Simplify Stupid. If only it were that Simple.

I’ve done a lot of writing of late and that has led to a lot of chores piling up.  When chores collect one begins to notice how much stuff we have around the edges of life.  Why is that?  A few things occur to me:

  • I look around my home and of course I have miles and miles of books — if they were stacked end to end.  There are more books that I will ever read, but they are on issues that I care about.  I have several books ideas of my own in the works and many of those books relate to research topics.  Still, why do I need to own so many?
  • Looking in my closet this weekend, my son asked me “Mom, does the Goodwill pay you to take their clothes?”  Ha ha, very funny. Though I don’t think he was trying to be funny.  It was ironic and too close to home.  His point was that I own a lot of clothes!  You can read about my year of no new clothes here and here.  I do have an issue with buying tons of clothing.
  • We have some friends who are downsizing from a house to an Airstream with two kids in tow and it sounds like a dream project.  I haven’t had a chance to hear their story in person but I am fascinated by the idea.

Christmas is coming.  How do we face the challenge of consumerism vs. living out our giving with integrity?  And why do we collect so much stuff when in total honesty much of it remains untouched? Is this a matter of simply needing to be clearing out more often to reappropriate things to the next family that could use them whether it is toys, clothing, gaming systems, movies or books?  Or should this be a conversation about buying less.  And about the value of simplicity?

A singer and artist I appreciate for the poetry of her words, Carrie Newcomer, said this on Facebook today:

I have a sense that simplifying is not about denial and lack, but rather about getting rid of what does not ultimately give life and deeper meaning to our lives. If we got rid of what clutters and fills our lives to the very edges – what would happen in those open spaces? What do you think?

How do you teach yourself the discipline of reappropriating things?  Why is this important? What do you do to simplify, remove clutter and create space in your life?  What would you do differently if you had the mental and physical space?  What resources have you found that help you?

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