Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My year of less is more: 'Is decluttering your new religion?'


One of the interesting comments that's stuck with me since I started my year of less is more, is that someone asked me if decluttering was my new religion.  As a Christian it saddened me a bit to think that someone would think I'd replaced my core beliefs and values with chucking stuff out!  But it has made me reflect on a lot of the articles and blogs I've been reading and getting the feeling that for many who are totally into this, it is a religion, a kind of salvation out of regular old enticing consumerism, into a controlled, strict, junk-free existence full of happiness and promise.  And some of it's true.  Getting free of the pressures of what we're told we need to live life to the full and replacing it with a lighter, less burdened by stuff life is transformational.

I guess my question is, what are you going to do with that transformation?  Becoming a true minimalist can make you pretty selfish I think. I know what I need, what I don't need, what kind of life I want to lead, what I'm going to do with my newfound time and money.   No, don't give me that gift dear friend. It doesn't fit in with what I want from my life.  Please don't give me that painting my child. I won't be able to find a spot for it on my blank wall.

What I'm hoping is that the 'more' I gain from this year will in fact be driven by an opposite mindset. That it will give me more time and energy to be other person-centred just as we're encouraged to do in Philippians 2: 3,4.  'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others'.

It's not about me becoming more self-disciplined or having a nicer house or having a more comfortable lifestyle. I don't think it's going to make me happier. In fact it's not been a very happy start to the year. Decluttering doesn't result in a guaranteed easier, happier life as so many of the book titles promise.  It's about me having more to give others.  More patience. More time.  More emotional energy.  More kindness. More money. More generosity. More contentment. More hospitality.  More joy. The less is more mantra shouldn't drive me to a goal of more for me.  It needs to be focused on how I will be enabled to give more to others.

2 comments:

Petrina said...

Great post, thanks Jenny. Mostly an articulation of what I have already been thinking, but the gift bit stung my conscience. What message am I giving those I love when I say I don't want a birthday or Christmas gift because I have too much stuff, or that I'd love them to give me a gift as long as it's from this list of things I think I need? Hmmm...

Sarah said...

Big ouch about the gift thing, too. I've definitely been guilty of thinking, "Great, not another thing to clutter up my house." :(