Monday, January 9, 2012

The Pursuit of a Simple Life: Part 1

Last year I gave myself a challenge to purge 40 areas of my home in 40 days.  Feeling the drain of the clutter and disorder in our home, I set out determined to reclaim one area each day.   It wasn't a bad idea and I certainly made some progress, but I admit that I often was guilty of just rearranging my stuff....instead of actually chucking it.   

 Last October, while I was doing the challenge a second time, I started reading this book, Simply Organized by Tsh Oxenreider.  The book kind of took the wind out of my sails - her words resonated with me, but they showed my present organizing/purging efforts to be pretty lame... pretty superficial.  

Tsh gave me a vision of the Simple Life I craved for our family, and I quickly realized that to have that Simple Life I was going to have to get a lot more serious about my commitment to our family's priories and purging the clutter that was keeping us from living them out. 

"[Simple Living] is about choices - about saying no to the things in your life that aren't the best so that you are free and available to say yes to those things you truly want." Tsh Oxenreider

Since it was October and the holidays were on the horizon, I decided to shelve the book and the project for the fresh new year...which is here!   I've been rereading the chapters and making a game plan, and I. am. so. excited.  

Of course, the timing is especially perfect as we start gearing ourselves up to move this summer.  How wonderful it's going to feel not to haul a bunch of needless stuff with us to Iowa!  Instead I'm determined to take only what we use and truly love.

"You're not a victim.  You allow each item in your home to be there.  Do you love it all?  Do you find it useful or beautiful?" 
Tsh Oxenreider

Good stuff, right?  The whole book is extremely practical and wonderfully inspiring. I'm excited to chronicle my progress here over the next month or so and share what I learn along the way - it would be lovely to do it together! 

{Linking to Life Made Lovely Monday}


  1. I just discovered your blog! I love it! I too am trying to rid my home of things that I do not love or need. I love love love that yellow bed! Elizabeth

  2. I look forward to seeing your progress. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Mrs. Delightful

  3. I'm not great at the whole simplicity thing...but I'm working on it. I'm looking forward to following along and hopefully being inspired to declutter and simplify.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Love these types of books. They are my study for the last few years. Will have to check this one out. Thanks!!

  5. good luck, mama :) can't wait to see what you do!

  6. I'm a natural purger, I guess. I have honestly had the "useful or beautiful" rule since I was a child. But I still found we had lots of things to purge before we came to England. We went through our home and had to downscale absolutely everything back to the basics. I have often been grateful that we did this--we seriously pack lighter in life than anyone I know and it really does make things simple and easy in comparison. It's very un-American to free yourself form the tyranny of Stuff--but it's so so good. I wish you all the best in your endeavor--stay strong! :)

  7. I should also admit that I have had several pangs lately (two years later!) for some of the lost treasures that I too hastily let go of in trying to lighten our load. I was really sacrificial at the time--maybe too sacrificial. I still miss my red-and-white Alice-in-Wonderland anthropologie teacup and saucer!

  8. Oh I love this post Cailan! As our cottage is tiny and we have 5 people in our family (who are shall we say a whole lot less concerned about clutter than I am), I find it sometimes gets overwhelming! I am in the middle of a huge purge at the moment and I just love the statement 'You are not a victim. You allow each item in your home to be there'. Just what I needed to hear to keep on going with my clean out. Thanks so much for sharing:) Wishing you a wonderful week ahead and good luck with your clean out!! ~ Tina

  9. Which college in Iowa is your husband going to be teaching at? You referred to a christian college in northern Iowa, you would be surprised at how many of them we have in our state!