Editor’s Note: This is a post in the series, Simplicity in Action.
It was ten months ago now that I opened the door and simplicity walked in.
First she cleaned out my wardrobe and pared my favourites down to less than 33. Next she set her sights on the kitchen and gave me a look whilst shaking three potato mashers my way. I picked up the game quickly. How much did our family of five really need to own and how much of it was owning us?
I’d say that previous to that day, much of my life already reflected a lean towards simplicity. I was always eager to go through cupboards and reduce what was breeding there. But despite these efforts, it seemed there was still so much in my home and on the ‘to do’ list, that existed without much thought as to why.
There were gifts that served no real use or that I hung on to through guilt or sense of nostalgia. There was the woeful result of a twelve month shopping spree, a claim to financial independence celebrated with designer clothes that were more about impressing you, than clothing me.
It wasn’t until I discovered Courtney’s blog, that I started asking new questions.
- Do I absolutely love it?
- Will it serve a useful purpose to me or my home?
- Does this purchase/commitment have my whole heart it in?
There was new thought and intention behind the notion – be more with less.
I learned to be more discerning when shopping or acquiring anything new. I felt a sense of purpose around purchases that I could quantify as a need, rather than a temporary emotion filled buzz.
In a way, I felt back in control of myself and my spending.
And beyond the almost bare bench tops and minimally stocked linen press, some deeper changes were bubbling away.
The less I owned, scheduled and committed to, the more down time and space opened up for me. And goodness knows I was needing the down time. I started to recognize and name out loud, the very thing I wanted more of and it was simply a less busy and more connected version of me, (currently unavailable at the local supermarket).
Today as I sit reflecting on this, I am lighter. I know I am more pleasant to be around and possibly the most significant shift, I have become a more present mother. Hard decisions have become simpler, by getting honest about what is really important to me and my family; a life with more love and joy and less obligation.
Here are some simple ways life flows more joyful in our family home:
Simple Meals – My creativity does not extend to the kitchen. I have eight to ten go to meals that I cook over and over again. I apply the same theory to school lunch boxes with fewer options than dinner.
Simple Birthdays – Every birthday is celebrated within our home and just once every three years, we celebrate the kid’s birthdays with a low key party with their friends of choice.
Laundry – Clothes, sheets and towels all get a longer shelf life between washes.
Zero Extra Curricular Activities – No sport, no ballet, just pure old school imaginative play.
Low Key Weekends – We love slow, spontaneous, schedule free weekends. We do stuff, fun stuff but it’s done as the mood strikes us.
Flexible Routines – While it’s ideal if homework can be done before dinner, sometimes mornings work just as well.
Opportunities to embrace simplicity show up in small ways every day and it is in these moments, I am able to connect with a joy that was harder to tap into previously.
Our life started to flow a lot simpler last year. Amidst the reality of three young children and all that this life entails, it got undeniably simple.
I haven’t said “I am busy” in response to “how are you?” for six months. Yet I am more productive, creative and connected that I have ever been before.
So as you can imagine, I have much gratitude for that day I discovered Be More with Less. As our family chose to move beyond the physical clutter and get honest about what was really important to us, we placed each other back up the top of our to do list.