Simplicity. Minimalism. Decluttering. Tiny homes. All trendy movements right now. Why?
The Information Age drives me crazy. There’s too much commotion, too much motion, too much busy. Coming out of the holiday season I have fought my way into a season of rest. And it feels so good! But then I realized that having my phone on me, with access to the internet has not been restful. What I need right now is peace and quiet… in my soul… which requires shutting down and shutting out the clanging world around me.
The internet is a series of cymbols bashing and banging about, especially Facebook. My “friends” post their things, but then Facebook does this annoying thing of suggesting articles and advertisements it thinks I like based on false and incorrect algorithms. I even went into my preferences and unchecked everything possible. When a “friend” posts something I don’t care for, I block that particular newsfeed.
We spent time seeing God’s amazing sequoia trees today. Just breathtaking views were ours to behold both at the national park and on the drive to and from there. The internet didn’t work. The cell towers don’t work there. I was a captive audience to God’s creation. I was with my husband and my two sweet boys, breathing it all in.
Part of the family heritage we will pass to our children is an appreciation of the Great Outdoors. We want them to understand stewardship in all senses of the word. In fact, my husband’s life calling has to do with leaving the Earth cleaner than when we arrived one day: he’s in solar. We make a habit to pick up roadside trash and carry it along to a can, to recycle, and to be aware of leaving no trace behind when possible.
We are not perfect. After my kids really start eating food I switch to disposable diapers and wipes. Sometimes we use paper plates. Sometimes we use plastic. But we try to develop an overall conscientiousness in our kids that the Earth and how we treat it matters. This stewardship, we figure, starts with just being in nature, taking it all in. There’s nothing more interesting that pondering the ecology and development of a place, how various creatures came to be and survive there, and who competes for what natural resources. How are the smells and sounds different in different places? What makes one tree different from another? Why does snow glisten in the sun? What causes fog, and why do clouds look flat on bottom sometimes?
And since I’m nesting right now, I’m very aware of how cluttered my brain in, how cluttered my home is and how busy our lives are, and I want to dumb it all down.
Part of stewardship is managing time. My husband was given forced time off this week, so I have the gift of time and extra help. To God be the glory! Therefore, I have big plans for this time.
Here are some ways I create more margin of time and space in my life:
- Plan for homeschool for the upcoming 12 weeks. I will take a whole day to do this while my husband whisks the boys away on an adventure. To prepare, I’ve ordered supplies (as part of our Christmas gifts already) and previewed and even begun some of them as a sort of gentle introduction to them. I’ve also reorganized our homeschool shelf, and enlisted my kids to help with a “toy cleanse” before Christmas even began. I’ve replaced old storage bins with clear ones which I’ve labeled. What a breath of fresh air!
- I’ve also taken an honest break from all schooling except reading since Dec 23. We just needed a breather. All of my own work activity stopped then as well, and continues to halt until after the New Year. I’m on vacation. We all just needed Sabbath. I’m a go-go-go gal, a “recovering type-A”, and I like to smile and say. Allowing a break is SO revitalizing!
- I’ve said “no” and “probably not” a lot. Sometimes it’s the godly and right thing to do.
- I’ve identified what’s been bothering me like (1) things in my backyard that we don’t use or we can’t store (2) boxes of clothes without a home (3) old photos that need to be scanned (4) underutilized closet space (5) baby clothes that need washing (6) things that need to be donated (7) under sink items that aren’t valuable to save or use (8) what I call restless head syndrome… which happens when you allow your mind to jump about, not really focusing on one thing for long enough to amount to anything productive. There’s more. Too much to list. I need to stop and bring it all to God, who has been gracious to answer some of my big “boulder” questions. I need to bring my “stones and pebbles” to Him too, and even the water that fills the space between these rocks in my container called life. Really, I’m asking God to catapult all that doesn’t belong right out, and bring in the tiller with His design alone.
- I’ve been pondering what physical things I can depart from in each room and closet. What don’t I use often enough? How do I feel about it’s permanent removal? What precious items could use a makeover? Would other types of furniture suit us better? I’ve been radical in these thought experiments, like what would change if we had no more dining room table and replaced it with a pop-up coffee table? I’ve asked my husband his thoughts and respected his answers. In small space living, this economy of space is critical!
- I’ve set space goals in certain areas. In my closets I want 50% of the space clear. I’m happy with my dressers right now. I want to cut down on binders and old paper work by half – this impacts old homeschool supplies, but also old work items and old business-of-life documents. I want our backyard toys cleaned and stored or given away.
- I need to recreate our utility binder – it is a central place I list information for baby-sitters, holds vendor information, etc.
- My computer has been cleared of 6 gigs of memory since we cleared out old applications no longer used.
- Memberships will be evaluated and on the chopping block. I belong to too much. Likewise, email lists will be blocked and removed. Spare me your coupons, retail. I don’t want to consume.
- I’ve thought about how I might prioritize the order of attack. Clothes, hope chest and closets first. Kitchen cabinets and pantry next. Medicine cabinet and under sinks. Shed and backyard. One by one. Step by step.
- Less Facebook, more communion with God. Use empty closet space for a prayer closet. I had a prayer closet in the first home we owned. I want it back again. I need it. Already discussed it with the husband. He’s on board.
- Create stronger time boundaries for various time commitments and reinforce those most important critical habits.
This is what I’m doing to better honor God, discipline my mind and cultivate better relationships. What’s been on your mind, heart and spirit?
Our children need us to model a good life. We can’t do that when we’re too busy stirring the pot. My goal is to have less to take care of in the physical, so I can take better care of us: our spiritual well-being, our emotional selves, the way we eat, the way we spend our precious daytime hours, the way we should be “present” in each moment, how we spend and save money… what we read, watch, hear and eat… all of it.
I feel better already. Ha! I hope this has helped you too.