26 Steps to Simplicity: eXamine

guy reflecting

Here we are, two days from the end of the A to Z Blogging Challenge: 26 Steps to Simplicity series.  Thanks for sticking with me! How did you do this month?  Have you decluttered at least one room or one closet or one set of something?

We have a huge pile of discards on the side of our house waiting for a dumpster (bookcases, chairs, tables, the remains of a chimney and a stone planter) and more already in the garbage (books, PAPERS!, old puzzles and games, etc.) Every few days, I drop off a bag of clothes, books, toys, wrapping/craft supplies, or household items at Goodwill.

Our motivation: a new bedroom, bathroom, and office space in the basement.  To make room for these new, designated spaces, we have had to clear out 70% of the storage area in our basement.  And, do you know what?  I don’t miss any of it.  The emptier those basement shelves get, the lighter and more accomplished I feel.

Granted, our daily areas upstairs get constant use, and my daughters’ bedroom gets hit by a cyclone every day.  However, every room can be righted into order within about fifteen minutes, which is definite progress.  With less need for the constant “organization” of clutter, I am able to see where I now need to declutter my time and prioritize people over projects (like this blog).

I hope this series has helped you learn that a life of simplicity isn’t just about getting rid of our possessions.  More importantly, it’s about weeding out the excess in our relationships, schedules, commitments, and hearts.  It’s about letting go of emotional baggage, trusting God to provide, making our loved ones a priority, breaking the time-sucking addiction of social media, and pursuing life with passion and purpose.

The truly simple life holds all that we need for each day and nothing more, or as Vernon Howard said, “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”

Today, eXamine your life, celebrate your progress, note the areas which still need attention, and commit to continuing to simplify your life.

There will come a point when the decluttering efforts slow to still, and the time for true living begins.  I love how Anthony Ongaro describes this transition in his post “Minimalism and the Pursuit of Happiness”:

We had grown accustomed to less time spent on cleaning and organizing; other activities began to fill in the gaps—some productive and some not so much. . .

What we found was that other distractions gradually crept into our lives as we freed up time from other tasks. No matter how much time we saved, it wouldn’t be helpful unless we used that time efficiently. Hours spent on a smartphone throughout the day did not add to our happiness. But working on a project, simply being still, reading for pleasure, or learning about something new did continually make our lives better.

It became clear the pursuit of satisfaction in life is a daily practice that never ends, and that’s for the best.

The purging process eventually reaches a point of winding down, but the gratitude and contentment that comes from appreciating all that we have should never stop. The calming of our desire for what we don’t need is an enduring task that continues to this day.

Share in the comments something you will take away from this challenge: a new understanding, an accomplishment, a goal.  I’d love to hear about it.  And remember, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

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