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Simple Stories – Stephanie

stephanieSpecial thanks to Stephanie for sharing her story with us today!

Enough! Starting Our Simple Journey

Life’s pretty simple. That’s right, I’ve got it all figured out. Love God, love others, and you’re done.

Yeah, right…the devil’s in the details…

Sometimes I THINK I have it all figured out. Then I wake up.

It’s true that life can be simple. But it’s so easy for me to make it complicated when it doesn’t have to be. It’s so easy to make things hard…

Which is why I’ve decided to become a monk.

Just kidding…

Physical Clutter

But seriously, I have been simplifying lately, and it feels SO GOOD. I’ve decluttered some of the house. (No, I do NOT need fifty shirts, thirty-two forks, or forty-seven dish towels!!)

My next declutter project is my closet. Oh, my closet. The dreaded black hole of clothes that I never wear and don’t even want anymore. (But, what if I neeeed it one day?!)

It’s going to be a big job. I’m not the best at making tough decisions. But I can celebrate, because I’ve already done a lot!

I have :

  • reduced the number of our towels and wash cloths in our bathrooms and kitchen
  • gotten rid of a lot of my “house clothes” that don’t fit anymore
  • sold or given away several nice kitchen dishes and utensils that were taking up counter or cabinet space
  • cleared off the surfaces in the living room, getting rid of unneeded knick-knacks
  • removed the “stuff” off our kitchen counters. No more appliances crammed into every available spot! Space, glorious space!
  • cleaned out our junk drawer
  • removed two bar stools that we were storing for my mother-in-law
  • gotten rid of our microwave
  • culled out the old Christmas mugs and plastic cups

And more to come…it’s pretty fun and addicting!

Looking back over that list, it looks like a lot, but it’s really not! I did all of that in the course of a week. Throughout the day, inspiration would strike, and off I’d go.

Mental Clutter

I want to turn off the “noise.” It’s time to schedule Internet time and NOT deviate…hard! I want to focus on living each day to the full, right where I am. Live this moment, this very one!

It’s amazing how much I can accomplish without Googling every random question that pops into my head, or reading all my favorite blogs, or listening to music all day.

Not that any of those things are bad by themselves. They’re very good and can be helpful, fun, informative, etc.

But they can also be big TIME WASTERS.

The Fast

My husband and I fasted media last week. No Internet other than business, no music, no books other than the Bible, you get the idea.

I was AMAZED. Wow. It was so, so…quiet. And I liked it. No, I loved it.

After the initial withdrawal phase (“Must. Have. Pioneer Woman!”), my brain focused. And I noticed some things for the first time…

I had no idea how much mental clutter those things created.

There’s really something to be said for simplicity.

Maybe becoming a monk or completely getting rid of the Internet is not the answer, but that week of media fasting has shown me that something has got to change. Too much media, and I get kind of crazy. I read a bunch of articles and get stressed out with all the improving I still have left to do. My life isn’t natural enough, organic enough, pristine enough, Susie Homemaker enough, just not enough…

ENOUGH! 🙂

“Finally, brethren (and sistren), whatever is true, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

It’s much easier to think of lovely, beautiful things with a clear head and a quiet house.

Now, when I close my eyes and open the windows of my house, I hear the birds sing and feel the breeze rustle. No music, no YouTube, no Instagram. Just peace.

If you’ve never simplified your life- even just a little bit- you ought to give it a try. Just “throw your hat over the fence” so to speak, and take the first step. I guarantee you’ll never look back.

I never will.

Bio: I am a young Mom with a passion for simple, natural living and joyful homemaking. I share my baby-step journey over at The Hidden Homemaker.

Thanks so much Stephanie for sharing with us today 🙂

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing our story, Lorilee! I hope it blesses someone.

  2. I laughed at “which is why I’ve decided to become a monk.” I often say I should become a monk. Monk sounds so much better than nun for some reason. There’s a monastery about an hour from our house and I love going there. It’s so quiet and peaceful.

  3. Lesli Lesli

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that I have found this website. My mother died a few years back and my sister & I were left to clean-out her home. I could write for days about this- she had a huge old farmhouse filled with junk- it took weeks and at least 14 trips to the dump with full-size truck & a 14 foot trailer ; and that is after keeping a few items, having several yard sales, & giving away tons of things. (I know we should have donated more things, but we were emotionally spent & just couldn’t deal) She owned all this stuff & was not happy- I really started to re-evaluate my own life after this. I have been slowly decluttering since & still have a ways to go.

    We own a big old beautiful farmhouse with a pretty red barn and a picket fence out in the country. The house I have always dreamed of. You know what? It doesn’t make me happy! We now have 2 kids and we are depleting our savings (almost gone!). In order to afford our house, I will soon have to work full-time. So instead, we are putting our home on the market in 2 weeks- (probably at a loss) to move back to the city of Portland, Maine into the multi-family we own there. in and up & coming neighborhood. Buying that 3-family is one thing I can say we did right!

    If we re-finance our apartment building and live in it, our monthly expenses will go down $2k a month! (I won’t need to work full-time & can continue to stay home with our girls) The apartment is about half the size at 1200 sq ft with a tiny yard shared yard.
    Reading how you live happily in a 1 bedroom apartment really inspires me. When I start to feel sad or panicky about the move, I go to your website for inspiration. When I read how you do it I think, 1200 sq ft- still a huge space! And there is a playground within walking distance. And lots of other things in walking distance.

    I’m not ready to give up my car, and probably have kept too much clothing. But, I want our life to be simple & clutter free as possible. I’d like to spend time enjoying my kids- not always taking care of a home & stuff that is never clean! Even if I am not picking-up the house I am usually distracted thinking about what I should be doing.

    Back to getting rid of things- today I am bringing our big screen t.v. & our spare bed to my sister’s- no more guest bedroom! I have just re-newed my excitement for our new life! Thanks again! I’ll write again once our house is sold and the real simplifying begins.

    • Lesli, awesome to meet you! I am excited for you. We have talked about moving to Portland Maine sometime as well. It is such a cute city. We visited about 3 years ago and loved it. It is definitely a developing town and a really nice size 🙂

  4. Stephanie, I love your story! It’s great to hear all the ways you’ve simplified. It’s amazing how fasting can change our lives. I, too, did a media fast several years ago when a priest suggested that the whole congregation do one together. At first, it was very uncomfortable for me. But in the end, it permanently changed my life. I never went back to my old ways. I love the peace and I love the quiet.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I love reading the simplicity stories of others. It spurs me on in my journey. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading, Amy. 🙂 I read a bit of your blog as well, and it is beautiful. Your story of the seashells brought tears to my eyes.

  5. Stephanie, I loved your story! Especially the part where you say your life isn’t natural enough, organic enough etc. It resonated so deeply, I knew how I felt but I couldn’t put it into words. You did that for me and you made me feel normal for feeling overwhelmed. I never thought about an Internet fast but I’m definitely considering it now. I just started blogging about my journey towards minimalism and have been reading like-minded blogs obsessively. Thanks again for sharing!

    • MarieG MarieG

      That is the part that resonated with me as well. I realized a few days ago that I need to relax and stop constantly worrying about everything, from the products we buy to the food we eat. I feel like everyone is always talking about how this ingredient is bad now, or how we should eat this way or that way, or only buy organic cotton clothing etc. etc. I am not saying there aren’t things out there that are good/bad or harmful for us, but I can’t keep up! I am utterly exhausted and feel like maybe it is time to listen to my intuition and shut everything else out. We don’t have cable tv or high speed internet already, but somehow the information still creeps in. Sometimes I really do want to shut it all out.

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