Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Simple + Slow

I can still vividly remember the moment it all clicked for me. I was sitting in a playroom FULL of toys for my less than one year old. I literally felt the walls caving in. I felt trapped by the amount of STUFF in such a small place.

Anyone who has been down the road of simplifying knows the feeling that happens when you start purging, organizing, and getting back to the basics. I went in full force and decluttered our entire house. For me, it became much more about mental clarity. I started realizing that the more stuff I had around me the less I was able to focus.

Over the last several years we have worked hard to create a minimal life. It started with our home but quickly spilled over into all areas of my life: finances, schedules, routines, rhythms, and even my parenting. 

For us, a simple life and finances really went hand in hand. We were able to strip it down to the bare necessities to figure out we really didn't need to spend a lot of money. We are able to focus the bulk of our money on very quickly paying off my grad school student loan, saving, and planning for big purchases. Using the EveryDollar app to track our purchases and plan our savings has been instrumental for us and has really allowed us to continue spending the least amount of money as possible and being very strategic about the big purchases we do make.

Our schedules started to free up when we realized we didn't have to fill every waking second with an activity. Days at home have truly become our favorite. Our home has become a place of refuge for me. A place of peace and comfort and the place I would rather spend my days than anywhere else. When we first had Bennett I was in grad school, getting my gifted endorsement, and working an hour away from home. Basically my schedule was packed to the brim and I was so proud of ALL the things I was doing. It wasn't until I was not doing all.the.things that I realized how insane that was and not beneficial for my well-being, or the well-being of my family. I am more proud of my ability to say no and to live by Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God. 

routines + rhythms: 
We have always been routined but once our lives really became more minimal we realized creating rhythms was just another way to streamline our lives and make them as simple as possible. We do many things the same way, in the same order, everyday. This may sound boring to some, but it gives me peace and comfort and predictability and I thrive on that. Things like laundry, dishes, and cleaning do not overwhelm us. We are equal partners in getting all the things done and when you have less stuff you have less stuff to clean. We make it a point to do simple things like a loud of laundry every day, run the dish washer every night, keep a tidy home by cleaning as we go, etc. These small things add up to a home that is livable (hello, we have two boys!) but also clean, orderly, and welcoming.

parenting + homemaking:
The biggest area that minimalism has impacted me personally is in my parenting. Like I said, the moment it all hit me was in a playroom full of loud, bright, flashing toys...for my 9 month old. Most of the items were gifts from very loving and well meaning people, but when they were all in one place it became VERY overwhelming for me. When I took it all away, went back to the absolute basics,  I started to see play in a way that I had never seen before. Our boys are very imaginative, creative, and honestly just happier kids with less. (side note: the book simplicity parenting radically helped me in this area. It is a must read. I have read it several times and get so much out of it every time). I'm going to share more about our playroom and the types of toys we have very soon : )

Embracing a simple + slow life has been SUCH a process for me, and probably always will be, but it's something that I feel so strongly about. I am far from perfect and still have a lot of areas that I can work on, but the thing that I have learned is that the freedom that comes from living with less is worth far more than any possession I could ever hold.

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