Voluntary simplicity

GIVEAWAYS!!! Mine runs until this Friday at midnight, the other runs all month long. Good luck!

We have so much stuff. I know I’ve said it before, but our house is stuffed to the gills with stuff. I know I said that I want to wear this stuff out before we decide whether to get another of the same thing, but man, there’s a lot of stuff. Two bookshelves just of movies. Not to mention all the clothing our kids have. Or the “decorative” baskets I have around the house that just keep collecting odds and ends instead of actual flowers or anything. We have officially run out of room. I am in a place today where I want to chuck almost all of it, get down to bare bones, and start fresh with only what we need. Can you even imagine my kids’ cries of distress? I’m even ready to chuck half my books! You know I’m fed up.

I know, I’m giving you whiplash from following my changes of mind. This highlights one of the big issues with trying to simplify actually. Getting rid of stuff is hard to do. You spent good money on it, it feels like you should use it until it dies. Or, you’ve had some of this stuff a long time and it’s become a part of the landscape of your life. It would be like throwing part of yourself, your identity, away. We are a family who has a lot of stuff. We have everything we want. If it looks good, we get it. If we get rid of a bunch of our stuff, who are we? We’re people who don’t have everything. Are we still successful?

That’s another key issue, how do you define success? For me, for a very long time, it was about being able to buy anything my family wants. This came from being raised by spendthrifts. I knew that I got most of what I wanted, what I didn’t see was my parents socking away money for our college and their retirements. They did though. I am what you call a late bloomer. I am finally getting around to adjusting my definition of success to what I actually feel is important, rather than what I thought it was supposed to be when I was growing up.

Times, they are a changin’.

So, where does this leave all of my stuff? Well, it leaves me still wanting to do a grand clean out and feeling strangely vulnerable about the whole thing. I want to be a good wife and mother. I want my family to have what they want. I’m learning though that if I keep trying to give them everything they want, I won’t be able to give them what they need. The lessons, priorities, and values that I want us all to have. This is not an easy thing I’m contemplating. I may have to do it a little at a time, but I’m sure I want to do it. Yay for getting rid of stuff!

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