Over the last few weeks I’ve felt like I’ve been nesting.
I am constantly culling, re-organising and reconsidering what is important in terms of stuff.
Because I know that when I live with less, I can breathe – it’s easier to tidy, I become more focused, more productive, and can revel in my people without distraction.
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life”*
I want to live, pray and work undistracted. Productive.
Mentally and emotionally available. Spiritual.
And I believe that excess stuff, visual noise and general untidiness hinders my journey in all of those areas.
I’ve learned it doesn’t take much to create spaces that you love.
There are 6 things I’m learning on my minimalist journey, about making a space you love.
1. Be outward focused.
Near the end of last year I felt deep down that I needed to foster a generous heart. I’ve never been stingy when it comes to others, but I knew it was time to let go a bit more. I started giving away big things. I’ve given a camera. A giant shelving unit. A phone. A coffee machine. I’m being a river. Flowing, moving, not stagnant and stale. As I let go my trust in God went deeper and the importance of having all these things grew dim. Plus. When you give something away it feels amazing. When your mind is on how you can reach out and give generously, your own driving wants become minimal.
2. Don’t impulse buy.
There are things that I thought I desperately wanted.
After waiting a couple of weeks or a couple of months I realised I actually didn’t.
And if you still decide that it’s necessary, you’ve already waited this long – now you can wait till it goes on sale! I was desperate for a change and growing increasingly frustrated with our old dining table. I listed the old one for sale and waited and waited. It finally sold for the exact amount I needed to buy the new one, when it was on sale. Worth the effort and the wait. And a ‘just needing a change’ shouldn’t come at excessive cost.
3. Make do. Be content.
I have a gorgeous new dining table. The chairs I’ve gathered from all over the house and are an eclectic colourful mix. One day I’d like matching chairs, but for now I’m making do.
The journey we’ve done over the last five years has taught us contentment in every season. We are gut-wrenchingly grateful for everything we have. We’ve learned to be content, we’ve learned to be thankful, and that is truly how to have a space you’re happy in.
4. New isn’t always best.
Buy using local second-hand websites and Facebook pages.
Gumtree is my best friend when I’m in need of something. Chances are someone is trying to get rid of something and you can pick things up cheap cheap.
For months we’d been looking at buying a coffee machine. A proper one, with a grinder. We looked at a department store a few weeks ago and left without paying the $700 minimum we’d need to spend to get the one we wanted. Maybe for Christmas.
Cue Gumtree. $75 later we were enjoying our very own home barista made coffee with a machine that retails for $800! Such a reminder of the truth of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ – not to mention a loving-God-orchestration.
5. Fresh flowers.
They are visually pleasing, even when haphazardly arranged and dotted around the place in their random jars. Buy a cheap bunch from the supermarket or pick your own. We walked to find these. A taste of the ocean air, hand holding and an intentional being together. And now something delightful for the table and the kitchen.
6. Make a space for everything. Clear the clutter and put things away as you go.
Bag up the unnecessary for the Salvos. Living with less means less clutter, and less time spent on putting junk away.
I’m still learning. My heart still feels a pull toward pretty, but I’m continually learning true contentment, and also working out what makes me function best. I envy people who can live and work and be productive and peaceful when surrounded by lots and lots of things, but I’m learning that I’m not one of them. It’s a journey.
* Marie Kondo