I’ve learned a lot about simple living from our beloved Tsh over the years. There are so many little things in my life that I can trace back to her posts on The Art of Simple.

From little green practices to big parenting decisions, Tsh’s good influence is woven into the fabric of my life.

But Tsh wasn’t my first simple living guru.

That would be my Grandma Eleanor. Hers was a different sort of simplicity.

She wouldn’t have thought of simple living as an intentional lifestyle choice so much as a necessity.

Like many folks in her generation, she lived through hard times – hard times that required frugality, resilience, sacrifice, and ingenuity. These are the virtues I seek to cultivate in my own life, so her example is an inspiration.

Lessons in simplicity from Grandma

Here are three of my favorite lessons learned from Grandma Eleanor:

If you can get paid to do something you love, do it.

According to family lore, Grandma Eleanor made a little money skating in the Roller Derby during the Great Depression.

She went on to make a career out of her favorite hobby: knitting.

If you bought a sweater from Yonkers in the seventies or eighties, there’s a chance my grandmother knit it. They would send her a pattern and a big box of yarn, and six weeks later she would fill the box with impeccably finished sweaters and ship it off to the department store headquarters.

A small house can be a perfect home.

My grandma lived in a tiny house before tiny houses were cool. Somehow my entire family of five would stay with her in her motor home on our visits to Iowa. What that house lacked in square footage it made up for in love, hospitality, and good cooking.

Lessons in simplicity from Grandma

Bad habits can be broken.

Grandma Eleanor smoked for a long time.

A really long time. She tried to quit a few times and finally did when she was well into her eighties.

By that time it hardly seemed necessary – after all, the cigarettes hadn’t exactly shortened her lifespan. But she wanted to quit, so she did.

Whenever I think I can’t kick a bad habit, I think of my Grandma’s last pack of Pall Malls.