(image via Upgrade Reality)
I’ve stumbled into some interesting territory this month. It’s a place called Rational Minimalism. If you were standing in our storage space amidst what seems like a thousand boxes of randomness, you probably would cock your head to one side like my Beagle. “This,” you might begin, “is quite the opposite of minimalism.”
And you’d be right.
Yet, I’ve been flirting with the idea of simplifying for awhile now through books & blogs. There was one blog in particular that spoke to me because the author sounded like a regular guy with the regular amount of stuff that a regular suburban family lives with. Joshua Becker wasn’t militant or preachy. Just realistic that it would be a slow process and that the process could really set you free. I read his book without stopping and made what could be a monumental decision in MPG Land.
I started small this week with the kidlets’ help, but the bags of clothes and paraphernalia began to grow and soon it looked like the back of the Grinch’s sleigh in my family room, literally blocking the window light. I could barely get the gear in the car for an intended Goodwill drop, yet somehow, like Mr. Green and Cranky, I “stuffed the tree up” and quickly closed the minivan trunk, sleeves of shirts hanging out and all.
Something significant happened as we reveled in the purging.
We felt lighter than we usually do when this routine begins.
Even Rach, my hold-on-to-every-piece-of-soccer-memorabilia tomboy, said it felt really, really satisfying. So, of course, you know what happened next. I became a whirling dervish of organizational progress and stopped when it got dark.
I’m a realist.
I know how hard it is to maintain and I’m aware that the slow-down rhythm of summer can prompt us to do strange and unfamiliar things, only to slide back down the slippery slope of unnecessary purchases and cabinet cramming. Yet something clicked in me this week. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I’ve been working on the Ameena Project party, our summer fundraiser for a Kenyan school of children who have less than nothing. The girls and I have been talking at length about what that must be like, admitting that we’ll probably never know. I’ve also been slowly putting pieces together to do a family mission trip with our church to Nicaragua to serve children who live in a dump. A dump. I can’t even wrap my brain around it. It scares me how much my kids (and me, for that matter) are wrapped in consumerism and that we always have something on our list we can’t live without. I’m starting to internalize something I’ve been kicking around for months, but wasn’t ready to put into action—living simply (rationally simple living, I’m not Super Woman!) could teach all of us who live in the Blair abode what is at the essence of this precious life we’ve been given together.
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In the purging, how did this purchase end up in my hands?! I find this ironic and amusing in an annoying way that the arrow I paid for weeks ago was ready to be picked up today. Honestly, it’s so hard to pass up signs and big pieces for the abode. Gotta work on that.
Coming Friday: What an attempt at rational minimalism means for a design junkie, a hoarder of cowboy boots and glossies, and a user of far too many hair products (and it appears, large arrows).