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simple living

How to Cultivate a Slower and Simpler Life

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps10 Comments
How to Cultivate a Slower and Simpler Life | www.maplealps.com

Start waking up a little earlier

Wake up a little earlier to establish some good morning routines. It will slow down your morning and you will be able to face the day with renewed energy. Starting earlier will give you more time to breathe and brace yourself for the day - and with time for a hot drink as an added bonus! Waking up earlier and facing the day with purpose as opposed to letting it just happen to you will help you take control of the tone you set! Trust me.



Related: Tips for Starting Your Morning Right



Cultivate the love of homemade goodies

Taking time to gift homemade goodies for your family, friends, and neighbours brings back that community feel that I think our society has lost to some extent. Take time to get to know your neighbours and bring them homemade gifts. This can be as simple as a loaf of bread or a jar of homemade granola or jam to let them know you’re thinking of them. Go the extra mile and package it in an attractive manner that will show that you put thought into it. The process of making these goodies in itself is a good way to relax and pour your heart into something for someone else.



Related: An Aspiring Minimalist’s Guide to Gifts



Make time for family and friends

Spend time with your family. With the exception of your spouse, you don’t generally get to choose your family members, so you should cherish them that much more. It doesn’t have to be elaborate - just eating dinner together can make a huge difference in the culture of your family unit. Once in a while, extend your circle and invite some people over to join you and your family. Building relationships around the dinner table is so special.



Related: Gathering with Intention and Simplicity



Consider getting a pet, or two

Having a fur baby to love is a great thing! Having an animal companion to care for and have as company helps you slow down and think about something other than yourself. Dogs are great to walk, and [some] cats are great lap companions. There are also all sorts of pets out there. Pets aren’t for everyone though. If you’re not into pets, or allergic, you can start with a pet rock! I’m mostly kidding.



Take up a slow hobby

Take some time to be creative and pick up a slow hobby. This could be anything from gardening to crocheting. Maybe you want to pick a pen pal or start a card ministry. You could even paint or build model ships - whatever your sweet, simple life loving heart desires!

How to Cultivate a Slower and Simpler Life | www.maplealps.com

Read more

Like with hobbies, stopping to read is a wonderful way to not only slow down, but to learn about the world in the process. Set some time aside to get comfortable with good lighting and a hot drink to accompany your book. By the way, you can find a few of my favorite books here! Try reading all sorts of things and you might even find some new interests!




Related: Fun and Creative Ways to Learn New Things (Without Going Back to School)



Add Houseplants to your Home

House plants are so great. They add life to your living space, help keep your air pure, and reduce stress! Not to mention that they are super pretty and make you feel fancy. Consider finding the perfect house plant for your home!



Related: 6 Reasons to Add Greenery to Your Life



Go For Walks

Taking some time to just go outside and breathe in the fresh air. You don’t have to go for hours at a time - even just 15 to 30 minutes of walking outside will recharge and energize you. For a bonus, bring a friend or family member with you and use that time to talk and bond. Relationship building is always important.



Be Intentional about your Phone Usage

A lot of us are letting our phones rule our lives, instead of using them as tools. Consider making a phone free zone or implementing rules to make your usage more intentional. Start practicing not to rely on your phone as much.



Related: 5 Ways to be Intentional About Your Phone Usage



Learn to Love Tidying

Keeping a neat and tidy space allows you more time to enjoy and slow down rather than trying to keep up with keeping your home clean. Consider adapting more of a minimalist lifestyle and surround yourself with that things that bring you joy.



Related: So You Want to be More Minimalistic



Be Content with What You Have

Surrounding yourself with only the things that bring you joy helps you to be content with those said items. Loving your things helps you care for them! I know it sounds strange, but I challenge you to try it for yourself!



Related: Why I God Rid of a Lot of My “Stuff”

 

How do you practice living a slower and simpler life?


 

So You Want to be More Minimalistic

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Minimalism is something I’ve been working at for a few years now. I feel that I’ve always had some kind of craving to have less and to be surrounded and burdened by less. Even when I was much younger, I enjoyed throwing things out and organizing things, but it got to the point where I would get rid of things, but then accumulate more. It got harder and harder to let go of things. As I’ve mentioned in other posts before, it took going abroad for me to realize that I really don’t need stuff. I was perfectly content and well cared for with only 2 suitcases worth of things, and even then I didn’t use every item. Just over a year ago, I finished reading the life-changing magic of tidying up - and it was truly life-changing (I talked about it here). It got me re-energized to declutter and reclaim a full life - which was ironically not full of things!

It came down to choosing what brought me joy. I’ve had several requests to talk about some minimalist living tips, and so I’m sharing the steps that helped me!

So You Want to be More Minimalistic | www.maplealps.com

 

Envision Your Minimalist Life

Why do you want to live a more minimalistic life? What does your minimalist lifestyle look for you? What do you want to do in your everyday life? Write it down and consider it your “why.” Here are some ideas:

  • I will come home to a tidy home so that I have time to relax after work and pursue creative hobbies.

  • I will enjoy a bubble bath in the middle of the week just because.

  • I won't trip over things on the floor anymore.

  • I won't spend hours each weekend cleaning.

  • I will have a clear mind that is a result of a clear living space.

  • I will not be tied to materialistic things.

Write your list. Remember these things as you go through your next steps:

 

Say Goodbye to Your Unnecessary Things

My ultimate decluttering guide will help you best with this. I will direct you there rather than write it all out again. It’s important to let go of stuff that is just stuff. Keep what really brings you joy. The guide goes through all the areas of your house and just helps you get an idea of what you really should simplify. Find it here.

 

 

Quality over Quantity

Even though we are finished (for now) with school, my husband and I still have this poor student mentality. At the beginning, we would always choose what we perceived to be more affordable, just to find that later it would fall apart, or we just really didn’t like it. Seriously, never buy a bookshelf from Walmart. Haha. In the end, it was cheaper to choose the quality items we enjoyed right off the bat. It eliminated buying multiples as well. Quality will last and is worth the initial higher cost.

 

Choose to keep items that bring you joy!

 

Realize the fragility of Life

I know this sounds extremely morbid, but you will probably die someday. Do you really want to spend your days unhappy and surrounded by things that bring your life no joy? I sure don’t. I also don’t want to leave my junk for my children to clean up. I would rather leave a legacy of time they spent with me rather than the things I had.

 

 

Don’t Try to Do it All At Once

Step-by-step, friends! The decluttering process alone can take up to 6 months. You’ll get there if you keep at your convictions and chip away bit by bit.

 

Be Mindful

Think about the value that each of your curated items brings to you. This goes for everything from the physical things you can touch, to the apps on your phone and the emails you sscribe to. Everything should have a purpose and add to your experience. in some capacity. Of course, there will be things you have to keep that aren't necessarily too exciting, but reduce what you can.

 

Some Other Things to Consider Simplifying:

 
declutter deep clean | www.maplealps.com
 

What are some of the ways you embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle?


 

Will I Be Still?

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

We live in a noisy world.

A few months ago, as I sat at my desk to work, I became aware of the theme from Family Feud playing. I knew that it was Family Feud because I used to watch it with my siblings growing up (an unimportant detail). I realized it couldn’t be coming from our little apartment, since we owned no TV or loudspeakers, and I was home alone. The floor started vibrating from the intense frequencies, and it clicked that it was our downstairs neighbors, who often had the TV volume turned all the way up (or at least it sounded that way).

I relocated to my husband’s empty office, and not seconds after getting myself comfortable in his cushy swivel chair, a car alarm sounded—ringing through the air for a good amount of time before being shut off. A truck then sped out of the neighboring community. I hope whoever it was wasn’t trying to be stealthy because the whole block heard them.

I thought that just maybe, it was now my turn. My turn to have silence. However, people across the way started shouting, and a convenience store truck (I didn’t even know those existed) started driving around wailing, “The Entertainer” out of its built-in speakers. The downstairs neighbors started wrestling elephants, and an exceptionally long train drove by. Judging from the duration of the tones, I’m guessing that every train car had its own horn to toot.

We live in a noisy world - or at least I do.

 

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Kaetlyn Anne

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple Alps8 Comments

Today we continue with Intentionality Spotlight! Similar to Women of Intention, different bloggers are featured in an interview style. Unlike Women of Intention, the focus is more on their blogs themselves, as well as an area of intentionality in their life.

I am so excited to invite Kaetlyn Anne to talk with us today. I won't say too much about her beautiful and inspiring simple living blog since she'll be sharing it, but know that it's great.

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Kaetlyn Anne | www.maplealps.com
 

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, passions and interests?

I am a creator, blogger, and Etsy shop owner! I feel most like myself when I am creating—whether that be painting signs, fixing up old furniture, taking pictures, making videos, or even simply decorating a space in my home. A few of my favorite things in the world include sunshine, fresh flowers, a good cup of coffee, and Jesus.  I’m passionate about simplicity and intentional living and I strive to incorporate that into every aspect of my life!

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Kaetlyn Anne  | www.maplealps.com
 

I love how your blog focuses on bringing simple back in everything from wellness and what we eat to how we approach our everyday items. What made you begin your simple way of living and what made you want to share it with others?

Thank you! I began my journey to simple and natural living at the beginning of 2016. At that point, I had been struggling with depression and anxiety for over 6 years and I was ready to do something about it. I had been on antidepressants for a few months at that time, and while they helped me mentally, my physical body was failing. I knew there had to be some other way to find true health.

My mom raised me in a very health conscious home, so I began to actually apply what she taught me and look more closely to what I put into and onto my body. Slowly I began eating better, throwing out toxic bath and beauty products, incorporating essential oils into my daily life, etc. I began to simplify everything and slowly I began to feel better, and better, and better. Eventually I realized I was no longer struggling with darkness like I used to and it was all because I chose to be intentional about what I bought, what I used, and what I consumed.

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Kaetlyn Anne | www.maplealps.com

I wanted to share this journey and way of life with others because I have seen and felt firsthand how much freedom it can truly bring, in our physical and mental health. Our culture is always going to “have the next big thing” that will make you “happier” or “healthier” or “wealthier” but I believe that those things can only be found by going back. To simple and to natural. I want others to discover the healing and nourishment found in God’s creations, not the world’s.

 

What is one other specific area in your life you find that intentionality is absolutely critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?

I think that being intentional in prayer time and Jesus time is beyond important. I hate to admit that there are many days where I would like to speed through and get on with my day without taking the time to sit in His presence, but whenever I skip that critical time, my soul just feels off!  

If I’m not intentional about this, I can easily find myself opening the Instagram app more than I open my Bible, and that is not how I want to live my life. I have gotten into the habit of not even turning my phone on in the morning until I have had time with Jesus, as well as setting a “curfew” for myself to turn my phone off at night so I can be intentional and let God guide my evenings as well. 

 
Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Kaetlyn Anne | www.maplealps.com
 

If you could give one piece of advice about prayer to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

Find a time of the day that you can fully dedicate to Jesus and stick to it. It may take a long time to develop the habit, but it is well worth it. Find a place in your house where you feel cozy and peaceful, and meet Him there daily. Leave all distractions behind! (That means your phone J) I’m definitely not always perfect with this, but I know God sees and is pleased with our every attempt to get to Him and sit with Him. He’s standing there with open arms every time!

 

Find Kaetlyn on her website or on Instagram


 

Easy Ideas to Live a Slower and Simpler Life

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

The slow life has always fascinated me. I grew up in the city, where almost nothing was slow but was always drawn to a simpler, quieter way of life. I begged my parents early on to find a place in the country. 

Even when you live in a busy city, there are plenty of ways to cultivate a slower and simpler life. Today, I share a few that go deeper than avoiding crowded shopping centers.

Simple Ideas to Live a Slower and Simpler Life | www.maplealps.com

 

 

Start waking up a little earlier

There is nothing like the calm of the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. It's a special peace that isn't found at any other time, and unless you've experienced it, it's hard to understand. But trust me. Nothing will make your day better than a slow morning. Waking up late and rushing creates stress, but setting your alarm earlier will change your day completely. 

 

Cultivate a love for homemade goodies 

Not just consuming them, but also making them! There's something to be said about the process involved in making homemade goodies whether it be [bread], muffins, your own granola, or even something as simple as preparing your own dinner. We live in a world that promotes convenience, and while not bad, there is always a way to make time to slow down and make things yourself. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment, and when you sit down to enjoy your treat, you'll be glad.

 

Make time for family

Living a simple and intentional life is all about priorities. Surrounding yourself with the things you love also includes being around those you love! Make time for family. Set aside some intentional, phone-free hours to just connect with, pray with, and enjoy one another. You will feel refreshed and happy afterwards.

 

Write Letters

Good old-fashioned snail mail is good for the soul - and not just for the person receiving it. In this fast-paced world where a quick text is the norm, slow down to dust off your stationary. Taking time to pen a letter or a card is a great way to let someone know you're thinking of them, and a great slow living activity.

 

Get a pet, or two

I once heard that those with pets live longer. There have been many different studies conducted, and it has been shown that owning a pet makes for a happier life. Why not? I thoroughly enjoy my pet and loved all my pets growing up, so I believe it!

 

Get House Plants

There's something about a houseplant that makes life feel so simple and slower. Don't ask me why! Watering it and taking care of its needs is a nice way to slow down and reflect. Of course, I have a black thumb so sometimes it becomes frustrating for me, but the more I practice, the longer the plant successors live! So far, I find that snake plants are able to resist my plant-killing tendencies.

 

Take up a slow hobby

My personal hobbies are pretty slow. You already know that I love to [crochet] and I often pair it with listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I also love getting out in nature and enjoying it in awe-filled silence. I don't even run with music on! Writing is another hobby that allows me to sit in a quiet room and pound out my thoughts. Get out and try something new! Find something you enjoy doing, and do it - even if you're not the best at it! Practice does make perfect.

 

Go for more walks

Going for walks is the perfect way to slow down. Apart from all the physical health benefits, it's a really great way to clear your head as well. Take along someone for company and enjoy a connecting conversation!

 


What are some of the ways you embrace a more simple life?