As I begin my year with the Bag-a-Day challenge (well, more like 70 bags in 40 days… speaking of which, I woke up this morning panicking about having made such a crazy public commitment… what was I thinking!?!), I’ve been reflecting on my desire for simplicity.
It’s amazing how much more rested, calm and contented I feel when the house is in order. I can’t even count how many years “get organized” showed up on my list of goals before I realized the problem is that I just
had have too much stuff. Even in pretty little bins and containers with perfect little labels, that stuff is still there. Taking up space that could be better used — or better yet, unused.
That’s why organizing isn’t enough. The key to a well-ordered home is to SIMPLIFY. It’s a subject close to my heart and at the heart of this blog.
A few months ago I shared 10 things I’ve learned about simplicity. Having chosen Simplify as my action word for 2015, I’ve listed them below to keep in mind as I start parting with all those bags of excess stuff.
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.