Simplified Living

A few weeks ago when I was sorting through and pricing fall clothes to place in our local consignment sale I found myself with some free time on my ears and decided to check out this world of podcasts that I have heard so much about.

I know I’m super late to the game on this and I really didn’t know where to start but after searching around a little bit I stumbled across

The Minimalists.   Early this year we stayed with some good friends of ours in Birmingham who had shared with us that they loved listening to The Minimalists.  I remembered they shared with us how helpful it was to examine everything in their lives and ask themselves whether that item/task added value or took away value from their lives.  Michael Luke and I have always had the desire to simplify our lives and cleanse our house of “junk” so I decided to check them out.

The Minimalists are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, two men who used to live it up with their corporate jobs, six figure incomes, more possessions than their jobs could afford, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.  After some major life setbacks they each realized that none of the  things were bringing them true happiness and were in actuality cluttering their lives up.

They stripped their lives down until all that remained were the essentials… the things that actually added value to their life.  I’m talking major simplifying that involved “packing parties”, scanning documents and pictures to hard drives, and drastically reducing the size of their wardrobes.

Now, I by no means see our family becoming super extreme minimalists but I have definitely seen the value in simplifying and over the past few weeks we have been evaluating everything in our lives to see what items add the most value to us and what steps we could take to simplify tasks around our house.

For instance, we have hardwood floors downstairs.  Michael Luke recently bought one of those automatic vacuum cleaners that cleans the floors for us while we are out of the house.  It adds immense value to our lives because we don’t have to spend all that time sweeping the floors every day now. Something else that adds value is that we don’t have any rugs downstairs except for in front of the sink and in Judah’s room. This means that we don’t have to roll them back to clean underneath them or spend extra time vacuuming them with our Dyson.

As a mom, why would I not want to make my job easier.  Do we really need those items we haven’t used in more than three months?  Is a collection of DVD’s we haven’t watched in years worthy of taking up drawer space?  Isn’t a closet much less overwhelming when it only contains clothes that I love and I know look great on me?

I’ve been purging toys, cleaning our drawers,  and pairing things down.  I took the place mats off the table that I thought made things easier but in reality they complicated cleaning up after supper.  I had to wipe every place mat off after dinner and then pick them all up to clean the table from any loose crumbs afterwards. Sure the table looked pretty with the extra color but it wasn’t making my life easier.  Now we eat and then the girls are able to use a damp towel to clean the table after each meal… way easier for me.

Reducing the clutter and the amount of your possessions also provides more free time in your life because there is less cleaning.  Which means less sounding like a not so fun mom who has to constantly ask her girls to pick their toys up.  Our girls don’t have a boat load of toys but it doesn’t take much for any child to accumulate a stock pile of trinkets.  Despite all their “stuff” when my girls play most days they end up creating many of their props needed for all their imaginary expeditions.  Before we moved earlier this year we packed up nearly all their toys a few weeks before the big day. Never did they complain about having less toys. They just came up with new ways to play.  They used their amazing minds and got creative.

I really think pairing down our possessions and simplifying our lives is going to have such immense benefits and allow us to focus on what we as a family value most… each other and time together.  It’s been fun examining our lives in a new light and reading about other families that choose to live a minimalist lifestyle.

A few fun new blogs that I have discovered on this dive into minimalism are:

The Minimalists

5 Kids 1 Condo

The Minimalist Mom

One thing I have learned over the past few weeks is that minimalism doesn’t have to look like concrete floors, bare walls, and a clean line sofa. Minimalism has many different looks and just may include a big comfy sofa, a bag full of Lego pieces, and a selection of dress-up clothes because all of these add value to our lives.

Is anyone else out there living the minimalist lifestyle?  If so, what resources or tactics have you found most beneficial?

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