Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
― Leonardo da Vinci

Over the last weeks, the thought of simplicity has insinuated itself into the forefront of my mind.  That’s what happens when you get a daughter ready to move to college and are working on getting ready to move an entire household as well.  Where did all this stuff come from??  But “too much stuff” is one facet of the problem.  The other is that most of the “stuff” we now have, I like!    We acquired that “stuff” on purpose and a lot of it brings me great pleasure…

until I have to think about going through it, packing it, moving it, finding a place for it in a house with less places.  Then simplicity taps me on the shoulder and says, rudely, “I told you so.”  Simplicity should never gloat.  It isn’t becoming.

I have to enlist the help of simplicity as I decide what to donate (already many bags full, just like Baa, baa, black sheep), what to give to specific people, what to toss and what to keep.  Because I’m a saver, it’s very difficult for at least some parts simplicity to completely take over my life, except while on vacation.  But as I fight the clutches of the “stuff” that wants to hang on to me (or me on to it), I will strive to remember the joys of simplicity, to listen to her whispers (or shouts), and work at becoming ultimately sophisticated.

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
―Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings

“Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.”
―Lao Tzu

“To the Technocrats: Have mercy on us. Relax a bit, take time out for simple pleasures. For example, the luxuries of electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating, instant electronic communication and such, have taught me to relearn and enjoy the basic human satisfactions of dipping water from a cold clear mountain stream; of building a wood fire in a cast-iron stove; of using long winter nights for making music, making things, making love; of writing long letters, in longhand with a fountain pen, to the few people on this earth I truly care about.”
―Edward Abbey, Postcards from Ed:  Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast

  1. Oh, I feel for you! We’re in the process of getting rid of Stuff, not because we’re moving but because the books have taken over the house. Some of them are easy – either they never were very good, or we look at them and think “who was I when I thought that was any good??” But with so many of them, the trouble is that they’re still fun to read or useful or both…and I don’t want to throw away the universe inside their covers!

    • Books are definitely not what I want to get rid of, even those I haven’t read for a time or for a long time. I really need a house with a library, which is on our list of things we’d like in a house eventually and “The House of My Heart” that I blogged on some months ago.

  2. It is so much work to move isn’t it? With each move I have made in my life I have “simplified” more and more each time. It’s one of the easiest ways for me to get rid of things that I just can’t do any other time. 🙂

    • I think that’s part of the problem. We’ve lived in this house for 27 of our 28 years of marriage, through the lives of four people, which adds up to lots of stuff. If we’d had to move more often, we wouldn’t have so much. But I’ve loved living in the house, so I’ll deal with having to deal with it all. 🙂

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