I am re-learning that Jesus to me is Still. Time is lost when you spend time with Him. He brings quiet, peace, contentment and just ‘still.’ He stills the storms, the waves, the rush, the competition, the judgement. I want to get to know this more.
Living simply looks different for different people. What does living simply look like for you?
Living simply to me is being intentional about my choices, rather than following every trend. I know that I will never feel like I have enough if I keep chasing the next best thing. For the first time this year I have felt more content than I have ever felt. I have dedicated the next 12 months to pausing and slowing down more than I ever have and to actually feel BORED.
My goal is to achieve ‘peace’ and ‘still’. I catch myself feeling guilty about this because it seems so counter cultural to not be making huge changes or influencing others, and then I pause to consider where that guilt comes from.
Even after 8 years of listening and reading to minimalism advice, I am still on a journey of learning that it’s ok to have less, to be less celebrated in the eyes of the world and to do less.
Do you have a specific interest that you like to focus on in the area of simple living?
My focus is contentment and reducing my anxiety. I think my motivation to keep going with a simpler lifestyle is that I have experienced huge benefits to having less to maintain and having more time with my children. I know that I wouldn’t be able to home school my children if my home was as cluttered as it used to be, and I remember often feeling like I was drowning in responsibility and “chores” and the expectation to better myself.
Living more simply, gives me space physically to have time to think, read, create, grow, nurture my home and be present. I still catch myself feeling overwhelmed, but I am learning to stop and be grateful and breathe through those moments. We have also moved interstate within the 8 years of decluttering and it helps a lot to own much less when moving often.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey toward living a simple life. Was there a catalyst that led you to follow this path?
The catalyst began after having my son, who was born with a cleft lip and palate. Our lives were a series of 11-hour drives to Brisbane Children’s hospital for his fortnightly appointments; a baby with feeding issues and silent reflux, plus three other children under four years old in tow on these drives was not very enjoyable. There was not much time to think with lots of little ones, and when I did, I was usually worried.
During this time, I realised our accumulated clutter of our belongings was suffocating me along with the pressures of life, which was the beginning of my decluttering journey. I was addicted to freeing the visual clutter. The people at the local opshop asked me every carload if I was moving to a new house!
While life felt out of control I could control how many towels and bedsheets we owned! That’s where I started, in the linen cupboard. It seemed like the least daunting space, and I continued from there.
What do you find challenging about trying to live simply?
I have a hard time not buying books! I love what they look like on my shelf after I have read them, I love the smell of them, their covers, the dreams they hold of knowledge and even if they haven’t been read, the hope of reading them.
I think I often also feel guilty for not making more eco-conscious choices, but I think living simply has the natural benefit of consuming less, and hopefully, making better environmental choices will continue for our family.
What are some of the benefits of this way of life for you?
I feel pleased that I can tidy my whole house in an hour and have a deep clean in a few hours. I love that I feel joy when I come home to our space.
I love that I have time for my kids to wander with them and show them interesting things in our garden and that I can have the energy most days to make our own meals.
I love that when I go shopping, I can see pretty things, but I don’t have the urge to bring them all home all the time. I love that my brain is learning that when I feel sad, I don’t have to buy something new to make myself happy, I can go out for a walk, or make an artwork, or make a cup of tea or coffee and watch a storm or be outside in the fresh air with my pets.
I am learning that I can be creative rather than consume. I have learnt that everything you buy takes time to care for, even my beautiful pot plants all need extra love weekly so realising this helps me not buy too many things I appreciate.
What simple pleasures bring you joy and help you to slow down?
My mum taught me a variety of handicrafts and encouraged my creativity as a child. I never feel like I don’t have something to do as an adult, though I do usually feel like I have to have a tidy house before I can begin the “fun” stuff. I get a lot of joy organising the things we own.
We probably could still live with a lot less, but I have found a happy balance and as the children get older, I want them to be responsible for their things, and I enjoy bringing order to our spaces together.
I love when I am mid-way through a creative project that I have been delaying and then I realise I am in utter love with the process and even if the world feels chaotic around me, I am loving being with my paints and brush, or knitting, or crafting.
I love the ritual of my morning cup of coffee and watching QLD storms come over in the evening. I watch in awe and am invigorated by their energy and the nature around me here.
I feel grateful I have made the time in my life to enjoy these things.
Are there any podcasts, books, documentaries or websites that you have found helpful?
Josh and Ryan from The Minimalist’s were the main inspiration for me and have been over the years, even though I need them less now. My friend took me to see them live in Adelaide and the fact that they were so “normal” and down to earth gave me a lot of comfort. I have read a lot of decluttering and simplifying books over the years and still love reading them, even though I don’t often learn anything new anymore from them. They keep me focused and confirm my values. I loved Rhonda Hetzel’s Down to Earth because she is Australian, speaking to our way of life here.
Books I own and love:
What is something new that you have done or learnt about in the last year?
I am re-learning that Jesus to me is Still. Time is lost when you spend time with Him. He brings quiet, peace, contentment and just ‘still.’ He stills the storms, the waves, the rush, the competition, the judgement. I want to get to know this more, and I feel like allowing this year to be gentler, I will get to experience Jesus more like this in my life.
I don’t feel like our world is like this, even in Church communities I feel like there are expectations to keep the machine going - the cogs going. There is truth to that too, but as my Father-in-law preached many years ago, perhaps the first sermon I heard him preach, there is a season for everything, like Ephesians says, a season to be busy, as a season for quiet, a season to grow, a season to cultivate, when we allow time to be with Him, maybe that’s when we can recharge and have the energy to pour more into others and enriching life?
For now, I am seeking stillness.
What would you like to learn about or do in the future?
I love learning about anything I can, because I am constantly looking for things to spark my children’s curiosity with our schooling! I honestly think I get more joy and excitement from learning than they do, but I am hoping it’s contagious and they fall in love with it in their lives as much as I love it.
I hope I never ever stop wanting to be curious about the world around me. That is something I want to pass on to my children.
If money or time were no option what would you like to do?
Although I have studied Visual Arts at University, majoring in Textile art and minoring in drawing, and a diploma of Graphic Design, there is an illustration course I would love to do eventually as well, just to keep developing my skills and passion.
I would also like to travel around Australia with my husband and children, but I am not in a rush to do that as I love being home too much. I think we would love it as a family though. We do enjoy each other’s company and experiencing our gorgeous landscape together would bring me joy.
If people would like to learn more about you and what you do, how can people follow you online or get in contact with you?
I have an Instagram account where my artwork is displayed and the occasional slow living post is made, but I currently don’t have a huge online presence. You can find me on Instagram at annaspilsburydesign. I have become more private over the years and have started a few blogs here and there but I am currently enjoying being less online and more in my garden.
Hello! My name is Margy. I enjoy living simply, I am trying to slow down and I am learning how to be still. I would love you to join me on this exciting adventure.