I’ve definitely struggle in the materialistic world we live in. I struggle with the way buying things can make me feel better about when I’m down about something. I struggle with the instant satisfaction. I get wrapped up in buying things because that was what society tells me to do. I’m able to say no to Emma when she asks for things, but I struggle with saying no to myself.
I read the book Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up about the KonMari Method of de-cluttering last spring. I began trying to apply the method but not with the gusto I needed to. Recently, I did end up getting rid of (donating, selling or recycling) eight tubs of stuff in the basement, but the amount of things that don’t bring me joy that still fill the house are abundant in every room.
A few nights ago, AJ and I watched a movie called Minimalist. As I put the holiday decorations away, I asked myself the underlying questions asked in the movie: does this item bring me joy, is it important to me, does it add value in my life….. I like that in the movie they stress that it’s important to keep in mind that being a minimalist doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. If you have things that have true meaning to you (for example a book collection), you don’t have to get rid of it.
I am typically a big after Xmas shopper, but this year I wasn’t. I settled on buying two rolls of wrapping paper as I used up three rolls this year. Keeping with tradition, I was still able to text/call my sister to chat about what we saw, the people and lines etc. But this year, I don’t have the debt I accumulated last year, and I don’t have to find a place to store the stuff I truly don’t need anyway. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything either!
I struggle with a messy house, the clutter and Emma having stuff everywhere. It’s a mental struggle as it means spending more time cleaning up and putting away stuff. I have trouble focusing on my writing, crafting, and spending time with Emma because my mind wonders to the piles of this or that. I’ve been more on Emma about cleaning up her messes and doing it right away rather than later because otherwise I’m more likely to end up doing it after she goes to bed.
Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I took a walk around the house and looked at the amount of stuff we have. I finished in the loft area looking at the signs I’ve printed out about collecting memories and not things and about how adventure feeds the soul. I truly believe those things are true. But then that inner struggle comes about consuming more also hits me. I can have that sweater here in three days, but we don’t have the money to just take trips when we want. And then I feel like a fraud for even thinking about that sweater and the money wasted on “stuff” that could be better spent on making memories with AJ and Emma.
I’ve always put up walls about the things that are most important to me for fear of struggle, for fear of failure and quite honestly maybe even the fear of finding true happiness. Do I deserve to be happy? I might question that even though I shouldn’t. But, I can easily answer yes to things like do I deserve a latte or that new shirt.
Now that I’ve put myself out there, it is time to put a plan into action. I’ll be spending early mornings and late nights clearing the clutter of things that don’t have a true purpose in my life or that don’t bring joy. I’ll spend more time fostering relationships and creating memories than on shopping for holiday decorations and disposable clothes (and then putting them away). I’ll be focusing on my goals and what I truly want out of life. These things can be achieved even if I am wearing a beat up sweatshirt that is years old and not the latest style!
I already noticed how much more fulfilling the holidays were than in years past with AJ and Emma despite not being around family. I wasn’t running to this store to return something or having to hit the mall for after holiday deals. I wasn’t scouring websites for deep discounts. I don’t have additional guilt, and I don’t have additional things to put away. The gifts Emma received she truly loves, and we have already made many memories and had many laughs while experiencing them. It was hard to see AJ head to work this morning and for me to drop Emma off at school.
I’m also pitching a bunch of new outlets, so I am excited to see what transcribes from those. What do you think of the website changes? It’s always a work in progress as I continue to add widgets etc.
A beautiful encouraging note from my biggest fan Emma
Disney Travel + Family
My stories and photos from the National Parks (and more)