Minimalism. It’s a word that’s been floating around a bit more that usual lately and has really captivated my attention.
More and more women are beginning to realize how badly they need to simplify. Life is chaotic enough, our homes and spiritual lives shouldn’t be.
With only a few weeks of school left, and spring cleaning said and done, it’s the perfect time to really clean house before the kids are home for the summer! Just the thought of getting rid of more unnecessary junk is liberating. I’ve reached a point in my life where I just don’t want any more “stuff”.
Repeat after me:
I. DON’T. WANT. IT. Good.
“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” -Eleanor Brownn
Consumerism has always been a problem. But today, and especially for women who sincerely want to live more spiritual lives , it’s become a real issue.
Living simply is an ongoing process, a lifestyle change, and includes more than just the tangible things in our lives. We have to constantly rid ourselves and our homes of stuff that served it’s purpose, or in many cases, never had one. This also includes bad habits, thoughts, and whatever else is stopping us from living purposeFULL lives. It’s something that requires time and effort and doesn’t happen overnight, even though you will feel the benefits immediately.
Shopaholic Syndrome is a for real epidemic today. Women shop on impulse and bury themselves into debt, literally for nothing. I love the quote below by Will Rogers. And while, this may not be the case for every purchase, or every woman, but that very concept is more popular than most are willing to admit.
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” -Will Rogers
Social media is partially to blame, I think. We’re constantly being inundated with new “stuff” and so many women have fallen into this trap that it feels normal. “Oooh, I looove that ________ !” You fill in the blank. Something new is always being shoved in our faces and we fall for the lie that we need it when in reality the list of things we actually need is very short.
This kind of living not only puts additional stress on us but on our husbands and children, too. I certainly don’t want to teach my children to live that way! But about two years ago I realized that was exactly what I’d been doing. I shopped all the time. They weren’t necessarily big splurges, maybe just a top here, a skirt there, but it was all the time. The majority of women I was knew did the same thing, so it felt completely normal. It wasn’t until I took a step back and reevaluated my life, which we need to do frequently, that I even noticed I was doing it.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how mentally exhausting it was and how by constantly moving on to the next best thing, I was missing out on enjoying all that I already had, and leaving less room for the important things, the things I really wanted. And needed.
There was an unfamiliar feeling of anxiety hanging over me and at first I couldn’t pinpoint the cause but then one day it hit me. I had too much stuff. You don’t think about the additional stress each item you own drags along with it. Each possession requires maintenance, it needs cleaned, stored someplace, and it takes up space. How much or how little is irrelevant.
I saw all that junk for what it was and I hated it. I wasn’t sure how or when I reached that point but knew it’d been this way for a couple of years and I was so disappointed in myself. It wasn’t the kind of person I was or wanted to be. My family had always lived very frugally and even once I’d started spending more money than I knew I should, I justified myself by thinking it wasn’t that bad in comparison to what other women spent. You know, it could always be worse, right?
But it was bad because no matter the amount, it was money wasted and my husband worked far too hard to provide me with the blessing of staying home to raise our family. What other women spent was their problem, what I spent was ours. Somewhere along the way, I fell into a pattern I did not like one bit and now I had to figure out a way to dig myself out.
Almost two years we made a major move, and I saw that as the perfect opportunity to start over. During the moving process, I had no choice but to go through every single thing we owned and decide what was worth taking with us and what wasn’t. Y’all. There was SO MUCH STUFF. Honestly, I was ashamed of it all. One thing that really makes my soul happy is giving to those in need, and sitting in the middle of our house surrounded by enough stuff to open our own personal Superstore, quite literally made me cry. It disgusted me.
“If you have to buy stuff to store your stuff, you might have too much stuff.”
Since then, I’ve really been making a strong effort to control myself and believe it or not, it’s easier than it sounds. The first thing I did was identify what caused it. What sites or magazines did I order from the most? Then, I unsubscribed and unfollowed the things and people that were causing me to stumble. It was hard!! But if I can do it, you most definitely can, too.
As Christian women, we need to be so much stronger than this. What we’re really doing is attempting to fill a hole where God belongs with material things, and that is never going to work.
It’s never going to make us feel good for longer than a moment because all of those things are temporary fixes. Something is most likely missing in our life. For me, I was stuck in the house all day every day, in the middle of nowhere. Even though I loved, seriously loved, where I lived, I was 35 miles from civilization and only had face-to-face adult conversation (with someone other than my husband) on Sundays after church. That got to be overwhelming after awhile. My husband was always working, our family was hours from us. I missed him and was lonely for adult company so I filled that void with junk.
If you really want to solve the problem, you can but it will take some honesty. You need to take an honest look at your life. This can be difficult if you’ve never done it but remember no one is judging you, no one else will even know what you’re thinking. So go ahead and criticize yourself. Dig deep and allow yourself to own those weak areas. It will make you stronger and happier. It can be any number of things. Is your relationship with your husband or children not what you wish it was? Unhappy with your work? Do you have dreams you’re afraid to pursue? What is it for you? Remember that no one has a perfect life. Perfection is for Christ alone. But joy? That’s His gift to all of us and oh, how we’ll miss out if we choose secular happiness over eternal joy.
So here’s what you’re going to do.
Make a list of all the things you want in life.
Thank God your issues are what they are and then own them. Embrace your perfectly imperfect life! The time you’re wasting elsewhere could be spent making memories with your family or pursuing something important in your life. Nothing is worth losing those moments and opportunities! I’d much rather invest the money wasted on things I don’t need into making more memories with my family. Put that cash in a jar and go on vacation or a weekend getaway!
Once you know what is at the root of the problem, take it to God. Pray over and over again and make every effort to stop this downward spiral. He is the only one that can fill that void. Seek His Joy not a worldly happiness.
Remind yourself that this IS a lifestyle change, you’ll do better some months than others but don’t give up! Old habits are hard to break but by being watchful when you’re shopping and praying for God’s help, it will happen.
So, if you’re in that position right now, constantly filling your home, closet, or worse yet, your kid’s closets, with more and more, S T O P! It’s an addiction. You don’t even realize you’re a junkie. Put your phone or that catalogue away and pick up a book. One you can’t order from. 😉
Since our move, I’ve really been making an effort to simplify. During that move, I got rid of SO MUCH that I refused to start the same thing all over again in our new home. Now, I try to only buy the things I either need or really, really love. I like a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean I should have everything I like. There’s no more buying things and finding a place for it somewhere, it only comes home if I already know where it will go. No more impulse shopping, no more “needing” new boots every season or buying something trendy, for myself of my home, that doesn’t fit my personal style or the atmosphere of the home I’ve created.
I paid off all of my credit cards within about 6-7 months by making payments instead of shopping. We still have some hubby uses for various things but all of the ones I personally have for all of my favorite shops are at ZERO. What a fantastic feeling! I’m not sure what it is about simplicity but I do believe it makes you happy. And happy feels, oh, so good!
So, this week I’m really looking forward to a good pre-summer purge! And it’s a good feeling be able to pass along good quality items to someone else who actually needs them. Though, I can’t call myself a minimalist in the true sense of the word, at least not yet, I have thrown my arms around the concept and have been thoroughly enjoying the process of simplifying my life one day at a time.
Who will join me in simplifying their lives and homes?
Now, go! Live simply and purposeFULLy! <3