I wrote this post over two years ago but never posted it. Rereading it has me excited to continue trying to work towards this in our home and family.
Recently (or not so recently), I’ve started exploring the idea of living with less. Some might call it minimalism, but that sounds very strict to me. I prefer thinking about it as living only with what we need and love, nothing more.
There are a few reasons this idea has become so interesting to me in recent months.
- Society tells us that things are better when they are more complicated, more elaborate, more expensive and there’s more of them. More, more, more… There’s a constant feeling of “needing” and never being satisfied. Things like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, although not bad, only feed our desire for more. Because it makes us happy, right? Deep down inside, I think everyone knows that something as simple as buying a new shirt or getting a new car only provide temporary happiness. Filling every drawer and closet with stuff, displaying every nick-nack, saving every magazine, keeping every gift you’ve ever been given just starts to clutter your house, life, and mind.
- I’ve learned over the years, that I don’t thrive when stuff overwhelms me. Whether that’s dishes, laundry, clutter, too many obligations, etc. I’ve felt for years that I live with a constant to-do list in my head. It’s exhausting! And I always feel like I’m behind. I never catch up. I become almost incapacitated and useless when I start to get too overwhelmed. I just shut down mentally, emotionally, physically. I am on the verge of tears the moment something goes wrong, I get snappy with the people I love, I get super tired and sleepy, and I push myself through the fog the best I can. It’s really no fun living that way.
- I know I said this already but stuff, actually things, possessions, burden me. I feel guilty about buying them and I feel guilty about getting rid of them. I get stressed making purchases and have buyers remorse all the time. I think that is because I don’t know what I need or want for that matter. I feel like my life is too cluttered to see clearly sometimes. I’m hoping that getting rid of the excess will help me be more decisive about purchases and thinking through what we actually need.
I’ve started thinking about what life would be like if I had less stuff… I could enjoy the things I love more. I could spend time doing more of what I enjoy and less of what makes me overwhelmed. I imagine spending less time cleaning, organizing, putting away, tidying… When I think about it, I just breath a sigh and feel a burden being lifted off my shoulders. With my new found time, I’d spend more time with Lottie; I’d exercise regularly; I’d go on walks more; I’d work out in the yard, maybe even have a successful vegetable garden; I’d enjoy spending time cleaning the simple things I do have and I’d treasure those things more; I’d read and write more; I’d have more energy for Ben, instead of living tired day to day.
To me, living with less seems more like living with more. More of what’s important. In the little research I’ve done on minimalism, living with less, or whatever you want to call it, I’ve yet to come across a person who said it was terrible or didn’t work for them.
I’m hoping to embark on this journey of “living with less” and loving what I do live with. I want to physically go through everything we own and determine if that thing is useful to us now and does it bring us joy. It might take months to get through, but I think I’m up for the challenge. Ben’s on board for doing this too. Although he isn’t quite as passionate about the idea as I am, I think he hopes this will relieve stress from his poor tired wife. I’d love to write about our family journey through this process and the benefits we are experiencing. Honestly, the thought about doing this does overwhelm me, but I trust that the outcome will be totally worth it. In fact, the little purging I have done has been tremendously beneficial to my soul.