Striving For Simplicity

Simple living really appeals to me.

I like watching shows about people living in tiny homes. They have rid of most of their possessions and are choosing to dwell in a small space, now physically and financially free to pursue their dreams.

My favorite Instagram feeds feature beautiful spaces: uncluttered marble cabinets highlighting a vase of fresh flowers, steaming cups of coffee on a clear workspace, perfectly made beds with perfect children playing with their perfectly neat toys on the perfect rug below.

Yum! Courtesy of

I used to just assume anyone taking such photos would be carefully shoving their “piles of crap,” as my daughter likes to call my messes, out of the frame. And perhaps they are. But I’m sick of our own, um, crap piles.

In the past year in particular, beginning upon the birth of my third child, I’ve realized how deeply I’m tethered to my stuff and just how much of it I really have.

More specifically, I’ve realized how much my ownership has stopped me from enjoying life.

I follow a popular blogger called Momma’s Gone City, and last week she shared a photo of her infant – her youngest of her five children – napping alongside the family pup. Her caption simply read, “The best things in life aren’t complicated.”

It resonated with me. Unfortunately, I tend to complicate things just by being who I am. I’m a hoarder of photos, papers, digital files, baby clothes, anything that I think could hold some meaningful memory. And I’m missing some of the better parts of life because of it.

Instead of spending chunks of my days shuffling through stuff – washing clothes I don’t like, sorting papers I don’t need, organizing toys we don’t use, looking for that thing I lost among the piles – I want to enjoy more time with my family doing memorable things.

I want to:

  • Play Barbies with my daughters
  • Blow bubbles
  • Learn how to make macarons
  • Go for meaningless drives
  • Run through sprinklers
  • Make a shade garden
  • Plant rose bushes
  • Read a book
  • Write more often
  • Create memory books for my kids

These goals aren’t exactly lofty, but they do require elimination of what I’m currently using to fill my time. I began purging some of our belongings earlier in the year, and I already can breathe a little easier in my bid to take back the life stuff has been stealing from me. So far, I’ve:

  • Sold all the baby gear I no longer can use.
  • Sold most of the clothes my kids have outgrown (and am still working on selling and donating more).
  • Hosted a garage sale and joined in two more with friends and family. We rid ourselves of a lot of knick-knacks and larger household items we no longer needed (example: the multiple sets of dishes we had for nearly 14 years of marriage, all of which I hated, finally had to go).
  • Sorted through the stacks of magazines and catalogs I’ve hoarded (why do I even do that?). I used to only subscribe to one magazine, but I kept every issue. I now have zero subscriptions and have sent several bags to the recycling center.
  • Printed photos, framed them, and have started to organize the rest on my computer for online albums and storage.
  • Filed away papers I actually need, tossing the rest. (I used to keep every single drawing my kids made).

I can’t pretend I’m Marie Kondo over here – I can probably still pick up any item in my closet, tell you it doesn’t actually spark joy, yet decide I have to wear something, joy or not. I’ll keep working on that one.

But my spaces are becoming clearer, my laundry loads lighter, and my thoughts less filled with what to do with my possessions.

I’ll keep updating as I make my way through the mess. But for now, I have a Lego playdate with my girls.

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