Living out of a suitcase can really change the way that you get ready for the day. I learned that throughout the process of wrapping up our life in Southern Illinois and moving to our new home in California back in May. Due to the military move, the majority of our possessions were packed away in a moving truck and had a five day head start on us across the country, leaving us with the essentials (granted our “essentials” meant two cars jam packed with far more than we needed for that time period, but it was a quick & last minute move so cut us some slack!). As we road tripped across the country, I had to lug around a suitcase that contained enough of the actual essentials so that I could shower, get dressed, & be somewhat presentable each day. After arriving to Vandenberg, we spent the following 12 days living in base housing (a.k.a. another hotel) while we waited for our apartment to be ready for us to move in. 12 more days of living in limbo and out of a suitcase. It felt inconvenient at times to not have all of my stuff in one place. And yet an unexpected feeling of freedom came upon me throughout those days with my wardrobe. It started to feel pretty nice that I had a limited set of options to choose from each day. I had less room to doubt whether or not I wanted to wear what I first picked out, which meant less room for frustration when I couldn’t make a decision. I found myself recycling outfits simply because I didn’t get more than a few hours use of out them, and I liked what I put together, so why not wear it again? It was simpler. It was more practical. It was freeing.
And it got me to thinking: what if I lived like this all the time?
Thoughts of reorganizing my closet and getting rid of the [many] things I didn’t need started running through my head. With all my spare time I utilized the handy dandy woman’s power tool of Pinterest to search for information on minimizing. Not only did I find ideas on slimming down one’s wardrobe, but I found blogs about people that were decluttering and minimizing their entire lives. I found one in particular from a couple years back about a family that committed to do one thing every day for an entire year to minimize their life. This ranged from downsizing the amount of items in their closet, to cleaning out their email inbox, to changing all of their light bulbs to energy efficient ones. I spent an entire night reading through the archives and growing more and more inspired. By the time I was halfway through, I couldn’t wait to have all of our stuff back so that I could rummage through it all & get rid of it.
My motivation, however, was not just for the sake of accomplishment in getting rid of the excess. I wanted to find freedom in loosening my grip on so many material possessions and just stuff that I have stored up over time and have no need for. I wanted to live more practically and less distracted. I wanted to live with the mindset of storing up my treasures in heaven.
I was even further inspired as I came across a post on the blog I mentioned before entitled “When Decluttering Hurts.” The following was stated in the process of the writer decluttering her kitchen:
“The truth is, decluttering should be hard. I should be standing in my kitchen with tears streaming down my face, beating my breast and calling out to God over all the times I wandered through stores full of fragile items, justifying myself as I put things I don’t need into my cart. I should be on my knees repenting for caring more about polka dot dishes than starving orphans. I should be begging God to never let me forget again that we are here for something so much better than spending and consuming and storing up treasure here on this broken earth. We are here to touch lives. We are here to spend our lives on HIM.”
BOOM. She hit that nail on the head. In fact, she hit it about a hundred times into my heart. It was the conviction and motivation I needed to be reminded that I am not meant to be wasting myself or my time on this earth away, but that I am to live with purpose – and there are so many things in my life that I let stand in the way of that.
It was about time I started cutting the heartstrings that have been distracting me from my relationship with God and my purpose(s) in life. Since May, I’ve been finding practical ways to minimize, declutter, and downsize my home and my life, and I look forward to sharing it all in the days to come. So consider this the beginning. Because this is just the start of the process for me. Stay tuned for my tactics on dwindling down my wardrobe, the story of how I spent an entire night organizing my craft & office supplies, the impact purging my possessions has had on me, and more. This may not be anything too thrilling for you, but for me, it has been a wild adventure as I make slight changes to my life in order to make a bigger impact. & I hope that someone, anyone, is motivated to reduce the amount of excess in their lives along the way.