Monday, January 11, 2016
Back in the early spring of 2015, I decided that it was time to get serious about slim-lining our possessions. I had been feeling the burden of having too many things for quite some months, but the feeling was beginning to become overwhelming. It really wasn't a matter of visible clutter. Of course we had some visible clutter as most families do. It was the hidden clutter. The basement shelves full of unused items. The cupboards and closets stacked with things that we didn't really need to be holding on to. There were bins under the bed, every drawer was full of something or other, every storage space was packed.
From March until November, I spent a lot of my energy and extra time on cleaning out and getting rid of belongings. In fact, I probably decreased our possessions by almost one-half. It was actually starting to get embarrassing pulling into the thrift store with a whole car-load of donations every week. I mean, I felt ashamed that I had accumulated so much that I had enough to donate on a weekly basis.
Ironically, I do not consider myself a pleasure shopper. I do not typically participate in retail therapy. I do not spend my free time perusing the mall. I have never seen myself as a big spender. In fact, most of my life I have tried to live very frugally, and I do weigh purchases. I'm not an impulse buyer.
But fifteen years of marriage and three kids have a way of accumulating things. Add some homeschooling and yarn-collecting into the bag, and you've got quite a few extra things.
So I did something about it. And it felt absolutely fantastic. Knowing that there were empty drawers and cupboards in our home felt so amazing. Seeing those box loads of things exit the door of our home made me feel lighter. And I realized how much less there is to do when I own less things. Things consumed time. I had to move them around. I had to clean them. I had to store them. And the weight of all of those things were always cluttering not only our house but also my mind.
And another great thing about unloading? It made me feel free to pursue the fun things in life. The things in life that I always knew were good, but I never felt like I could really enjoy because I was always thinking about the maintenance and upkeep of all of our things.
I did eventually get to a point shortly before Thanksgiving when I felt that I had decluttered to a satisfactory level. It felt good. I knew that I would probably continue to pursue simplification in the material aspect, but I felt that I had arrived at a good point for the time being. The kiddos had even caught on and had donated most of their toys, keeping only their very favorites. We were at a good, healthy point, and I felt like I could breath a whole lot easier.
Now here we are post-Christmas, and I'm feeling the desire and the need to reevaluate our belongings again. My intention is not to create an empty, sterile-looking home. Oh no, it's far from that. My desire is to create a cozy, warm, inviting home that is filled only with those things that are either useful or make us happy. And so much of what we had did not serve either purpose.
So as I walk into this new year a little bit lighter than I did into 2015, I'm ready to keep skipping down this simplification path. I mean I can actually skip when I'm not hauling around a bunch of stuff. And since we simplified our stuff and kept only our favorites, I have found that we enjoy what we have so much more. We take care of the things we have more than we ever have in the past. We appreciate and can really soak in the joy of those precious belongings that make us smile. It's a good feeling. A very good feeling indeed.