a Monster (and that’s OK) =-.

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  24. Karen on September 20, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I’ve been doing things the simple way mostly because that is the way I’ve done it all my life. When friends beam while talking about a swiffer or other newfangled item marketers are selling, I inwardly cringe. Using baking soda or vinegar for cleaning is sensible. A broom & dust pan, practical. Washing dishes by hand is all I’ve ever done. I’d be lost in a modern kitchen. I downsized a year ago with a move & found I can live with smaller amounts of kitchen things just fine. It’s a real budget saver to not buy gadgets and buy groceries on sale as much as possible. A freezer is important, and rotating what food one has on hand. My home is unfinished, but a 1900 house kitchen with six doorways, one double wide to living room, and it will not take many cabinets to furnish, as this type was not made for a fitted kitchen. I will have a pantry, which is in my living room in front of the bookcases at the moment. Remodeling by myself is taking a long time. I use use a handsaw and hand miter box. Simple is good. Slow, but good!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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