Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Journey Toward Less

This pas summer was.....weird.
I can't really explain it, but I had a very weird summer (from an emotional/mental standpoint).  I just wasn't myself and felt down a lot.  This is unusual for me, but I could tell there was something good happening on the inside.  By good, I knew it would turn out for good.  But it felt weird at the time.  I was overly emotional and just sort of blah.

Fortunately, I finally came out of the funk about a month ago.  I still look and seem the same from the outside, but I can tell I am different.  If that makes sense.

One of the things I did during that time was purge a lot of the excess stuff in my home.  Not to be overly dramatic, but as my insides were getting some pruning, I felt it necessary to prune my environment, as well.

It is well documented on social media that I love to clean and organize.  So at the start of this purging time, I did not really have that much extra stuff.  I had given away everything we don't really use (or use enough to keep).  Even though the only clothes in my closet were ones that fit, I still couldn't wear them all.  Even though my kids played with all of the toys left in their rooms, they still didn't need them all.  Even though my kitchen gadgets could come in handy, another utensil could work.

The weird part about me is that I really don't shop that much.  And I don't buy my kids much.  We do have generous family members, but they're not over-the-top.  Stuff seems to procreate in my house, and I, fortunately, am the recipient of lots of hand-me-downs.  (Though I only take what I know I will use; I am not a junk collector).

Once I started the journey toward less, it felt liberating.  Trips to thrift stores became more fun than trips to the mall.  (I once heard a minimalism blogger say that thrift stores are her storage unit.....if she can get something for less than $20 at a thrift store, she doesn't keep it at her house.)

Recently, I've been desiring to be wiser in my spending.....both financially and ethical responsibility.  I still have far to go in the ethics, but I am working on small steps.  I've often said I can't afford ethically made clothing.  But I realized I can afford to NOT buy clothes.  Instead of buying $5 Target shirts, I forego them for a few months and can afford a responsibly made shirt.
I don't want to make anyone feel bad.  I certainly am not great in this area.  I am just starting out in this journey.

But I have found that I crave less junk.  Instead of wanting lots of cheap items, I am more careful to buy quality products that last longer.

I think this exchange for better, higher quality items is a metaphor for my life.....which was part of my weird summer process....I have been cutting out the unnecessary, fruitless, lifeless parts of my life to create space for more beautiful, satisfying, life-giving things.

I have loved the results of it all.

My house is quicker to clean up because there is simply less to clean.
My kids have not once complained.

Our schedule is more relaxed, and I am loving the pace of our days.
It feels weird that our days can be so open with not much to do.  Since it's so contrary to the American way, I sometimes still wonder if something is wrong when we have hours and hours of free time.  I am loving it, though.  And my kids are, as well.

We are completing our school work each day, but with little else on our agenda, I am able to teach with patience (most days) and have fun.

Though I haven't full realized the fruit of my pruning season, I am very grateful for it.  I did not enjoy it at the time (the emotional part), but it's been really nice to feel freer and more alive!

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