It’s almost September. The leaves on a few of the trees in our backyard are beginning to turn color already. School starts in a week. It feels like it’s nearly time to get out some of my fall decorations! Don’t worry – I’ll wait a bit yet. But the changing foliage has got me thinking. It’s time to re-evaluate!
At the start of each new season, I like to freshen things up around our home with some eye-catching curios, maybe rearrange some furniture, and then…re-evaluate our belongings. My aim in the assessment is two-fold. The first is to strive for simplicity. The second, contentment.
Have you looked around your home lately and thought to yourself, “What is all of this stuff?” Do you find yourself exhausted from constantly picking up, moving around or covering over things? I understand, and thus my aim for simplicity in the home.
And yet, when you walk down the street or through the mall and notice something lovely, something enticing, are you are tempted to purchase it? It. Another something? I know. And it’s so pretty! But my true need isn’t another thing. I seek contentment.
Last summer I went through our home, room by room, closet by closet, and tried to pare down our belongings, to simplify our possessions. I know that in reality, the less I have, the easier it is to keep it clean and organized. But I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy. I like to keep things “just in case,” or because of “sentimental value,” or for a “rainy day.” But I tried to keep in mind my plan – simplicity, with contentment.
I had to make a lot of decisions. It wasn’t much fun. Taking a load of “extras” to Good Will that I might “need” or just “wish I had” in a few months was actually a bit daunting. The fondue pot we received as a wedding gift (that we put on our registry). The extra sets of bed linens. (Did I seriously need a second set for each bed?). The candle holders. The ones that haven’t held candles in several years (People with young, active children don’t burn them like they did in the pre-family stage!). The shelf full of puzzles that we’ve memorized or are simply tired of putting together. The box of trinkets and cheap toys that relatives think they should continuously gift us (Okay – that one wasn’t hard to get rid of!). I kept thinking to myself, “Do you honestly need any of this?” You know the answer. No! The stuff I eliminated was, in a way, like a security blanket. One I had been too careless to throw out. I could do without it. I’d never intended to collect so much… it just happened. Of course, none of us start out intending to be “gatherers.” We don’t plan on increasing our appetite for material possessions. But it happens. And so, I re-evaluate, in order to fight this craving.
I once read that everything should by either USEFUL or BEAUTIFUL. And if it’s not, then you can get rid of it. I’ve posted that on the tack-board in front of my desk. “Is it useful? Is it beautiful?”That has helped me when sorting through our belongings on a quarterly basis.
Is it helpful, practical, functional, handy…useful? Is it striking, attractive, charming, lovely…beautiful?
Whatever I own, ultimately owns me. As I press forward, as I re-evaluate this fall, I want to keep this in mind. I want to be content with simplicity.