Simplify now

For the first 16 years of my life, I lived happily in a 100-year-old, eight-bedroom house on Route 12 in northern New York.
A house that lived its first century as a tavern, when taverns were inns that served 19th-century travellers.
As a child, I never once questioned why we had two bedrooms for each person in our family of four. It was home and I loved it!
When my parents first began talking about selling the farm, I was horrified! How could they even think about selling our house–the only home I had ever known.
But in the ensuing years, I came to realize that home could be more than one place. One good definition of home is “where you hang your hat.”
And in the following years, I “hung my hat” in 19 places–dorm rooms, boarding homes, apartments, a church parsonage, rental houses, and an eight-foot by 36-foot trailer–in seven states and two Canadian provinces.
Finally, in 1970, we built a “spec” house, planning one more move to our “dream house.” That was 43 years ago! And our “spec” house became our “dream house.”
Do you have any idea how many things you can collect in 43 years?
Until 1970, changing locations was easy. It was just a matter of putting suitcases in the trunk of the car and, for long-distance moves, hauling a little two-wheel trailer.
But now, 43 years of accumulation is overwhelming!
Even though I’ve consciously been trying to get rid of things, we still have too much. And I crave more simplicity! That’s why I was attracted to the little 49-page book, “Simplify,” by Joshua Becker.
In the introduction, Becker says no one really believes more things make for a perfect life, yet we all act on that premise.
Two years before writing this book, the author and his family intentionally chose a minimalist style for their home and their lives.
“Minimalism was an easy choice,” says Becker. “There are things I value more than possessions. I enjoy clean, tidy, uncluttered rooms but don’t like to clean.
“I was tired of spending vacation days cleaning.”
Becker has a lot to say about our “consumerist” society. That takes me back to my childhood.
Each of those eight bedrooms was furnished with a bed and a dresser. Nothing else! The other rooms were nicely wallpapered and “spick-and-span.” Very little storage—and no clutter.
What a difference the decades have made. What a wonderful place that old house would be to store my 43 years of consumerist purchases!
Becker’s minimalist lifestyle begins with promoting the things of most value to you and removing those you don’t use or don’t absolutely love. Do this room by room. And, advises Becker, persevere.
“Goals shape us and change us,” he says. But you have to stick with them.
After you achieve minimalism in your house, think outside the box. Apply minimalist principles to your computer, your clothes, your vehicles, your committee obligations, and your time.
In all areas of your life, intentionally promote the things you most value and remove what you don’t use or don’t absolutely love.
Soon you will begin to enjoy your life more with less.
Write Marie Snider at