Thursday, October 02, 2008

Simplifying



One of the fall instincts is nesting, so I've been putting a fair amount of regular effort into lightening up. Seashells have always been powerful symbols for me-they are beautiful just as they are, even when they are broken, and I like to look to them for a little inspiration toward natural perfection.

To that end, I've listed books on Amazon Marketplace as well as Bookmooch. I'm working at using what I have for gifts and crafts. I'm trying to cook from the pantry and get out of some of the wild and crazy habits of the Summer of Celebrating Sons when we ate out like, once a week. It is good and satisfying to be creative in this way, to sort of get back to basics. It brings a kind of focus, an almost meditative quality to my daily tasks. We also had the Summer of Sending Sons off to Places and pretty much bled money from every pore. So, my bank account is breathing a sigh of relief that I've cut the budget by, like a half to two thirds for some line items. It is good to remember that I can live simply and make do. I can have an abundance mentality: Right now, in this moment, I have enough.

My goal is to maintain a sort of equilibrium wherein I have the right amount of stuff and when I get new stuff, old stuff goes away to make room for it. I've always made a habit of this-my kids automatically start a goodwill bag whenever they get new things, but I'm trying to get the set-point down-I want the equilibrium to be smaller. I want the house to have a cleaner, emptier feel. I mean, I like my cottagy little nest, with all it's interesting piles of books and knick-knacks and memories everywhere, and I'm not comparing my cozy little home to anyone else's but there are places that need to be open and restful for the eyes. That's what I'm after-not bare, just less busy. I think small homes can seem spacious and I want mine to seem that way.

It will continue to be a lifelong process because just this morning, I had to use a lot of self-discipline to throw away a stray shoelace I found wadded up on the ground. I'm a natural packrat and I just couldn't exorcise that nagging phantom in my head telling me, "This might come in handy someday." Well, I have a whole basement of stuff waiting for its fifteen minutes of fame, and most of it has never seen the light of day, let alone the limelight. It's time to trust that even if I don't store it, when the time comes, I'll have what I need. Or better yet, maybe I'll discover that I didn't really need it at all.

8 comments:

  1. Ah, soul sister..... I have the exact trouble. I want so much to simplify. I too have held a shoelace in my hand and wondered if I should keep it for "someday".

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  2. I long for nice open spaces as well. I hate the cluttered surfaces that seem to take over my house. I always feel better when I clear a space--even for just a little while.

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  3. I love your whole last paragraph! It rings so true. Makes me laugh at the ridiculousness of it and cling to the possible necessity of it.

    There isn't much like that feeling of ridding ones self of all that useless/necessary stuff and finding open space (for more stuff?). . . :)

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  4. I love that feeling of using stuff I've had for ages. Great post.

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  5. This was a lovely post Kellie and for me with our crazy house buying aka bleeding money summer it was great to read your thoughts on simplifying. Really inspiring - thanks Kellie!

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  6. oh, i have this trouble. i feel guilty throwing anything away that might possibly be useful someday. thanks for the inspiring post - and reminder that it's ok to let go!

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  7. I thought about this post during the first talk of Conference. Then I thought how I called the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin thing before it was on SNL but you called the need to simplify before an Apostle. What does that say about the differences between you and me? Just kidding!

    I always feel better about my house when I purge loads of unused stuff out of it! I heard once to ask yourself, "Do you use it? Do you love it?" and if you answer, "No" to either of those questions to get rid of it. Sometimes I am good at it, but sometimes I think, "What if I might need it someday?"

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  8. I am struggling and enjoying the same process of culling, de-cluttering, and simplifying. I especially loved "abundance mentality: right now, in this moment, I have enough". I am going to write that down. Thank you.

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Thank you for sharing your insights!