I love that quote above, "Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes." Ever heard that quote by Henry David Thoreau, "Simplify, Simplify?" That's my motto for 2017. All of my life I've had a shopping addiction, always having to buy the next new, best thing. I rarely walked out of a store without having a new journal, a new book, new pair of shoes, etc.
After falling ill this year, I spent a lot of time thinking about life and I realized how much "stuff" that I have collected over the years and how it's held me back from things that I want in life. I felt saddened by the money that I had frivolously thrown away on things that I thought would make me happy, at least for that moment. And also saddened by the fact that all of this clutter was holding me back from being free to truly go out and live my life.
Having things has a tendency to hold us back in life, whether we realize it or not. For example, having 3 acres of land forces us to have a riding lawnmower, yard tools and forces us to have to maintain a yard and lawn mower on our weekends off of work. Basically, the more things that we own, the more we have to do to maintain it, until it becomes this burden, instead of the joy we thought it would bring. At least, it's been that way for me. The journal that I purchased that I just had to have is now something else taking up space on my bookshelf. The new pillows that I purchased for my couch are now just one more thing that I have to keep clean. Basically, the things that I thought would make me happy in that moment, now has become clutter and weighs me down. We don't own stuff, it owns us.
I remember so many weekends when I would have rather been at the beach, but felt obligated to mow the grass, do house maintenance like touching up paint or clean the garage. Why do we allow things to hold us back in life? Most days I feel like I'm a hamster on a wheel, cooking, cleaning the dishes, doing laundry, maintaining the yards and not really enjoying life to the extent that I truly would like. My dream is to get rid of all of the clutter, sell our home and travel the world as nomads for a few years. To truly live, to see the world and enjoy life.
I love those little moments like visiting a new coffee shop or reading a new book, taking a nap or going to the beach. It seems like life has become so busy that I don't enjoy things that I would like. What does stuff really mean? I have had everything in life and I'll be honest with you, "stuff" has never once made me happy. It's always been the experiences that I remember; like seeing Niagara Falls with my hubby or visiting the top of the Seattle Space Needle.
I want to get back to that. More coffee shops, more reading books, more nature, more adventure and LESS STUFF!
I was talking to my husband the other night and I was telling him how my new goal was to stop buying things (can you imagine the hubby's face?! Happiest moment ever!), but rather get rid of things that we don't need. And instead, spend money on experiences such as a nice date night or a fun trip. Those are the things that truly matter, making memories, not collecting things. I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed that he wanted to get rid of some of his tools (he has A LOT of tools!).
So that's why I started this new Project that I like to call "Project Simplify." My goal is throw out at least 2 things every day, until I only have things left that I actually love and need.
So far this week, I have thrown away 12 glass jars, old beauty products, magazines, old suit jackets + more. I have a tote bag full of books that I will be donating to our downtown Free Library. And I have to tell you, it's SO freeing! It's actually pretty addictive and I find myself looking forward to having my coffee for the morning and getting to work, throwing things away.
I have made 4 boxes: "Keep" "Donate" "Sell" "Trash" to help me stay on task. So far, most of the items have been in the trash. My plan is to have a garage sell, sell online and then give away things that someone may need, then the rest I will be donating to the Hope House or Salvation Army.
My end goal is to only have a few things that I truly love and need. When you really think about it, that list is pretty short. My list consists of: my iPhone, coffee, books, travel, computer to do virtual work, cozy place to sleep, my organic food/vitamins- you get the point. We truly don't need much to live.
What is your list of things that you need in life to make you truly happy?