It’s not that I believe our life is overly complicated. In fact, it is simple in many ways. Yet, I have this strong desire to bring simplification everywhere I turn.
When the kiddos and I are cleaning up, I desperately believe that we have too many toys. When I am doing household chores, I ask myself, “Do we really need all of this space?” And “How much stuff does one person or 5 people, really need, or use regularly?”
Perhaps it is the Crystal in me, desiring less stuff. Maybe it’s all the time I spent living in Europe and traveling to various parts of the world where they live with less and are satisfied. Or maybe it is reflecting upon the economic situation our society has created.
So like many of you, we are on a budget. Really, we always have been, but lately we are more committed, and have been more successful these past few months. And the result? I keep thinking about Julie Beck’s Mothers Who Know talk. Specifically,
“Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all.”
Sometimes I wonder if a life with less would actually be a life with more. And I’m beginning to believe that it is.
As we welcome more beautiful children to our family, we welcome more stuff. It’s almost unavoidable. Oh, the boxes of clothing we have stored: baby clothes, clothes for girls, clothes for boys, prego clothes, fat clothes, skinny clothes…the list goes on and on. We need clothes, and no, the kiddos don’t have a ton, it’s just that when you add up all the things we aren’t using right now, I feel a bit hoard-ish.
We looked at a lovely home this week. It is smaller than what we are currently living in, but it has a nice yard and is within a beautiful neighborhood: the kind with mature trees, little traffic, a stream out front (in which the kiddos immediately fell in love), and its price-tag: nearly the same as the worth of our condo. The designer said that it would be like living in a 70’s cabin. He’s right, but I think it has all that we need right now. Well a girl can dream…
It’s the needs that the designer and I are trying to understand. What do we truly need? Getting rid of the superfluous will give us freedom. Like Julie Beck challenges, being willing to live on less and consume less. I think that is the key to a happy, simple life. Making do with what we already have. Giving up what we don’t really need. Choosing to be happy with the beauties of this world and forgoing all of the other that can so easily overwhelm us and distract us from our potential. Helping our kiddos learn to be happy with less, to spend more time learning, creating, finding joy. That is what I want.
What are you doing to simplify your life? Suggestions? How do you help your kiddos learn to live on less and love life?