"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." I Timothy 6:6 (KJV)Are you starting to feel the slightest nip of autumn in the air where you live? Oh, I do love the fall of the year! As I type this, I am looking out our kitchen window at the plethora of trees on the mountainside directly behind our townhouse. The leaves are rustling, and even though they have not yet begun to change colors or fall, and even though I am inside with the air conditioning running, I still sense a slight "change in the air." Our days are still very warm, but at night ~ well, I sometimes go out on our balcony, and the air is just a slight bit cooler. I am SO looking forward to the ushering in of my favorite season of all. The other day, my sweet husband said to me, "We're getting ready to go into your favorite time of the year." He was referring to that wonderful span of time that begins with my birthday (yesterday!) to his birthday on February 3rd, with Zach's birthday (the day after Christmas) and Thanksgiving and Christmas tucked right there in between!
Hope you enjoy it!
I don't know about you, but I get highly motivated and inspired to declutter, minimize, and downsize at this time of year. I've always heard about "spring cleaning," but I declare, "fall cleaning" comes more naturally to me. I just get a hankering to "shed" as the world around me "sheds" and breaks forth into such vibrant, beautiful colors. I sense a fresh, new zest for life and want to clear out to make way for the new!
It's a lot easier to accomplish these tasks than it was a few years ago. The less you have, the less you have to worry about, and I love our new way of living with few possessions! As you probably know, if you've read this blog or Homespun Devotions for very long, my little family and I have been on a minimizing mission since 2015 - even before that. By God's grace, we have made tremendous progress, and our lives today hardly resemble our pre-minimized lives at all. We are so much happier, lighter, and less stressed. By God's grace, we have maintained our minimized state and have never allowed stuff to creep back into our home and lives, and we remain 100% debt-free. I say all of this NOT to boast - believe me, this was ALL God - we never thought it could happen. I say this to encourage you today that there is an abundant life Jesus wills for each of us to live, and He came so we could find and live out that level of life. "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10
Jesus came to make a way for us to live that abundant life, but He leaves the choice in the hands of our free will. We have to take the necessary steps to reach that abundant life - He is a Gentleman and will not force it on any of us.
If you would like to read more about our story, please consider ordering our new book by clicking HERE, and if you are feeling "a change in the air" and wanting to get started on or resume a past minimizing journey, here are some tips to help motivate you as we prepare for the refreshing coolness of autumn. A great place to start is in your kitchen.
1. Get your transport containers ready first. Whether it be cardboard boxes, crates, or something else, set them up in a convenient spot and label them, "Donate," "Sell," and "Put Away." As a fourth container, have a garbage can handy to immediately dispose of trash items. The "Put Away" box is for any misplaced items you find that you still want to keep but need to be moved to another area of your home. The "Donate" box is to be given away, and we have found it helpful to put our "Sell" box in a location out of sight until we can figure out where to sell the items in the box. The methods we have used most often are eBay and Letgo, but there are many other options including having a fall yard sale, utilizing facebook marketplace, or setting up a table at a local flea market.
2. Start with a kitchen drawer. Yes, just one. Take everything out and assess every, single item. Do you have more than one? Do you need more than one? Do you even use, want, or need the one? Try to put less back in the drawer than you took out. Move on to the next kitchen drawer, and the next, until all drawers are completely decluttered. Breaking it down into one drawer at a time makes the job doable, gives you a quick sense of accomplishment, and inspires you to move on to bigger areas.
3. Next, tackle one kitchen cabinet. Perhaps, you will want to do just one per day, or if you have time, you can do more. Ask the same questions - do I really use this anymore? Do I even like this? Am I only keeping it because it was gifted to me? Here is the cardinal rule: If you find that the answers are no, then you'll see it is time to let go.
4. Assess your countertops. Do they looked cluttered? Do you frequently use everything that is taking up countertop space? Could something be moved inside an empty, out-of-sight cupboard to create a more clean, organized look? Is there anything that needs to be dealt with, i.e., bills, papers, etc.? Deal with what needs dealt with, and clear away any unnecessary clutter. For example, we leave our stand mixer on our countertop at all times because it is too heavy for me to lift in and out, and I use it several times a week. However, we store our toaster in a lower cupboard because it is light and easy for me to take in and out, and we don't use it nearly as often. Arrange your kitchen in a way that is most convenient, user-friendly, and streamlined to your needs and wants. There is no hard and fast rule about what a minimized kitchen should look like, but a universal thread in every minimalist's kitchen is that the unused, unwanted, and unnecessary have been removed, and what remains is neatly arranged, well-placed, and organized.
5. Keep eating area clear at all times. This way, when meal time comes, all you have to do is set the table. If there is anything cluttering your table that discourages you from sitting down to eat a peaceful meal, remove it and find another suitable place for it. Keep on the table only what will not create extra work for you before meals and only what is necessary. For example, we do not have a formal dining room; our eating area consists of a small eat-in kitchen table with four chairs. There are only three of us, so we keep our daily medications and vitamins inside a primitive wooden box situated on a pretty doily on the 4th side of the table where no one sits, and we keep the other three places cleared off, clean, and ready to place our plates at mealtimes. Again, do what works for you, but keep it minimal and uncluttered.
6. Analyze your pantry. Check each item's expiration date. If anything is past using, throw it away. Are there things left that you know you and your family will never eat? Donate unopened, unwanted items to a local family, food pantry, or homeless shelter. Make meal plans based on what you have on hand, and make a list of frequently used items that need to be replenished.
7. Clean out your freezer and refrigerator following the same suggestions as you used for your pantry. While items are removed, take this opportunity to clean shelves, doors, sides, and drawers with a warm, soapy rag. You will feel so much better after you do!
8. Wipe down any accummulated cobwebs, the top of your refrigerator and stove hood, inside your microwave, and any other areas that may not get more regular attention.
And, there you have it! Your kitchen will be completely decluttered, cleaned, and refreshed for fall in just a few, doable steps. One step at a time breaks it all down into bite-size pieces and makes it less overwhelming.
I wanted to also give you an update on my intermittent fasting weight loss endeavors. I am thankful to say, that by God's grace and help, I am still going strong! Since July 25th, I have made it a point to fast from food for 16 hours each day. This daily discipline has evolved into a habit and a part of my lifestyle. I have not weighed, nor will I, until I see and feel a marked difference. I am feeling just a tiny bit lighter, and I am noticing the smallest change in the way my clothes fit, so hopefully, this is working. While I wish I could find a wonder pill that would melt the pounds overnight, I realize this excess weight has built up over a period of several years, so I am settled in for the long haul and am not going to focus on how long this is taking.
In younger years, had I made the drastic sacrifices I am now making to lose weight, I would have seen a big difference by now, but we all know what happens as we get older. Everything slows down, and the climb gets harder all the time. So, I will give myself grace, continue to draw close to Jesus during this time of daily fasting, and I will stay the course, by His grace. Feeling a heightened sense of His presence each day during those fasting hours is worth it all to me.
I would love to hear your minimizing, decluttering, cleaning, and weight loss suggestions and stories in the comments. Please share with all of us, and may God bless each one of you on your journey!
Great suggestions! I was JUST looking at my countertop and thinking, "surely we can put away a few of these appliances!" so this post was confirmation that I can simplify a bit!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your visit, Elena! God bless you as you simplify your home!Delete
Happy Birthday Sweet Friend! I trust it was a wonderful one! My new grandson was born the day before your birthday this past Tuesday, September 2nd.ReplyDelete
I remember my daughter telling me when attempting to start any type of cleaning or decluttering is to "just start" and before you know it, you are moving along and getting much accomplished. Just as you shared here!
Great insights and helps for decluttering in preparation for the fall and winter posts.
Sending you much love,
Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! It was the very best birthday ever. I am so very blessed and very, very grateful to God. That is so neat that your little grandson was born one day before my birthday! I am so thankful God blessed you with him. Sending much love back to you, dear friend.Delete
Now how did you know I had too many utensils in my kitchen? lolReplyDelete
I've been wanting to do something about that for months but I keep putting it off. My friend, you've given me inspiration to tackle my kitchen drawers.
Aw, I am so thankful if this gave you some inspiration, sweet friend. I trust the Lord will bless you as you seek to let go.Delete
Thank you for sharing your update here, Cheryl! It is HIS grace that keeps us walking in this pathway of letting go of our own desires. I am continuing to ask for HIS grace as I let go of my expectations of what my journey should be. And He continues to show me places where I have continued to hold tight. But I love what you say here: "So, I will give myself grace, continue to draw close to Jesus during this time of daily fasting, and I will stay the course, by His grace." He is so merciful to us! Love and prayers for you dear sister!ReplyDelete
YES, dear friend, it is surely His grace that keeps us walking forward. Sending much love and prayers to you, also, and much gratitude for your kind words and support.Delete
Happy belated birthday, Cheryl! Thank you for all the tips to organize and minimize my kitchen. I am excited for your intermittent fasting journey, hang in there, my friend! Wishing you a joy-filled day!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, my friend! I am hanging in there and continuing the fasting. Trusting God for huge answers to prayer and the healthy weight loss I am expecting. Much love and gratitude to you for your encouragement and support,Delete
Happy belated birthday Cheryl! Fall is my favorite time of year too. I love September weather; for me it's the best weather month Michigan has to offer! Fall does always feel like a fresh start. I'm sure I could always minimize more, but what I really need to do is some deep cleaning. (not my favorite, haha!) so glad to hear you are staying the course with the fasting. You can do this! The Lord will help you. xo DeborahReplyDelete
YES, I surely agree taht September is the best! Thank you ever so much for the sweet birthday wishes and the support and encouragement on this weight loss journey. I am pressing on, by God's grace. May He richly bless you, my friend!Delete
Good Afternoon. I'm new here:-) Found you through Laura's book review which I will be looking into shortly, sounds right up my alley. This past year, we downsized by about 40%. I still have a few things to put on Craigslist and/or donate but huge progress. I can't even imagine how many pounds of "stuff" we shed. I do have a question for you if it's okay. How small did you go? Minimalism is one of those words that can mean different things to different folks. (I know, I probably just need to read the book:-) I've actually run across the book or at least its title a couple times so feel like He is prompting me further ~ I'm trying to listen.ReplyDelete
Also, a joyous much belated birthday wish and autumn is absolutely beautiful.
Hello! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! Sorry it took me so long to respond - I meant to do that as soon as I saw your comment, then it totally slipped my mind! Congratulations on your downsizing efforts! 40% is a LOT. GREAT JOB! You asked how small we have gone. Yes, reading the book would answer your question. It would be heard to re-create the whole journey here in one blog comment, but the short version is that, square footage wise, we estimate that we have released about 90% of our physical possessions. May God continue to bless you on your journey!Delete
Happy belated birthday dear friend. I sure hope your birthday was sweet to you. I need to clean out kitchen cabinets and simply organize. I only keep my coffee pot on the counter and a microwave. All other appliances are stored in cabinet or pantry. But I sure need to have the time to organize a bit. So happy you are staying disciplined to your fasting. God's grace and mercy to us is surely amazing. Hugs and blessings, CindyReplyDelete
Thank you ever so much, sweet friend. My birthday was wonderfuly blessed. I am so grateful to God for all of His blessings. I know it has been many months since you posted this comment, and I apologize for being so long in responding. Many hugs and blessings to you!Delete
If you get time to read, I found Dr Libby Weaver's book, 'Accidentally Overweight' a huge game changer. You might too.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a great book that I definitely need to check out! Thank you for the recommendation!Delete
I am really enjoying your blog and helpful suggestions. Not sure of your age but I'm 63. I finally lost 20 lbs over this past year. One word: vegetables. Vegetables are my #1 food, lean meat and fish. I may fast for spiritual reasons but not to lose weight.ReplyDelete
While my husband eats his mound of rice, I'm eating seasoned cauliflower rice. I know so many squashes my family makes fun but who cares? I marvel at God's splendid creation.
Press on sister, may the Lord free us from every earthly preoccupation.
Thank you ever so much for your kind words, Lisa Beth! I keep hearing about cauliflower rice, and I definitely need to try it! I am so thankful you reminded me. I absolutely love all veggies and do try to eat as many as possible. I recently found a salad dressing (low in carbs) that I really love and it has been helping me stay encouraged to eat salads. I so enjoyed your comment and am sorry it took me so long to respond. Your words "Press on sister" reminded me so much of my dear Mom!! She always told me to press on, and her nickname for me was "sister." I miss her so terribly. Wow, what a comfort to hear you repeat the words she used to say to me! May the Lord bless you and continue to prosper both of us on our weight loss journeys. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing!Delete
I read your article in the Epoch Tmes which led me here. Could you please share with me your DIY home cleaning solutions? I’ve never thought about becoming a biblical minimalist until now, so thank you!
Hi Nadine, So happy to hear from you! I am so grateful the Epoch Times article led you here and so appreciate you reaching out to me. I am more than happy to share my cleaning solution recipes with you - I just looked for your email address, but I am not seeing one. If you see this reply, can you please provide your email address? Thank you so very much, and I trust the Lord will richly bless you on your minimizing journey!Delete
Hello there...I love Jesus and am delighted to connect.ReplyDelete
I have moved every two years and with covid moved out of my family home into a tiny flat at the Nursing Home I manage in Cape Town, South Africa.
I confess I am a hoarder but the moves have highlighted the too much and "someday I might need this" syndrome.
Moving has necessitated decluttering but it is not yet central to my thinking and mindset ... it HAS however been a real joy to give away stuff I no longer NEED or think I needed or use because I no longer have capacity to entertain, feed teenagers, cook huge family meals, experiment with recipes or carry extra weight ...having been blessed by barbaric surgery 3 years ago, having Los 43Kg, the shedding process has been slow and steady.
Recently was visited by two prophetic ladies ... two WORDS were given (among many) stood out: 1. GOD IS PLEASED WITH YOU 2. GET ORDER (and we are going to help you)
For me, decluttering starts in my mind ...I see it happening, plan it and do it ...slow but sure.
I still shop, still can't stand an empty grocery cupboard or shelf, still want more pretty clothes and still NEED TO FINE THE ROOT OF "NOT ENOUGH" ...
So, Father's words of affirmation of my BELOVEDNESS turns out to be a HUGE KEY
and as my GOOD SHEPHERD, Order is the central plan of the day for me to be able TO FOLLOW WHERE HE LEADS ...
Anyone out there have ideas re crafting ...I make devotional scrapbook-style journals, cards, notice board affirmation cards and generally make paper art to bless folk with ...it is hugely therapeutic...my "stuff" is quite organized BUT IT NEVER FEELS ENOUGH or I am learning new techniques and feel I MUST HAVE that new tool/paper/thing to create a new item ... getting bored is never a problem ...I am always busy, but amazingly have a very clear and tidy mind ... it all happens up there and then BAM, it happens out there ...people are amazed at how I just get things done ... a precious gift from God, I think ...
SO FINDING ORDER IN MY CRAFTING HELP IS NEEDED ...
so far I have gotten "finish the project you are on", (simplify and not overdo the pages is a growing thing) ... plan what you next want to do/learn and do just that till mastered
Looking forward to hearing from you my new SISTERS IN CHRIST.
Love, Lizann Painter
Hi, Lizann, So nice to hear from you! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I trust the Lord will bless you and guide your footsteps in letting go of the unnecessary for the sake of drawing closer to Jesus.Delete