Placing the hard-covered book gently back on my desk, I (Jenna) wiped the tears from my eyes and felt a sense of relief because I wasn’t the only one praying for a ‘Less is more’ lifestyle.
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Titled, ‘Rush, Technology, Noise, Social Media, Rest..’ each chapter written by Emily Ley, When Less Becomes More, took me by the shoulders and shook me gently as a wake up call – “You’re drowning in too much.”
I was attending a gathering when a friend sweetly joked about the amount of tablecloths Shannon and I must own because the many years we spent planning weddings. I laughed and replied, “I actually don’t own any.” At first, I began to question if I should own a variety of table linens and whether or not the fact I let them all go years prior made me less of a hostess than I claim to be.
Isn’t it funny how we give our ‘stuff’ the opportunity to define who we are as creatives, mothers, wives, entrepreneurs, or in this case, measure our ability to host loved ones in our home? After reading Emily’s second book, A Simplifed Life, I set out to simplify our home (closets, cabinets, and things), my schedule (yes, including all the good things), and my mind. When Less Becomes More was the reminder I needed to extend grace to myself in those moments of uncertainty of whether or not tablecloths made me a better hostess or not.
While choosing a life of less is great, simple and creating margin is definitely more.
“Less Stuff, More Treasures”
There was a time when my home was my safe place. During grief, my pregnancy after loss, after a long day, home was where I could simply be me, be raw, and be whole. I’m not sure when our home started to feel like a house, a distant place with visitation hours and the inability to relax and let go of all the encounters the day served me, but recently, I’ve been feeling suffocated within these white walls, searching for a way out (even prior to COVID-19).
May it be the amount of hours I spend inside being a work at home mother who also homeschools her two older children and nurses her baby, or the pressures I’ve put on myself to craft the perfect house, completing a project or buying every item adorned with a yellow sticker at Target, more house leaves me feeling less relaxed and less myself.
On Social Media, I asked my friends what they would do if they were feeling the urge to purge all their belongings because they simply liked everything rather than love everything. A friend responded, “You might find that you like the blank space! Or if it’s blank and you sit with it for a while, you might start to get a vision for what you want.” Her response served as the boost and encouragement I was looking for to dive right in.
I’ve been listing items on FaceBook Marketplace and getting rid of the extra stuff I own so I can enjoy the treasures.
“Our homes have the potential to drain us or fuel us. When set up and cared for optimally, our homes have the power to be transformative on a daily basis. They are where we can shut the doors, leave the rest of the world outside, and be our truest selves.”
“Your house is going to be so empty!” a friend texted after seeing all the items I’ve been selling. With a sigh of release, I felt lighter as I responded with, “I know!”
I’m on a mission to tackle each room, one by one, month by month, and simplify each space back to the bare white walls it once was. We started with our front living room and dining room, and friends, the blank space has me grinning from ear to ear every time I open the door. Just as my friend stated, I’m finding I like the blank space! Less is more. I’m finding clarity, safety, and my house is beginning to feel like the home I once had.
Less Perfect, More Purpose
As we’re being called to our homes during this pandemic, I’m challenging you to not over think Spring cleaning and simplifying. Don’t let perfect overtake your home’s purpose. Use this season as an opportunity to weed out those items you bought because they were simply a good deal or the gifts you like but never truly loved. Take time to create margin in your home to provide your guests a sanctuary to unwind, recharge, and engage as their imperfectly perfect selves. And finally, remind yourself too much of a good thing is still too much.