Applied minimalism: Throwing off what hinders.

Vacations minimize time commitments. I had time to talk with Nancy and a friend about minimalism, an approach to living that gets rid of stuff. I read about it. I started to think about how many objects I have in my living and working spaces that have stories which stick to my heart like emotional velcro.

Books and rocks and coffee mugs and pens and pencils are the biggest connectors, but I have piles of paper and little objects and tools and clothes. All of them have explanations and affinities, they mark people and relationships and events. And emotional weight.

I decided that when I got home I would take some steps.  I thought first of the drawer of my desk, the one which had been my dad’s for years. I pictured the drawer, full of office supplies and little objects that had been his. I remembered bringing the drawer home from the condo, unemptied, and adding some of my own things. I resolved to let go of Dad’s stuff.

drawerAn hour after we got home, I opened the drawer, ready to take that first small step toward reducing. And I discovered that my memory was wrong. The drawer was full, but the stuff was mostly my own. Several handfuls of pens. A box of memory cards and sticks. Used gift cards and affinity cards. The baggage wasn’t from Dad, it was my own.

At the beginning of Hebrews 12, there is an image of running. To run well, the writer says, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Keeping my drawer full of pens that I don’t use and shelves full of the books that I seldom read, hinders me and keeps them from helping others.

So I’m throwing things off.

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Simplify by Josh Becker

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

4 thoughts on “Applied minimalism: Throwing off what hinders.

  1. I’ve been doing the same thing with our mother’s things as well as the “little” things I collect. It seems as if the “little” things are numerous and hard to get rid of easily for me. Taking a large bag of “little” things to recycle today. The bigger items seem fewer and leave a bigger space but it is the littles that trip me up. Literally. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. There are great stories to tell about “old” gift cards with remaining unused “money”, so be careful!! Seriously though, I do collect sentimental memorabilia . . . I’ll think about what you’ve said here . . .

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