Z is for Zero: A-Z of Simple Living

Z is for Zero: A-Z of Simple Living

This January, we’re taking an in-depth look at the why and how of simplicity with the A-Z of Simple Living. If you want to make 2015 the year you create a simpler, slower life, why not join us?


Zero. We equate it with nought, nothing, emptiness.

But in the final installment of the A-Z of Simple Living series (we made it!) zero has two other, far more positive implications.

First, Zero Impact

First, we want to leave zero impact on those who come after us (or as close as possible to it). We want to minimise the burden for our kids, our grandkids and their grandkids. Simplicity is many things to many people. But one of the common factors in simplifying is our desire to not leave the earth worse than we found it.

Yes, that definitely includes environmental impact, but it doesn’t stop there.

We can ensure, through creating a simpler life, that our zero impact stretches out to include:

  • Debt – we do not want to keep spending more than we earn – both as individuals and countries. It’s not sustainable and it’s not fair to expect those who come after us to pay for our lack of foresight.
  • Stuff – our legacy reaches far beyond the values and memories we leave behind. It includes the house full of stuff, the storage unit, the clutter, the crap, the heirlooms and the keepsakes. Do we want our legacy to include our loved ones sifting through our belongings for weeks after we’re gone?
  • Self-worth – if we spend our days disengaged from family and friends, what does that say to them? It tells them they aren’t as important as our smartphone/email/Twitter/more important people. If we really engage – or, at the risk of sounding cliched, be present – in our interactions with people, we will leave them feeling important. That they matter.
  • Environment – excess consumption, mindless buying, keeping up with the Joneses and buying food that has travelled thousands of kilometres to get to your kitchen – these all add up to impact greatly on our environment. Some view simplifying as having the world at their fingertips by way of streamlining, but I disagree.

These four areas of life sum up so much of what simple living is about. Living sustainably, living simply, living mindfully and living responsibly.

Second, Zero In on What Matters

Creating a life of simplicity is complicated. This we know.

But what we need to do, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the task of simplifying life, is zero in on what’s important.

Find your why, and keep it at the forefront of your mind as you work through life. Remember, simplifying is a step-by-step process. But if you know what is important from the beginning, then you can make your choices based on those priorities.

Ask yourself to list the following things in order of importance:

  • friends
  • partner/spouse
  • family
  • spirituality
  • health
  • work
  • leisure

Add to the list any other priorities you may have, and use these – along with the idea of zero impact – to guide you through the process of simplifying.

There’s almost as much head-work involved as physical work, but as someone who is finally starting to reap the benefits of a simpler life, I can tell you it is absolutely worthwhile.

It’s one of the biggest and best changes I’ve made to my life.


Well, that’s it. The final instalment of the A-Z of Simple Living. I hope you enjoyed it! If you missed any of the posts, you can find all of them here.

Regular posts will begin again shortly, as I’m now back from a restful holiday with my family. Really looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings each of us, on the road to a simpler, slower life.



10 Responses to Z is for Zero: A-Z of Simple Living

  1. I really liked this article. What an awesome idea for “Z”! I just stumbled upon your site and I can’t wait to see what you put for the other 25 letters.

    Thank you,

  2. Hi Brooke

    Your page has become my lifeline literally!! I’ve just moved to a larger house. We moved sooner than I expected and therefore I’ve ended up bringing my clutter with me. You have really motivated me to have the life I want and need which is to spend time with my hubby and children. I’m really enjoying clear table tops and so far have decluttered quite a bit… still have a large amount of stuff to go.

    Before I felt that I would lose who I was if I didn’t have my stuff, I can see now that it was just holding me back. It took ages to tidy the living room, now it’s a minute!

    I clearly see how my clutter evolved when I am in my parents home! Again, thank you Brooke x

  3. Found you through Becoming Minimalist. Love your writing! I also love that you mention the Joneses. The funny thing is the Joneses are BROKE!

  4. I’ve looked forward to these posts everyday–they have been wonderful and have really helped me focus on what’s most important. I’ll probably be referring back to these from time to time as I continue to read the blog. Welcome back from vacation!

  5. Having cleaned out my parents’ house after they died, what you said about the legacy of stuff really resonated with me. I so don’t want my nieces and nephews, or whoever will be given the task, looking at a bunch of useless crap and wondering what on earth I was thinking. Or feeling sad that I couldn’t cope or….

    Lovely post! Thank you!

  6. I just read through this whole series and love it! I just started a more intentional year of minimal living and your January post series really hit on the big and little components of a more simple life, and how it isn’t always the material clutter that creates chaos. Thanks for the inspiration as I start my own process!

Leave a reply