Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

"Simplify, simplify, simplify!"
~ Henry David Thoreau

I have loved this quote ever since I saw it on a T shirt in the gift store at Walden Pond, fifteen or more years ago. It seems that all of my life I've had this urge to simplify, yet at the same time I've struggled with all that it entails.

Last week we moved my son into the first apartment he's had on his own. Up until now, he's had roommates since he graduated from college. This was his first venture living completely on his own.

As I packed and unpacked his belongings, lovingly putting everything into its place, I marveled at the dimensions of his one bedroom apartment in a high rise, that while new and inviting, was much smaller than any of the apartments I had ever lived in. But, my son is a pretty frugal guy, and even when everything was all put away, there were still plenty of empty drawers and spaces.

It got me to thinking - what would I choose today to bring with me if I had to downsize and live in a place like this one bedroom apartment? Mind you - I live in a 5 bedroom home complete with family room and basement - and a little used dining room and living room. After nearly 32 years of marriage - there is a lot of stuff in this house! Just the sheer amount of books could fill a small community library!

This week, I was talking to a friend I have not seen since March and was sharing with her how this experience of moving my son has made me want to downsize again with an incredible sense of urgency - that has sent me going from room to room, working through closet after closet - and visiting drawer after drawer in the single minded pursuit of making things leaner and meaner. My friend pointed out - that this was already at least my third go around this year, which was true. Still, I felt like I had hardly made a dent!

Yesterday, a friend on Facebook alerted me to a challenge to get rid of 100 things. Recently, I wrote of a Chinese proverb which suggests that giving away at least 27 things for 9 days will make a radical difference in our lives.

Still, I know I have a long way to go... My first desire this week was to do all this work overnight, which of course would be both daunting and simply impossible. But later I realized that this practice of simplifying had to become a way of life. This process of lightening my footprint on the earth would take a lot more reflection and thought and commitment than just simply giving a lot of stuff away. I needed to consider how much I consumed and why.

When I browse architectural and design magazines, I am drawn to spartan, zen-like environments and in my heart of hearts, would welcome living in such de-cluttered spaces.

All of this work I am doing right now is also the reflection and mirror image of inner work I am doing. Perhaps it is seeking an outer manifestation... But, I also think it is something many of us consider and are drawn to after we have raised families and become empty nesters.

This week, perhaps consider ways in which you can simplify your own life. There might be some nagging inner voice that has been speaking to you!

"Reduce (get rid of some of your stuff)

Refuse (to get more new stuff)
Rejigger (your priorities)..."
~ 100 Thing Challenge

"Whether your worldly possessions be many or few, 
you are still rich in gifts from God." 


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