How Acting Out of Necessity Can Simplify Your Life

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Necessity is the mother of invention. I’m sure you’ve heard this age old saying before but perhaps you haven’t realized how acts of necessity can cause us to simplify our lives.  Can you think of  a sticky situation that ended up making life easier for you?  Here are a few common examples:

There’s only half a load’s worth of laundry detergent left in the bottle, but it’s 10 pm and you’ve already filled the washer with water and clothes.  You dump it in and hope for the best.  The clothes are just as clean as usual, so now your laundry detergent stretches twice as far. 

New construction on a major road is adding 20 minutes to your commute.  After a little time looking at a map you find a new route that is 5 minutes shorter than the route you’ve been driving for years.

You wake up late for work and don’t have time for a shower.  You pull your hair back in a clip or ponytail and get compliments on your hairdo.   Now you still take a shower every day but you only wash your hair every other day and it’s just fine.

We all get comfortable with our routines and since we’re creatures of habit we don’t seek to try anything different. If everything’s working out all right for us then why should we?  Let me remind you of one more age old story, paraphrased as I remember it:

A young girl was helping her mother prepare Easter dinner.  As the mother cut off the end of the ham and put it in her pan, the daughter asked why.  The mother thought about it and replied “I don’t know, I guess because that’s the way my mother taught me to do it”  The girl again asked why it was necessary, so the woman called her mother and posed the same question.  She of course, received the same answer – that it was the way her mother had taught her to prepare a ham. Not wanting to leave her daughter’s question unanswered, the woman called her grandmother.  The grandmother responded with a laugh “Honey, my pan was too short for my ham!”

How habitual is your life?  Do you buy things because that’s what you’ve always bought?  Do you have methods for doing things but aren’t sure what purpose they serve?

In the past couple of years while staying at home full time, I’ve found many habits that simply weren’t necessary. I’ve started buying less expensive products that work just as good or better than their more expensive competitors. I’ve been able to cut out buying some products all together and now use ones that can serve multiple purposes – or make my own. We rehang clothing for another use if it’s only been worn a few hours and isn’t truly dirty.  Not only do we save time and stress, but we save money by buying less and using fewer expendable resources.

I encourage you to examine your life and see what ways you may be able to move out of your comfort zone of habit.  Where can you apply the principle of “making do“? Who knows, you could even end up in a more comfortable place than when you started- simplifying life tends to do that 😉


  1. great post!

  2. This is so true!

    When I was first married I ironed all of my husband’s clothes. He got frustrated with me & told me I was wasting my time. So, I started taking them out of the dryer just when they were dry – maybe the collar is a little damp – hang them up & most don’t need to be ironed. He wears business clothes to work & he looks great.

    I also stopped buying anything that can’t go in my dishwasher or washing machine. If it has to be hand washed I don’t keep it even if it’s free (except for a few family heirloom dishes).

    I think we can add a lot of stress/work that really isn’t needed. Great post!

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