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What the carpets taught me…

We had our carpets replaced this week. Thankfully most of our house is hardwoods, but we still had to move everything out of all three bedrooms, the office and our master closet. What a job that was! It made me so thankful that I have relentlessly gotten rid of tons of STUFF, because everything we still have had to be moved, and most of it by me! During the process I got rid of even more stuff that we don’t need our don’t use.

I have become a die-hard ‘less is more’ enthusiast and the carpet situation confirmed my decision. I only want clothes I actually wear, toys my kids actually play with and I want memories to be stored mostly in my heart instead of in keepsakes and souvenirs. I want less stuff to dust, clean and maintain; less stuff to store and pack away.

It’s been very liberating, this journey to minimalism. We still have a lot of stuff by global standards, but we’re paring down. My husband isn’t totally on board. He loves his stuff, but today he got a glimpse of the joys of minimalism when his cluttered office took more time to move and put back than both kids’ bedrooms combined. The room he is in charge of was the biggest pain in the rear because he let his stuff pile up without taking the time to assess whether it was useful or not. Oh happy day, he threw some of it away!

Throughout the process I kept thinking how most of the world lives with less than we have. It really is about having enough. Once our basic needs are met, everything else is just gravy. Sure, some stuff is nice; like my Kindle or my kids’ bikes. Some stuff does make our lives more enjoyable. The problem comes when our stuff starts to own us, when we pay for storage units because we can’t fit our stuff in our homes anymore. It’s a problem when we work mostly to maintain our stuff- landscaping for our yards, new brakes for the car, new batteries for the toys, fire and flood insurance, cell phone bills, internet bills… You get the picture. The less stuff we own, the less stuff we have to maintain.

Simplicity is a mindset as much as an aesthetic choice. I don’t like cluttered countertops or a cluttered mind. I want to be content with a little bit of stuff and focus my energy not on consuming and obtaining, but on giving. Simplicity is a choice to be defined by something other than what I own. It’s a conscious step away from the predominant culture that tells us we are only as valuable as the car we drive or the home we own. Simplicity is subversive!

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