Living In A Simpler World

More snow. I woke up to it gently, noiselessly, coming down. The roofs across the street are carpeted with white. 

I'm sitting here with Charlie squished in next to me (I have a small quilt in the chair, and he can't resist a quilt) sipping my morning cup of coffee. 

Abi is in the window staring out. A car passes by, and I see her head moving to pass with it until it is out of sight.

It certainly hasn't snowed this much since I moved here. But now I see that the sun is trying its best to shine through the dense almost silver clouds. It just appears as a soft light through the tree branches.

More and more I'm reading about simplicity and intentional living and sustainability and living within your means. A novel concept here in the US, I think. 

Perhaps by showcasing a blogger every day on my Color My Decor blog, I am seeing bloggers from different countries that don't seem to live as we do. 

They are frugal and their needs are simple. Their living spaces are adaptable to their lifestyles, and they utilize them for what their family needs, not to mimic spaces in a magazine.

Cream Life

Just to give you an idea, here is Cream Life. Look how small the kitchen is. Their lives seem to be all about "needs." Not "wants."

There is lots of stitchery and crochet and making of crafts to adorn their homes. Lots of bread is kneaded and baked. 

Attic 24

These blogs I'm stumbling upon are so refreshing. For the most part they do not buy things for the sake of buying. They "make do."

They seem more serene, less harried. If you don't have much, then you don't have much to worry about. Life seems to move at a slower pace. 

There are the necessities of life. The simple things that make up their day to day lives. 

Happy Loves Rosie

In these blogs, I am hard-pressed to even find a TV, much less one that takes up most of a wall and the room is planned around it. 

Sally's Zuhause

Look how small the dining table in this kitchen is. In a corner where it takes up little space. For space is at a premium.

Sally's Zuhause
And Sally's kitchen. Do any of you have a kitchen this small? Yet it is organized well and she seems to have what she needs.

Town & Country Home

I am having a wonderful time traveling all over the world via the internet finding and visiting these homes. They are certainly a breath of fresh air, as I live in a society where more is better and just enough is not good enough. 

Would you like to live more like these bloggers, in simpler homes with perhaps simpler lives?

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  1. You are finding some wonderfully inspiring blogs. Have you ever realized that Carol at Art and Sand doesn't have a TV? No wonder she creates such a wonderful home and art...she's not too distracted.

  2. Love these photos! More,please!

  3. A dear friend of mine is from Greece and she said one of the many difference is cost...real estate is so much higher oversees so space is limited. The other interesting fact is they have farmer's markets everywhere in alot of these countries. They went to the market daily to pick out their food...many of us make large Wal-Mart runs and have to find a place to store it.


    Cottage Making Mommy

    P.S. This snow stinks...I'm ready for Spring.

  4. Great post and fabulous photos the simplicity of that first pretty!!

  5. Hi Brenda,
    Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my day. Since I have two dogs, I always enjoy your stories about your fur babies. Had an emergency run to the vet yesterday with my Westie and since she is 13 yrs old, I was scared. Did a lot of praying while waiting for test to be run. Beginning of bladder infection so we were lucky. I can't imagine life without her so I know how you feel with your two.
    I love today's pictures/stories you shared. Since I am 72 yrs old, I have seen a lot of changes in the world and we don't need have the stuff out there. Life seems like a fast merry-go-round and we each need to get off and just lead a simpler life style. Thanks for searching the web and bringing joy to all of us each day with your wonderful photographs, new blogs, and your great stories. I hope I am around to read that book I know you will write one of these days.
    Connie, FL/IN

  6. These blogs are just beautiful. I believe that they are on the right track, simple living. simple living with less stress, frustrations in how you are going to pay for that new purchase, etc., etc.,
    I am with you Brenda ~ beautiful pictures.

  7. I love these photos, Brenda. The Nordic and Euro blogs are some of my favorites.

    Our home is quite small by today's standards. We have a TV, but since we don't have cable, we get three or four channels. The only time it is on is when my spouse is watching a football game.

  8. Hi Brenda! I love the homes you have shared with us. I too, have been working to simplify our life. Even though we are not financially rich, I have always had much more than I ever needed (but only came to this conclusion last year). It seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks and I began to reduce the"stuff" in our home, as well as learning to say "no" instead of taking on more than I was comfortable with. I have collected all sorts of things during my life, but I have given most of them up. I still have a few dolls that I love and plan to keep for my granddaughter. One thing I want to hang onto is our "style" of decor, just less of it. I still believe a home speak of the ones who live in it. I also noticed this must be true of the homes you shared. All of them have a certain flair & style, regardless of size. They are adorable and cleverly done. I know my home will never be in a magazine, and that's okay with me. :o)

  9. I just love hearing what Charlie and Abi are doing! You describe such a tranquil scene, snuggling with Charlie while Abi watches the world go by.

    I was raised to be frugal. Therefore, I live in a simple, little house. I've never been good at dealing with stress, so I've always tried to live a simple life.

    Thank you. I've enjoyed seeing these wonderful pictures again!

  10. Hi Brenda! Glad you're staying warm. We don't get snow but it's been a very cold winter for us on the island. Now I love seeing the sweet little kitchen and the colors they use are so soft. Are these kitchens from Europen bloggers? I know they live differently as my daughter and her husband lived in the UK for a couple of years and their kitchens are just so much different. Most folks shop for just a few days unlike us who horde our stuff. I like your new header too!
    To answer your question - Marshalls! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  11. You could put me straight on a prairie, in a one bedroom log home, chickens, a garden and a dog...and of course inside laundry and bath...that is it for me, that is al I would need. I don't even own a microwave now.

  12. Brenda,

    They are all beautiful! Before scrolling to the top to read your post, I quickly scrolled over each image and thought that you were doing a feature on dollhouses!! That's how mini these spaces looked to me upon first glance. Upon second glance, it was confirmed that, indeed, they are, tiny. Maybe that's part of their appeal, besides being just TOO darn CUTE!! It really is all about 'needs' versus 'wants', isn't it? We could be satisfied with so much less, but are brainwashed into believing that we need so much more, and it's never enough.


    LOVED all of these tiny treats, especially Happy Love Rosie and Sally's Zuhause. Charming!

  13. So enjoyed this Brenda. Loved your first photo, just beautiful!

  14. aww how simple and sweet looking these places are. I have to say my new home is giving me a fit.. In the other house I was busy about working my way toward super simple-- here-- that cant happen .

  15. As you know, I am all for living the simple life. It definitely reduces stress. Love all of these spaces. xo Laura

  16. I already do live more simply than many people in blog land. I am someone that doesn't understand the constant need of many to shop all the time. I have gotten where I hate clutter and have made a good start in giving things away to charity. I plan to continue with that this year. I live in an older home, without a lot of square footage and don't care about granite counters and high end flooring. Living even more simply is something I continue to strive for.

  17. It's fun to see how other people live and decorate in other countries. The photos you shared made me think of dollhouses. They're all so sweet and pastel. I don't live in a large house either, so it's fun to get ideas of how people in smaller homes stay organized etc. However, we couldn't really live in a home any smaller than we do now. What I hate to see are people that live in large homes and it's only a husband and wife living there. What is the purpose? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. All of our bedrooms and bathrooms are used daily. There are no "empty" rooms to have for "just in case".

  18. I love seeing homes in other countries. They definitely have less stuff than we do and less storage. I'm always amazed at their small closets and lack of kitchen cabinets. We can sure learn from others around the world. Thanks for the links to these blogs! Hugs!

  19. Brenda, ever since I moved last summer, I've been working to simplify my life. I've downsized and will continue to edit my belongings as I have too much stuff. I look at these very simple homes and how they are comfortable but so uncluttered. While in Paris it was easy to see how people shopped for fresh food daily and had did not stock up like do here. Still I'm a collector and it's hard to let go of everything!

  20. I loved this post. I live in a small home and have honestly never desired a larger one. I've always said that it'd just be more to maintain and keep clean! I think smaller homes are more cozy and charming anyway. European houses are smaller due to limited land space and cost. Though some of the photos you posted, the rooms and furniture look like a doll house! A little TOO cramped for me. There's so many ways to live simple these days and I've noticed it's becoming more popular. Even things like crocheting and knitting are "in" again, even with young people. Are you familiar with the Australian blog, Down to Earth? I think you'd like it. Here's the link:

  21. In the past few months, I was in two different homes in which I was told that doors had to be taken down in order to get new, super-sized refrigerators into the kitchens. I was glad that I didn't have to pay for those monstrous things, or pay for the electricity to run them!

  22. I love to watch house hunters international. It gives us a window into how other people live all over the world and in almost all cases their homes are far more modest than those in the states. For certain,refrigerators are almost always tiny because they're used to shopping daily. I'm not convinced I would want to do that unless it was convenient to do so, but if I had to I'm sure I could get used to it.

    There is no denying these spaces are unique, adorable and practical and we can all learn something from these fabulous bloggers.

  23. I really enjoyed this post, Brenda! I love to follow blogs from all around the world. Maybe the idea of living a simpler life is why I love to travel to Europe so much, where materialism isn't so apparent.

  24. I love that little pink kitchen. I have no desire to have a bigger house. I very much want to purge. I just get a cluttered mind with too much stuff.

  25. I love some of those Color Blogs that you've been finding...Sally's colorful little space was a favorite, especially her kitchen because I do have a tiny kitchen's about 8 x 12 or 9 x 11..something like that. But Sally's kitchen is so darn cute I'd feel like I walked into a playhouse not a workstation ! loved it! :)

  26. Believe it or not I have had a lot of experience living in this same way. Our kitchen on the farm was small U shaped. It was part of a larger space that was the living room. We lived simply. I've lived in spaces as small as about 600 square feet. The space we live in now is officially about 2500 square feet. The largest place I've ever lived. It is wonderful when all our family is here and I have to admit I love that part of it.
    We've enjoy our home and knew when we built it, it would be replaced in a few years with a much smaller space. Just need to sell this one. We've been happy here. We were also happy in our small space home on the farm. I'm glad I had the experience of living in all kinds of different places. Gives me a good perspective.

  27. Hi Brenda, The simplified life is so inspiring. I love a slower pace and living smaller would be just fine with me. I so enjoy seeing all the wonderful homes from around the world. When I had my Swedish daughter exchange student for a year, she shared the whys and hows of their smaller living. It was interesting.
    I often say I could live in a Mayberry town and be so happy.

    We woke to ice and snow here in North Texas yesterday with temps in the teens. Today is freezing too.
    Have a great weekend and stay warm.

  28. I've gradually been giving away or donating items I really don't need or use any longer. It truly isn't an easy process but...they are just things. It's hard to describe but having less things brings a sort of freedom, like a weight lifted. I have enjoyed all the decorating for holidays and seasons over the years and now I am enjoying scaling back. I want more time to be outside, read all the books I've bought, and continue on with lots of needlework. I guess it's about resetting priorities as I head into my 60's.

  29. Thanks, Brenda, for this relevant post! With temps below zero and record snow I think 'cabin fever' is getting to me!!!! Your comments today reassured me about why I LOVE living in less than 900 sq. ft---especially when we get our January heating bill! My favorite line today (and I recorded it in my journal is: "If you don't have much, then you don't have much to worry about." I guess I never really looked at a simple life that way but you are SPOT ON!

  30. We've been doing just exactly this (along with no TV) now for 10 years. But it is a topic most Americans seem uncomfortable to talk about, because it is pretty much the opposite of what our consumer culture tells us we need.

    I could go on and on about how wonderful it is. My husband & I are not only closer (because physical space is smaller), but MUCH happier. We built with cash so we have no mortgage, and the cost of living is so low that we live very comfortably on Hubby's S.S. No credit. No loans. Just living simply in a tiny cottage instead of simply living to survive in a McMansion.

    These homes are lovely... I'm off to visit your 'Color My Decor' blog!
    Stay happy & warm!

  31. Well, in all fairness, they have no real choice in being any other way in many cases...the houses and apartments are small and extremely expensive, and they have very little kitchen space, so they have to be selective ( and teeny tiny refrigerators so they have to go to the store/market every day, which would drive me insane) I love the simpler European aesthetic, but much of it is a matter of necessity, not taste.

    I have two friends from Europe and one from England....once they got here and got bigger houses, they started filling it up just like Americans do. I do think they have a better eye for quality, because they're not as inundated with cheap stuff from Target and Home Goods all the other discount stores ( and I shop there all the time, I didn't mean that as a slam!) and since they have so little room, and things are so much more expensive, they don't do the impulse shopping we do. (Although my friend from England says it's harder and harder for her to resist changing out her rooms constantly like we do here, because she has gotten so caught up in Pinterest and there is so much more choice here)

    I absolutely think Americans love to buy buy buy and I think we could all benefit from paring down to basics and only keeping the decorative things we absolutely adore.

  32. Great pictures. I can remember my maternal grandmother's small dwelling. She owned a nice sized house, but she rented the upstairs out and resided in the basement. Some of the pictures reminded me of her lifestyle. Her lower cupboards had the material draped for its doors. You brought great memories to me.

  33. Interesting thoughts. A blogger this morning was talking about how she is taking time to enjoy "enough" and be thankful for it. That she wants to take the time to enjoy the things she has instead of running after the next trend. I liked this. I am not into trends, but I do like change.... Though the same things sit in their places for years because I love them and how they are placed and layered.

    I love to shop, but I find myself being pickier. I think one reason I still have things from my early married years is because I am very selective. I admit I have bought some things for tablescaping, but one set of china that I didn't end up using made its way to a silent auction to benefit the elderly. And because it was cute, they made money on it! I was thrilled! I did a tablescape with it and was going to use it in a giveaway, but then I thought it would be prohibitive, even with four place settings to ship. But it worked out great for the agency! Oh, and I have a small kitchen and rarely watch TV. I had quit watching for three or four years, but we got cable internet and got a small set. I keep it in a cabinet where we store things. I could live with less stuff, but I enjoy the stuff I have and am thankful for it.



  34. Hi Brenda I am Scottish and live in a converted Victorian estate house. It is stone built, lovely views and, indeed, has more space than many modern newly built houses. However, it is nowhere near as spacious as the American houses I see on your blogs. When I see what is termed "cottage" in America, I am amazed at how large the buildings are. It IS a necessity to accommodate to small space living in these crowded isles. While I would love more space, I would not want such HUGE rooms as so many of you Americans have as I like the coziness but I suspect that may definitely be a climate thing!! Scottish weather .... "dreich" (grey and wet), windy, rainy, chilly!! As a nation withstanding the elements for centuries, we have had to huddle together for warmth!! At least we don't need to share space with our animals for warmth as our forefathers did!

  35. Brenda...I love cozy, but I also believe you can make rooms cozy even if they are larger than maybe what you and I have. And for so many of us, even those in Europe, a larger home isn't possible financially, so we better get used to what we have and find ways to save space. I may be getting on my soapbox now, but I think that large homes (and the people who own them) have been getting a bad rap. If people want and can afford a "McMansion", (and how derogatory is that title?)...let them be. If a couple of million dollars dropped in my lap tomorrow, I know I'd be looking for a bigger home on a couple of wooded acres, on a lake, in the mountains with spectacular views!!! :)



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