Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo da Vinci.
One of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits, had the following to say on simplicity:
A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means eliminating all but the essential, eschewing chaos for peace, and spending your time doing what’s important to you.
It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.
However, getting to simplicity isn’t always a simple process. It’s a journey, not a destination, and it can often be a journey of two steps forward, and one backward.
Have you paid much attention to all the little things in your life? As I have sorted through drawers and packed stuff away bit by bit, I’ve realized how much I have and wondered where it all came from. I am a month away from a full year in my present home and somehow, though I was thorough when packing a year ago, I still managed to keep a lot of stuff that I just don’t need.
I’ve issued a challenge to myself to reduce my physical objects down to as few as possible. There’s something lovely and inspiring about having few possessions. I’ll never manage it on the book front, but I want to see what I can manage as far as my other possessions.
Why do we (collectively) gather so many possessions unto ourselves? I know some of the historical aspects, and I can conjecture some of the psychological, but why, really?
My grandmother was a collector. She used to own a large house in western Maine and lived there alone. My cousin Michelle and I used to blaze trails through the mountains of stuff just to walk from one room to another. Photo journals, coin rolls, clothes, and books used to balance precariously in heaps. I would spend whole days when visiting just sorting through a single pile and I felt like Charles Darwin charting and categorizing all the different objects. And it wasn’t just Nonnie.My former mother-in-law was a kindred soul in the race to have as many objects in her home as possible. And my mother.
It has always been my ardent goal to live simply. And life is pretty simple. I just have too much stuff.
So, my plan is to put every object in my possession through a stringent line of questioning: Why do I have this? What purpose does it serve in my life? When did I last use it? And if I don’t have a good answer, a compelling answer, to each of those questions, I’m going to put it in a box and walk it next door to the Salvation Army.
I hope all is well with you. Much love. Black Sheep.