Simple Living in a Complex World

Life is far from simple. The 2020s have been a decade of turmoil as our world faces complex challenges with no simple solutions. It’s easy to feel burdened by these challenges. Yet, as debates about the pandemic, inflation, climate change, wars, and natural disasters wage on, I’ve learned the best thing to do is take a deep breath, shut out all the noise, and embrace the peace that comes from simple living.

Hi everyone. I’m Michelle Oram—also known as Boomer Eco Crusader—and I’m delighted to join the team of talented writers at Wise & Shine. For several years, I’ve been on a quest for a simpler and more sustainable life. To introduce myself and the kinds of topics I’ll be writing about, today’s post looks at my journey to a simpler life, and how writing has propelled me along the way.

When I launched Boomer Eco Crusader in 2019, it was a simple blog about reducing waste and living a greener life. Over time, my blog evolved into a space where I share thoughts on a variety of topics under the tag line of “Live Your Best Life”. My main blog themes of “Live Green, Declutter, Simplify Life” all have a common thread—simplicity is the key to a better life.

My blog helped me discover the joy of simple living! Yet, the path I took to that revelation was far from straight.

When Life Sends You a Wake-up Call

Like many people, I spent most of my life rushing from task to task. I rarely said no to anything, taking great pride in the number of things I had on the go. Then, life sent me a wake-up call. In 2011, a breast cancer diagnosis at age 47 was a turning point in my life. It gave me an opportunity to slow down and reevaluate everything.

As I sought to answer the question “Why me?” that rings in the head of every cancer patient, I became increasingly aware of harmful chemicals in the air we breathe, in our personal care products, in many of the products we use in our homes, and even our food. That awareness led to my first steps toward simplicity and sustainability. I was on a mission to reduce my exposure to toxic chemicals.

A few years later, I expanded my mission. Having made great progress with natural cleaning and personal care, my new quest was to minimize my personal impact by reducing waste and living a greener life. And to share my message with the world, I started a blog. Boomer Eco Crusader was born!

As I wrote and researched, it became apparent that overconsumption is one of the reasons our planet and its inhabitants are suffering. Realizing that consuming and owning less are the key to sustainability, I started to question everything I bought, and everything I owned. I needed to declutter and simplify my life!

In 2021, I embarked on a year-long decluttering challenge where I systematically went through every area of my home and got rid of thousands of items. And to keep myself honest, I committed to sharing a weekly progress update on my blog, with my decluttering tally and learnings for the week. It was transformational.

Sustainability, Simplicity and Decluttering – It’s All Connected!

At the end of 52 weeks of decluttering, I reflected on my learnings from the year. Beyond the practical aspects, I learned that sustainability, decluttering, and simplicity are all connected. The world constantly tells us that happiness lies just beyond the next purchase. In reality, accumulating more stuff will never make us happy. In fact, out-of-control consumption is harming our mental health, our financial health, and the health of our planet.

Living simply and sustainably frees up time and space to focus on what really matters. These days, I’m fuelled by a desire to own less and do more of the things that matter. Clearing the clutter helped free up time and headspace to take on new challenges that bring me joy.

Yet, I’m an imperfect human being, and my quest for a simple life is far from over. I look forward to sharing my continued journey toward a simpler, sustainable, and more meaningful life in future posts. Together we can find joy in simple living!

Thank you to the wonderful team at Wise & Shine for welcoming me. I’m grateful to be part of this group of thoughtful and talented writers. Learn more about me in my bio and at You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

32 thoughts on “Simple Living in a Complex World

  1. I like your 52-week decluttering challenge. We moved from California to Arizona after 28 years in one home. What a wake up call when we had to be moved in 30 days. I’m approaching the third year in my new home, and I think I could use a few months of decluttering. There are many things i moved with that have no purpose in my life. Thanks for a great post.

    1. I cannot even imagine the stress of moving in 30 days. We have lived in our house for 30 years, but there was no time pressure which gave me the luxury of being thoughtful about the challenge. I’m planning a reboot in 2024. It has been 3 years, after all! I’m sure things that I thought were keepers in 2021 will have lost their appeal.

      1. Exactly! I’m coming up on three years and it’s a perfect time to get rid of stuff. Especially the boxes in closets I never bothered to unpack!

  2. Decluttering is not just about getting rid of things, but about finding a better way of living that supports our well-being and the health of our planet. Thanks for sharing such insightful post .

    1. Exactly. That has been my biggest learning along the way. Less consumption is so much better for us and the planet!

    1. Thank you! I took it about this time last year in a local park. The colours aren’t as vibrant this year.

  3. I just came back from a yoga and Pilates retreat in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. There was a young girl with a big luggage who brought with her more clothes than she could ever wear in one week. Then I thought at my son, who taught me how to pack a cabin luggage in a smart way, Ryanair style (European knows what it means 😀). And it was still too much, because I didn’t think I could wash some t-shirts and leggings. So yes, Michelle “out-of-control consumption is harming our mental health, our financial health, and the health of our planet.” Thank you for the wise words!

    1. Ha ha. I know all about Ryanair. My mum has flown with them from England to Ireland in the past. I’m always amazed when I see people pushing trolleys through the airport with multiple huge suitcases. Just the physical energy it takes to lug all those bags is too much for me.

      This summer, my husband and I did a 10-day trip with only a carry-on. I’m packing for 16 days in England right now and, if it doesn’t fit in a carry-on, it doesn’t go!

      1. Absolutely, why would you use precious energy to carry with you huge luggages? My next challenge will be to travel with a cabin luggage and a backpack at Christmas. To Fuerteventura it was easy, it was still summer!

      2. That’s a great point. It’s so much easier in summer when clothes are lighter and take up less space.

  4. I’m a real trooper when it comes to helping other folks get rid of too much stuff—too bad I have such a hard time doing so myself. Keep the decluttering inspiration coming, Michelle. I can use all of the nudges I can get! Maybe set up a one-drawer at a time challenge, or one closet, or one room . . . and ask folks to share their success stories.

    1. Ahh, Julia, you’ve hit on one of the key issues with decluttering. It’s definitely easier to help others because there is no emotional attachment. I love the idea of a one-drawer-at-a-time challenge, or even a timed 15-minute weekly challenge. Hmm. Now you’ve got me thinking.

      1. 15 minutes a week. Now there’s a great idea! I once gave myself a 5-minute challenge and darned if those 5 minutes didn’t morph into an hour or so! Who can’t do something unpleasant for 5 minutes?

      2. That’s exactly what happens. Once you start, momentum kicks in and you keep going. Earlier this year, I read the book “Atomic Habits” and he suggested breaking big tasks down in to tiny little ones. It really works!

    1. Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Tamara! When I look back now, I don’t know how we accumulated so much stuff. I’m definitely into consumable gifts these days, and experiences, although they have an impact too.

  5. A great post, Michelle. I love, “Living simply and sustainably frees up time and space to focus on what really matters.” It’s such a theme I find over and over again – having to let go in order to embrace the next thing. Can’t wait to see more of you on W&S!

    1. Thanks Wynne. It’s interesting to read this comment this morning as I’m reading a book about climate change that says we have to let go of the past and create a new vision for the future. Definitely a wise approach to life.

  6. Welcome to W&S! Thanks for sharing those details about yourself – it’s inspiring and impressive to read about someone actually taking action against climate change!

    1. Thanks Todd. I’m so happy to be here. I hope people will find value in my little nuggets of wisdom.

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