Less. 1.

That’s my word. Four letters. So very much meaning and desire behind it.

Less.

We have so much. We are deliriously spoiled and yet want more. Every day. I need this and I need that and I want that and someday…I say everyday, all day.

Here I sit. 2600 square feet. Five bedrooms. More beds than people in this house. We have so much stuff. I stand in front of my overflowing cupboards, fridge and garage freezer on a regular basis and say, “We have nothing to eat.” No, really, I do. I don’t even flinch when I hear the total at Costco or Target anymore totalling all the things I think we need.

My children have so many clothes that when all of the laundry is done their drawers can’t even shut all the way. I frequently trip over their shoes in the entry or garage. Yet I walk through Target and feel pulled to glance through the clearance racks because if it’s only $3.24 what’s the big deal right?

Wrong.

In our home we have three laptops, a desktop computer, two tvs, DVR, two DVD players, three Nintendo DSis, two Leapsters, three ipods and a Nintendo Wii. Oh my word, I wish I was making that up.

We are a family of instant. If the internet isn’t working when the mouse refreshes the page, you better believe there is frustration. When the winds are blowing and the DVR or Dish goes out and it’s the night of our favorite tv show, some of us pout. {That’d be me.}

Sometimes, or let’s be honest, many times, I plan my day around getting my hands on a $4.56 warm beverage.

Just typing out the cost of the daily latte makes me sick to my core.

Because there are people all around me in need.

I’m not just referring to African orphans or Haiti earthquake survivors, I am referring to people in my neighborhood, my children’s school, church. Everywhere.

Did you know that if your family salary is over $50,000 a year you are in the richest 1% of the world? I am so not even kidding.

Enter Jen Hatmaker’s new book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Oh my word.

A few months back I remember reading something about if I wanted to review a copy of the book. I didn’t respond and then last Monday morning something on twitter caught my eye and I remembered I wanted to read the book. So I found it, bought it and downloaded it on my Nook at the gym. {Did I mention how spoiled we are yet?}

I’m not even finished with the book yet but oh my friends, it is stirring me. I have so much. Chances are, so do you.

In her book, she battles 7 areas of her life one month at a time. Food. Clothes. Posessions. Media. Waste. Spending. And Stress.

She had me at the introduction, really.

I have so much. And there are others who need it more.

My word this year is less. I’m joining the 7 revolution.

This year I am getting rid of excess. I started yesterday by packing up three gigantic bags of bedding and another gigantic bag of towels. Some almost new. When I started working on the linen closet in my laundry room I had no idea that I would find bedding for 30 beds in it. THIRTY FREAKING BEDS. WHAT?!?!

There’s a crisis nursery for up to ages 12 and a woman’s shelter that can use it because I certainly don’t need it.

There’s more. There’s more stuff. There’s more non-necessities we can kick out of here. There’s some good, hard, long looking and thinking and praying we need to do.

What is it we want our lives to speak? That we were just like the Joneses? That we had all the stuff everyone is supposed to have? Or that we lived better within our means? That we gave more? That because we had enough we clothed and fed the poor with our excess? That we were different.

We claim Jesus as our Savior when it’s convenient for us and it’s just not ok.

My heart is being stirred because all this stuff, all these things I have to have and buy and do and be are getting in the way. I’m so very distracted by the worlds attempts at getting me to buy this and watch this and own this.

This year’s word is less. I’m tackling it head on and I’m inviting you dear friends to join me. Will you get rid of the excess in your life this year too?

I plan on posting a weekly update and challenge on less each week this year. It’s not easy. I like my “things”. Especially nice things. But it’s not about me, it’s about less.

This week’s challenge is easy and I’ve been working on it since last Wednesday and I’m still not done. Unsubsribe from all the emails you get from every store or business you’ve ever shopped at or done business with. It’s time consuming yes, but is there anything more distracting than finding out there is Free Shipping at the Gap today ONLY!!

Seriously. Less.

Comments

  1. Great post. I've been thinking about aspects of this too, especially the media and technology side.

  2. Yes! Love it! I have been working on it for awhile (we have been living in a two bedroom condo for years and have too much stuff for it!) but I still have so much more to do!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Samara! I appreciate your honesty.

  4. Wow, what a great post! Really gets you thinking. I agree with you on the "less" part. My parents raised me with the thought of "do I need that or do I just want that". My mom said if you can truly say you 'need' it, then 95% of the time it's a good purchase. However if you just 'want' it then; it isn't neccessary. I look forward to your challenges and I will take part with you the challenges!

  5. I love this post, I've been trying to go for a more simple approach to life. Every day is a challenge, but I'm trying! I have started with the email thing – I think that will help a bunch!

  6. Wow! This was very moving. We have been preparing our guest room and storage room to make way for our baby twins due this Spring, and it is amazing how much "stuff" we really have. And this is from a person who regularly donates to goodwill. A person who gets paid to help others clean out their extra "stuff." But even I catch myself being sentimental with some of our items. Do I really need to hold on to books that a dear friend gave me before studying abroad in college, and old lamp I had in my bedroom when I was a little girl? My husband's extra snowboarding equipment from his special trip to Montana? No. The memories aren't in the "stuff" they are in the "heart" and someone else needs those things way more than we do.

  7. Love. Love. Love! I'm so excited to follow you on your path to LESS. One question, if I don't have an e-reader, do I have to buy the book? Does 'not yet published' mean that it's not in the library? (One of my "LESS" things that I adopted when I became a SAHM is to not buy books, but use the library…)

  8. Great, great post! I too think I need to be stirred by this idea!

  9. Kelly Larson says:

    I love this!! Even though we have struggled financially for the last year or so, I still find myself accumulating things that aren't necessity. Seriously, you should see my craft room! I, too, will be making a shift to LESS!

  10. Kelly Larson says:

    I love this!! Even though we have struggled financially for the last year or so, I still find myself accumulating things that aren't necessity. Seriously, you should see my craft room! I, too, will be making a shift to LESS!

  11. We are also on a "less" cruscade…just starting but hopefully we can realize some of those same things you talked about here…is that book one you can "share" on the Nook?

  12. Jess Bjokne says:

    AGREE! We've been finishing our basement, and in the process realizing how much stuff we have as well, it's insane and I often get rid of things too. I like this challenge as well and would love to read the book.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful Post Samara, Less is more!! something of rme to think about, I will be cleaning all my closets this weekend..

    Love you all
    Auntie Laurie

  14. Anonymous says:

    Agree fresh breeze! Time to wake up. Love to all

    Dadio

  15. Anonymous says:

    Came across this post through a friend on Facebook and it really hit home for me. After recently cancelling our cable and internet because I couldn't justify the $160 a month anymore, we found ourselves with 2 laptops, a tablet, and four tv's including two 47" and one 55" led lcd flatscreens. Seriously? Who needs three big screen tv's?! We have a 4 year old and a newborn. Its not like we even really have time for tv!
    In a single Saturday I managed to get 5 garbage bags of clothes, 2 large boxes of toys, a large box of kitchen stuff, 20 some movies and at least 3 boxes of random stuff to sell/donate. And we are still bursting at the seams. I am looking forward to the simplicity of our lives with less stuff and more passion for all things non-material!

  16. Anti-Supermom says:

    Just wanted to make sure that I left a note here, not just on FB. It's a post I've been thinking a lot about yesterday since reading it.

    Simply put, thank you.

  17. Perspectives Blog says:

    Your so right about excess. I think about it too and have been taking in less and less. It feels so much better to have less and only buy what you need.

    Great post.

  18. The Bishops says:

    I loved this post Samara, and I, like so many others join you in the quest for less. We have been going through things for a while now, and reading your post just reinforces what we had already started. We are SO fortunate to have so much, but too much is just that, too much. I don't know who said it, but I agree with the person that said happiness isn't having what you want, but wanting what you have.
    Thanks for inviting all of us on your journey!

  19. Mountain Jessie says:

    Can I add that a huge way you can support a "LESS" campaign is to stop giving things? I have worked hard for the past 5 years to simplify my life by eliminating stuff. The hardest challenge has been not to accept free stuff…from family, friends or otherwise. It makes me upset that you can't choose to run in a race WITHOUT getting a t-shirt. I don't need more shirts. I would much rather enjoy someone's company for a while than get a purchased token. Anyway, I think in trying to have less, we can all be better about not dumping stuff on others too. If you've never read Affluenza, I'd highly recommend it (although it might be a bit dated now). 99% of the things we bring into our homes each year, get disposed of (99% !!!), whether to goodwill, lost, eater or thrown out. Aak!

  20. Alexandra says:

    This is something I've been thinking about for a looong time. I think about how much *stuff* I have, and it drives me crazy. For the past 6 months or so, I've been trying to live by a new rule: If I don't LOVE it or absolutely NEED it, I shouldn't have it.

    Works really well all around. And helps curb needless spending, too. I'm slowly getting rid of the *stuff* and making my life & home simpler and more manageable.

  21. s- i have lined up to post on my blog something about this as well – except my word is "simplify." it's hard to live simply, with what we need, but i think it's necessary. there is so much need in the world – but it's definitely not about needing 30 sheet sets! i'm excited to see how this journey goes for you and your family!

  22. Ann-Marie says:

    Hear, hear! You're a far better writer than I am, but in this post, you've captured my goal for 2012: simplicity. Though, when I read through my latest post, I think it's actually that I'm trying to avoid/shed excess, too. Best wishes on you as you work toward your goal!

  23. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog.Really thank you! Will read on…

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