Thursday, May 26, 2011

Simplify! Focus on the essential...

In the past few months, I've been going through all the extra stuff we have in our house. I've been amazed at how much stuff we have accumulated in the past five years of marriage.  Clothes, paper, homegoods, STUFF!  So I've been trying to keep in mind a few things while going through this purging - WHY is it sentimental, is this something we USE, will we have a NEED for it in the future?  Basically I'm trying to figure out what is essential and what is just space filler.

I've donated quite a bit of my clothing and am currently gearing up for a yard sale.  Someone's trash is someone else's treasure, right?!  (As I'm writing this I'm thinking I really ought to get back to looking through my "trash.")  I've been going room to room, looking through everything and I have to say that it feels really good when you make progress on simplifying your life.  Getting rid of the extra in our lives for others to use who may actually USE it feels great.  Why do I have so many coats anyway?  And candles?  Ok, so the power goes out here in our neighborhood more often than anywhere I've ever lived, but really?  It is a bit ridiculous to have this many candles!  I've also come to the realization that having so much stuff means that there is more to take care of and organize - meaning it takes more work to have more stuff.  And what I want these days is more time to enjoy my little ladies. 

Someone recently told me, "You guys don't live high off the hog."  I thought to myself, "That's an understatement" but I just smiled and agreed.  We have what we refer to as po' people cable TV and internet and just recently added texting to our cell phone plans (yes we're woefully behind and do not use the internet on our phones).  We eat out and/or go out maybe once every three months, don't even mention a weekend away or a family vacation.  We set low budgets for special occasions; well ok, except for our girls.  We recently "splurged" on an event that has been canceled, which was very disappointing to say the least, but at least the money will be refunded back to our credit card.  Simple living.  I actually don't find it very hard to live this way.  The "sacrifice" to live this way so that I can work only part time to be with my girls means more to me than what I see as "extras."

I have a magnet on our fridge that I have had for a while - since high school I think - "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." Henry David Thoreau.  It's funny that this struck me my junior year in high school.  I wish I had taken that advice to heart way back then.  But, we now have been trying to live within our means, live simply and focus on what is important.  I know there is more I can do, more I can get rid of.   It makes me want to get back to the task at hand and just keep purging our stuff.

But this "stuff" we have accumulated is not all.  I do need to work on simplifying my life in other areas too so that I can be sure to do what I need to for my family, focus on developing and maintaining friendships (I find that I am sorely lacking in this area, and I could blame it on being a mom, but I realize that I have never been good at this, probably since high school - my apologies to my friends), and also to maintain a focus on God.  How can I clear out my life, get rid of the stuff, to be able to focus on the essential - God, Family and Friends?  Maybe I could stop getting on Facebook so often and maybe use the phone to actually talk to friends, get up earlier to spend time in prayer, use my spare time for laundry and dishes and play with the girls, giving them my undivided attention instead of doing ten tasks at once. 

Simplify!  Focus on the essential and let the rest go!  The best way to do this is to examine what is important to you and then figure out how to eliminate the rest!


  1. Great post, Kim. Jason and I don't have text or data(internet) on our cell phones either. We already have too much going on to receive text every 2 seconds, and it's an expense we don't need. I know exactly what you mean about living simply and within our means, and especially trying to do 10 tasks at once and not spending enough undivided attention to my kids. I've recently been having Madison help me with chores! She "switches the laundry", either by filling the washer or moving clothes from the washer to the dryer - it's a big help when I'm holding Brody. Thank goodness for the front-loading washer and dryer (ha ha). The other day, after I folded the clothes she helped me put them away. They weren't exactly folded anymore, but she helped and we both felt good about it (me, because it was done, and her, because she helped). And I'm right there with you when it comes to developing new and current friendships. Don't worry - you're doing great for all you have on your plate!

  2. oh yeah - I forgot to mention my other mother/daughter bonding moment (ha ha). Madison helps me put the dishes away...I set her up with a chair near the silverware drawer and put all the spoons, forks, and butter knives on the counter. Then she sorts them...and she does a pretty good job considering there are large and small forks/spoons. Even if she mixes a few up I give her lots of praise for helping me. After all, I usually have time to empty the whole dishwasher while she does that. Then her "prize" is a ride on the chair as I push it back to the table.