A few weeks ago, or last month, or sometime in the recent future (my brain is too cluttered to remember exactly when), I had the overwhelming urge to simplify.
As I cleaned out the kids’ room for the millionth time, sifted through piles in the office, and hauled another load off to Goodwill, it was as if my whole being cried out, “Simplify!”
Honestly, I had no idea where to begin. So I started with the “why”. Because if there isn’t a strong enough “why” behind something, there will never be a strong enough will to keep it up.
Why simplify? What’s the point?
The kids and I headed to the park. While they played, I scribbled in my journal (which is also a crazy disorganized mess). Here’s what I came up with:
Living more simply allows us to:
1. Live our beliefs – if we say “stuff” isn’t important, why do we have so much of it?
2. Model for our kids – what do we want Joe and Leila to value as they grow up?
3. Have more time and less stress – less time cleaning and organizing means more time for fun stuff.
4. Allow for more creativity – I’ve noticed the more toys crammed into our tiny house, the more easily bored the kids are. They’re overwhelmed with the sheer volume of choices. Less choices can mean more creativity.
5. Have less waste – less crap in, less crap out in the dumpster.
6. Have more to give – the less we spend on ourselves, the more we have to give to others. And this goes back to time too. The less time we have to spend on cleaning, the more time we have to invite friends over, cook someone a meal, help out a neighbor…or do important things like play cornhole.
I also want to be clear on the “why not”. This is not about controlling the mess, or wishing my kids weren’t so darn messy. I actually have no problem with a mess. I treasure these years of having small kids and toys strewn about. I love having a home that has evidence (lots and lots of evidence) of kids living here. I am not looking to change that.
Ok, so I have the “why” down. Now what about the “how”?
As I so often do when searching for an answer, I turned to the interwebs for help. I posed the question on Facebook and found some interesting ideas.
-For everything that comes in, something equal goes out.
-Only keep clothes that are part of an outfit.
-Only keep our very favorite art projects, photo archive the rest.
-Set up a rotation system for toys and books. This keeps the toys and books “exciting and new” and decreases clutter in the house.
I also googled the question which led me to Simple Mom’s site. Turns out she was blogging about Simple Living on that exact day. Perfect timing! From Tsh at Simple Mom, “Simple living means living holistically with your life’s purpose.”
Holistically, as in every part of your life points to the same purpose. As in, it’s not just about the “stuff”. And she also stresses the fact that simplifying is a process. This is good. This means every time I fail, every time I let the clutter build back up, I can give myself grace and take the steps to get back on track instead of counting myself a “simplify failure”.
And guess what? Simple Mom’s “Project Simplify 2013” starts on Tuesday. She has a 4-week plan to get us all in “simple” shape. I am so in! Are you?
I hope you’ll join us!
I’m also excited to introduce you to Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom (I’m sure you already know her, she’s amazing) because she recently asked me to join her team of contributors. I’ll be posting some fun fitness ideas throughout the rest of this year, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
So how about you? Why and how do you simplify?
Love this post! Before we left for our trip and we were packing our lives away for the year, I was disgusted by how much “stuff” we had accumulated and we didn’t even have kids! As we have lived such a simplified life this past year my hope is we can carry it into the next stage of our lives when we come back to the ‘real’ world.
I’m sure you are learning a ton about this through your travels. I’ll be interested to see how you put it into practice when you get home 🙂
OH, so excited that you’ll be contributing to Simple Mom! Congratulations 🙂
I take a day every month to just clean out clutter – I end up really looking forward to that day and not stressing about stuff before or after!
I like the once a month plan, that is totally doable!
Hi, I just recently found you thru Tsh. I’m so happy she’s added a RD to her team, congrats 🙂
Thank you Jessica!
I’ve been feeling the need to simplify too – big time. My mind & my home feel so cluttered, and it doesn’t feel good!! I have to agree with the too many toys comment you made, I’m noticing that about my kids these days, the chpices are overwhelming & they aren’t letting themselves just get creative and “play”. It kills me.
Every time I clean out the toys, they find something they forgot they had and get all excited to play with it. I think the bin idea is great, and I’m excited to see it in action!
Love this post. I’ve been cleaning closets and cabinets like crazy with this very idea in mind. One of my favorite things you said was we simplify to live our beliefs – if stuff isn’t important, why do we have so much? I need to keep reminding myself of this.
Me too Dana, me too.
This is great timing. I need some motivation after a lazy week of Spring Break. I’m in!
A wonderful post and great time to coincide with spring cleaning. We moved into our house a little over one year ago and I still have 4 boxes that I have not unpacked which sit in a corner in my office taking up too much space. I think to myself, “If I haven’t unpacked these boxes in over a year, and haven’t missed anything, do I really need these things?” The time has come, I need to de-clutter and rid myself of excess.
Congrats on joining the team of contributors at Simple Mom! You’re a perfect fit.
P.S. Any chance you’ll be at Bloggy Boot Camp this weekend?