I don’t know about you, but I have too much stuff — on the inside and outside. In my house. On my schedule. Swirling about in my head. I'm a Minimalist wanna be.
When I stopped in World Market the other day, I was bombarded with colors, shapes, scents and clutter. A good kind of clutter, but clutter none the less. Materialism at its best.
Since my debut MG historical fiction, "The Heart Changer" releases in Spring of 2019, I'm capturing photos of hearts. This one above from the Market is an example.
Simplicity was my word for 2018. I’m cutting the clutter and making room for creativity to blossom and grow — and freeing up time to write for the glory of God. Every word.
I’m asking myself: “Will what I’m about to think or do help me achieve my goal? I must chip away at anything that is unnecessary, to reveal what is most important — that ‘one thing’.
- Too much time online. Do I need to watch all those episodes in the next few days? Keep up with my friends three times a day on social media? Or chase every link in an email?
Probably not. And it’s doubtful your friends would notice if you didn’t show up. If possible, go on social media once a day. Can you do it? Here’s an idea to help you.
Some things must go. . .
So, to find room, some things have to go. And what are those things?
- Anything that clouds my vision, or distracts me. Things that steal my peace. I want to breathe freely! Things like a too busy schedule. Do I really need to attend all those meetings? Each event I’m invited to? Look at your goals. Will doing all the things on my schedule help you to reach them? Or do they work in conflict?
We shouldn’t feel the need to fill up our free time. Leave room to breathe!
- Unnecessary shopping trips. Do I pass a resale shop or clothing store and stop, just in case they might have a scarf to match my latest outfit? Or wander through three grocery stores to search out the best deals? Is saving a few dollars worth the hassle?
If possible, vow to go out of the house only once a day. Or run just one errand after work. If you must go, combine errands in one location to save time and energy.
Need vs. Want
- Purchasing things I don’t really need. Can I use two blenders at once? Wear three black skirts in one week? Do I need another pillow on my couch? Or a set of dishes for every season or holiday?
I was struck with the contrast between the Bhutanese and American families on the cover of Peter Menzel's book, "Material World" below. Observe the sum total of the Bhutanese home and worldly possessions — now that's simplicity. If a fire consumed all they owned, it would be unfortunate. But to lose their most precious possession, their children, would be devastating. You can be sure they treasure their irreplaceable gifts most highly.
Is the typical American materialistic?
I'd say things haven't changed. If anything, we own more. But I must hand it to the Millennials who seem to have this minimalist mentality down pat. Why do you think humans have a need to collect? To buy? Maybe even to hoard?
Truth is, the more stuff you own, the more time and energy it takes to take care of them. Determine to declutter a drawer at a time- and vow to get rid of one item for each you purchase. Check out this article . . . and this one, too.
- Outdoing Martha Stewart. Will my friends notice if I simplify my centerpiece or offer only two side dishes? Or (for heaven’s sake) care if I order out healthy fare once in a while?
I don’t think so. They would much rather have a happy hostess!
- Expecting everything in my life to turn out perfectly. It’s not going to happen. Not in this life anyway.
Be willing to lower your standards when perfection is not required. Your loved ones will still support you, especially if you explain your need to simplify. This inspirational article will bring you encouragement.
- Having too much on my mind. Do I sometimes feel so stressed I can’t think?
It’s time to take a break. Try these simple ideas:
Take a brisk walk- and breath in the fresh air!
Read a calming book or magazine.
Pray or meditate
Stop for a cup of calming tea, a tall glass of lemon water, or piece of fresh fruit.
Call (that’s right) a friend.
Take a mineral or essential oil bath— detox!
Lie down with cucumbers over your closed eyes and listen to dreamy music.
Do some something crafty: Knitting? Scrapbooking? Journaling? Whatever calms your spirits. Check out Pinterest for ideas.
Download the Pigment app and color away! Or, be mesmerized by Silk.
Keep a gratitude list.
A Minimalist Christmas?
My daughter (a millennial) and I made the decision to forgo the Christmas tree this year. Only for the purpose of simplifying life to avoid the hectic pace over the holidays. We will still have mantel decorations. And candles in our windows. And share simple, meaningful presents.
But the best and most profound gift was given to mankind over 2,000 years ago. A babe, born in simplicity- in a humble stable. God come down to be among us- Immanuel. To have the Maximum benefit to the most minimal among us . . .
Do you plan to simplify your Christmas celebration? Tell me how, below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.