”Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale
Last week someone told me a story that changed my life. It was a story about a woman who had just come to Canada. She entered the YMCA with her two children and a very small suitcase. My friend (who told me the story) said she looked a little lost and asked her if she needed any help. After helping the woman, my friend handed her a business card and told her to call if she needed help. A week later she did.
She had been placed in a hotel and was using the food bank to feed her family using only a microwave. The only things she brought with her were the things in the little suitcase she carried with her. A suitcase with a plastic zipper.
My friend asked me if there was anything I could donate. I walked home that day, thinking about that woman and her children. She is one of many who come to Canada with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and their most precious possesions. Their children. As I walked through the front door of my house I thought, if I had 10 seconds to grab anything I could before my house exploded what would I take? All I could think of was my children (ok. and the dog) and my computer. Everything else means little to me. Of course TVs, books, furniture etc… all has worth, but they are replaceable.
In my quest for balance I have realized that we have too much stuff… stuff which clutters the mind.
Do my kids all that clothes? Less clothes = less laundry. And the books on the shelf that will never be read, like the “Encyclopedia of cats” given to me by a boss that I didn’t even like. Really? Someone who really likes cats might appreciate it, but I’ve never even opened it.
In my quest to simplify I found a blog, Becoming Minimalist, and I realized this is what I want to do. Become a Minimalist. Fill my house and my life with meaningful things and get rid of the clutter. Quality over quantity. Make more time for the things I love. Do not over consume and over spend on “things”. It’s not going to be easy, because when I am feeling down there is nothing better then some retail therapy. But the next time I find myself reaching for something I want to buy, I will think about that woman, and her little suitcase, and ask myself if I really need it.