Grow a Simple Life

It takes intention & persistence to focus on the beautiful and the good, and to grow a simple life in a world that seems to be only getting more complex. It isn’t simple to stay simple, especially when your creativity and natural ability to manifest abundance are offsetting your intention to have less stuff.

I discovered early in my journey to simple that my version of simplicity is different than many. I’m not on the minimalist road, by any means, so I felt a bit conflicted when I first began to write about simple living.

Our home doesn’t model what you might see in a simplicity magazine, although it IS very organized and peaceful, with a noticeable lack of clutter. My clothes closet is spacious, but I’m not interested in using Courtney Carver’s Project 333 to trim my wardrobe. My drawers are orderly, but not KonMarie-folded. (I do, however, use the Kondo joy-test when deciding what to keep.)

My kind of simple is more about having enough spaciousness in my life to fully appreciate the beautiful abundance around me. And this is nowhere more obvious than my yard.

As a gardener, I know what it takes to grow a beautiful garden, and it always begins with cultivating the ground: clearing weeds and adding compost to enrich whatever I’m planting. Some plants like a lot of space. Others prefer to be clustered together, showing their blossoms more brilliantly when paired with another plant. The perennials like to be divided on occasion, otherwise, the garden becomes crowded and uninviting. And garden bounty loves to be shared.

Cultivating a simple life is a lot like growing a garden. It takes patience, and every season brings new challenges and gifts.

Here are 3 gardening practices that will help your simplicity grow through the seasons.

Create a System

I love my garden cart. It follows me around my yard with all the basics to weed, trim & prune where needed. It keeps me from running back to the garden shed and offers a system to keep my tools organized and ready for use.

A simple organizing system that is fun & enjoyable is the first step to creating a more productive, orderly workflow that will keep your clutter at bay. Do you have all the right systems & tools in place to bring ease and joy into creating more spaciousness in your home?

Consider putting a system in place that pays attention to the various seasons and needs of your various home environments.

Prune & Clear every Season

Every season is important for a garden, and staying on top of seasonal pruning, trimming, and clearing helps every garden thrive. Winter, clear the ground. Spring, plant and prune. Summer, weed, and appreciate the blossoms. Fall, share the harvest.

When we practice clearing our physical spaces every season, they stay more spacious and easy to manage throughout the year. How might the seasons of nature inspire you to grow a more simple life?

Weeding & Watering

When I keep up with the basics, my gardens (and my back) are much happier. When I make time to appreciate the beauty, notice what is in bloom, and share my garden’s bounty, the plants thrive and so does my heart. This is the reward of gardening, so I do my best to make it a daily practice.

Having a daily & weekly clearing practice for your home will not only keep your spaces more inviting, but it will also connect you to your belongings so you know whether to hold on or let go. Appreciating our bounty and choosing to keep what makes us happy is the essence of a simple, spacious life.

Whether or not you like to garden, consider how these practices might help you cultivate a life that is full of what you love, empty of what you don’t.

Less stuff and stress. More joy and meaning. This is the true bounty you will receive.

Reach out if you’d like a gardening partner!


Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett is a highly-creative humanitarian & life-simplification guide who blends her love for writing with her gift of inspiring people to think outside the box. Her fourth book, Simply Enough: Create Space for What Matters is a call to simplify our spaces so we can focus on creating a better world. This book is also a cornerstone of her mentoring circles, where she holds space for deep conversation about what matters while offering creative solutions and meaningful connection to others ready to cultivate more spacious lives of meaning and contribution. When she’s not writing or creating, you can find Sora taking long walks with her mini-schnauzer, working in her garden, sharing time with her life-partner of 44 years, their two grown children and one amazing grandson, or skiing/hiking in the mountains of Idaho where everyday miracles can be found.

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  1. Sora,

    This was a delightful read, especially as you immediately drew me in with the gardening analogy. I’ve loved gardening and tending to plants since I got married at 21 and wanted to beautify my front yard in Jamaica.

    While the Florida gardening may be a little different, I could follow along as you identified the tasks that needed to be done each season in order to have a beautiful garden and reap a bountiful crop. I can can also see how the principles can apply to our lives.

    Now, would you say the snakes that appear in and around my property and threaten to rob my joy in gardening be compared to the challenges we experience in life?

    Thanks for a great article.

    • oh I love that Yvonne!! The snake (& other invasive bugs) are the challenges that we must lovingly remove from our spaces so they can thrive!! Notice (my inner writer said) ‘lovingly’ … a reminder that we need to have compassion for the challenges as we keep clearing space for the joy to bloom. Thanks for reading & commenting here. I so appreciate the connection.

  2. Beautiful, Sora! What a wonderful invitation to find our expression of simple. I’m not a gardener-and am so grateful that our yard grows wild and free here on the side of the mountain-kind of like my soul right now! Each person gets to realize what “simple” means to them-what pursuing what we love means- We often must set down the fierce expectations of a culture that sends unrelenting messages of “perform” Perform PERFORM and gather “likes” and “money” and a slim body to boot! Ack! What does it mean to create a life without the distractions of other people’s expectations bearing down on us? That question continues to be one that I ponder! How do we give ourselves permission to feel JOY when so many around us are suffering? It takes great courage to pursue joy amidst so much suffering-to not feel shame, guilt but to trust that our expression of simple, joyful living can Be the Change we want to see in our world!

    • Laura, I love that you have a wild garden that takes none of these 3 practices to cultivate …and that you STILL get the metaphor for growing a simple life. 😉 And, it reinforces that every environment is unique and that simplicity is different for each of us. So much room for growth. So much caring & compassion for where we are.

  3. Simon, thank you for the thoughtful and beautiful comment! I love when my words inspired other meaningful words to flow, and yours make me smile with your descriptive wonder. I’m glad to meet a fellow gardener here. It’s really all about that, isn’t it? Even if we’re gardening people instead of plants!!

  4. Sora, Such an inspiring article. I do enjoy gardening and mowing the lawns, because when completed, the pathways up and down the grassy area makes a statement that one has accomplished a task. You are right. Gardening has many parallels with life. A flower will thrive where it feels comfortable. Too much shade, too much sun, but pays dividends when growing it its right place. English bluebells are a classic. Awaiting Springtime; the re-birth of Nature, they appear under woodland when the leaves have not yet blessed the branches. Then the Bluebells arrive in spectacular blankets of pure beauty. They thrive, they seem to welcome passers by and blossom wonderfully until the leaves on the trees provide the shade. The bluebells continue to flourish until the woodlands become overly shady; the bluebells saying goodby until next Spring.

    Your descriptions are so very special and I love the alignment with the human and natural elements. They do compliment each other if allowed to do so with the freedom of the eyes and heart.

    Thank you so much, Sora.

    Simon Lever