Posted by: angiefm | October 9, 2009

Simplifying Life

There is something old-fashion and romantic about leading a simple life.  Barbara G, the person who helped me get started on the whole cloth-diapering thing, sent me this blog address recently: http://down—to— and I have spent HOURS on it already! 

How does harvesting your own homegrown tomatoes for a pasta dish for dinner, or waking to feed the chickens in your backyard sound?  Okay … in Singapore?  Like get real right?  😀

But … Baking bread, knitting dishcloths, sewing clothes, cutting back and learning to live on a single income, making your own Christmas gifts, eating simply and healthily … all make me feel so warm and fuzzy.  🙂

I have been thinking about this a lot recently.  How to live life simply.  Those of you who know us know that we aren’t very complicated people in the first place.  🙂  We are very much home-bodies.  We spend our weekends at home enjoying the children, hang out at the pool, walk to Downtown East for bubble tea.  During the week we get the occasional visitor for tea.  (We put this down under “socialisation” in our homeschool curriculum :D)

We eat out once a week (usually at a Japanese restaurant), watch the occasional movie (okay, we’ve been doing it WAY MORE since Cathay decided to open a movie theatre 500 metres from our home.  Hey we were here first!), we shop at an NTUC with a very limited range of products (ie, not NTUC Finest), we are not habitual shoppers (though I do go crazy with online shopping every now and then), our children only go out for two classes a week (badminton and gym) and have only one at home (Chinese), we don’t have expensive hobbies (notice I’m deliberately ignoring the book-buying one).

But I would like to live even simpler. 

Any tips?  What decisions have you or your family made to simplify your life?  Leave me your comments!  I would love to learn from what others are doing.

Oh … and I do like to sew.  I just can’t seem to find time to do it these days.  😦 I made the girls’ dresses for Chinese New Year last year.  🙂




  1. I think it helps to read about life in other countries…especially poorer ones…and be reminded how little we really actually NEED to survive and even survive. You might find this interesting: A refreshing perspective on Singapore by a Philippino man who lived here for a year (and attended our church).

  2. “Baking bread, knitting dishcloths, sewing clothes…” Er…these do not really simplify our lives 🙂 It is much simpler to just grab them off the racks I say! Lol!

    • Too funny! I guess what I was trying to say was that if you simplify life, you will have more time for meaningful pursuits like … baking bread, knitting dishcloths, sewing clothes. That’s if you consider those meaningful. 🙂 My mother doesn’t spend hours in front of the computer like I do and she has loads of time to potter around the house, cook for friends and her children’s friends. *wink*, *nudge*

  3. Serene is right in a way..doing all those things don’t really “simplify” our lives! 🙂

    But I see it more as a way of getting back to the days when families were more self-sufficient. And not reliant on having to purchase everything. Also, it’s re-learning lost skills that were considered basic to life – like cooking/baking, making your own clothes.

    As for growing your own tomatoes – you practically have a year-round greenhouse – lucky people! (There is a upside to Singapore’s climate!) You should really look into getting some seeds – there are tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. that can be grown in patio pots. Herbs would be another easy thing to grow. There is a sense of satisfaction from eating your own produce.

    btw – just to let you know i’m not a creepy lurker 🙂 – I’m originally from Singapore – moved to Canada with my family when I was 12, married my highschool sweetheart who moved to Canada from s’pore when he was 5. We have 5 children, homeschooled since my oldest was in kindergarten. We’ve just moved into the “countryside” in the hopes of “simplifying” our lives! Can you say city mice in the country???!

    But there’s lots you can still do in the city – while we were looking for our country home – we started to “simplify” (it helps to get the children involved, otherwise it’s just another task on top of the million & one things mum has to do – I’m quite sure your oldest would be able to handle a lot of these tasks – call it home ec):

    -Bake bread (you can count on adding a few pounds – freshly baked bread doesn’t last long in our house) We do 5-6 loaves at a time. You can make rolls & baguettes out of the dough too.

    -Growing vegetables (you could also do canning – you’d have tomatoes growing like crazy!)

    -sewing/knitting -I’m really hoping to get cracking on teaching my 9 yr old to sew – I have a friend who’s 11 yr old has been sewing since she was 7. She (the daughter) makes her own clothing & her siblings’ clothing, even sews clothes for her dolls!

    great work on the girls’ dresses by the way!

    so that’s what we’re doing right now – and hopefully once we’re settled in a little more, we’ll be plotting out a larger garden plot and maybe getting some chickens for eggs next year…maybe. 🙂

    • Thanks for dropping in and leaving this fabulous comment! I am certainly inspired. We are downsizing MAJORLY next year. Moving to a much smaller apartment which we bought when we were a family of 5 but will be moving into as a family of 6 *shudder*. That’s why the philosophizing about simplifying. Will mull over this some more as we prepare to move in about 4-ish months! YIKES!

  4. Strangely I think I have been going that way but its more because I simply detest clutter. I love buying stuff but quickly find that its becomes a white elephant or is not properly used (I remember you comment earlier about how we should spend more time enjoying the things we DO have than buying more.. so true… for example, even our digital camera which could be used to print photos for projects and has so many functions we could play with but it lies unused more of the time :-()
    So as a family we just aim to try to serve others. Weekends spend in church on children’s ministry, teaching, visiting or cooking at home and inviting relatives or friends for a meal (some of whom rarely have a home cooked meal) are things we aim to do and hey presto! Life is busy, fun and meaningful. We don’t go to the mall, so we don’t buy stuff and thus.. at least to me, when there’s no clutter at home, things are simple and clean enough for me.

    For that matter, if by simple, we mean predictable, many Singaporeans live simple lives too *grin* – work hard, earn money to buy more things, have more holidays and so called enjoy the good life, children go through a predictable cycle of school, child care, enrichment classes, TV and internet. That’s not complicated.. but its also not what i want for my family.

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