The following post is from Rachel of The Minimalist Mom:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo Da Vinci
Many people equate minimalism or voluntary simplicity with austerity or deprivation.
They picture minimalism as cold hard days with the most basic of meals and a home that echos with emptiness- instead of seeing what remains they see what is no longer there. Minimalism or living with less sounds like a grueling diet one should avoid.
For my family simplicity has actually brought us more luxury.
We have less but what we do have, both in our home and in our life, is better. More resources like time, energy, space and yes, even money. Donation requests from friends are always answered. Weekends are unhurried affairs with lots of time to wander and explore for our kids and for at least one parent to sleep-in an extra hour or two. Dinner is never rushed. When our second child arrived there was already an empty drawer, or four, for his tiny clothes. Simplicity has allowed us more luxuries.
Yes, even some of our ‘things’ are more luxurious too. We’ll spend a bit more on shoes so they last longer and can be repaired rather than replaced. With casual and emotional shopping not eating up our budget we can splurge on organic produce and some out of season treats. It’s not all gruel and deprivation – I promise!
If you struggle to think of simplifying as joyful or anything other than a painful process, try to imagine what simplifying will give you instead of what it takes away.
What would make your life better right now?
Time to take a leisurely walk on your favorite path without an imminent deadline of what has to be done next. An extra twenty minutes to make something from scratch for dinner rather than heat a frozen pizza. Space in the nursery so you’re not bumping into things in the middle of the night. Some extra patience for the inevitable melt-downs in late afternoon. Some breathing room in your budget so when something out of the ordinary arises, a request to donate or an opportunity for you to participate in, you can say yes without anxiety or guilt. These simple things often feel like extravagances when we’re strapped for time, space and money. They are also some of the last things we think of treating ourselves with when we get the chance.
Remember these ways to make luxury out of simplicity:
- Indulge in less hurry and more time. When you simplify your schedule you give yourself more time to smell the roses, taste the homemade pancakes or get lost in thought. Less hurry gives you more breathing room for the glacial movement of children when you need to leave the house. Revel in having time and when others complain about being too busy quietly enjoy the fact that you’re not.
- Use what you do have. Simplicity allows you to keep just what you love and use. So use it: sew, craft, run, relax, read or do nothing at all. The overly busy and stressed can’t use all that ski equipment or finish their embroidery projects, you can. Enjoy!
- Gift your time and resources to others. Offer to take a stressed out parent’s kids for the afternoon. Invite friends for a home cooked meal. Creating financial space and more unscheduled time in your life allows you to give generously without the need for a swap or IOU as motivation or necessity.
Simplicity isn’t all bare shelves and one pot meals. It’s using less to more effect. We do and have fewer things so they can be better. Remember this the next time you have to decide if something should stay or go in your life and home. Instead of thinking about what you will miss, think about what you will gain.
How do you spoil yourself with simplicity or having less?
|Rachel Jonat is a former world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans and is (finally) debt-free.