I want to talk about things. Our stuff. Our purchases.
Several months back – years?! no way… – I said I wanted to buy LESS, and when I have to buy, try to buy ethically and as sustainably as possible (or second-hand etc etc). Consumption must decrease for me to have peace.
Guess what, it worked!
Fast forward to now… you can call it a God whisper (perhaps a shout after the busy Christmas season), and I am back to realizing the epidemic we face as Americans. The need for things, even minimalist things!, in order to make our lives as easy and stress-free and fab as the next Instagram star. It’s outrageous. And I am 100% guilty of it.
Listen, I love certain things. I do. But if my house were to burn down today, I would only need my husband and kids. My life. My family. Our health.
None of the rest really matters. NONE OF IT.
So a shift took place… and it continues to do so. And every now and then I need a reminder, thus the blog.
Here are my tips/tricks and thoughts on finding your version of a simple, peaceful life (and NO, I am not linking any of these to relevant products!):
- Stop shopping. Delete the Amazon app. Remove auto credit card info. Take a different route home. Hide your credit card (or cut it up, if you need to). You have to stop the intake somehow!
- Once you’re accustomed to avoiding temptation, start decluttering your home. I bet in your quest to find the perfect decor for that blank wall, you’ll discover old photos, artwork, or a family heirloom that might fit the spot nicely.
- Notice I didn’t say “perfectly.” FLYLady is teaching me that perfection is the enemy. She’s right. It is. If you like the way it looks, who cares what anyone else thinks? YOU are likely NOT making money for clicks on IG based on your amazing designs. If you are, disregard this post. But if you like to fall into the wormhole and then realize the “lack” you have afterward, you gotta stop the comparison game!
- The best things in life aren’t things. Cliche but true.
- You can’t pull the U-Haul behind the hearse. Even better (cliche) visual!
- It’s not wrong to have an attachment to things – memories are held in photographs and an old college sweatshirt. It’s wrong to have an unhealthy attachment to things.
- If you do shop, and you get sucked into the “buy X amount and save X” mathematics, trust me when I say the math is better when the amount spent equals $0.00. So think and pray before that payment!
- I would argue that hand-made, ethically sourced shoes are going to last longer, make you feel better, contribute less to the vicious fast fashion cycle etc. And yet, when I bought a pair to replace several cheaper ones that had fallen apart, I was sad at how uncomfortable they were. Just goes to show that you have to follow your priorities. Mine was “doing the right thing,” but for one (of three) new shoe purchases in the last 18 months, I should have made sure “comfort” was there, too. Ain’t doing you good if you can’t wear them! Am I right?
- PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE – I get frustrated when my brand new dishwasher doesn’t dissolve the Finish packet. That’s dumb. The dishwasher is a blessing. It saves me tons of time. Why in the world would I curse it?! Because I am not seeing it as a blessing in my time of “crisis”. Well, even with no clean forks, it’s still a blessing! It’s connected to electricity, hot water, a sewer line. It contains a plethora dishes and utensils. It cuts my chore time into baby fragments. It’s inside a warm or cool house that is otherwise in excellent shape and a beautiful place to live. And I complain. Changing perspective changes contentment!
- Read up on the topic. I am knee-deep in “Affluenza” and “Gift from the Sea” and past books on my list (see link) include SEVERAL titles about simplicity, faith, and focusing on the best things in life (not things, see #4).
My friend Kristin and I text back and forth about our home missions (FLYlady) and faith journeys (slowing down, basking in Him), and we came up with finding OUR VERSIONS OF SIMPLE. It may look different from the minimal black and white apartment you coveted in a magazine. But it works for you. So what is a version of simplicity that you can get behind? Mine involves antiques and extra coffee mugs and lots of visits to the Salvation Army donation center. Mine involves the above + extra prayer! How can I bless someone else?? That’s typically my mindset.
These things (ha) work for me. I am SO GRATEFUL to have what I need to provide for my family, but we do have some debt to pay down. We have things we can work on here, absolutely. But in 2018, I continue to work toward MINIMAL spending, MAXIMUM presence with my kids and growing in peace and contentment with my Lord as my guide.
Hope these help you, too!
Bonus tip: remove social media apps, even just for the weekend. It feels like your missing an arm, I know, but you’ll start to see positive dividends. Trust me. Life is waiting on the other side of the screen and that’s why I must go now! Baby is waking…
Edited to add a Post Script: an idea I had just now as I’m cleaning off my dresser…
If there are some favorite/new/unused things that are hard to part with, consider a “blessings box” to hold those items to re-gift or give to family/friends. If you don’t actually part with it in six or so months though, that’s just a stuff purgatory, and you need to trash/donate/recycle the items and the box, too (talking to myself here, folks). It’s an idea… but not another box to hold clutter! I’ll let you know how this experiment turns out on my end! 🙂