Sunday, June 15, 2014

I want moooooore!

I'm not a minimalist.  "Less is more" never applied to me when it came to verbal expression, color-coordinated accessories, lively acquaintances, wall collages, etc.  It's just not my nature.

Why, then, have I felt so compelled lately to simplify, to streamline, reduce, and minimize?  I don't just mean sorting through and tossing out stained and unused kids' clothes.  I do that pretty regularly.  We hold at least one enormous garage sale every year.  And with four little ones under foot, shopping of any kind is pretty much not worth it.  Where do our groceries even come from?  I don't know because it is DEFINITELY not worth taking all the kids to the grocery store.

Anyway, I read Simplicity Parenting last year-- loved and embraced it.  Still, I craved more simplicity, less clutter, distraction, and mayhem.  It's so contrary to my core preferences and yet, I find myself being drawn to a simple, meaningful, minimalist life.  Well, let me clarify here.  Minimalism with four kids is not being able to fit all your possessions into an over-sized suitcase.  And as romantic as it sometimes sounds, it's not moving to a tiny cottage in the woods and living off the land.  It's just getting rid of excess, whatever that means.

What it boils down to for me is that there are certain things I greatly value in this life, eg family, friends, faith/relationship with God, good music, nature, books/learning, travel/exploration, wholesome eating, creative expression, "service"/being useful to others, and maybe a few more.  Those are the things that fuel me and make my life worth living.  Everything else, the way I see it, is a distraction from those things that I truly love and value.  Granted, many things are necessary distractions and I don't begrudge those.  Others are simply distractions.

My hope, my goal (and I'm really taking a leap of faith here) is to achieve greater peace and fulfillment, as well as time and money to spend on the things I really love by eliminating as much as possible of everything else.  So.... I love you, skinny jeans in every color of the rainbow, and I love you, vintage table linens too pretty to ever use, and I love you, boxes of flamboyant holiday decor, and I love you, Millie's adorable collection of bathing suits... but you might not actually be adding to my happiness because, collectively, you're emotionally cumbersome and materially burdensome.  (I fully acknowledge that simplifying our schedules, access to media, and other such things are incredibly helpful, too.  Physical clutter is what is frustrating me most, though, so I'm starting there.)

I'm not entirely convinced, though.  I do love my stuff.  I'm just finally to the point where I don't want to love my stuff as much as I do.  And perhaps I'm even prepared to do something about it.  Not tonight, but sometime....