Following the vow to lose weight, one of Americans’ top resolutions each new year is to get organized, declutter the house, and commit to keeping everything clean.
On the surface, that goal seems straightforward – but a minimalist approach to life can be as spiritual and deep as practical and logical.
So, how can a clean home equate to godliness, or at least to a better relationship with the Creator?
While the two seem to be nonsequiturs, I’ve found that intentional cleaning, culling through the clutter, and organizing my things is becoming a higher purpose, one that brings me joy, while also bringing me closer to God.
Perhaps it’s my Mom’s persistent voice in my head, reminding me that only by cleaning my room will I be able to close my overcrowded bureau drawers. But my 2023 promise to purge unnecessary possessions and organize my virtual and physical space is becoming a contemplative and prayerful practice.
This realization isn’t news to Emma, a slow-living advocate and the author of the simpleslowlovely.com website.
Decluttering doesn’t need to be tedious, Emma writes, urging readers to make it special by putting on some favorite music, lighting a candle, and pouring a mug of a favorite drink. She declares that the process of cleaning and organizing can be as satisfying as the outcome of one’s efforts.
Indeed, I must agree with Emma that spending time alone engaged in these activities is an unexpected treat.
And, she argues, it’s at least as important to organize one’s schedule as it is to declutter one’s home.
As she notes, one logical result of decluttering, cleaning, and organizing one’s surroundings and calendar is less stress. I’m not wasting time looking for lost items when they’re ensconced in their designated homes. I don’t rush to make appointments because my detailed schedule commits me to finish tasks ahead of time. And when visitors are expected, I’m not knocking myself out to make the house presentable.
When it comes to minimalism, perhaps the best benefit is the mental and emotional clarity it brings. I almost hate to use the word ‘minimalism’ because it’s the In buzzword right now. You must understand I’m not a minimalist in the strictest sense; my coffee table is covered with framed family photos, and our dining surfaces boast heirloom tablecloths and napkins crocheted by Great-Grandma Cora.
I will never be accused of having a designer home or owning too few possessions. However, now I’m more discerning about purchases. I’m also learning to let go of some possessions. In paring down these things, I’m reaching my decluttering goals while passing on treasures to others, where they can serve higher, better purposes in their new homes.
As a best-selling author and decluttering consultant Marie Kondo advises I like to thank each item for its service and let go of it with love. I’m mentally doing the same thing in relinquishing extraneous commitments of my time.
Because in addition to streamlining my home, I’m cultivating simplicity in other parts of my life – eliminating busy work, cutting out unnecessary activities, and relinquishing commitments that add no value to my career or family.
I’m most excited about the spiritual and psychological aspects of these efforts, aspects that are both unexpected and delightful.
Without unnecessary ‘things’ cluttering my home or schedule, I have time and space for the things that really matter – including prayer, meditation, physical exercise, and self-care.
Until recently, I didn’t make the connection between a simpler home and a simpler life and, indeed, a more fulfilling one. That’s the lesson Christian author Rachelle Crawford teaches in her blog, “Christian Minimalist.”
Crawford challenges readers to identify the best uses of their time, energy, and resources and declares that paring down possessions, schedules, minds, and hearts can lead, surprisingly, to a more abundant life.
I am relishing that abundance of spirit rather than ‘things’ right now. In a few minutes, I plan to tackle the many files and folders I’ve collected over the past few months of my mother’s illness. Now that she is in hospice, it’s time for me to streamline her paperwork and get organized for the next steps involved in her care.
That task will lead to more reorganizing in my home office. There are bills to file, receipts to be shredded, inboxes to pare down, and assignments to log. There are appointments to make and calendars to sync.
In the midst of it all, I’ll be listening to a peaceful piano playlist on Spotify, drinking a glass of Crystal Light raspberry lemonade, and reciting the prayer to St. Francis about making myself a channel of peace for those I love.
I realize today the peace of simplicity in mind, heart, home, and body. I hope for the same thing for you