Minimize THIS: Stuff = Stress

I bought something with my face. Yes, you read that right. I wanted to purchase something on my iPhone X, and all I had to do was look at the screen and POOF! Purchase confirmed. I have also purchased things with my thumbprint or a quick little password (which my devices all so very conveniently save for my own ease and comfort – how thoughtful!). It’s that easy.

It’s too easy. And now there is stuff everywhere and I’m drowning in it.

I’m the opposite of a procrastinator, more of a ruminator really – anything hanging over my head MUST get done before even a modicum of relaxation can flutter in. I dwell on things more than I should. I have also never been one who can relax in a mess or surrounded by clutter, so the combination of all our “stuff” (that’s putting it nicely) and the need I feel to sort and purge is becoming overwhelming to me lately. It’s not so much a need for “spring cleaning” as it is to feel like have regained control over my home and the things in it. I crave organization, and we are nearing max capacity.  We love to have fun and enjoy life, and often time that fun means acquiring the appropriate “stuff” with which to have specific said fun.  But in this life, especially with kids, we have accumulated SO MUCH STUFF that I almost cannot even stand it. It’s making this perpetual worrier even more uptight, and one weekend it came to a head…

jerry mcguire

Enter “Minimalism.” I have been reading a little bit about this concept lately and researching it just out of curiosity (and maybe a tad of desperation). I recently heard a story about a person who has one plate, one fork, one cup, etc, for each person in her family and that is it in the way of dishes. When you use your plate/cup/fork/whatever, you immediately wash it and put it away. I don’t know that I will ever achieve that level of minimal possessions, but I am very interested in the idea of filling our lives with things other than knick-knacks, plastic goodies, things we don’t really need, and plain old junk. I’m skeptical that I will ever pare down our belongings to the point that I can actually declare myself a true Minimalist, but I am sure as heck going to learn about this concept and take away things from it that I feel will benefit my family and the way we want to live on our little piece of this third rock from the sun. I want to feel like I can truly organize what we need versus just trying to find an unoccupied space for something. I want to evolve, explore, and experiment with maybe not buying that thing I want from Amazon just because I can buy it and think I need at that very second, only to have it soon forgotten and left to contribute to the mass of stuff. (Instant gratification, anyone?) I want to get real about the shame I sometimes feel about the massive collection of toys (for both adult and kids) that sometimes seem to have taken over our home. I am going to have the uncomfortable conversations with myself and my family about what it really means to feel fulfilled, and where that fulfillment comes from, and how we can start peeling back the layers to truly reveal our love-filled home. It’ll be a journey, for sure, and not something that will happen quickly at all. As I have heard from some friends of mine, “Experiences; not things.”

I’m thinking of this as “exfoliating” our house (and life), one section at a time. And I cannot wait to see the gunk that comes off her face!

So, I invite you to join me on this exploratory adventure to unburden ourselves from much of the truly unnecessary and excessive as we try to enrich our lives with the more meaningful. If anything, for entertainment value because I assure you, it will probably get ugly at times. At the same time, I’m also looking forward to the side effects of this and the things we learn as a family. I mean, there are obvious financial benefits to procuring “less,” and I am envisioning the yard sale to end all yard sales. It’s about a quality of life and living a lifestyle that is truly our “style,” not the one that we think we are supposed to have. It will truly be an adventure. There’s got to be a happy medium on the spectrum between drawers too full to close and tiny house dwellers. Please do not picture us living in our yard in tents with only a backpack to survive; that is not what this is about. I’ve never been one to rough it, but it’s gone too far.

TBH

PS – You should prepare yourself for Troop Beverly Hills references if you come along on this journey with me.

I had a small, but poignant, epiphany recently from our family vacation to Canada:  I cannot remember ever feeling so relaxed and my heart so full as I did during this entire vacation (not an easy task when trapped in a car for several hours with two young kids), and yet we did not come home with ONE. SINGLE. SOUVENIR. The thought of purchasing anything besides food, tickets to attractions, and cold drinks never really crossed my mind. We came home with two Christmas ornaments that our friends so graciously gifted to us to always remind us of this amazing trip and experience, but aside from that, nada. No stuffed animals (that would soon be forgotten), no shirts (that would fall to the back of the drawer causing a clothing clog), no tangible mementos of any kind. When I realized this had happen, I panicked at first. “Shouldn’t we have bought something for our parents?! What about something cute for the kids so they remember this trip? Oh my gosh we literally brought back nothing except dirty laundry!”

Ummmmm . . . we also brought back about gazillion lifetime memories with our kids and great friends, Holly. Geesh. Get a grip.

This is going to be one heck of a journey.

keep throw away

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