There is no shortage of blogs about decluttering, organizing, and creating a more peaceful living space by trashing, donating, or selling as much stuff as absolutely possible.
If you took a gander around my garage, you would not be overwhelmed with feng anything, much less shui. But I know the importance of neatness and order and clean lines. I’ve seen the light, and I’m a believer.
This blog will address my journey toward creating, with my family, a more simple home (in addition to the other categories discussed over the last few weeks).
Simple Home Defined
Posts that fall under this category will focus on physical space. While I’m not an expert in minimalism, I am certain that I feel a greater amount of peace when I walk into a room that has no molded plastic toys on the floor and no random piles of mail on the shelves.
Keeping a simple home reduces the moving parts. It frees up time and mental energy. There is fewer stuff to put in fewer places, and that takes a load off of everybody.
Simple home, then, is about shedding physical clutter. It’s not about creating more complex and Container Store driven organizational plans. It’s about decreasing the need to manage things.
Have Less, Play More
It’s a strange phenomenon. When our children have rooms full of toys, they tend to play with none of them.
When we’ve binned up a good portion of the toys and leave our sons and daughter with fewer choices, they actually start enjoying the toys. If the room looks like someone exploded a Toys R Us bomb in the boys’ room, they would never see the box of perfectly good Legos. But if we remove everything but the Legos, a few puzzles, some books, and their box of Hot Wheels, then their room becomes a world of possibilities.
It’s the same for adults. If a room is cluttered, I don’t read. If I don’t sort, file, and deal with mail, I won’t write. There’s a correlation between less stuff and more fun or productivity or simple, stress-free conversation.
Exploring Simplicity, Minimalism, and Suburbia
There will be times when my wife will push us more on this. There will be times when I push us more. I can pretty well determine that my children will never push for it. You can show them that you’re throwing away a book from 4 years ago, missing front and back covers, and featuring some ‘additional artwork’, and they will go into full-scale mourning.
We all suffer from shiny object syndrome or from feeling fine about dumping our spouse’s stuff while considering our things sacred. I mean, if I lose that shell necklace from my junior year spring break, I might not remember all those evenings singing ‘The Joker’ by Steve Miller Band and ‘Panama’ by Van Halen. A piece of my life would be gone!
Living in the suburbs (my context – and I’m sure it’s no different anywhere else), it’s easy to just add and add and add: things, commitments, and complexity.
Some posts on this blog will simply explore how subtracting things might lead to greater clarity around commitments and priorities.
We’ll see. It’s all about exploration and trying things and learning what works best.
Those of you who know us and have recently seen our house aren’t allowed to shout ‘hypocrite’ in the comments. We’re in process.
- Have you experimented with simplifying?
- Do you have any practices that help clear physical clutter or at least certain spaces?
- Do you work better in a creatively organized space or in a neat, relatively empty area?