Keep It Simple

This world has gotten so complicated that it is hard to keep track of things. We have to own and maintain vehicles, remember when to pay our taxes, determine which of the endless list of tasks need to be done, all on top of figuring out ways to pay our bills. Hell, go into a store these days just to buy a roll of bathroom tissue and you will discover an entire shelf of selections to choose from!

We’re faced with these choices every day. What do we want? Where are we going to get it? How are we going to pay? Which particular brand of this particular product should we buy?

The choices grow even more complicated when you realize that the decisions you make about what to buy, where to buy, and even what to use can contribute to building the fortunes of companies who are not acting in your best interest. When you realize that you are filling the coffers of companies who are using that money to control the government, it is easy to become overwhelmed.

I’m getting low on dog food right now but I’m torn about where to buy it. There are no local businesses in the area that I can turn to because they all died when WalMart moved in. I typically order my pet food from WalMart or Amazon but WalMart is spearheading the replacement of low-wage workers with machines and Amazon pays no taxes and has grown so big that I don’t really trust them any longer.

Until I can come up with something better, I have resolved to keep this process of decision as simple as I can. In the case of the pet food, I have personally seen the damage that WalMart has caused. I watched an old man cry because WalMart deliberately opened a store beside his little grocery when they couldn’t run him out of business from their previous location. I watched the businesses in this town and others I’ve lived in wither and die after they opened their stores. I’ve seen the fear in the factories that produce their stuff. I’ve heard the laughter from the managers as they bragged about their bonuses while the workers in the front cried because their hours were cut, knowing that their hours had been slashed by the laughing monsters in the back. As one explained to me, they only receive their bonuses if they keep their costs below a certain level–and slashing hours is an easy way to do that.

I may not like Amazon’s business practices but between the two, my issue with WalMart is much more personal. While I won’t stop searching for an alternative even to Amazon, at this point I would rather help them than WalMart.

I have resolved to keep things simple in other aspects of my life as well. Instead of worrying about options and choices and price points, I have resolved to go back to the basics where I can. I’ll write more about those individual items as time allows.

For now I am going to order a bag of dog food and move on with my day. I’ve got a book to finish, after all.

How do you keep your choices simple? Please share your stories in the comments below.

It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

5 thoughts on “Keep It Simple”

  1. Hi Annie: I live in a large city with many options and therefore could buy from local stores. I have also bought harder to find items at Chewy, an online pet food and supply company. I don’t know much about Chewy as a company. I guess you could also try making dog food at home from high quality ingredients. Good luck!

  2. I’m in complete agreement about keeping it simple.

    At home, I do the majority of my shopping at Costco, in part because they treat their employees very well (from what I have read and been told). Even though it’s just me at home, I buy fresh organic produce from Costco (as it’s the bulk of my diet) and other items that last a long time (shelf stable almond milk, nuts, toilet paper, detergent).

    Right now, I’m traveling in a camper van in Arizona and shopping mainly at small overpriced local stores. A lot of folks in RVs shop at Walmart stores as they travel. I do try to avoid them most of the time because of their exploitation of employees.

    I keep things simple by buying basic whole food mainly, and cooking from scratch, and using very basic cleaning supplies, (water, soap, vinegar, baking soda.) I try to buy quality durable consumer goods that will last — (clothing, household furnishings and linens.). I look for used items when I need something.

    I don’t watch TV and I don’t see a lot of advertising, so I’m removed from some of the shopping decision fatigue and temptation.

    One thing you learn from living in a camper is how little you really need.

    Thought- provoking post, Annie. Thank you.

    1. I agree with the fact that we don’t need a lot of stuff. Thinking back over the years, I’ve actually been happier when I owned less. I refuse to toss what I’ve collected, however. Why give them more money if I don’t have to? I’ll use this stuff up and go from there!

  3. I too have been happier with less. Now, I have too much, and it weighs on me. Like you, I need to use what I have.

    1. I’ve tried it the one way (tossing the excess) and ended up kicking myself when I had to replace the items I discarded as the ones I kept wore out. I’ve realized that while life may be simpler when you toss that the only one who really benefits is Big Business. The older I get and the more I see, the less I want to give them a single penny.

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