I’ve been thinking a lot this past year about when we (finally) get our own place in the States. What will I need to furnish it appropriate to our needs, both present and future? I thought I’d go to Pinterest and get a bunch of ideas. Oh, there are so many wonderful ideas, so much of it expensive and time consuming!
Then on September 24, during my Bible reading, I came across Matthew 6:19-21. The past two years I’ve been reading a chronological Bible – two years and I’m not yet to the end. But I regress. That’s another story for another day.
Anyway, Matthew 6:19-21 in the New Living Translation reads, “Don’t store up treasures here on Earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in Heaven were moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
It seemed to me as if God was whispering (maybe yelling?) the word “minimalism” to me. The past three months I’ve been focusing on what that means to me, and what it doesn’t mean to me.
By nature, I’m a clutter bug. If the papers are to be put away, there must be an easy way to accomplish that task. If the folded and hung laundry is to be put away properly, I need a place to do that, a place which is easily accessible. You get the idea. If a task seems overwhelming for whatever reason, I opt out of it.
A great part of minimalism is having what you need, and not a whole lot more. Remembering that whatever I own will require maintenance, which uses a lot of time that could be better spent elsewhere, I asked myself, “How many pairs of slacks do I really need?” Turns out, it’s not too many. I figure two pair of nice, well-fitting black slacks should do it. Same goes for skirts and shorts. What about jeans? I upped that to three or four, because they only get washed together because of the possibility of fading. Then, several blouses to add color, a few sweaters in a variety of colors, and I’m pretty much finished. My husband gave me a dress and some amazing Thai Silk fabric to sew into a skirt and blouse. I do have a couple of nice suits, one a slack suit and the other a skirt suit. It should all fit on less than 3 feet of closet rod. Nearly everything is machine washable too. Easy to care for with minimal time spent. Of course, my new tendency toward minimalism can’t be forced on my husband, but I can pursue it for myself.
I got to thinking next about bedding and other linens. Is it truly necessary to have more than two complete sets of bedding for any bed in the house? I think not. What about towels? Two sets for each person I can sleep in my home seems reasonable to me. I do love to have LOTS of washcloths though. Living in the tropics for over a decade had me using a clean cloth for every face wash or shower. They just got so disgusting, not drying out well between uses. The same applies to kitchen towels and cloths. You see, I’m not a total minimalist, just trying to head that way.
Another place that can get overwhelming quite quickly is the kitchen. How many place settings do I really need? There are so many types of appliances available! How about something that does several different jobs? I like that idea! I need to remember I don’t need appliances for every task, especially the ones I never do!
I think it’s going to be interesting to get into all the “stuff” we shipped back from Thailand and has been in storage more than nine months now. What if a bunch of it is just stuff I can’t or won’t use? I know I really miss some of it: my serge/overlock sewing machine, my keyboard, pictures, my fantastic high-capacity printer, the good vacuum cleaner which has been in storage these past 11 years. It just might make me sick to see how much “junk” I had shipped over the Pacific Ocean, needing to toss even more as I unpack it all here!
One area I need to work on is my love for crochet thread, yarn, and fabric. Much of it is used to generate income. That’s legitimate. The rest, not so much. With that, I’ll share part of the prayer I wrote down in my journal on Sunday, 24 September 2017:
Father, guide me as we work to establish a home of our own once again. Let us be more minimalist. Keep me away from crochet thread, fabric, and yarn unless I have a specific use for it. Keep us away from too many clothes, too many kitchen things, too many trinkets.
What are your thoughts on minimalism?