Yesterday I wrote a post about how our stuff can hold us back. When life gets busy, chaos creeps into our lives and homes, disrupting our systems and stifling our ability to thrive.
So how do we keep the chaos at bay?
Well, it’s not just about organizing; organization is about what we do with our stuff. We need to address the stuff — to pare back to what is important and let go of those things we don’t need or have use for.
As I’m apt to do, I’ve built up a little library on the subject of homekeeping, routines, organization, and household systems. Let me just say, reading about it doesn’t make it so! Simplicity and organization come as we adopt and implement systems. But systems can only go so far in the battle agains chaos. At the heart of it all is the issue of learning to live with less.
Here is what I’ve learned:
1) Simplicity is about living with less. It is not about living with less than we need. It isn’t about deprivation, it’s about choosing what we want to surround ourselves with.
2) Simplicity is about keeping the things that are most important, and letting go of things that are not as useful, enjoyable, or special. William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This was a piece of advice given to students of art and design, in 1880. The advice is as relevant today as it was then!
3) Simplicity is not about restriction, it’s about freedom. When you let go of what you don’t need, you free your time, space and energy to focus on what really matters.
4) Simplicity isn’t a fast or diet, where we cut back until we see the change we want and then return to patterns of excess. It is a lifestyle change, a journey. It’s a choice to lead a healthier and happier life by cutting out what doesn’t nourish us, strengthen us, or help us grow.
5) Simplicity is about asking every day, “do I need this?” Or, “Can I let it go to someone who might need it more?”. It’s about determining the highest and best use for not only our possessions, but also our time and the space in our homes.
6) Simplicity is about becoming masters of our things, not becoming slaves to what we own. It allows us to work for what we need, rather than spend time working to buy things that will not bring us joy or happiness. It allows us to serve God instead of serving our things. Jesus was quoted as saying, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). He makes a great point!
7) Simplicity is ultimately a matter of contentment. When we choose to love what we have, to accept it as enough, and to only own things that have a purpose, we have a tendency to trade quantity for quality, and to be a good steward of the resources we have.
8) Simplicity is about our activities and the influences in our lives as much as it is about our stuff. Simplicity is slowing down a little to enjoy what’s right in front of us, rather than to constantly keep chasing the elusive carrot of future happiness.
9) Simplicity is un-complicated. It’s about honesty and authencity and an uncluttered mind, home and heart.
10) Simplicity makes room for the possible. When our lives are full to the brim and we can’t see past what is right in front of us, we miss opportunities to learn, grow, and experience things we haven’t imagined. Leaving a little “white space” in the design of our lives frees us to find and explore the possibilities.
My challenge this week is to edit, edit, edit! Every closet is fair game this week, and I expect to have gathered a good donation pile by the end of the week. If you’d like to join me in the challenge, I hope you’ll let me know how it goes for you.
Have a simply inspired week!