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Our Simple Living Story

lorileesquare (1 of 1)My name is Lorilee Lippincott

Welcome to Loving Simple Living! I live with an amazingly patient husband and two kids… who are teaching me about patienceI have been decluttering and creating a simple life.  It has brought me to desiring simple religion, home schooling my kids, selling most of our stuff (this was a family thing, I didn’t do it behind anyone’s back), and moving into a small apartment.

Most recently, in the spring of 2013 we sold our remaining belongings and moved the family to China to explore culture, and learn Mandarin.

Being authentic in life is something I am learning and trying to practice on my blog.  It is so easy for me to hide behind fear, and what I want other people to think of me, but I don’t want that to be my life. I struggle, but am excited about learning.   I hope in reading that you can be encouraged to let your true self show as well.

Here is a bit more info on us:

  • I am 34 years old and a natural red head
  • My hubby is big and baldSimple Living Family Vacations
  • We are both first children (the worst possible birth order marriage pairing, so I have heard)
  • I have lived in 3 provinces, 3 states and 4 countries (Canada, USA, Papua New Guinea, and now China).
  • In the past few years both our type A, left brain personalities have been exploring a nerdy and artsy side. I have been writing, but check out my husbands art photography!  I think he is pretty amazing.
  • I played piccolo in high school because it was loud, but I was super shy and hardly talked to anyone
  • We have never been ‘kid people’…. so parenting has been a rewarding learning process
  • Our dream is travel.  As a family we have been to all the US states as a family except for 12, 2 provinces in Canada, China, Taiwan and Thailand.
  • When we were traveling in North America we traveled in a Prius with a tent.  We also cooked most of our food so we could stretch our travel dollars.
  • We have done all kinds of work and are both entrepreneurs at heart.  We have remodeled 6 houses, ran a construction company, photography company, property management company, writing company, and web based bundle event.  We also have been English teachers and now are working at in web marketing (me) and photography/video (my hubby).
  • I have a BA in International Studies with an emphasis in management.Taiwan - Simple Family Travels
  • Lily is our oldest ( 10 ) and loves everything princess.  She is also an author.  Check out Lily Lippincott on Amazon 🙂
  • Ian is our boy ( 7 ) and is teaching me that raising a boy is much harder and scarier than raising a princess.
  • I don’t like movies…. I get scared and emotionally wrapped in up them too easy and it is exhausting.
  • We don’t own a TV (in the US or overseas)
  • Favorite color is a warm olive green.
  • I can hike all day but can’t jog for anything…. and I am learning to accept that.
  • I love dark chocolate, fancy olives, and decaf coffee.
  • I love you!  I do love blogging, but it is much more fun if people are reading.  If you have an questions or have a post idea feel free to send it to me.

This blog seems to be a bit all over the place, but I think it all goes together.  In the past I have talked about minimalism or simple living, charities, parenting, spirituality, intentional living, and a bit of vegan cooking and home schooling.  I think it all fits under the banner of simple intentional living in the home.

Currently, I am posting when I get a chance and not on a set posting schedule.

For our complete story check out the My Simple Living blog posts and Simple Living Travel

(Here is where we are now and at the bottom is written when we started simplifying)

Taiwan - Simple Living TravelApril 2014 – A Cute Little Apartment in Beijing

I love that this blog has recorded much of the last 3+ years.   I look down on where I started, in December of 2010, and it seems so far off.  Back then we were living pretty ‘normal’.  … now we are on the other side of the world (China), own almost nothing (think what you can travel on a plane with… not what most 4 member families in the suburbs would own), and are doing what we LOVE for a living.

We went from owning a 2000 square foot house that was full of things to living out of a few suitcases.  We went from running our own construction company to volunteering full time for a non-profit we believe in.  I went from not being sure how to educate our kids to loving homeschooling and publishing 2 books about how to do it.  I went from being stressed and unsure of my salvation and place on earth to knowing I am loved and accepted by God and understanding that knowing this is enough.

Through these pages all these changes are documented.  My blog and writing helped me process through all of these.

But I know there is more.  Life is a wild ride and God is always teaching those who want to be taught.  I pray for more of Him, more of His changing power in my life, more understanding of who He is and who I am in Him.

If I can say anything from what I have learned over the past few years it is this – Live your own life!  Don’t let anything get in the way – fear, insecurities, expectations, doubt, habits, regrets, or anything else.  Don’t live my life. Don’t live any one else’s life you admire. Take time to figure out who you are and what makes you tick – what makes you happy and what you can give to the world.

If money, material things, schedule, negative emotions, Facebook, or anything else is in the way – move it out of the way.  It is so worth it.

There are lots of great things in life but most of us can’t have them all.  We need to choose which ones are the most important to us at each phase in our life.  Our family wanted more time and more money to travel, homeschool the kids, and work on personal growth.  We couldn’t do that in 2010.  We didn’t hit the lottery or have answers dropped from the sky but we did decide that having a house and a whole lot of extras wasn’t what was most important to us.  Seriously cutting down on our living expenses allowed us to make huge changes and has transformed … pretty much everything in our life.  

That is what this blog is about at the very core.  Don’t worry about simplifying anything unless you have something that is getting in the way of what you want your life to look like.

I hope the things I have learned and written about on these pages can help you, it is likely that many of the things that were getting in my way might be getting in your way too.

Remove the ‘junk’ that is standing between you and living the full life you were made for.  You won’t regret it 🙂

Simple Living China - BeijingMarch 2013 – 2 Suitcases, 4 carry-ons, a few backpacks, 2 kids and a long plane ride.

About a month ago we started another adventure.  I am not sure I can call it a simple living adventure… because moving to China is not simple but it is an adventure made possible by our simple living and intentional choices.

When we started simplifying several years ago we wanted to travel more as a family.  It was always in the plan to travel internationally, but finances and time didn’t allow for it for several years.

Now we are here.  We sold, or donated, almost all our belongings and are living in a furnished apartment in northern China.  We have been here about a month and as I sit here on my bed typing after lunch it doesn’t feel that crazy or strange to be here at all.   Both my husband and I teach part time to fund our life here but we still have lots of opportunity to explore and learn about the culture .   The town we are in is small (by China’s standards) and there are very few foreigners here.  Nothing about the place is touristy and we have no choice but to work on language learning if we want to survive.

Before we left we often got the ‘Why’ question.  Because it has always been something we have wanted to do I wasn’t quite sure how to answer it.  But here are some reasons why we are now in China:

  1. I think culture and people are very interesting.  I want to learn more about different people and I want my kids to learn that, even though somethings are very different, people are still very much the same.
  2. Language learning is a huge challenge for me.  I am not good at it, but it is fun to work on.  I want my kids to learn Chinese because: 1)It is such an important business language. 2)Learning a language helps exercise the brain in different ways. 3)I want them to learn how to learn a language so they can use the knowledge on other languages in the future.
  3. As Americans we often hear about other people and other countries, both good and bad.  I want to see for myself what other places are like instead of having other people tell me what to think and believe.
  4. Both my husband and I were wanting to try a new career challenge.  Teaching English has been very different for both of us and was something we always wanted to try.
  5. Everyone says that Chinese food in the US isn’t like the Chinese food in China so we had to come try it out for ourselves 🙂  They were right, it is different.

Lily with sunflowers - HomeschoolingAug 2012-Tiny apartment with very little stuff and happy with it

It has been almost 2 years since I started to blog.  Almost a year since I tried to start doing it seriously.  Welcome 🙂

About 18 months ago we decided to go from being a normal family with a normal amount of stuff in about a 2000 square foot (probably fairly normal amount of space) house to being a family of minimalists.  As I write this 18 months later it has been an 18 month process.  When I update this page again we will probably still be on a minimalist journey.  Being a minimalist isn’t a destination and because we (as a family and individuals) are always changing, minimalism will always be different for us.

Where we are now is living in a 1 bedroom apartment as cheaply as possibly so we can work on building a writing and photography business and have something left over to travel.  A 1 bedroom apartment would be small for a family of 4, but we have very few things and it all seems to fit just fine.  Check out what we own here and how it works here.

I will tell you that when we started on this journey 18 months ago I had no idea we would go this far.  I just wanted to cut down on stuff and space a bit… but it got addicting and we are loving it.

We have learned, minimalist or not:

  • the house can always get messy
  • kids still get board and fight
  • cleaning is a pain even if there is only a few rooms
  • we still probably have more than we need

Thanks for reading 🙂

Kids and the moving truckWhere We Started – Dec 2010

I feel like a rat, stuck in a race. The rat race metaphor is pretty realistic. I feel like I don’t know who I really am, I don’t have time to figure it out. I run out of habit, fear, peer pressure and many more reasons but it is the same as running on a wheel. On a wheel I never get anywhere. If I run faster the wheel just goes faster, if I try to slow down the wheel keeps going and I end up falling.

Sounds depressing, but I am not depressed. It is possible to just run all my life, but I keep reading and dreaming about something different. Living intentionally, they way I want to. I dream of knowing myself, my God, my family and my friends better. I dream of doing things because I want to instead of everything society makes priority. I dream of enjoying life instead of always living in the future or the past.

My personality is exactly opposite. I did the test off of the ‘Discover Your Strengths’ book several years ago and it described my personality the best. I am a futurist (or some similar description) that is always planning for the future. My next highest was an maximizer (or something close) that always l look at everything work, family, leisure, etc and try and make it better, or more efficient. Probably the best combination for growing business and climbing a ladder, but to what end? So instead I turn those same traits inward and try and figure out how I am maximize my life. With only one life, and no idea when it might end I want to make the most of it and really enjoy what I am given.

I want to start and do this blog to record and help focus me. I am 30, everything starts slowing down and going down from here J . I am married to a perfect man and have 2 darling and energetic children. We own a nice house in a great area. We run 3-5 different businesses (depending on how you define and break them down) and home school. I feel we have filled our life with what we want but we have over filled it.

So what am I doing about it? In the last month I have read ‘The 4 Hour Work Week” and “The 80/20 Principle”. Basically from both of them it says that lots of what we do, and have is not what gives us the most benefit and most enjoyment. Only a small amount of our work and stuff give us most of our benefit and enjoyment.

So taking this to my life I want to apply it to these areas
My home-I need to seriously cut down on my stuff.  My goal this winter is to trim down at least half (of not more of my stuff).  We have just under 2000 sq ft in our house now and it isn’t full but I really don’t think we need all the space or stuff.  Most of it I don’t really like anyways it just needs to fill the space.

 My family and friends-They want time, respect, and love from me more than stuff.  It is lots harder to give focus than cards or gifts.  I am working on it (without totally neglecting the former… don’t’ worry)

My God-True religion is Love.  God loves people, people need to focus on that and learn to love God back much more than they need fancy books, plans, or church programs.

My health-Health, I believe for the most part is simple as well. It is clearly accepted that most illness is caused by lifestyle.  I think it comes down to fresh air, sunlight and eating foods God would recognise.  (which rules out most of our foods… this isn’t all the time, but more of the time will create more health… just saying).  You can go about it as a evolutionist and eat what a hunter gatherer would eat and it would still rule out most of what we eat and have it much more simple.

My work-This by far is my hardest part.  I am working on figuring out what makes the biggest difference but both me and my husband still spend to much time working.  Probably the problem with self-employment.  We are also trying to figure out ways of working at home or from other locations, so we are working on several different work projects… still working on simplifying this area….


  1. Wow. You sound like 2+ years ago, you were at where I am now! I would love to pick your brain about how/what has happened between then and now to see what I could learn! 🙂

    • would love to help! Good to meet you!

  2. Gail Gail

    I live 1/2 way between Richmond & Williamsburg, Va; my county is home of Mrs Washington & Mrs Tyler, only county with 2 First Ladies. On your trip east, if you’re near this area, please stop by for lunch or to refresh.

  3. Keisha Keisha

    I just came here from your guest appearance on Simplicity in Action, and as someone just starting the journey from ‘too much’ to ‘just right’, I am glad to see you sharing your thoughts here.

    I also just had to share that you are the first person I have ever seen that also can’t jog. I can hike all day, walk, swim, etc, but the moment I start to run or jog, its done. I didn’t realize I wasn’t just crazy. 🙂

  4. Sarah Merrill Sarah Merrill

    Hi Lorilee! I’ve finally had a chance to check out your blog and it’s truly wonderful. Getting lots of great tips. Now just need to get the husband on board. He tends to want to keep ALL of his books and music (vinyl, cds, all of it)which take up alot of space. So impressed that you are in China. You should go to India next 🙂 Say hi to cousin Bryon for me!

    • I will say ‘hi’ to Bryon 🙂 We would love to see India too someday!

      • Dominic Dominic

        I would second that. If you visit India, you will really know what Simple Living is. I am originally from India, migrated 35 years ago to the US. But whenever I visit India, I get a real jolt of simplicity.
        Take care

  5. Natty Natty

    Hi Lorilee
    I came across your website while looking for information on ‘fighting/avoiding/resisting consumerism’. The more I read, the more I like it. Your story is so similar to ours, except that we are in the infancy of our lifestyle changes. My husband and I are moving to China, Zhangjiagang in August 2013. We are careful with our money so that we can travel and pursue our hobbies. We still own too much stuff which is mostly in storage in the UK (we are living in Thailand for 3 months right now), but we hope to reduce this in June July when we are back in Europe before packing up for China.
    However, we have out that we are expecting our first baby due in October, which is fantastic, although a little scary to deliver in China. Neither of us speak a word of mandarin (yet!).

    My question is, at the moment, friends and family are very excited about our baby, many don’t realise or understand that we want to keep our belongings to a minimum and live a simple life (as you know, our suitcases will have limited space) and they have started to buy for the little one, mainly clothes, soft toys and the likes for a new born. Seeing how many families (grand-parents especially) cover their relatives’ children with presents at any occasions, how do you get the message across that it isn’t something we wish for (at all)? We don’t want to upset them, but we are unsure on how to proceed?

    we have tried to explain how we are limited for space but we always get the following answer ‘but it’s a tiny jacket or a tiny toy…it will fit in the corner of a suitcase’. We haven’t yet explained our idea of a simple life, we are still trying to figure that one out ourselves.

    Do you have any advice on that particular subject? Or anybody else reading this post?
    Thank you so much and maybe we”ll bump into each other somewhere in China 😉
    Kind regards

    • Natty, Excited for you coming to China! That is really brave to come here to deliver, from what I have seen the medical care is efficient and good, but the language is scary. We got Rosetta Stone and have been using it (though not near as much as we should).

      I can tell you that finding baby clothes is pretty easy here. In this area they don’t use diapers, but I think they are still easy to purchase. Clothes and toys are things that have such a limited life with a baby… they have new clothes and new toys every few months. Because of that I can definitely see your reasoning for not bringing much with you. Is there something else that would be a larger price that the baby would need more than a few months? … not sure what that would be.

      I would love to have great answers for you… but this is tough. People see ‘buying things’ as a way of being part of the event baby/move to China and they want to be a part of the fun. Instead of saying ‘no’ finding another way they can be included (good ways of sharing pictures, visiting, or contributing to a bigger need) will still keep the relationship strong and hopefully the bags lighter 🙂

      It would be fun to bump into you sometime over here. If you think of it… with all the things going on, send me a note when you get here and get settled.

      • MelD MelD

        Maybe friends and family would be willing to contribute to something like a good camera or electronic device that will enable regular contact/photos etc. with the new young family, instead of “stuff”?!
        Or to set up savings accounts for the child for long-term security?
        I absolutely agree that babies need very little and you get lumbered with a ton of (albeit cute!) junk…!!
        In the end, you don’t even use all the cute outfits and toys because the child doesn’t need them, grew out of them so fast and often they were too cute to even be appropriate, so it really is a waste 😮

  6. Lor Lor

    Hi Lorilee,
    Thank you for this great blog. I am slowly embarking on simplifying our life because I feel I spend too much time on stupid chores and not enough on important things.
    I have decluttered a great amount of stuff in our appartment, and it already shows, but not enough yet to have more free time. I am in the process of downsizing my wardrobe trough eBay and donations. Well, I have a lot to do and work freelance so… Trying to find the time here and there. I am extremely committed and always looking for inspiration… And I have found your blog!
    I live near Paris.

    Keep writing, please :).


  7. Samantha Louise James Samantha Louise James

    You are so inspiring Lorilee. Discovering this blog and reading your posts has proven empowering. Reading about where you started December 2010 is uncanny; as if I am reading my mind’s reflection in the mirror now. I feel and hope I am ready to work towards loving and embracing authenticity, lack of clutter, simplicity and minimalist living – a flame lit within me. What you write makes so much sense. Like I have realized I have been holding the key piece of the puzzle all along. I do not want to be afraid anymore. I just cannot turn back now. Thank you so much for sharing.

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