Living More With Less…


This weekend I read the book “Living More With Less” by Doris Janzen Longacre. It was great! If you haven’t read it, I completely recommend it. Now, it’s written from a Mennonite perspective but as a non-Mennonite, I can tell you it explained things really well and simply and really inspired me to continue the changes I had already made to live with less and to do some new things. Here’s some of the principles of the book:

  1. Use less oil. I was reminded with one story of “No-Heat Sundays” at Pattenburg UMC where I grew up. Unlike in the book, ours was more of an unintentional one-a-year heater’s broken kind of thing. We would implement the phone chain to tell everyone to show up with gloves and hats and scarves and thick jackets, and we would huddle together in the church basement to have service. They were my favorite Sundays! (Oh, and by the way, I still haven’t turned on the heat in my house, and it’s 65 degrees in here!)
  2. Eat locally and responsibly. I am recommitting to eating real, local food. I had gotten a bit lazy, but I cooked up some butternut squash and chestnuts on Thursday night and went to the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market this morning. Back on track!
  3. Use your car less. I’ve decided that I want to start riding my bike to work. I actually would like to commit to not using my car at all next week. I think I can do it!
  4. Don’t buy what you don’t need and give away what you don’t need. I’m seriously thinking of either having a yard sale (less likely) or packing up some stuff and bringing it over to a local second-hand store. I learned in the book that if everyone in the world lived like people in the U.S., we would need 5.8 earths to support us.
  5. Use less energy. Well, already not using the heat, so that’s good! One thing I have gotten lazy about is air-drying my clothes. I want to get back to that! I’m also considering turning down the temperature on my hot water heater. If we weren’t so much in debt right now, I would get the rest of the windows in our house done and insulate the attic. Maybe next year…
  6. Don’t buy what you can make. I’m going to try to make my own all-purpose cleaner. They have a recipe in the book and it looks pretty easy. Woot!
  7. Spend more face-to-face quality time with people. I’ve decided that I’m going to have a Christmas craft-making party, so we can make gifts instead of buying them. Also, next summer I want to have a canning party, so people can teach me and others how to can veggies and fruits!
  8. Spend less time with technology. I want to work on spending more time reading, writing, cooking, and playing music.
  9. Keep doing what’s right. I’ve already started doing a lot of things: composting, making my own laundry and bar soap, gardening, going to the Farmer’s Market and eating locally, keeping the heat/AC low, saving plastic bags, and cooking from scratch.
  10. Connect with God. I want to spend more time reading my Bible and praying. If I spent as much time with God as I do online, I would be much happier!

2 thoughts on “Living More With Less…

  1. I am always inspired by those kinds of books, a bit intimidated as well.
    One caveat. I think Connect with God needs to be first as well as last. Since we children of the fall are forever trying to earn our way into grace, we need the balance that comes from the God connection.
    Thanks for reminding us to be good stewards.

    • Yes, I wasn’t sure whether to put it first or last. Either way, it was the most important thing in my mind. I figured putting it last would stick more in people’s brains. The first will be last and the last will be first. 🙂

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