Our simple living journey started when I decided enough was enough. We had 3 children at the time. I looked around our house, and saw the absolute mess, everywhere. There were toys, clothes, shoes, and stuff all over the place. We live in a tiny house for a family of 6, and if things do not have their place it can look very messy. Especially so when each person has too much. I needed to minimize just survive the daily household tasks. A lot of people talk about the need to minimize your home to have a less stressful life, and let me tell you, that is definitely true.
I went through our home one drawer at a time. One closet at a time. For instance, I went through the kitchen; if an item in the drawer had not been used in the last year it was thrown into a donation bin. I went through our linen closet, and we had so many blankets and towels that just accumulated over the years. Many of them had not been used in years. This was eye opening to me. If you have never gone through your home before, it is quite a shock realizing how many items in each category you have. I mean why did I have 30 coffee cups? I was never going to have 30 people at my home at one time.
Our Home Began to Feel Lighter
Our home began to feel lighter. To feel less stressful. I could see the kids floors again. The laundry was no longer piled up in every basket in the house. I mean with 6 people we will always have a lot of laundry, but if every person only owned about 10 days worth of clothing then it cannot pile up. It is physically impossible for it to pile up. You would have to wash it in order to have enough clothes for the week. Can you tell I am amazed by all of this. Haha!
Our kids started receiving less and less gifts, after talking about it with family. They no longer remember when they used to get tons of stuff for Christmas. That to me is so amazing, because they are so much more grateful for what they receive. Creating that kind of environment for them, has been just one of the many benefits of all of this.
Simplifying our Home was Not Always Easy
Everyone always talks about it being a process. It definitely has been. When you start out with tons of stuff, relearning a different way to do things is hard. For me having a smaller wardrobe is hard. I enjoy having choice in my wardrobe, but it definitely was a problem area for me. I cannot instruct my children to have a smaller wardrobe, if I am not doing it myself.
Also, the more often you go through things in your home the more you can get rid of. It is like peeling an onion. There are lots of layers of decluttering you must go through. It is not something you can do super quickly. Especially if you don’t want to regret getting rid of items.
Another reason simplifying is not easy, is because people still give your children toys, and clothes. You will still bring home papers, and random objects. It is something that has to be part of your daily routine. So it has definitely become that for us. I often am taking a box to goodwill each week. I hope that we can stop doing the eventually, but with growing children it is often the case.
Simplifying goes against our society. Everywhere you look people are trying to sell you things. On social media, on TV, on Youtube, and online. Even your own friends, and family. It is all about more things, and more everything. It is about more activities, and more to dos. There is always more.
We chose to do less. To do less activities. To own less stuff. We wanted our children to have a better family life. To have a better relationship with us, and to not allow things to consume them. We realized that we did not have to do these extravagant things just because society has told us this is important for our children.
Society especially is hard on parents. We assume we need to buy these things in order to give our children a good childhood. We also assume that we need to do certain activities to give them a good childhood. When in reality what they needed was us. To be present. To not just give them tons of toys, and entertainment so that we would not have to spend time with them.
I read the book, ” Simplicity Parenting”https://amzn.to/37kKTxl and it was truly eye opening as to how much children need you to say no to things. To give them more time, and to not give them more toys. More toys is not good for them. It is so counterintuitive to how we all are told. I highly recommend that book if you are a parent who needs some motivation in simplifying your home.
We Needed God to Truly Live Simply
So after we got rid of all of this stuff, I then started learning more about the idea that simple living is a mindset. In order to live simply, truly, we need God. I read the book ” Biblical Minimalism”. https://amzn.to/3Jc2Yej. This book was monumental for me, because simplifying our home went from a superficial goal to a spiritual one. Not only was all of the stuff consuming us and our home. It was taking me away from God’s word. It was distracting me to the point that I was no longer reading my Bible on my own anymore.
I truly never expected this kind of change of our family. In just that one change, my daughter is picking up her Bible on her own and reading it. My husband and I are going to do a read the Bible in a year challenge with each other. Our family has started family devotions. My husband and I have been discussing what the kids watch on tv, and what they should be allowed to watch. It is all of these changes that I see the hand of God slowly working in our family.
Knowing that God wants us to live this way in the many verses in the Bible where he talks about possessions, and living within your means makes me excited. I am excited for the challenge to do better. To improve our lives, and our family. To follow Jesus in a completely different way than I realized before. It is so much more fulfilling knowing that you are pursuing a simple life to chase after Christ, and not for some societal movement that is popular at the moment.
So I guess you could say that our journey has led us here. To a place where we are following Christ. Jesus who was more minimal, and simple than any person I can think of. His whole goal in life was to fulfill the prophecy that God has set before Him. He preached the Gospel, and did exactly as God had commanded of Him. He owned nothing, and yet He was the greatest example of Christianity that is set before us. Why are we not following that example. This will be something we pursue, and can never come close to. But I would rather live my life trying to be as close as I can get.
“Our contentment does not consist in getting the thing we desire, but in God’s fashioning of our spirits in our conditions.” Jeremiah Burroughs