It’s wasn’t more than a few minutes after I had woke this morning that the theme of minimalism came into view. This desire I have to rid myself of what encumbers, it’s real and sitting atop my brain this morning. Here’s the thing: I yearn to be free of stuff, replacing it with experiences, memories, laughter, joy, and carefree living. So enamored with this way of life am I, that I wake up thinking about it at 5:37am on a day when I could sleep another hour.
I want simple. I want easy. I want joy, and I’m finding it!
This past Sunday Pastor and Marsha came for a visit in the afternoon. Bob has been fighting back against a bout of the shingles and they wanted to stop by to encourage him—us! Normally when pastor is coming, I imagine people rushing around, shoving things in cubbies, and trying feverishly to make the house presentable. I know that’s what I used to do back in the day. I’ve been known to fill the bathtub with clothes, dirty dishes, toys, tools, newspapers, and a bevy of other items, then close the shower curtain on them until company left. Afterward I had the depressing job of retrieving all that and sorting through it, filling my counter space and laundry room with the items I had hidden less than an hour before. Seriously, I did this, especially as a young mom who was overwhelmed with life, kids, husbands, and stuff!
Hiding things in the bathrub was a way to “look” presentable in mere moments, and it worked, but it wasn’t satisfying. It was also a lie.
This time when company came I didn’t have to shoot through the house like a bullet from a gun, picking up everything in sight and finding some place to stuff it. This time, anything extraneous had been dealt with long before the visit happened. Load after load, after load had already been sent to the Good Will and the Salvation Army, and the trash heap, so that there are few places in my home that still had not be thoroughly culled. A few remain, but not many.
Watch out attic, crawl space, and guest room closet, cuz this spring I’m comin’ for you!
The biggest benefit I’ve gained from minimalism to-date is the freedom to say, “Sure, come on over. We would love a visit!” and mean it—no rushing around, no panic attacks, no sweaty sessions hiding stuff in the tub and no making anyone in the house wish we never had company over because every time we do mom goes crazy! I used to do that. Not any more! Now, the house is clean without manic episodes or terrifying deadlines. Now, the house is “presentable” all the time, and do you know why? Because anything that doesn’t belong there has already found itself somewhere else. Simple, right?!
Not so simple for some!
I’ve been talking to my sweet mom about my renewed sense of hope and joy (and my increased ease when making decisions), all gifts given to me as I have learned to be free of the things that once entangled—random stuff. She has been bitten by the de-clutter bug. She wants to begin to simplify her life too, but knows not how. I can relate.
When we moved from our trailer to the home we have now—a home I dearly love and thank God for every day—I was overwhelmed with stuff. How we got all that and four people in one little space I do not know, but we had paperwork and junky junk aplenty, and worst of all we moved all of it across the lawn and into the new house. Even then, which I cannot believe was 7 years ago this fall, I knew I didn’t want all that stuff, but where do you begin to get rid of it? How do you sort through it all? Where do you put it?
I’ve never been good at yard sales, so that was not an option in my mind. Besides, this was personal stuff, like tons of receipts, bank statements, old high school reports and journals I had kept, among other items.
When I was struggling to figure out where to begin, my sweet, sweet niece came to the rescue. Danielle had heard me talking about the struggle, recognized the plight, and offered her organizational services to help get rid of what needed (had needed for a long time), to go. What a blessing she was to me that day. We talked together, sorted together, and laughed together about what I had kept and/or had trouble letting go of—it was a lot! Having someone else there to help me sort through my life in papers and pictures was a relief. I didn’t have to tackle that mountain on my own. Someone was there to stand next to me, encourage me, and help me part with things when I just didn’t know if I should. She’d laugh and say, “Yeah, and why are you holding onto check book registers from thirteen years ago?” Onto the burn pile they went.
I don’t think we even banked with that institution any more. Why did I have them?
All this to say that I am loving having less. It’s not a burden at all. I don’t miss one thing I have thrown away, and I’m happy, glad, and tickled to help others get started on this journey to minimalism that I am finding so very joy-filled. I’ve talked with my mom about putting a date on the calendar when we can deal with her purge, and I will keep bugging her until she does it. Nothing happens if we don’t make a plan. She is ready to get rid of the pile of stuff she has that no longer serves her or fills her with joy. I’m proud of her for making the choice to do it. I have found that my ability to make good choices without worry has been remedied in good part by getting rid of all the clutter that filled my brain and made me fearful. I think getting rid of the clutter in her living space will do the same for her. In fact, I’m sure it will!!! I can’t wait to help her get started.
Right now, sowing simplicity into my life is the greatest of adventures! I want everyone to join me on this path, but if they don’t, that’s okay too. This adventure, it’s really for me and truthfully, I’m about as excited as a six-year-old on Christmas morning about it!
Speaking of Christmas, you know you only have EIGHT more weeks to shop until it’s here, right?
Yeah, that gets your heart pumping doesn’t it? You’re welcome!!!
What are you doing lately to live a simpler life? What stuff will you be avoiding this Christmas, in lieu of memories, experiences, and generosity toward others?