A few years ago we invited some relatively new friends over to our home for for the first time. Within five minutes of being in my home my friend asked me jokingly, “Where’s all your stuff?” We had a laugh and John and I exchanged a glance as I explained that I really don’t like clutter. (John is a pack-rat and I’ve thrown away more than one trunkful of his junk things in my purging sprees. Hence the look.)
I’ve been leaning toward a minimalist lifestyle for awhile now. I crave the simplicity, contentment, and freedom that comes with living happily with less. I also love the neat, clutter-free home environment a minimalist life brings. So I read the blogs and pin the pins and look around my home and my life and consider how I might make this work in my little world.
I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and got a lot of good ideas from it. One of the things Marie Kondo recommends in her book is asking yourself why you want to “tidy” as she calls it. And when you answer that ask yourself why again and again and again until you have a really specific vision of what you hope your life could be after adopting a minimalist lifestyle. She suggests that the ultimate answer is happiness and I suppose that’s true. I also think it goes deeper than that.
After journaling my own thoughts and answers to “why?” I realized that, for me, it’s more about peace, freedom, and contentment. I have so much more peace of mind when stuff isn’t cluttering up my world. I feel free to open my doors to others when I’m not embarrassed by a mess. And living simply breeds contentment. What I’ve learned, though, is that living simply isn’t confined to material things and/or my home. A minimalist lifestyle applies to other areas of life, too.
Recently I watched a Ted Talk by Dr. Cal Newport titled “Quit Social Media” and I felt a familiar longing in my heart. His theory is that social media is addictive and can be an unnecessary waste of time. I’ve certainly seen that play out in my own life as I spend more time than I planned mindlessly scrolling my social channels. But there’s one platform in particular that’s been a burden to me. Twitter.
I was talking on the phone with my friend and fellow author/blogger, Becky, the other night. We brainstormed different ideas and shared our future goals and hopes. As we were winding down the social media part of our brainstorming session I said to Becky, “Facebook is where my community really is. Instagram is where I just post a bunch of picture of my kids… and I’m still trying to figure out twitter. I still don’t get it!” Becky laughed and agreed on the twitter front and we moved on. But I couldn’t get that part of the conversation out of my mind.
I’ve been on twitter for almost three years and I still don’t get it? Something isn’t working. Not only that, but it’s largely been a burden. In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo’s method includes physically touching every item in your home to see if it “sparks joy” in you. If not, it gets discarded. It occurred to me that I could apply this method to social media and see what happened.
I logged onto Instagram, checked my notifications, and scrolled my feed for five minutes. Yes, this is something that brings joy and contentment. I feel inspired by creative friends, and mostly follow other moms, so I enjoy seeing cute pictures of their children. And it’s a joy to document the fun moments my little family makes as well. I logged onto Facebook and went to my public page: joy. Someone shared that a particular post helped them through a tough time. Another commented on a video I created that it helped her not feel alone. This is why I write. I’m not a how-to girl… I’m a me too girl. I love interacting with others who can raise their hands and say, “Yes! Me too!” and Facebook is where that happens most for me. Then I logged onto twitter…
Instead of joy I found a stream of angry rants, passive aggressive arguments, and a continual back and forth. I suppose I’m not following the right people, but then again maybe that’s what twitter has become? This week brought another “blow up” within the Christian community and my shoulders tensed as I felt weight bearing down on me. Nope. Twitter isn’t fun and it isn’t giving me peace, freedom, and contentment: it’s making me want to quit everything.
So instead I just quit twitter. I couldn’t ever quite figure out my place there, anyway, and it dawned on me that perhaps that’s because I don’t have one. And that’s okay! Not everything is for us. Some of us thrive in a twitter environment and some of us don’t. I have a limited number of minutes in my day and its time I stop wasting any of them on something that is just one massive bummer for me.
I left my profile up with a link to my book and my website so that if any of the outlets I write for tweet about me, readers can find my website or book. But I’ve unfollowed everyone to keep a clear feed and logged off. My mind already feels clearer, my load lighter, and my day freed… because (for me) twitter was clutter. Just one more step in my journey toward minimalism.
Is there something weighing you down and cluttering your mind? Is it time to pull an Elsa and let it go? (I know, I’m sorry. I had to.)