Simplicity is an important part of my life. Perhaps it has something to do with my Midwestern upbringing. The rolling hills and fields of green and yellow against a blue sky that everyone else calls boring, I have come to know as home. It's this "home" that has inspired me to incorporate simplicity into my entire lifestyle--choosing what to eat, decorating my home, buying clothes, raising my two kids, choosing or not choosing a career. This simple mindset benefits my health in countless ways.
Last Spring, simplifying went to a whole new level when Daniel lost his job and I started Project Eliminate to prepare us for our move back to the Midwest. I had a plan and I jumped in with both feet, making awesome progress in the beginning and avoiding giving up. In the end, we eliminated enough earthly possessions to fit into a small rental truck. A year later, I'm still seeking ways to simplify and am surprised how this renewed simplicity impacts all areas of our life.
Our meals are becoming healthier. It's not science, it's common sense. Fruits and veggies are as simple (and healthy) as it gets, and the more we incorporate these and other whole foods into our diet, the healthier we become.
I exercise more. There's a reason my attempts at P90X never stuck--too complicated and time-consuming. Simplifying my views on exercise made it more appealing to maintain and a truly positive addition to my (and my family's) daily routine.
We have more money. As I immersed myself in our belongings, evaluating what is essential and what is simply clutter, I also reevaluated my shopping habits. I now go to the store when I have a need and buy only what is needed freeing up money in our budget. There are exceptions, and those exceptions often end up at Goodwill.
Our home organized itself. I used to think about organization in terms of excessive sorting and grouping like items and finding the right containers and labeling. Then, I was introduced to the world of minimizing, and realized getting rid of items that aren't needed or used often leaves enough open space for everything to magically become organized.
There is room for gratitude. The more stuff I have and the more complex my life becomes, the less I feel the need for Christ or see all the ways He blesses me daily. As I reevaluate our needs, I see how much He has provided and continues to provide, and I feel truly grateful in a way I have not known before in my life.
My priorities are refocused. When I get caught up in having and doing it all, I lose the value of what I've neglected. The simple act of spending quality time with my kids right now is more important than bringing in extra money that we've already proven we can live without.
We fit into a smaller space. Simplifying is the only way our family of four fits comfortably into a 1,000 Sq Ft, 2 bedroom apartment. We still have more to simplify, but we aren't as cluttered or cramped as we were in a larger 3-bedroom house.
I discovered contentment. Coveting finds a way to trap me. Cuter, more stylish clothes. A better decorated home. A more inspiring workspace. Even when I started learning more about minimalism, I coveted having less. But the more I let simplicity become the theme in my life, the more I'm happy with the jeans and tees I love wearing everyday, the rugs I desperately wanted to replace, and the desk where I write. When life is simple, I am simply content.
I've discovered freedom of being stress-free. Christ reminded us repeatedly to not worry and not fear and not put unnecessary thought toward the little things that He's taking care of. Simplifying my life allows me to hear and understand His comforting words--to experience the freedom of not worrying about the excess that threatens to consume, and to enjoy the sitting-in-a-hammock-sipping-on-a-pina-colada-enjoying-the-breeze freedom that is happening in my mind. The only truly spacious place I will know on this earth.
God became the focus He always should have been. Letting go of things and the desire for more allows me to seek first His Kingdom. Which is really the point.