Confession:  I have a slight obsession with cleaning out, giving away and/or throwing away.

Friends and family may call me crazy…some have actually panicked when I have come by and offered my FREE labor to help them declutter.  When we first got married, I made Ironman nervous every time I "cleaned up" the house.

Part of me thinks that I am just insane because of how many times I have moved in my life (almost 40 times) and I just can't stand the thought of packing "this item" or "that item" one more time.  Honestly, when I get something new or someone gives me a gift for my home, my first thought is ALWAYS, "I'm going to have to eventually pack this".  Sad…isn't it?  But then part of me thinks that I LOVE simplicity because it is SO freeing!!!  

How would your life change if you lived more simply?  
     More money?  More free time?  More space?
Where would you spend your extra money if you were debt free?  
     Travel?  Support missionaries?  Go back to school?
What would you spend your time on if you had less house/yard to clean/maintain?  
     Hobbies?  Family time?  Health?  Friendships?
Where would you have extra space in your house if you did a serious declutter?

I have never understood why the American Dream 
isn't called the American Burden.
We spend our entire lives trying to get more and more, bigger and bigger, better 
and better…but, it's never new enough, big enough or good enough...so then we have to work harder and harder…meanwhile, we are exhausted, discontent, stressed out and unhappy and wonder if this is all there is to life!

I try to follow these simple rules for our home: 
-the item must be used everyday
-the item must be something that I consider beautiful/sentimental
-the item must be something that is seasonal (like a Christmas tree) or a specialty item (like a cake plate)
-clothing must be worn within the past 12 months unless it is a special piece (like a fancy dress or tux)
-when a new item comes in, an old item must go out

***If an item doesn't fall into these categories, it goes.  I know.  I know.  You think I'm crazy.  But, I (usually) don't take stuff to Goodwill and I rarely trash it…I give with a purpose.  If I know that someone else would enjoy something I have more than I am enjoying it, I WANT to give it to them!  It's so fun!  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and make someone's day!

     When Ironman and I tell people that we served with OM Ships and lived in a teeny tiny cabin for 6 months, they always say something like, "gosh, living in such a tight space must have been so difficult".  But you know what?…that was the easiest part!  We ABSOLUTELY loved that we were only allowed to bring 20 kilos each, that we could sit on our toilet, brush our teeth and shower at the same time because of the tiny bathroom, that we had one dresser, one set of drawers, one closet and a single bed that had a pop up single bed under it that we pulled out and set up each night (during the day it was our couch).  We LOVED that we only had exactly what we needed and exactly what we used.  It was SO freeing.  Since we had next to nothing, I even noticed that we were more generous.  I was so ready to give away and share everything that I had.  I was so proud of Ironman one day when it was pouring rain and people were lined up to come onboard…he came in the cabin, got his rain jacket and gave it away to a women standing in line. 

     You know whats amazing?!?!!??!  Ironman DOES NOT think I'm crazy.  Just like me, he enjoys living small and simple.  We both LOVE having exactly what we need and nothing more.  We BOTH dream of building and living in a Tumbleweed Tiny House, or living in a downtown studio apartment in some big city or living in a small flat somewhere in Europe.  We BOTH love this.  So, when I think of how Ironman and I both love it, I start to think that maybe I'm not crazy, but maybe God created us this way for a purpose?  Maybe there is a reason we love to live so simply?  And then I think…"what am I talking about?!?!!?  Of COURSE there is a reason!!!…look at how we have been able to live debt free, travel the world and more!!!…we are not even 30 and we have had SO many wonderful adventures".

So, I want to challenge you…live simply!  This doesn't mean giving away everything you own or even living like Ironman and me (we still might be crazy).  This means making one decision that would simplify your life so that you can live better.  Then, once you have done that, lived through it and are happier because of it, make one more decision that would simplify your life so that you can live better.  Then another.  And then another.  Baby steps towards towards the REAL American Dream…own your possessions, but don't let them own you…work to live, but don't live to work…dream BIG dreams, but don't settle…I challenge you to really live!!!