Recently, I was introduced to a book called Faithfully Frugal by Kari Patterson. I can definitely say that this book couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve found that I go through seasons of stuff accumulating in my home and life. I frequently get the mood to purge, and I do, but it always seems to only to make room for me to collect more stuff. If you’re a frequent reader of mine then you probably remember reading my original article to this post called De-cide to De-clutter – Minimalism – part one. Well, that was a few years ago, and yes, my friends, it’s that time again. Only this time, it gets WAY better!
Faithfully Frugal (available only for Amazon Kindle) not only spoke to my brain but, more importantly, my heart. In this book, Kari writes about her journey with giving up what the world would see as the best and choose to acquire less so that she could always be available to the calling that God had suddenly put on her heart. She and her husband, along with their children, had just obtained their dream home and all of the financial responsibility that goes along with it. They were satisfied with their things but suddenly realized that God had other plans for them. They ended up choosing to sell their dream home, which meant losing their investment and moving into a rental. Their friends and family certainly told them that they were crazy. In fact, as I sit here and write about her, I may, or may not, have thought that about her myself, but there is something very intriguing to me about the heart of it all.
After reading Kari’s book, I journeyed back to the Kindle store looking for any other book that I could find on the same subject. Although I felt inspired, I wasn’t quite ready to dive in and suddenly downsize my belongings. I found a second book called Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay (also on Amazon Kindle), and this lady takes downsizing to the extreme! I loved reading about her journey and imagining myself in her shoes…all SIX pairs! She has downsized her wardrobe to only six pairs of shoes, a few shirts, pants, skirts and nice accessories. I can only imagine that it takes her only minutes to get ready in the morning. I imagine her bare walls and two chairs in her living room and think about how fast I could clean my house during the day. Although this is not exactly my idea of minimalism, it obviously works for her and her husband, and I would definitely love to visit her home one day to take a look at all the things that she does not have sitting around the house. I am positive that I would be greatly inspired, but I am sure that there is a happy medium somewhere for my family to obtain.
In Miss Minimalist, Francine asks you to evaluate the value that something adds to your life. If it only adds little or no value, ask yourself if you can get by without it. The answer to many of the items around your home will probably surprise you. She asks us to think about whether or not someone else may have the same item in their home. She continues with saying that if we truly need something for a short occasion, she’s sure that we could find ways of borrowing it. If we are keeping things for the possibilities of potentially needing it one day then that could be considered hoarding, especially if we know that someone else could use it more than us.
In her book, Francine also gives her top ten benefits of eliminating clutter. She says that less stuff equals less stress, more freedom, more time, more money, less pressure to consume, less to clean, more opportunities to be creative and resourceful, a greener planet, more for others, and more joy. Wow! That’s a lot of promises! Who wouldn’t benefit from just half of those reasons, especially “more money and less to clean?”
Francine also tells us how to win the war on clutter. She tells us to interrogate our belongings. She explains by saying, “Give every possession you encounter the third degree: ask where it came from, what it does, and what value it adds to your household. Determine whether it belongs in your kingdom, or if it should be banished. Don’t give anything a free pass.” She also asks us to evaluate the purchases that we are considering by literally asking them questions like, “Do I really need you? What value will you add to my life? Are you worth the extra hours I’ll have to work for you? Are you worth the space I’ll have to devote to you?” To that, I’d like to add the question, “Are you worth the time I’d have to spend cleaning you or protecting you from harm, or the time that it will take to dispose of you when you no longer serve any purpose?”
I don’t feel that God is asking me to downsize our home. Our home is already just the right size for us, but I do feel the need to downsize my belongings, which could consequently add to the current square footage of my home. I have started by cleaning out closets again, and that always feels great!
We itemize our tax donations, and when I look at our notebook full of things that we donated last year and years before, I am amazed that I still have stuff in my house! It concerns me that my house is still full. Where does all this stuff come from?! It would seem that I am not even aware of my own purchasing habits.
I am praying that I can be wise in my banishing decisions. I will be the first to admit that this is an ongoing struggle for me, but I do see a tiny light peeking through at the end of my tunnel full of stuff. For now, I’m pressing on and doing this decluttering thing again so that one day I will have it all under control, and I won’t have to do it again, but I’m not holding my breath!