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Minimalism (see one definition here) has been a hot topic for the past couple of years. But that’s not quite my focus. I like things. I do. I can admit that (although it was difficult for awhile!). I enjoy having pretty things surround me. The problem is that there are SO MANY pretty things! The size of the place in which I physically dwell does not seem to matter; I’ve lived in 600 sq feet and I’ve lived in 1600 sq feet yet still I somehow feel a bit… claustrophobic at times.

Not to say I’m a hoarder. I used to like to think (up until last night, while pondering it more deeply) that I was the balance between my mom’s love of things and my sister’s love of near-nothingness. Not to say that my mom is materialistic, or that my sister doesn’t like pretty things. Not at all. But now I see that the number of things that each of us have isn’t really the point. The sense of ‘balance’ one feels (or wants to feel) must be conscientiously created. For me, the place in which I dwell beyond the physical – and yet very much attune to the physical – is where I need to focus in order to create the peaceful life for which I strive. (As Rokus den Hartog of Dawning Light Ministries quoted (this is actually from Wayne Dyer but I had no idea until just now!): “Man is not a physical being having a spiritual experience; man is a spiritual being having a physical experience.”)

What does that mean for me in regards to the simple life? It means that, while I am spirit, the physical part of me needs certain things, or methods implemented, so that I can rest in the spirit rather than feel overwhelmed right to my core. Right now, I can begin creating peace in my life by first recognizing that physical surroundings do indeed play a very large part in my level of stress. Realizing this, I must also be aware of a few things:

  1. I still want to be surrounded by pretty things, because they bring me enjoyment and peace
  2. Despite my idea that I am ‘organized,’ I realize that Andi’s blog may help push me along
  3. Being more deliberate in where I place my acquired items can actually create space
  4. Efficiency‘ does not necessarily equate to peaceful living (for example, it takes 30 seconds to take out the blender; do I really need to leave it on the counter all the time?

So my focus is not about minimalization, but rather about what works best for my inner and outer workings.

Do you find substantial differences between minimalization, de-cluttering, simplification and similar key topics? If not, is there perhaps a new heading or label that all of these could fall under?

What keeps your life simple or peaceful on the inside and outside?