Spark Joy and Two Points Of Caution
Three years ago I cleaned out our home, we became ‘minimalish’, and even became debt free. As the children grow I have to assess each season to evaluate what works best for our life, not what seems Pinterest perfect.
After many friends telling me about a new show on Netflix, I finally tuned in, and binged out.
I first came across Marie Kondo’s method of tidying three years ago in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
This book along with Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, indeed did change my life, and our home.
The first thing I noticed was her genuine joy, and excitement for each family. I enjoyed seeing not only did she write it, but lives with joy and compassion as well.
Everyone’s posts about cleaning house and de-cluttering is equally exciting.
I told my husband from the beginning I would not be a consumer, consumed by her things. I still love decorating, and beautiful things that make my heart smile, but things will always be unfulfilling. If we are looking for contentment we will never find it in the temporary.
My Word (or two areas) of Caution
1. To those of you who are married, or taking this journey in a home where others (even children) are not ready.
You cannot force someone to workout, eat healthy, think positive, quit smoking, or anything else they haven’t yet decided themselves to do. Items can have strong meanings for many of us. Sometimes there is so much we don’t know where to begin, especially in the U.S. where meals come with toys, and buy-sell-trades run wild. Sometimes it’s the money invested into them, or often the meaning behind the particular item. So while you might want to hit full throttle on saying good-bye to all the stuff, don’t force anyone else to follow.
When we first began our journey my husband thought I was nuts. Where were you Netflix to back me up?
“What are you doing with all the utensils?” he said.
“We only need two spatulas!” I retaliated.
I left his stuff alone, and he watched me like a mad woman donate and sell 50% of our belongings. Slowly he came around and even thanked me. He loved coming home to a clean, clutter free space. But guess what?? To this day he has a few big totes in the garage that are his and I won’t push him to get rid of it.
Our children also love this life, and have been raised to understand everything we have needs a home, and we don’t ‘need’ it all. They love to give, and yes sometimes throw fits when we say no to something. When I see an item that seems useless or I mistake it for trash, I still run it past them, and let them make the final decision on what they feel is special. Often they surprise me by how little they actually want.
Also understand what is less to you may not be for someone else. I stay very minimal in most areas except books. I love books, and feel great about keeping a lot of them so long as they have a home. For someone else it might be cooking, or items for a specific job such as a craft business. Your home ultimately is for you, and those in it. This way of life is to serve you, not control you.
2. Understand the root of all your stuff.
You can de-clutter and throw out almost everything, but if you don’t take the time to address your heart, and what led you with so much stuff in the first place, you will end up right back where you are.
Whether it is fear, shopping when you’re bored, even upset, or years of things passed down, you have to do the work of heart reflection, and address your journey at the root.
Being able to go and buy something often was a great way for me to ‘deal’ with being upset. A temporary high, instead of dealing with my feelings. It also felt good to know I could afford to buy nice things, when growing up that was so rare. I also loved loving my children with gifts. Still other times, things ended up in my cart because I couldn’t find the one I had at home among the sea of craft bins.
I realized I didn’t trust God to give me my daily bread, and show up for whatever I would need day to day. I was the one that held my security.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7
I had to address the root of things ending up in my bank account and through my front door.
With time, gratitude, and giving overall I think simplifying is 100% the way to live. It has given us space and time to pursue the things we love most, God and other people. This is not a race, this is an ongoing journey. Don’t cheat yourself by sweeping the surface to miss the heart. Let this be a time of worship, and gratitude. When there is a mess, enjoy the moment, and tidy later.
I linked a clip with an example of how we do the children’s bedrooms and laundry since I think simplifying can seem tricky as parents. Once you find your groove it is very easy and your children with thank you! Again this is what works right now for us. Please send me any of your questions on your journey, and let me know what you think about Marie Kondo’s Method!