If you’re one of my peeps, you know I’ve recently embraced a minimalist lifestyle. What that means for me (it is important to identify what it means for you), is that I’m sick of spending all my time cleaning, picking up, sorting, arranging, planning and handling food and stuff. I’ve done that for decades, and now I want to find space and time to pursue other things without all this stuff pulling me back into some time-sucking vortex. How can I do that?
WHAT I WANT FROM A SIMPLER / MINIMALISTIC LIFE
To connect more often with friends.
Do some volunteer work.
Enjoy the golden years with my golden boy.
If the impulse hits mister or me, I want us to be able to take off with nothing but a moment’s notice and only a back pack’s worth of clothing and personal items.
Can you ever in your wildest dreams see me doing that? Me? It will be a challenge.
I also want to stop storing stuff I never use. I want to donate things to others that would make their lives richer, and I want to save some money, while at the same time paying off my mortgage early.
I want to stop filling my corner of God’s kingdom with more stuff than it can hold. Minimalism for me is about worrying less, stressing less, laughing more, and owning less.
It all started with someone saying, “Have you ever thought that maybe you have a hard time with indecision because you have so many choices?”
No, frankly, I never had.
Too much stuff! Could that be the problem? Over the last month I have conducted an experiment. I’ve de-clutter several of my living spaces and donated tons of good, new, hardly used and wholly serviceable items to the Salvation Army.
HOW DID I FEEL AFTERWARD?
With each load I’ve carried out of my house my soul has exhaled, and in a really good way. Getting rid of this stuff honestly made me think…
I never have to move that again. Woohoo!
I never have to feel guilty again about buying that top I never wore.
I never have to clean that again.
I never have to make room for those in the closet again.
I never have to worry if the kids will get that in their eye, or down their throat, or drop it on their toes again. (Yes, I worry about these things).
A BIG BENEFIT TO ALL THIS DE-CLUTTERING
I never have to polish that again!
I never ever have to read that again!
I never ever, ever have to think about THAT again!!!
Oh, the freedom!!!
I am serious when I say that getting rid of these items has been a complete blessing and not hard at all. Nothing that I gave away diminished my quality of life one iota, but giving it away did free up space in my brain, my conscience, and my house. Now, I can easily find the things I need when I reach under my bathroom sink because there are less of them. I can get all my clothes in the closet now, and I suspect I will never again run shy of clothes hangers. I don’t have to look at that electric razor and think, “I spent $60 on that sucker, and he never, ever used it!” I imagine some guy somewhere as picking that razor up and thinking, “Look at this! $5? Really? It looks like it’s never been used!” I bet he’s placing that item in his shopping cart and feeling like the luckiest guy in the shop that day, and he is. It’s a nice razor!!! We just never used it.
TRADING STUFF FOR SANITY
Maybe, as you’re reading this, it has reminded you of the dozen or so objects you have in your house that just sit there, year after fateful year. They take up space, they feed your guilt, and they serve no good purpose in your life, but you just can’t seem to let them go. To you I would say: We live in a commercially charged consumer-driven society, so it’s no wonder you feel compelled to buy and store, and maybe even hoard. But Jesus never asked us to live that kind of life–the US economy did.
Jesus lived his life with less. Instead of constantly amassing things for himself, he gave. He saved his energy for people transformation, rather than cleaning his house. He has no physical home of his own. He moved freely about, and he never let any attachments form between Him and things. He knew better. He knew that He had been called to live at arm’s length with the trappings of this world. He followed a simple and uncluttered life, lest He forget what He came here to do.
CAN YOU REMEMBER WHAT YOU CAME HERE TO DO?
I’m trying to focus on remembering Jesus and I’m trying to move a little closer to what I envision as the way Jesus lived. At least as much as it is in me to do so, I am.
Over and over again the Bible talks about our journey here, and how it’s not about storing up treasures on this earth, treasures that can mold, and mildew, and rust and tarnish, and be stolen from us, and cause grief, and feed our pride, and divide us from other people. Those things the Bible says we should avoid, have less of, and be mindful about, because they are distractions and can become stumbling blocks if we are not very careful.
I’m working to break the strangle hold earthly possessions have on me. I’m also working diligently to pay off my debts as I seek freedom from the shackles of an economy gone wild. I’m hoping that as I get a handle on all the clutter and stuff that has been choking off the stream of joy in my life for too long that I will get healthier, too. I bet I will.
If you’re stressed out all the time, deeply in debt, hating your living space and enduring kids that feel entitled to have everything the world has to offer them and want it NOW, I extend my hand to you. Let’s go on this journey toward simple and debt-free living together. Let’s turn our back on the greed that owns this world and blaze our own path, a path that looks more like the one Jesus trod. Let’s back away from the glitter of stuff long enough to really see our lives for what they are. Are they happy? Are they fulfilling? Are they free of clutter? Are they spiritually pointing true north? Are they joyful? Do we feel comfortable inviting others into our space? Are we enjoying enough picnics by the pond? If not, let’s try something new.
IF NOTHING CHANGES, NOTHING CHANGES
I’m new to this minimalist lifestyle, so I don’t have all the answers, yet. Maybe I never will. One thing I know: I had to start somewhere! You have to start somewhere. Below, is the list of places I have started. It’s been wild so far.
Join me, won’t you? Let’s go on this journey together. My suspicion is that it’s only going to get better from here!
http://bemorewithless.com/begin/ (7 things you can do not to get started).
http://nosidebar.com/ (A place where minimalist writers share their experiences).
http://happinessdishbestsavouredhot.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-less-is-more-project-week-8-wake-up.html (A blogger spends a year talking about her adventures with minimalistic living).