“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”
– Leo Tolstoy
We recently moved into a new-to-us home. I’ve never felt joyful about relocating multiple belongings from one place to another. But this time around it was more of a pleasure than a burden. And here’s why:
We decreased what we own by over 75% in the couple years leading up to the move.
Please note: we kept stuff. We still own stuff. We are not without clothing, linens, toys, books, items we use and enjoy as a family. We didn’t purge everything. We live in the suburbs, folks.
But instead of feeling guilt or sadness as we waved goodbye to items we no longer need or value, we continue to find joy by offering them to those who can and will use them.
We offered our washer and dryer to a couple with four children, no money and a desperate need for clean clothes. Unwanted furniture and toys went to a Girl Scouts fundraiser. Baby items went to pregnant friends or local charities for disadvantaged families. Used clothing and unnecessary kitchen appliances went to Goodwill.
Naturally, we sold a few high-priced items but how freeing it was not to have millions of boxes to pack, move, sit in dark corners and then sort through! We used Craigslist for large furniture and quickly realized apps like LetGo and OfferUp were much more efficient for selling and giving away smaller items.
We didn’t move far, in fact, we’re still in the same town. So I’d place a few things in the back of my car if I happened to go on an errand and drive them over to our new home (most of these I must admit were homeschooling items). My father owns a logistics company so we borrowed his truck one rainy morning to transport a few large items (couch, table and our son’s dresser). Everything else fit into our cars.
Maybe it’s easier to declutter and minimize when you move locations because you have a new space to start fresh and it’s easier to see what’s clouding your vision of the home atmosphere you truly desire. But I’d argue you don’t have to move to lighten your load. We started early, not even knowing when we’d move. And it paid off.
Why not start now? Why not make it a habit of letting stuff go we don’t use, don’t need, and don’t want to deal with down the road?
Sure, it’s a process – ridding ourselves of our past beliefs that more is better than less; Letting go of the mentality that staying busy is better or more valuable than leisure time.
We all know the loud person walking around on a Bluetooth, coffee and iPad in hand, who discusses how his or her calendar is “maxed out.” Or the mom who sadly says too often: “There’s not enough time in the day.”
But I beg of you… there is plenty of time in the day!
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review examines Why Americans are so Impressed with busyness, a personality trait I abhor. One study shows how busyness or simply the impression of one being busy is associated with higher status among Americans but saw that the effect was reversed for Italians. Maybe I should move to Italy?
When you really take a hard look at what you own and then think about all the time and energy it would take to pack up and move and then unpack and organize everything – it’s simply draining. No, we’d rather “busy” ourselves with things that matter most – faith, family, and our personal passions (which doubles as our work).
Now that we’re settled (well, we’re still working on our garden and outdoor little fire pit, (roasted marshmallows in the summer here we come!), there’s nothing I’d rather do than NOT buy another thing I may have to move again in the future.
My mother walked in yesterday and said, “it feels so empty in here.”
“Yeah,” I replied. “I might get a plant. But I might not.”
Now instead of organizing or cleaning or decluttering our new, humble home, I’m loving spending that much more time with my children, exploring the outdoors and even more time doing what I love.
Is moving stressful for you? It doesn’t have to be…
“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high-quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.” – Linda Breen Pierce