I graduated from high school in 2003. Since then I have moved 11 times. That’s right I have moved 11 times in 11 years. And no I didn’t move every year. Some years I had the joy of moving more than once. Mostly I’m ok with moving…which is good since I want to be a United Methodist pastor. But the last time I moved I got really frustrated with myself. It was the first time I had lived on my own in a place that wasn’t the size of a postage stamp. And somehow in the 2 years I lived there I had acquired quite a few new things. Without realizing it I had filled every nook and cranny of that place. I stood in my closet, filled with clothes I never really wore (since you always have just a few you really love), shoes I barely wore (they hurt!), and jewelry I had bought on a whim and I just felt so guilty. I’m not super good at math (although in case he is reading, I do think it is super important, David) but it didn’t take a genius to figure out that a lot of money went into building a wardrobe that I barely utilized. And that would be one thing but every room in the house was this way. Every cabinet, closet, and shelf was filled with stuff most of which was only used for collecting dust. And don’t get me started on the storage closet filled with things I might need at some point but had so far not touched. But what was I supposed to do? Life requires stuff, right? So I got rid of a few things, boxed the rest, and moved it to the next place.
But over the last year and a half I have begun to lean more on the hate side of the love/hate relationship I have with my stuff. I started routinely going through my closet and mercilessly purging because it would feel so freeing to be rid of some of my stuff! I started freaking out about things like dish towels…how many dish towels do you have to have anyway???? My stuff is a burden constantly requiring my time and attention to clean and maintain it. My stuff wants to be the boss of me. And I have had it.
Enter my decision to be a minimalist.
I don’t know how you feel about your stuff and I’m not trying to tell you what to do. Deciding to live with less is a decision I’ve made after a few years of reading, studying, talking to people, and consistently paring down my stuff. I’ve found that it is really true…I don’t need as much stuff as I thought! And more than that I love having more space and less clutter!
And now I’m moving again. This time from a house into an apartment. A smallish apartment that I fell in love with because of its quiet, beautiful community and simple layout. It’ll hold just what I need. And that’s the point. Not to just get rid of a bunch of old stuff but to really find the joy in living with less. To appreciate small things and find contentment in enough. I’m done buying a bunch of stuff because I think I need it until I forget about it. I want to buy just what I need and really enjoy it! I want to enjoy the things I already have and actually use it. But mostly I want to make space so that God can move.
My life is, and has been for a very long time, filled to the brim. With work, friends, family, school, and church I always have a full calendar. I love all of the ministry, learning, and working I get to be a part of and I love all the people I get to share it with. My heart is full! I want to make intentional space so that my life can be full of those things without the weight of consumerism and material possessions holding me back.
So this starts what I hope will be a regular series on something I’m passionate about- finding joy in living with less. I’ll share my transition with you guys and talk some more about some of the myriad of reasons I’m starting on this adventure. My hope is that it makes you think about the things that you are holding on to and that we can find common ground as we work out what it means to be content with enough.
For more info on minimalism or how to become a minimalist check out these sites:
Or check out these books*:
The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
I love Francine Jay and her book Miss Minimalist started me on this awesome journey to less! This book is great with helpful hints and lots of inspiration.
Living in the Land of Enough by Courtney Carver
The thing I love about this book is that the author references her faith something I totally identify with. This one definitely tops my minimalist book list!
Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life by Joshua Becker
This book has some great tips and advice to get you on the way to cleaning and decluttering your house right away!
*Full disclosure- I have read these books and I think they rock but I am not some kind of fancy-pants reviewer. So if you don’t like ’em don’t blame me. No one has paid me for mentioning any of their work and all opinions are my own.