Minimalism. Slow living. Quiet the Noise. Simplicity.
If any of these words or phrases excite you then we could be friends. Ever since I was young the idea of minimalism was an intriguing idea.
- Contemporary Architecture.
- Capsule Wardrobes.
- Optimal Income with Minimal Work.
- Simple Scrapbooking. (literally a magazine title)
Now as I get older the thoughts have turned to minimalism, not just in what I own, but also in what I do. How I spend my time.
What has surprised me about the idea of slow living is that I am fearful of living a slow life. How can that be? I fear missing out on something special. I fear falling behind. I fear that I will miss going at breakneck speed.
But what will I miss if life continues at the pace that I am going right now?
- My nieces and nephews growing up.
- Time with my grandparents.
- My neighbors.
- My church family.
- Good health.
- Quiet walks.
These are just a few of the things that have fallen between the cracks in the last ten years of rushing around. Don’t get me wrong, the last ten years have been some of the best. Yet, in the busyness of life I have realized that the beauty in life is not about how much you’re doing but in the quality.
Less Is More
So how do we live minimally? How do we get into the “less is more” mindset?
The Bible has plenty to say about living simply, living with self control, surrendering our love of money to the Lord, minding our own business, and doing good work.
Living slowly or minimally is more of a mindset than anything else. I’ve listed some practical ways that have helped me to live minimally.
1. One-in-One Out
This rule has changed my spending and accumulation so much! If I buy something, I need to donate or throw out another item. This habit began 8 years ago when I lived in a dorm room in Arkansas. I loved it so much that it has become a permanent rule in my life. There are exceptions, but generally I stick to this rule to keep the things we own to a minimum.
The question, “What will I get rid of if I buy this item?” has become a thought in my head when shopping. This question takes the joy out of shopping. For someone like me who stress-shops, asking this question really puts a damper on “shopping therapy”.
2. The Six Month Purge
Almost every six months I want to throw everything in my house away. Don’t ask me why, but it’s a very real feeling. Usually when this bug hits, going through the famous junk drawer or organizing a particular part of the house will cure the urge.
After a few of my rampages where 50% of our things get thrown into trash bags and taken to the nearest thrift store I have regretted a few of my decisions. Self-control can go both ways. Isn’t there a verse that talks about doing things in moderation?
Some rules to live by during a purge:
- Don’t throw away things that will be needed in the next 6 months.
- If you’ve worn an item or used an item in the last 3 months, keep them.
- Give or sell things to others who could benefit from what you are purging.
- If it’s broken, torn, or in general disrepair get rid of it. Try not to be too sentimental.
3. Wait to Say Yes
Isn’t it crazy how quickly a monthly schedule fills up? Try waiting to commit to something until you have been able to talk to your spouse. My husband and I have a rule that we do not say yes to something unless we have talked to each other first. This takes the emotions out of the answer and allows time to process and pray how you can fit it into your schedule.
- Don’t be selfish. Your spouse may need to say no when you want to say yes. Basically, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 🙃
- Be moderate in how often you go away in the evenings. Evening spent at home can recharge your social batteries. Humans are meant for connection, but not at the level that we receive it today!
- Pray about it. If you feel rushed to answer and don’t have time to pray about it, say no. God wants to be involved in every area of your life.
4. Plan X Weekends Away a Month
My husband and I have decided that one weekend away a month is all we are willing to do. For some people this is too much, and for others we are crazy for doing it this little.
We want to be able to plug into our church. We want to be able to keep our property in a way that honors God. We want to rest at home. The weeks that we only use home as a landing place get me stressed.
Find your number that is your cutoff and stick to it.
We have said no many times. While the tempting spirit of FOMO is real, I’ve found those weekends at home recharge us more than a weekend away.
5. Pare Down on Technology Use
This one is a work in progress for us. Some things we’ve done to decrease our technology use are:
- Charging our phones outside our room at nigh
- Attempting to be off of our phones one hour before bed and after waking.
- Going on morning and evening walks
- Putting the TV downstairs during the off season of football.
- Having one movie night a month.
We don’t do all of these things perfectly but when we do them we feel much better.
6. Fill Your Days with Profitable and Fulfilling Work
“. . .aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands . . .” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
It seems that the Bible often talks about minding your own business and keeping occupied in the same thought. There is a point here. When we do a work that is both fulfilling and profitable we are less worried about what others are doing. We are consumed with the work the Lord has given us to do, rather than gossiping.
Simplicity and minimalism do not mean we are to be lazy and idle. Rather, they mean to be consumed with the Lord’s work, minding our own business, living quietly, and being content with what we have and where we are.
God Bless you as you live a fulfilling, simple life.