So strange things are happening over here.
I’ve been lurking on bloggers lately that promote less is more…people who seem to have found incredible contentment in owning less in their lives. Being that I’m a person of an ever-growing material existence (always seems to be something on the list), I’m finding that’s it’s creating an extreme restlessness in my heart. This seems to have been the Summer of Retail (I say this hanging my head in shame). With my new job and the pursuit of the perfect classroom environment (having given 100% of the gear away in 2000) and the rather shocking “gimmee list” of my preteen/teen girls, I seem to have spiraled down into the black hole of capitalism and stepped into a pile of shopping mall excrement.
I’m feeling the winds of change whipping through the abode and it’s taking me by surprise.
Can someone who loves stuff reform her ways? I’m not a horder, nor am I an authority in the Spartan Arts. I lie somewhere in the middle of wishing-for-the-small-studio-and-few-needs-deal and suburban-garage-filled-to-the-limit-hell. The more I read and talk to folks who’ve chosen to drastically pare down, the more I’m beginning to open my eyes to the reality that it may really be the answer…or half of the answer anyway. When there’s less stuff, there’s more room physically and mentally for the good stuff to come in…more chances to be present…
to the surface.
I know it will take baby steps. I’m prepared to hobble around like a toddler drunken sailor in the quest to avoid materialism and all of its seductive ways. I’ve compiled a little list of things I can do to help on this journey….and of course, there has to be a little logo in the mix. What can I say? I do better when there’s a title involved!
Powering up brings energy to priorities in our lives. Living on Planet Too Much siphons it and leaves you floundering in the seas of excess without a rudder. I understand now what needs to be done and the light switch has been flipped…I’m feeling brave enough to share it here with you after journaling about this heart stirring for weeks. There must be a plan, I realize, and I’m committed to sticking with it for the sake of quality of our family life.
This is what I’m doing this month to keep me honest and reinforce the pare down:
1) Throwin’ out the catalogs of evil that call to me from the mailbox. Do I really need another black dress with just enough detail differentiation that it justifies a spot in the closet? I think not. I’m taking my name off the list here and tossing the ones that lurk in my box without permission.
2) Avoid the mall like there’s a different boy band playing a concert there every day of the week. I don’t like the mall—never have. It makes me feel like there’s a hole in the bottom of my wallet. It usually brings out the worst in my kidlets and we end up in a tiff and me lecturing about children in third world countries who have ringworm and no shoes.
3) No TV…easy peasy. I don’t watch much anyway and the HGTV that I do partake in is recorded. Come to think of it…HGTV can create the grown-up gimmees...might need to turn it off all together for awhile.
4) One in/One out rule is in effect. If I absolutely require something that has the danger of being redundant, the old one must hit the road, Jack.
5) Give…and give some more. Never has writing a check been such a cheerful experience than this month for the Ameena Project. Having a plan to save with a mission in mind is really great…so much better than spending money on things I don’t need.
6) Always have a list when dropping into the scary stores (you know—the “I came in for peanut butter—how did all of this crap get into my cart? And what on earth cost $199?”) Tar-jay Boutique is the usual offender. Yikes. Gotta keep out of that place.
7) Delete the Amazon app. Good grief, I can’t be trusted with that thing! Assuming that the purchase of a used book is good because it only cost $4 in shipping isn’t really a good argument when you’ve got 10 of ’em coming into your mailbox each month. Enough. I hear the library calling.
8) Talk to my kids about my decision to pare down and how they can too. The minivan has become a confessional lately (something about looking at the back of my head prompts them to tell me stuff they otherwise wouldn’t). We talk about absolutely everything. Why not talk candidly about our family’s spending habits and how we can better our lives by paring down? I’m game.
9) Pick up the gratitude journal (again). It really does help to count one’s blessings. They are abundant and amazing—it always brings me back to feeling grateful and purging the unnecessary wants. I need to keep it bed-side so I don’t forget.
10) Begin the room-by-room purge of excess stuff. I just did this in my studio and let me tell you—I was Wonder Woman, satin tights and all! I did have a brief moment of the unbearable lightness of being thing that all the minimalist folks talk about when you shed the unnecessary stuff. In all seriousness, the joy that came in made me want to go deeper…like deeper to the core of the abyss of misfit toys that occupy my world.
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I wonder if any of you have been having the same tugs in a purging stuff state of mind.. I would love to hear what steps you’re taking to head in this direction. I’m beginning to slowly get it and I’m excited (and a little scared too) about what it might mean for our lives.
Happy last couple weeks of summer, Lovelies!