Blessings in simplicity

At the beginning of the year, I wrote something about living in excess and my desire to cut back on the things that fill our home. Learning to cut back has been an interesting experience, and I’ve learned a lot about the things we use and what we really need. And while it’s very much a work in progress, it’s fascinating to sit here, a bit over half a year later, and look at where we are.

I made it a goal to get rid of one thing every day. I put it on my to-do list, something to remind me every day, something that always needs to be checked off. Some days I can’t find anything to get rid of. Some days I find ten or more things. I don’t know if it’s worked out to one thing a day, but there’s been a steady stream of things moving out of the house, which is progress.

One of the surprising things it’s taught me is that I can be very selfish. I’d always thought of myself as a giving person, so realizing just how selfish I could be was a bit of a shock. Of course, some people may not even consider it selfishness, but I do. I’ve found things going to waste in my house that filled me with guilt when I looked at them. Not really forgotten, but not necessary. Not things I’d thought of in a long time. A nice laptop that was functioning and just needed an external monitor. Video game consoles we had doubles of after getting married and merging our collections. Clothes and dishes and shoes. Sometimes the things I find are luxuries. Other times, they’re things other people may desperately need.

This year I’ve filled bags for donation drives and sent boxes to donation centers. I’ve found people with needs among my friends and have helped them or made plans to, as I can. And the really amazing thing is that with every container of excess sent off, we find all sorts of new blessings coming our way.

There’s little blessings, like how less clutter in the house makes it easier to clean. Blessings like time saved cleaning that can be used for making our house more beautiful. There’s blessings like abundance in other parts of our lives, like a beautiful little veggie garden that shaves dollars off our grocery bill while supplying us with better tasting produce than what you can buy. There’s been blessings of business opportunities for me and possible career advancements for Joe. And of course, the blessing of awareness of how blessed we are, in our comfy, cozy little house in the suburbs of a big city. It may not seem like much, sometimes, but even the simple things are great blessings.

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