“I am never going to have a capsule wardrode,” declares my husband, Daniel, at the dinner table.
I try not to choke on my spaghetti in laughter.
“Of course not!” I reply with a smile.
We are talking about simplifying our home, and our vision during the process of simplification.
Many people would call our vision the pursuit of minimalism, a hot button and trendy topic right now. Minimalism can be defined as the pursuit of less material items in favour of more immaterial things, like time, travel, or financial freedom.
Everywhere you turn you’ll find talk of minimalism. On Netflix you can watch the popular documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. On bedside tables across the world (some cluttered, some clear), you’ll find the popular book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
The concept of Minimalism is everywhere. But is Minimalism everywhere? And what exactly is a minimalist?
In years prior, I have struggled with these questions. Am I a minimalist? How much do I need to get rid of in order to be truly minimalist? How does that fit into my lifestyle and stage of life?
I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I am not a minimalist, but I do value simplification. Detaching myself from the label for me was a practice of simplifying. By simply being me I felt less pressure and burden to present myself as something I am not.
Over the last year, we have lost our way and have become pursuers of stuff. I have seen how the clutter and collection of things has crowded out the clarity and freedom in my heart and mind. I certainly see a connection to my clutter and my dark mind this past year, and my husband would agree.
In the last month, I have slowly been going room by room, and purging items that we don’t need. After I had freed our home of about four boxes, I really felt lighter in my spirit. I felt joyful. There was space, there was clarity, and there was much more time.
Recently, my husband and I have been discussing what our family vision is as we try and grab hold of simplicity and experience the refreshing and life-altering effects.
We decided that there are some main principles and goals as we reduce our stuff.
We want less stuff so that we have more time. The more things you have the more time you spend maintaining those things. I realized as I purged boxes of items that I would never have to be burdened by them ever again. I’d never fold that shirt, or pick up that pile of Lego off of my floor. The more I got rid of the lighter I began to feel.
We value experiences over things. Instead of spending money on more toys, or books, or gadgets, we would rather save our money and create lasting memories as a family. If we aren’t spending money on things we have more freedom to spend money on experiences, something we value much more.
Less things will keep us more content. We really value the concept of being content with what we have. We find that the less we are pursuing the “high of the buy”, the more we able to just enjoy life. Making the decision to buy less directly impacted my happiness, as I didn’t have to decide whether or not I wanted to buy something. I just wouldn’t.
There are things that we won’t simplify, and we will be guilt-free about it. Instead of feeling guilty about certain areas of clutter or collection, we will embrace the things that we do collect and that bring us joy. For example, my husband clearly loves clothes, and even when I encourage him to take a look and please try to reduce a few items, he simply can’t find anything he’s willing to part with. For all of our sanity, that is okay!
“Whether rich or poor, a home is not a home unless the roots of love are ever striking deeper through the crust of the earthly and the conventional, into the very realities of being, not consciously always; seldom, perhaps; the simplicity of loving grows by living simply near nature and God.” - Lucy Larcom