Have you ever gone on a dream vacation and rented a condo or home which is beautifully decorated and stocked with every essential that you need? While you are staying there, when you are least expecting it, something miraculous begins to happen. Because you have only brought a suitcase of belongings with you, your life suddenly becomes simpler. You find yourself unwinding, having more time for family, enjoying a good book, or even just finally getting a good nights sleep. Because in this simple yet beautiful environment there isn’t much to clean. There isn’t an abundance of dishes to get into and dirty up. You only have a so many clothes so there isn’t a lot of laundry to be done.
There isn’t a need for many toys because the outdoors has become your play ground. You may find that a smart television with a digital library has replaced the stacks of DVD’s you have at home. Because this home is clean and uncluttered your mind becomes the same. You feel, for the first time in a long time, reconnected with the things in your life which are the most important. You find yourself thinking about dreams and ambitions that may have been covered up for years by the clutter and business of life.
This, my friends, has been my life for the past three weeks since I eliminated and cleaned out all clutter and excess from my kitchen and home. Leaving only the basics behind, I have been able to see first hand what is absolutely necessary to have on a day-to-day basis. I will tell you it just isn’t much. The fact is that somehow, in this land of the free, home of the brave, and over abundance of plenty…many of us have obtained way too much.
All of these things that we own we are now are stewards over and we must compartmentalize, organize, and find room for them all in our minds. We have to worry about their well-being, do they need washed, cleaned, cared for. As life becomes busy we may have to hire out help just to take care of the things we “think” we need to have. Perhaps clearing out to some is moving things into a storage unit and paying even more just to have things crammed into a dark room for years. Maybe it is the huge home you now own, where rooms lay vacant and often times aren’t even entered into but once or twice a year. Or the home that is used but too much space calls for too many things to fill that space and before you know it there just is no way it can be cleaned and cared for by yourself. The blessing has become a burden and your life becomes out of balance.
I talk about these things because I am guilty. Yes, me, I am the number one offender. Being blessed with the ability to obtain and enjoy nice things and have an abundance of clothing, shoes, pampered chef tools, toys, crafts of all kinds, saws, tools, books, and more I am forever grateful for. Having the means and ability to replace these things might make this journey to simplification even easier for me. I am the first to admit it. But I am also the first to admit that my husband and I worked hard for everything in this life that we have acquired. Letting most of it go does not mean in any way shape or form that I am not appreciative for these things that I had or the role that they have played in my life.
For instance I love beautiful dishes and find complete joy and happiness in setting my table for grand events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This activity sort of defines who I am. I love making these family dinners extra special by having a gorgeous place setting. I find that it does matter how things are decorated. Decorations can set the mood for a wonderful evening together with loved ones. It shows them that it is a special day and that there is a reason to celebrate. Setting the tone for my family dinners is a favorite and I will never give THAT away. I will never simplify the joys of what I love to do out of my life.
However, that joy and happiness isn’t in a plate I need to keep for ten or twenty years. I found myself taking the courage to dig deep into my upper cabinetry and retrieve every piece of special dinnerware and set them out in my kitchen. There was so much of it there wasn’t even room on my counters. Touching the serving platters, chargers, plates and bowls sent memories into my mind. But I knew that it was time for these things to go. They had served their purpose in my life years ago. They shared beautiful memories with me and my children, however they had long since been replaced with different items. So instead of being stacked inside a dark cupboard I decided it was time to let them go. It was time for them to bless another home with their beauty and it makes me smile when I think about how they will.
If I have learned anything on my journey to simplification it is that less is more. If you are yearning for a different, more simple life, one that you only find on a vacation or in a fairy tale then maybe this is for you. Try it. Start eliminating excess from your life. It is a freeing and beautiful experience. And you may just find, like me, that all you need is LESS. Because LESS opens your life up to MORE of the things that matter.
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