I have been making moves toward simplifying things in my life in the last couple of months. Many people have jumped on this bandwagon with the recent popularity of the Konmari method, and although I haven't read the book I started on a journey of "tidying up" a couple of months after I received my pregnancy news. Somehow I instantly had the urge to rid myself of the unnecessary material things in my life. Simplifying stayed top of mind as I packed up most of my belongings after our decision to move. The idea that we would start clean for the new baby made this process easier. Upon moving into our new apartment, we had less stuff, and more space. It was a bit tough to not fill the negative space with new furniture, but with persistent reminding we succeeded in keeping things sparse.
Why was the idea of simplicity so important to me you may ask. Aside from using food control in my teenage years to soothe feelings of self doubt and inadequacy, I also started to use material therapy as well. I allowed buying things to provide a temporary boost in self worth, and this continued through my twenties. A career in fashion didn't help, and I soon accumulated a large wardrobe and a bunch of debt. In the end I learned that material items would not fill the void of confidence in my life. To purge felt like a shedding of a rough time in my life, and a great way to start my "new" beginning.
Since then I have started reading about how simplicity is so important during childhood, and am glad that I got a head start. I have been adamant throughout my pregnancy that I want to keep the things that we buy for the baby to a minimum; truly only the basics. The surprising thing is that others don't understand this mindset. Our society teaches that more is better, and media is great at making us think we NEED many things to live a satisfied life. I hope to keep this to a minimum in my life going forward, which includes raising my son with this mindset. This will include not overloading him with tons of toys, and limiting his exposure to media. My hope is that he doesn't fall into the same trap that I did later in life. That he may be confident without the extra "stuff" knowing that working on his soul is far more important than the latest trend. That he feels deep satisfaction from a beautiful day spent fishing with my dad rather than wanting to advance to the next level in a video game.
If you are interested in finding more enjoyment in the simple things start with cleaning out your home one room at a time. My closet was the biggest challenge, and I will admit still could use some work. Eliminate items you no longer use (that means your skinny jeans that you have wanted to fit into for the last 5 years.) You will start to feel an immediate sense of relief. Material items can bog you down, and cleansing it out can be so freeing. The next step is decrease your exposure to media. I am not saying to retreat to a black hole, but many of us are conditioned to have the TV on when we are home, or have our twitter feed send constant updates. Make a plan to check the news once or twice a day. Allowing yourself to know what's happening in the world without minute to minute information will be helpful in clearing mind clutter and lowering stress. Thirdly, find pleasure in the small things. Fresh air, a really good glass of lemonade, your first sip of coffee in the morning. These are the moments that will make parts of everyday enjoyable. Embrace them. Life is the ordinary days, and we can train ourselves to make the most of them. Happy cleaning!
If you are interested in learning more:
I know several people who have found great success with this book, although I have not read it myself. If you have any experience with it, please feel free to comment below.