Today we make our way home – 2 car rides, 2 airports, 2 flights. As Brian said this morning, “you look forward to the trip for so long, and then it’s over.” How true. And how sad if I only … Continue reading
I usually become angst about 2 days into a vacation, already anticipating its end and the return to normalcy. Although I can attest no place has a bed as sweet as home. (Hat tip to the inventor of memory foam.) … Continue reading
We always meet great people (and dogs) in Seaside. The topography and layout of Seaside orients you toward community. There are exceptions, but most residents and visitors are ready to go beyond “hello” for a chat. Everyone seems to have … Continue reading
I’m really blessed, abundantly. Like all of us though, I could come up with a list of items to complain about at any given time. Most of us find it difficult to put away our notepad of complaints and stop … Continue reading
A few months back we introduced a blankey to Wade – a soft teal chenille type. He developed a tender attachment in just a few weeks. Now the blankey is a nap and bedtime must. He carries the blankey around … Continue reading
Today was our first real day at the beach with Wade. Being beach lovers, my husband Brian and I have developed a somewhat involved beach setup over the years: chairs, umbrellas, staked blanket, cooler w drinks and food, cart, reading … Continue reading
Standing on the shore last night with my family at sunset, setting Wade’s feet upon the beach for the first time, I started to cry. I hadn’t expected to feel so sharply, and it caught me off guard. It was … Continue reading
I’m the first to say simplicity is a journey measured increments, in moments. My closet still wouldn’t pass for simple and now heading to vacation, I am reminded my packing wouldn’t either. Part of my packing challenge used to be … Continue reading
The catalog arrives. I open the first page and am transported to a distant island in the Pacific, or perhaps an historic artist’s loft in Paris. I am not a tourist, nor a resident, but some how I belong here. … Continue reading
How long does it take you to burnout on an item? Maybe the thrill of the video game passes after just a few weeks. Perhaps your new eye shadow isn’t quite the same shade as the one you just saw in a magazine. Or maybe your home decor suddenly seems childish and unsophisticated compared to the house you saw on HGTV.
We are inherently subject to the law of diminishing returns. As we seek to satisfy our desires for pleasure and fulfillment, we become more unsatisfied. Overtime we desire more and greater things to satiate our ever-increasing need for more “stuff.” There is one method to reduce or halt this burnout phenomenon – the discipline of contentment. I will write more on contentment in the coming weeks; for now consider contentment not something to be received, but something to be cultivated.
The pursuit of simplicity and contentment go hand-in-hand. One of the primary steps for either pursuit is the sloughing off or removal of nonessential “stuff” from our lives. This may sound relatively easy, but many of us have found it to be a painful pruning process. If it seems daunting, I suggest you consider another beginning step – stop accumulating more. Rather than buying (or even trading) for “new” items, rediscover the ones you already have. Living in a finite worlds means that you and I have limited time and attention. As we accumulate more stuff, our attention to each item diminishes. We quickly forget the items that once thrilled us. We under-utilize perfectly fine items and opt instead for something new. For example: I recently had the idea that perhaps I should purchase a new lens for my camera. It wouldn’t be difficult to make a case for the purchase or rationalize it to myself. However, instead of shopping for lens, I asked myself a question: Have I really maxed out the capabilities of my current camera? The answer is no; I likely use around 50% of my camera’s capabilities, maybe. My instinct is to look for a new tool, rather than maximize the one I already have.
I began to ask the same question of some of my other possessions. The result was a list of items I under-utilize and the commitment to not make new purchases related to these items. I hope this list catalyzes your own brainstorming.
- Craft supplies – What supplies or craft tools have you used one or two times? Revisit or master a previously attempted craft before moving on to a new one.
- Magazines – Do you actually “consume” the magazines you already receive?
- Cookbooks – Have you cooked even 50% of the recipes in the cookbooks you already own? What about torn out pages from magazines?
- Kitchen tools – What tools have gone unused for a year or multiple seasons?
- Groceries/Freezer – Do you throw food in the trash each week because it spoils before you eat it?
- Clothing – Choose a few unworn clothing items to include back in your circulation.
- Makeup – Count the eye shadows, lipsticks and nail polishes you haven’t used in 6 months. Do you still need more?
- Children’s toys – Having forgotten or unused toys doesn’t mean your child needs new ones.
- House accessories/decorations – Do the items displayed around your home add meaning or just clutter?
- Tools – Do you want new tools because of the promise they bring or because you have broken ones requiring replacement?
What items do you under-utilize? What items are you tempted to buy even though a true need is absent?