Saturday, October 27, 2012

Margins: Simplify (day 25)

On day 14, I wrote about the things we put inside our margins.
 And I've been thinking, since then, about how to downsize the number of things inside our margins. You know, the things that make up our day-to-day life and responsibilities and jobs and roles as parent and wife and friend. But if there's nothing that can legitimately be CUT OUT, because we dont have money for child-care and I have to do both photography and keep my job because we need to make ends meet and we need health insurance (because of Caden especially and his "preexisting condition"). And I obviously have to take care of my children and the house (I mean, at least to the point that we dont end up on some episode of hoarders or something). We will never stop doing ministry to our neighbors or fighting for the kiddos. And we value small group and church and time with family and friends. Oh and this blog? I could probably cut it out, but I love having space to write and think things through and I'm not positive I could do all of the other stuff I do without an outlet.

So then what's the solution? Because that's what this is all about, really. This lack of space and inability to cull activities/responsibility, leads to a lack of SPACE (aka margins) in our lives. I also feel a little helpless that I apparently cant even explain what margins are properly.
Anyways, I think it means somehow we need to simplify. To downsize and streamline and simplify the things we DO have in our lives, the things that are staying no matter what. So simplify our parenting practices, our home, our finances. Less clothing and stuff means less clutter and less cleaning, right?

 I really love the idea of simplifying, I'm just not very good at the practice of simplifying. And I think it comes down to simplicity of heart. A singleness of purpose rooted in the understanding that a heart centered on Christ will have an ability to root through the clutter in order to find and fight for what's important.

So what suggestions do y'all have regarding simplifying? Simplicity? Monk-dom perhaps?

This is post 25 in a series of 31 posts (one for every day this month) on margin. Read all the posts here. And visit The Nester to see all the 31 Day link-ups (but be warned, you could literally read for days and never read all the good stuff linked up there!)

7 comments:

  1. Working on this myself... in a season where we feel whacking things off our plates is not the answer. (We have had seasons where that WAS the answer... to painfully clear our plates of even Good Things.) Part of the answer I am learning is to change what I THOUGHT things "should look like" in any given area, from family dinner, to playdates, to me-time. Like I said... still figuring out what this season is supposed to look like!

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    1. Agreed on changing our thinking and our "shoulds" before any actual changes will ever happen!

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  2. I cannot escape the thought of simplifying the kids' clothing situation. It's already fairly streamlined, but there's still work to be done. I'm thinking like a set amount of pants, shirts, church clothes. DONE. It seems like it could make life easier, though maybe not? I dunno. It's weird, but I keep thinking about it and your post has me thinking it all over again.

    (Notice I didn't include myself in this simplifying thing. Ha!)

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    1. Great idea! :-) although I should first figure out a way to clear out a path in the mess of toys and junk strewn AROUND their closet. Step 1: purge toys, step 2: purge clothing.

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  3. I don't know a lot about simplifying, but what I have learned recently all comes from this blog:
    http://smallnotebook.org/
    Enjoy!

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    1. Oh thanks! Going to go check it out :-)

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  4. I have 4 children, and they can amass a pile of things I guess I should put myself in that category also. :) It took me a while to come to this place of simplifying and it is ever changing. Two and a half years ago we thought we would be moving. Then that didn't work out until last year when we put our house on the market and thought we would be moving again. It was during that time I purged, streamlined, and got rid of everything that wasn't tied down. Due to the time constrains of getting the house on the market I did all of this in three months while carrying on with homeschooling. I don't recommend this method and I practically did myself in from all the late nights and stress. But by the time I was done I felt lighter, free, the house seemed empty, and I didn't miss a thing! We ended up not moving so I did some more rearranging and am currently purging again. Since now that we are staying those few things I saved for a new home are no longer necessary. I am enjoying this house more and have been able to use it in the way we intended to in the first place by entertaining and hospitality. Some things that help are limited wardrobes. The boys get 5 pairs of pants, 6-7 shirts, underwear, socks, and two church outfits. The girls get about the same but I add a couple of dresses in there also. Laundry is much easier to manage. The same with shoes, four pair for the boys and five for the girls, that includes rain boots and snow boots. As for toys we settled on a couple of things that can be built upon, such as Lego's. It cuts down on the "junk toys" that seem to collect. They each have a small trunk or drawer in their rooms(the boys share and the girls share)for their special things, when it's full they know they need to part with something. I think it teaches them to know what really is special. One of my favorite quotes is by William Morris "have nothing in your homes that you don't know to be useful". If I keep that in mind it really helps to simplify. By having less I don't have to spend as much time cleaning and organizing which give me more time for the important things, whatever they may be at the season I am in. I am normally not so winded in my writings but I am passionate about this subject since it was so freeing to me. I am not a minimalist and do have things around but they are only things we love or are useful. Anyway I hope you might find something useful in my ramblings. I have enjoyed reading your series.

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