Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Step Towards Simplicity

Simplicity. I love the word and the concept behind it. I long for simplicity in my life. But life has a way of becoming complicated, doesn't it? One thing I am learning is to strive for simplicity in those areas where it is realistic, while accepting that I will not achieve simplicity in all areas of my life. In my ideal world I would never have things in my home that I didn't actual use on a regular basis. But practically speaking that has never happened and probably never will. But there are certainly areas where I can unburden myself of excess baggage.

Yesterday I was reading this blog written by a friend of ours who recently relocated with her family to Texas. I really like her idea of maintaining simplicity in my wardrobe by limiting the total number of items. After reading it I did a quick count of my clothing items and found I'm a bit over the 100 item mark. I also realized as I looked through my clothing that there are certainly items I could give away as well as a few that probably need to be retired permanently. Giving away is not so hard for me to do. Disposing of old clothing that is not suitable to give away is harder. I figure I can always wear it for certain grubby tasks or something. But really, how many old t-shirts or pairs of worn-out socks does a guy really need? I plan to cull my clothing soon.

While living in other cultures the last few years, one thing that struck me is how much clothing we Americans have. Another friend also noted this while he was living in an apartment in an Asian country. The "closet" in his apartment consisted of a few shelves and a small area to hang clothing. This was sufficient, he wrote at the time, because people don't have that much clothing anyway. Compare that to American homes with their "master closets." We are perpetually short on space because we are perpetually acquiring more things that we don't need. Since that time I've tried to keep my wardrobe small, though it is still much larger than many of my friends who live in other countries. I appreciate Trish's challenge to simplify in this area and pass that challenge on to you, not as a legalistic task, but as an opportunity to unburden yourself of some unnecessary clutter. And in the process you can bless someone else. A pretty good deal all around, I would say.

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