Living with Less

utensil drawer

I reorganized my silverware drawer, and the one next to it containing various kitchen tools, like scissors, peelers, garlic press, etc. Do you know how good this feels?

Since we’ve lived in the hobbit house our silverware has been stored in two different locations: the smaller forks, spoons, and knives in one drawer, and a different drawer with the larger versions of each. And not that we preferred this setup, but the utensil holders fit and didn’t fit in ways that required a separation of the two. Until this weekend, when Erik had enough. Enough silverware chaos.

While Erik was outside with sander and saw, modifiying the utensil tray to make it fit the drawer, I was inside thumbing through untensils and gadgets, singling out items that never get used or need paring down: four loose-leaf tea steeper contraptions, three sets of measuring spoons , three peelers, a melon baller, some rectangular pastry blade, several mason jar lids.

I’ve been on a mission the past couple of years to live more simply, with less stuff, and even more so as of late. It’s almost a game to me, to see what I can get rid of. Did I wear that sweater this winter? Have I used those pillow cases? When was the last time I applied that eye liner? And out the door it goes.

I grew up on Ross, clearance racks, and thrift stores. My mom taught me well how to hunt down a good deal, to stretch those dollars far, the thrill of second-hand shopping. And this is a good skill to have, because who doesn’t love getting the most for their money? But sometimes you end up buying that shirt simply because it’s a great deal and not because you love it (or need it). Or sometimes you opt for a cheaper version of what you really want, because the real deal is too expensive, but then you still end up wanting the real thing, unsatisfied with the conterfeit. Before long you have a closet-full of clothes but nothing to wear, you’re still looking for the perfect pair of black flats, and your bedspread’s a couple shades darker than you would like.

This shopping mindset is hard to break, an addictive cycle. I still look at the Target clearance rack even though I don’t need one more item of clothing. And though I have a desire to live simply, I still struggle with the “I might need this or wear this someday” that keeps us holding on to junk for years. Instead, I want to be the consumer that buys what I really want when I need it, even if it’s full price (gasp!). I want my possessions to be minimal, meaningful, and used.

I was at Nordstrom Rack yesterday (a favorite pastime), because I needed a new pair of sunglasses. Now, I still can’t bring myself to spend a hundred dollars on something that could be easily scratched or sat on, but I was willing to pay more than twenty bucks (and they didn’t have to be on clearance!). Well I found a great pair, but more surprisingly, I had no desire to browse the shoes or yoga pants or clearance rack while I was there. Maybe it was just a fluke, or maybe my ideal to live minimally is further manifesting. Do you know how good this feels?

Try it. Reorganize your random-untensil kitchen drawer. Get rid of those coffee mugs you never drink out of. Throw away that lipgloss you never wear. And donate those jeans, the ones that don’t fit right. Challenge yourself to live with less and buy less, to make life more simple and meaningful. You will feel so good, I promise!

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