I told my husband I decided to become a minimalist. This was shortly after we moved into our new condo and realized just how little storage this place has. There’s no basement, no attic, no pantry, and just two closets.
My husband just nodded and said “Okay” with raised eyebrows. This was also right after we had ordered some new furniture.
But I DO aspire towards minimalism and simplicity. I can’t stand clutter. Clutter in my visible space makes my mind feel cluttered and fuzzy. Clutter and messiness stress me out—which is telling since there is ALWAYS clutter in our home. It’s unavoidable really. We work so much that there’s just not enough time to keep the house spotless. (And, truth be told, we don’t clean up after ourselves very promptly.)
So, I’ve learned to live with it. If I’m going to get to any of the other priorities in my life, like spending time with my daughter and my husband, writing, sleeping a few hours, then I’ve just got to overlook the pile of papers over there. And there, and there. I’ve got to try not to think about the clean laundry in the basket over there, and the dirty laundry in the other basket. And the little pile next to that basket. And the shoes by the door, and the toys on the floor.
Shoot, I’m starting to stress out again.
And, of course, it’s late (again), which doesn’t help. It’s a bit of a hamster wheel I find myself in….
Yet, calls for simplicity are all around, and I plan to start listening. Have you noticed how, in the midst of this hectic, crazy-busy, buy-buy-buy culture, some people are drawing the line? The magazine Real Simple, launched in 2000, is apparently still quite successful, speaking as it does to so many women seeking simpler lives. (I used to subscribe to Real Simple and a few other magazines. You should’ve seen the stacks I accumulated….)
Part of the reason for this simplicity movement comes from increased environmental awareness. More and more people care enough about the planet to decrease their carbon footprints and consciously reduce the amount of waste they generate. (“Reduce” is the first of the three “R’s” for a reason.) If you’d like a little motivation in this area, check out this cool, educational little video, “The Story of Stuff.”
As I was saying, I’m seeing invitations to the (truly) simple life all around. Just today, I turned the page on my “Think Green” perpetual desk calendar and read the quote of the day: “Simplicity is the peak of civilization.” -Jessie Sampter.
Not knowing who Jessie Sampter was, I googled her and found out she was an influential Zionist educator and a poet who cared about pacifism and social justice. Somehow, in my googling, I happened to come across a website called Zen Habits. As it says, Zen Habits is an ad-free blog about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.
And it’s awesome! Tons of inspiration here. I plan to check it out often.
Because, what I’m trying and trying to remember, is that simplicity is about more than a clean house. It’s also about being present and aware of what’s most important. It's about the choices we make, which ultimately reflect our values and express who we are.
And it may just be the key to inner peace.