5 Favorite Simple Living Documentaries to Inspire You

Last Updated on November 12, 2022 by Ellen Christian

I love simple living documentaries because they inspire me to make changes in my life. Simple living is a movement that’s been gaining in popularity over the past few years. It urges people to slow down and think about their choices. People aspire for simple living in many different areas of their lives including what they own, what they eat and the choices they make about products they buy and businesses they support. I’ve been making changes in a variety of different areas of my life. 

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5 Favorite Simple Living Documentaries to Inspire You

5 Favorite Simple Living Documentaries

I’ve always loved documentaries. Sure, movies are fun too, and I do watch them. But, I love documentaries for learning new ways of thinking. Marty and I watch at least four or five documentaries a week on a variety of topics. Thankfully, our interests are somewhat similar, and we agree on what we watch. Here are a few of our favorite simple living documentaries and series you can find on Netflix:

  • Tiny House Builders – Using salvaged materials in out-of-the-way locations, master craftsman Derek Diedricksen and his team build unique tiny houses in just four days. I love this show. While Marty and I live in a 1500SF home, I’ve always been fascinated with tiny houses. This is a series.
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead – Obesity and illness have taken a toll. Two repentant men go on a crash course with vegetables to save their lives. If you are interested in simplifying your diet and your health, I highly recommend Fat Sick and Nearly Dead I and II. It will change the way you think. These are shows I watch over and over again.

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  • Living on One Dollar – Four American friends travel to rural Guatemala, where they attempt to exist on one dollar a day. If you’re trying to figure out what’s really important in your life, this is a documentary you need to watch. We get so caught up in keeping up with the Joneses that we forget what matters the most.
  • The True Cost – The links between consumer pressure for low-cost, high fashion and the meager existences of the sweatshop workers who produce those goods are explored. If simplifying your wardrobe is on your list of things to do, you need to watch this. You’ll never look at that $5 t-shirt the same way again.
  • Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Investigating rumors about an island in the Pacific Ocean, filmmaker Angela Sun discovers an ecosystem completely inundated by plastic waste. Plastic is pervasive. You cannot escape it easily in today’s society. If you’d like to limit the plastic and disposable products you use, you’ll be inspired by this documentary.

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Don’t have Netflix? Here are a few other options:

  •  Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things – How might your life be better with less? Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.
  • Enough: Finding Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity – Money has great power in our lives and, when used wisely, helps us meet our goals, provide for our needs, and fulfill our life purpose. But in recent years, many of us ignored this when managing and spending our money. We found ourselves spending tomorrow’s money today. The result of all of this was not greater happiness but greater stress and anxiety.

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8 thoughts on “5 Favorite Simple Living Documentaries to Inspire You”

  1. Oh, God. I've seen Plastic Paradise, and if it doesn't inspire you to recycle and move towards a more green life, nothing will. It actually hurt my heart to watch that one.
  2. These are great suggestions. I've seen "Living on One Dollar" and quite liked it. I'll have to check out the other documentaries you're mentioning here.
  3. Our family has been watching a lot of wildlife and ocean life documentaries on Netflix. I love that they have this, since we don't have cable. It's educational and fun to watch.
  4. My husband is the documentary watcher in our family. Normally it's nature documentaries. These all sound so compelling, I can't wait to watch with him.

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