I always wondered why my mother-in-law had an extra closet full of stuff she never wore and now I know! Thanks, guest blogger Hartlee Kirk for inspiring me to do a little spring cleaning in the fall!
Bright white walls, a single firm couch without throw pillows, lackluster empty space.
This is not my living room, nor do I want it to ever be. Yet, I’m considered to be on-the-verge of minimalist. Having more does not lead to a fuller life, as shown by the following statistics:
- The U.S. Department of Energy reports that one-quarter of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park a car.
- The National Association of Professional Organizers reports we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items.
- Harris Interactive reports 23 percent of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them.
- If you rent a storage facility to store your excess belongings, you’re contributing to a $154 billion industry – bigger than the hollywood film business!
The point of a minimalistic lifestyle is for the purpose of trimming the excess parts of life in order to make room for what matters for eternity. To some, that might look like streamlined decor and a monotone color palette, while to others it might be rainbow pom-pom trim on the curtains and kids artwork displayed in picture frames.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Believers are called to an abundant life! Intentional living should bring forth an abundance of joy, gratitude, and unexpected blessings. There’s a balance between an overflowing storage shed, and a strict capsule wardrobe with only basic clothing.
“Don’t love this evil world or the things in it. If you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. This is all there is in the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. But none of these comes from the Father. They come from the world.” 1 John 2:15
Here’s how I’ve made progress in this area:
1. Start in your closet. Take everything out, hold each item in your hands, and ask yourself if you wear it regularly and feel confident in it. If not, why not let it go? Work through the rest of your house in the same way. When you hold that belonging, ask “Does this add value to my day by bringing joy or serving a purpose?” If so, it’s probably worth your time to keep. If not, why are you letting the vase that doesn’t fit your style take up your time (by cleaning on and around it) and space?
2. Resell or donate what you don’t need. You’re not wasting money by getting rid of an expensive dress. You are learning to make better purchases in the future, and blessing someone who will expose it to the light of day.
3. Notice the patterns in what you keep. If there’s a series of books you choose to keep, search for a similar series and add them to your wish list. The collection of teapots you adore? Display them and use them!
Simplicity looks different for everyone. This practice is supposed to be life-giving! More time, deeper relationships, and more joy are intertwined in the banner of simplicity. If you walk into your house or closet and feel overwhelmed or dreary by what you see, reevaluate. Pray for gratitude and humility, and thank Him for your countless blessings!