More Life, Less Stuff

For many years now Greg and I have been spending a week in the U.P. at a cottage generously lent to us by friends. This cottage has no cable television and sporadic cell phone reception. We started vacationing there before our children came along and now our kids dream about going there all year long. When I come home, I am refreshed and in love with the simpler life we led that week. I always come back giving away items we owned and try to capture that same feeling back at our house.

A few months ago I started an online course "The More of Less" with Joshua Becker. I found Becker's blog after reading his book "Clutterfree with Kids." Before starting the course I started getting rid of loads of items out of our home. I applied the rule to the things were storing that says if you can buy it in within 20 minutes under $20 pitch it. Reading the book and taking the course is helping us go even deeper to the simpler life.

What is the simple life? For me, it was would be take away everything that doesn't matter. To live with what helps me focus on what is important. Joshua Becker says "Owning less is merely a means to an end, it is not the end itself. Minimalism removes the physical distractions so my greatest priorities can be elevated. It allows my life to be defined by eternal, lasting pursuits, not the temporal possessions contained in my home." 

If you look at my home you would not believe it looks minimal. What I am learning is that minimalists lifestyles don't all the look the same. Just as a follower of Jesus or gymnast's or a writer's doesn't either. In any of these things we are just striving to be better and learn more. Or at least I am.

Since kindergarten, our eldest daughter was allowed to choose one after-school activity. This seems countercultural but we knew with two more sisters following that to keep up with the family time we hoped to have, we had to keep our schedule as simple as possible. Minimalism doesn't mean just getting rid of stuff. For us, it means pairing down our lives to live with what is what we believe to important. 

There are other things I'm working on minimizing and one blog post is not going to do this journey's justice. Right now, my challenge has been to minimize the sugar intake in my life. I've also created a draft of what a typical week's schedule would look like for me in the Fall and what times I'd like to keep open so that our lives don't become overstuffed but can handle the overflow. If you are on a similar journey I'd love to hear what you are working on and what has worked best for you!

Until then I will leave you with one my new mantras, "More life, less stuff."


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