The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go.”
― Steve Maraboli,
Simple, yet meaningful. That’s how I’m choosing to live my life these days. As of late I’ve been enthralled by the idea of Minimalism and the positive impact it has in peoples lives. The concept of intentional, conscious living, with less physical possessions is attractive. Namely the part where it enhances your quality of life, by making room for what really matters: Faith, Family, Soul Care, Friendships, + Experiences. As with many people, minimalism is a beacon of hope for me. Over time, I’ve become unknowingly (and unnecessarily) overwhelmed with all of the clutter in my life.
Bottom line, I seriously have too much crap.
Rather than me owning things, my things have somehow managed to own me.
I just can’t with this lifestyle
The clothes, the shoes, the coats, the purses, the random socks that mysteriously appear under (and on) the dining room table (Because, Kids!), in the seams of the couches (Because, Kids!), and along side of the washing machine (Because, Kids!), but never, EVER as a pair, only as a single-useless-impossible-to-find-the-match-ass-sock.
Oh, if I ever come across the laundry monster guilty of stealing “the other sock” which results in a heap of mis-matched-mess, we’re gonna have a hands on conversation!
*Insert clapping emoji… On. My. Momma.
I’m tired of everything.
The toys, the stuffed animals, the books, the pile of magazines. I barely have time to enjoy a bathroom break in peace let alone read a magazine. What’s even more interesting is that each time I purchased a magazine, I knew I hadn’t had time to read the issue prior but yet I purchased that lie like clockwork. I was infatuated with the idea that some day, I’d actually have time. I hadn’t yet realized the need for a major lifestyle overhaul.
So, the cycle continued. I see magazine, I buy magazine, I take pics and post magazine to IG, magazine remains unread, collects dust and makes an appearance at the annual vision board party. There you have it fifty bucks plus, WASTED! Every. Single. Year. Cut, paste, repeat.
But no, it doesn’t stop there. The haphazardness continues with the snail mail, the accessories, the makeup, the junk drawers, the hoarding of facial cleansers and hair products all in the name of being a natural hair “Product Junky”
The topless Tupperware, the mismatched plates, the utensils, the dusty “Good China” the over stuffed fridge & pantry
The meetings, the text messages, the side-projects, the social events, the ad campaigns
See also: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Pinterest, Snapchat, the office politics, CNN, The Election
Just EVERYTHING! All. Of. It.
Though these are indeed “first world problems” they are weighty and stressful issues that require resolve because otherwise I’d go nuts (and no one wants that, right?)
OVERWHELM + STRESS + FATIGUE = Unhealthy lifestyle
Thats not okay. Not for me, not for you, not for anyone.
So I went seeking clarity, and ways to create more white space (+ of course more wine:)
In my quest to actualize a more fulfilling, less stressful lifestyle, I came upon the concept of minimalism and it shifted my outlook and helped me get laser focused on what’s really important to me.
What I’ve learned is that minimalism effects every single aspect of your life.
It effects how you wife, how you parent, how you friend, how you work, how you self-care, how you speak, how you email, and even the depth of the connections and personal relationships that you aspire to have or not have. Minimalism effects how you disperse your most precious resource, it effects how you give of your time.
For me, minimalism has become a comprehensible guide to living and leading my best possible life, by focusing squarely on what matters and ridding myself of things that lack significance and personal value. Hence the reason I’ve been spending way LESS time on social media, and way MORE time with my family and pursuing ventures that matter most to me.
Rather than scrolling “The Gram”
I’ve been engrossed in content that supports the Minimalist lifestyle, which extends well beyond Instagram photos of chic, simplistic home decor, abstract art, and art deco vases displaying freshly cut flowers. Though minimalism is known to look differently for different people (depending on their stage of life and what they value personally) Joshua Becker’s definition of rational minimalism really resonates with my entire soul! I find it to be compelling, inspiring, and motivational for me as I explore this new space of “Becoming Minimalist”
He gives a full in-depth definition and I identify with every word he’s written as his personal definition to minimalism. You can see the full definition here.
These words though… they really captured the essence of WHY I’m choosing to live consciously.
“MINIMALISM IS INTENTIONALITY.
It is marked by clarity, purpose, and intentionality. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of your life.
MINIMALISM IS FREEDOM FROM THE PASSION TO POSSESS.
Modern culture has bought into the lie that the good life is found in accumulating things—in possessing as much as possible. They believe that more is better and have inadvertently subscribed to the idea that happiness can be purchased at a department store.
But they are wrong. Minimalism brings freedom from the all-consuming passion to possess. It steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences, and soul-care. And in doing so, it finds life.
MINIMALISM IS FREEDOM FROM MODERN MANIA.
Our world lives at a feverish pace. We are too hurried, too rushed, and too stressed. We work long, passionate hours to pay the bills, but fall deeper into debt. We rush from one activity to another—even multitasking along the way—but never seem to get everything done. We remain in constant connection with others through our cell phones, but true life-changing relationships continue to elude us.
Minimalism slows down life and frees us from this modern hysteria to live faster. It finds freedom to disengage. It seeks to keep only the essentials. It seeks to remove the frivolous and keep the significant. And in doing so, it values the intentional endeavors that add value to life.”
In reading this, I found myself resembling the infamous Herbal Essence shampoo commercial… all I could say is “Yes, Yes, Yes!”
I felt a sense of relief and belonging. This is how I desire to live.
Now, this… this right here is what a life”Unbothered” looks like for ME.
I’m journeying along this path taking small consistent strides and I believe thats the key. It shouldn’t feel onerous. Each day focus in on one thing you’d like to accomplish and make it happen. Thats it! A few days ago we donated twelve bags of clothes. This is just the beginning. I’m certain that there are twelve more bags where that came from but we didn’t over due it.
Last year, I did some purging out of anger and frustration… I was so overwhelmed by all of the excess that I went in my closet and threw away perfectly good stuff, including a brand new pair of $300 boots that I’d never worn outside of the house. My energy was at an all time low, I trashed things that could have been a blessing to someone else, but I couldn’t deal with it any longer, I wanted to be free. I didn’t want to wait another second, I needed immediate gratification. I needed to feel as though I’d made some kind of progress. I regretted it afterwards though. I had to be delirious because I went looking for the boots a few weeks later, only to learn that I’d tossed them in the trash along with everything else. When my husband told me that I’d thrown them away I was pissed. I had a complete bitch fit. I totally blamed Reuel for not stopping me. I don’t know how I managed to blame him for my bat shit behavior but I did. I apologized though, because I realized that I was 100% wrong. That was totally my fault.
Months later, I took a different approach. Rather than discarding stuff, I donated and sold on eBay. It was cool to make a few extra bucks and to be a blessing to others. For the most part, this go ’round I’ll be donating the majority of everything. I don’t want to exhaust too much energy in trying to sell stuff. I’d rather spend that time bonding with family and living life.
Whats interesting about all this though, is that at the time I didn’t realize why I was feeling so conflicted. But today it all makes sense.
What I was going through then was setting me up for where I am now. Last year my thing was I wanted to focus on experiences not things… so I traveled, I attended cool events, and I met interesting people and established new, meaningful relationships.
But I still didn’t manage to shake the overwhelm and I still am not satisfied with the amount of stuff I own, as I continued to buy STUFF that didn’t hold any personal value. Therefore I’m taking a deeper dive by simplifying my home altogether.
This week I’ll be spending some time purging items from my kitchen. No more clutter, no more disorganization. No more suffering from wicked perils of consumerism and too-damn-muchness!
I’m participating in the 2017 Home Organization Challenge over at ABFOL I see it as a good starting point to getting organized which in-turn will help with minimizing. No need to recreate the wheel, right?
Heres the Checklist for Week 1:
- Clean out and organize all cabinets.
- Clean out and organize all drawers.
- Purge everything that is not used, expired, doesnt belong, collecting dust.
- Clean out & organize the refrigerator & freezer.
- Mop, wipe down cabinet doors, clean counter tops & tables.
- Take everything off the refrigerator door. It makes the kitchen look messy.
- Clean all appliances.
Nothing too complicated, Right?
I’m looking forward to having a better more functional system.
Fingers crossed, I’ll follow up with you all next week.