Trying to Live With Less
A while back, my husband and I became interested in minimalism. We liked the idea of living with less, but we didn’t really act on it until a few weeks ago. Now we have started going through our house and weeding out our belongs, deciding what to trash, or what to sell, or donate.
There are different degrees of minimalism. Some people have managed to fit all of their belongings into a suitcase. Hubby and I aren’t looking to fit everything we own in a suitcase, but we would like to get down to where we could pack up our entire house in a day.
This is a much easier goal for him than it is for me. I am on board with this goal. It’s just going to take me longer to get there.
I am a very sentimental person. I have trouble letting go of things that bring back memories, or that people gave me, or that I have held onto since childhood. I used to have probably half a dozen totes of keepsakes in our home. Now I am down to two totes. I have put items that I want to see in my curio cabinet. Some items I have photographed and then discarded. Then there are items I just haven’t been able to let go of yet, and I may not.
Right now my biggest challenge is trying to minimize my wardrobe. I am a t-shirt and jeans girl most of the time, but I do like to dress up. So I am struggling with keeping the right amount of t-shirts and right amount of blouses and dresses. I would like to dress up more, but t-shirts are just more comfortable to me. So I am feeling stuck with my closet.
I have already weeded out the items I know I don’t wear enough, or really like anymore, but I still have over 100 items hanging in my closet. That seems like a lot…until I try to find something to wear. Maybe the problem is having too many choices…?
I am also a “what-if” girl. What if I need that as soon as I get rid of it? What if I gain weight? What if I lose weight? What if the entire economy crashes and we can’t buy clothes anymore?!?!
Okay. That seems a bit extreme, but my brain seems to go into that type of panic and exaggeration when I go through my clothes.
So now I am trying to focus on a few reminders as to why I should be okay with less.
1) We are supposed to trust God to provide. All my what-ifs just lead to worry and anxiety. God has already helped me let go of the anxiety I used to have. I don’t want it back. I need to trust Him.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26.
2) We could have lost it all. In 2011, an EF5 tornado went through our city. Just a few blocks away from us houses were destroyed and apartments were half gone. From the sounds inside our storm shelter there were moments I thought we had already lost it all. We didn’t though. After that event, I started thinking more about which items were really important, and which weren’t. As time went on though, we went back to living the same. I need to remember again that it’s just stuff, and we could easily lose it all in a few minutes. So we might as well have less of it to lose.
3) Someday others will have to go through our stuff. The loss of my grandmother has opened my eyes to this. The more stuff you have when you leave this earth is more stuff your loved ones will have to go through, or fight over. We might as well minimize now. So our loved ones don’t have to later.
Our short-term goal for going through the whole house and weeding out unused, or unnecessary items is the end of the month. I would like for us to reach our long-term goal of being able to pack our entire household belongings in a day by the end of this year. That’s a big goal, but I am hopeful. I am learning to let go.
It’s time we focus more on filling our lives with experiences, instead of things.
I encourage you to take a look around your house. Are there items you need to let go of too?
Be brave; let go of stuff!