Life, Simplicity, Simplicity and Stuff

Simplicity and Stuff

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Last Thursday, I shared some musings on Simplicity. The biggest eye-opener for me has been seeing how much busy-ness prevents a spirit, a lifestyle of simplicity from being woven into the fabric of who I am.

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Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cynthia Heald discussed another hindrance to Simplicity: materialism. In our society, we are blessed with abundance. And yet, we still want more. Having stuff isn’t necessarily bad, or evil. It’s just hard to keep the “More Monster” in check sometimes. I see my friends walking around in  fashionable clothes, and I want them. Never mind the fact that I have many shirts, pants, capris, and sweaters hanging in my closet.

The more stuff we have, the more time is required to maintain it. As a person who desires simplicity, I need to consider where my thoughts are regarding my stuff. Has it become an idol, taking up lots of thought energy and physical energy to care for it, to protect it? Am I storing it up, or am I allowing it to beautify my life? The quotation by William Morris challenges me to consider the stuff I have. If it isn’t something I find useful, or/and it isn’t something that adds beauty, then why do I have it? Perhaps it’s time to think about giving it away to someone who will actually appreciate it.

Image Simplifying the amount of stuff in my home is freeing. I sift through my clothes closet regularly, but I haven’t dug into other areas of my home where stuff tends to gather. It’s time for me to do this. To look through every room in my home and see if there are things that others would be blessed by. Hmmm, while I’m at it, maybe I need to look at stuff my heart is holding onto. Or, maybe that will be a separate post.

I don’t want my thoughts, my heart, my energy to be bogged down by all the stuff I have to deal with. It may be time to purge. I’ll pull out a couple of trash bags: One for my “Give away” stuff, and one for my “Throw away” stuff. It’s time to see what is still useful and brings beauty. The rest will go in one of these bags.

 Your Turn: What are your thoughts about “stuff?” How do you keep it from managing you?

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15 thoughts on “Simplicity and Stuff”

  1. Ohhhh, GREAT post, Jeanne!
    I have my treasures, but they’re in my china cabinet. Some are are heirlooms, some are just pretty things I use on special occasions, and I am trying to use them more, simply to enjoy them. But after 4 trips to Bolivia and seeing literally thousands of extremely, EXTREMELY poor people, I can honestly say, “There is nothing I need.” Not one thing. Our kids were never taught to wear brand names, and none of them care. Unless it’s Under Armour, and then it’s about performance. Being athletes, body comfort is a big deal. But? Other than that? (Oh, and hockey gear.) They don’t really care about alot of ‘things’.

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    1. You’re right, Jennifer. Spending time in a third world country truly sharpens our focus on what we “need,” doesn’t it, Jennifer? My kids still wear hand-me-downs and Goodwill clothing, and don’t care. I hope they continue in that vein.

      You’re right, too, that we have to consider what is best, and sometimes that means spending more money on higher quality _______ (you fill in the blank).

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  2. I feel the same. We’ve spent most of our marriage moving, so that’s a natural way to get rid of stuff! We always have packed and unpacked our own home. Sometimes I’m amazed at what I’ve kept from past moves. 🙂 One thing I’m trying to get better about is weeding out kids’ clothes as they outgrow them. Too small clothes should not be taking up residence in a dresser!

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    1. We’ve moved a number of times too, Jill. When my hubby and I first married, we packed out two months after I moved into his home. I gathered all sorts of stuff to sell in a garage sale. When we got to our new home-sweet-home in Alabama, imagine my surprise when there were boxes of stuff I had never seen! My honey is a bit of a pack rat, even still, but we’re both better than we used to be because of moves.

      I agree about outgrown kids clothes. I try to collect them at the end of winter and summer and put them in bins. I usually sell some in consignment sales to make a little money for writers’ conferences. 🙂

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  3. I really love the way simplifying material things really helps clear out space for God too. Less is often more 🙂 I am needing one of those spring cleaning in my house right now!

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    1. Me too, Lisa. It’s been a few years since I thoroughly purged every room of my house. It’s one of my goals–a little bit every day–until it’s done. Goodwill will receive a lot from the Takenaka household. 🙂

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  4. I’d love to simplify more! I have a habit of holding onto things for sentimental reasons–I’m talking about stuffed animals/fave dolls in my cedar chest, right along w/my wedding dress! Ha. My youngest is the same way, only she keeps even MORE things that mean something to her. It’s just hard to find the room for all that stuff. I know we need to purge her room but I haven’t geared myself up for it yet! Yes, simplicity is freeing–emotionally, as well–keeping short accounts.

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    1. I know what you mean, Heather. There’s a fine line between getting rid of stuff when they’re at school or a friend’s and giving them a say in what they keep/get rid of. 🙂 We’ve given our guys “treasure boxes” to store those extra special things in. They like this. Mine both like to hold onto stuff. 🙂 I have one box of my memorabilia. One. It was hard to get it down to one. 🙂 But now that it’s all in one place, I rarely look at it. 🙂 I hope you’re able to persuade your daughter to hold onto the treasures she has and sift through the rest. It’s so hard. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by today!

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  5. Agreed, Jeanne!
    Not only do I not want my stuff to own me — I don’t want it to own my kids.
    The challenge is going beyond the “want to” and making time to simplify (get rid of) the stuff that I’ve accumulated.

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    1. Yes, making the time to simplify. It’s a purposeful action, yes? My goal is to begin with 10-15 minutes a day, setting a timer and working like a crazy woman until it beeps. Then moving on with my day until the next day. We’ll see how well I do. 🙂

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  6. I’m thankful my mom taught me to bargain shop, but I do confess it’s easy to let things pile up in my house. I never ever want any of my stuff to become an idol to me.

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    1. I’m with you, Lindsay. I don’t want my stuff to become an idol either. I’ve got to be purposeful in dealing with the things that pile up. I tend to let other things (good things) become a priority. Have a great day!

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  7. I’m writing a post on simplicity and stuff right now, and linking to this post at the end of mine. Not published yet, I’m struggling with it, just as I am struggling with too much stuff. Idols indeed.

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    1. Choosing simplicity is usually a struggle, isn’t it? 🙂 I ebb and flow in how well I live it out in daily life. As you probably picked up from the post. Thanks so much for linking it at the bottom of your post–when you publish. I’m honored.
      Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

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