Beauty in What Remains
After I talked to my friend Nina about her year of living in a bus with her family of six, I was inspired to store all but five each of our plates, bowls, drinking glasses, coffee mugs, and silverware. We don’t have much of that to begin with, but I still felt like we were washing more dishes than seemed necessary for our family of five.
So after setting aside five of everything, I stored the rest in the cabinet above our fridge—out of sight, but within reach when company comes over. So far, this little mind trick has worked like a charm.
Not much changed, really—we only have eight plates and bowls total (of each size), and about a dozen drinking glasses. But psychologically, it’s changed how I see my kitchen. If there are only three dishes on the shelf and it’s dinnertime, someone needs to wash a couple. But it only takes a few minutes now because we’re using only what we need, right in the moment.
A few weeks ago, I also got rid of over half my clothes, and it was more freeing than I ever imagined. I’m back to liking everything in my closet. The excess is gone, leaving nothing but abundance, even though I technically have fewer items.
I think this applies to other parts of life, too. When I step down from all commitments except the ones that enrich my family or myself, I actually look forward to jumping feet-first in the ones we commit to. When I shun the faux junk chocolate-flavored candy-attempting-to-be-chocolate, the authentic, delectable honest-to-goodness chocolate all but melts in my mouth.
Living with less gives way to a richer life: more freedom to live in the moment, a deeper love for fewer things, more energy to invest in commitments where I'm really dedicated—a savoring of the truly delectable.
There’s a legit benefit to getting rid of stuff you don’t need or want—less to clean, manage, and maintain. But perhaps my favorite reason to declutter my life is this:
Everything that remains is beautiful.
You May Also Like:
Get the weekly email called 5 Quick Things,
where Tsh shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)
You’ll also get an excerpt from her latest book, At Home in the World, a memoir about the school year her family backpacked around the world.