Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Tyranny of Too Much

My husband recently returned from a trip to South America. He took pictures of the homes of his friends there. Although they were not in extreme poverty (they had enough to eat and wear), they were still poor by American standards. Their homes were nicely built and spotlessly clean, but completely austere. Very little furniture, nothing on the counters, tables, desks, or floors. There was no clutter anywhere. My husband said this was the rule, not the exception.

I have to wonder if there might also be a cultural component. Even the poor in many places (India comes to mind) sometimes live in clutter and disarray. Perhaps there is a cultural expectation of tidiness and austerity, alongside a simple lack of possessions.

In any case, my husband was struck by the simplicity that comes from not having excess possessions. We have been moving in the direction of simplifying this year, but not earnestly. Well, I committed to reduce the possessions in my jurisdiction by 50%, but I have not made a lot of progress in awhile.

I have taken last week and this week to work on a marathon declutter. It feels so good to see empty shelves. I can tell already that this will simplify my homemaking. Lissa at Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh mentioned this once. Of course, cleaning experts like Flylady and Don Aslett say the same thing. The less you have to care for, the less time it takes. Why do I hang onto this stuff anyway?

Today I'm working on my kids' rooms. I cleaned them out recently, but I realized, not enough. They are often overwhelmed by how much stuff is in their rooms, especially the room shared by 3. Hopefully this will be a gift that will help them not feel so overwhelmed, especially as we begin a new homeschool year. Everyone wins! That is my goal, anyway!

History of a Cheap Dress

This fun article on Etsy confirms what I wondered about in my last post!