Home DecorMore vs. Enough – Spring in Our Home May 7, 2018 I came across this old quote several months ago and like many things in my life recently, I knew God had plopped it right in my lap for a purpose. One big thing that’s been changing in our lives and hearts this last year is how we feel about STUFF. I first shared about living with less and simplifying in Chapter 5 of the Our Story video series I did. God was showing us the differences between want and need and had been making me painfully aware of how much stuff we accumulate, how much money we waste on it, and then how much of it goes unused and ends up donated. We just consume so, so much. And MORE has always been the name of my game. I’ve long said that I’m the farthest thing from a minimalist when it came to style, but that same principal crossed over into every area of my life: my wardrobe, my grocery choices, purchases for the kids. While I’m still not a complete minimalist when it comes to cultivating our home and the style I’m drawn to, there’s much about that word now that appeals to me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a bargain shopper. I’ve always been drawn more to Target and thrift stores and discount spots…and do you know what’s funny? The goal in my heart wasn’t to spend less (though I said it was). Looking back, it was to save on each item, so I could buy MORE. more, More, MORE. Always more. Last year, God started revealing this tendency and its deep-seeded problems. I want more. I want more food choices. I want more clothes because I have nothing to wear in my bursting closet. I want new throw pillows because the season changed and these look like winter…too dark. I want a bigger house because this one is too tight for our growing family…just one more bathroom will do. I…want…more…and surely when I get it, I’ll be content and happy, needing nothing. And what I finally realized as I was combing through these dark spots in my heart is that what I was really saying is, “What I have isn’t enough.” As I’ve processed through this, I’ve swung from one extreme to the other: Buy nothing! Okay, I have a need, buy it and then feel guilty. Now buy nothing again! And I’ve realized that it isn’t back and white. There are many times when there is an actual need and buying a well-chosen, good quality piece we can afford completely makes sense. But I used to give no thought at all to my purchases in every area of my life. I called myself “intentional with money” because I tried to buy the cheapest things I could find, but cheap adds up, y’all. And often, those cheap things fall apart and come next year, I need another. Overall, my standards for purchasing and providing for our families’ needs have changed drastically. Maybe instead of minimalism I should say, PURCHASES WITH PURPOSE? That’s what I’m calling our new “stuff standard.” I’ll share more about that later, but today, while sharing some photos of our home for spring felt like the right time to bring up my more vs. enough pendulum. The changing of seasons is one of the worst spots of consumerism I see in myself looking back over the last few years. The season changes, I need to do a home tour, BUY BUY BUY. Our home can’t look like it did last season! I need new pillows, new seasonal-appropriate art, new knick-knacks, new vases, new blah, blah, blah. My husband first called attention to the insane amount I’d spend on home goods at the turn of every season several years ago and I blamed the blog. “I have to! This is my job!” And the funny thing is, I look back even before the blog and I was doing the same thing. For our first home, I was buying a ton of new every season to “freshen our home for spring” or “cozy it for fall.” Even then, I didn’t want to use last year’s goods because I’d grown tired of them. I justified it because everything I found was “so cheap”, but when you buy a lot, it’s still a lot. And isn’t cheap relative? I’d celebrate the $20 throw pillow I found at Target, but when you come home with six…it ain’t cheap. And regardless of the cost, our home was continually filled with more to hoard and it built up and up and up. STUFFOCATION. Anyone remember that term from Our Story series? It’s a real thing, I can testify to it. Even back then when I had no problem with accumulating as much stuff as I wanted, I would grow overwhelmed and tired. After the big buying spree each season, I’d start to feel down, overwhelmed by the buying, the new stuff I saw everywhere I turned, and the realization that after the high of “new” wore off, I still wasn’t content. I’d feel despair over the havoc I’d wreaked over our tiny budget. I’d take a break. But it wouldn’t be long before it’d amp up again…a new season was coming. And this goes way beyond the home for me. A new season has always brought the desire for a new wardrobe. “I’m tired of last year’s sweaters. They have holes (because I bought the cheapest one I could find in the name of ‘I can get one in every color!’).” “Just one new printed dress, oh and boots to match.” It goes on and on and on. The consumerism spills into every area, filling every nook and cranny, sucking the life out of your budget, zapping your gratitude at the insane amount we are blessed with, and leaving us sad. This spring, like every other season before, I started to crave a refresh as it approached. At first I felt guilty. Isn’t craving change in our beautiful home ungrateful? Shouldn’t this be enough? But then I remembered that God created the seasons! He created them to feel different. Changes happen outside, different produce is grown meaning different foods are celebrated and eaten, new rhythms unfold. And that’s good. I’ve come to love the change of seasons because I see God’s goodness abounding in it. While I’ve grown to believe that getting outside and experiencing the changes is the best way to enjoy it and to worship the Creator for how He makes beauty and provides for us anew each season, I realize that it’s completely natural to crave bringing a little of that inside. Our home is such a special, intentional place to be cultivated for our family. It’s a place to grow, to celebrate, to enjoy life. For me, seasons is a huge part of that. This year, I first took stock. What is it I’m craving? Fresh and light. Okay, now, do I have anything that can accomplish that? I first laughed at that because of course I don’t! I got rid of about 60% of our stuff when we moved into this smaller home and where home goods were concerned, that meant nearly everything that didn’t have a permanent place in this house. But I kept looking and thinking. I identified the few areas that felt too heavy and I brainstormed. And I realized that as much change as our life is filled with, I like for some things to stay constant. I like to finish a room and it stay that way because who knows how long we’ll be here to enjoy it! Once a space is put together, it doesn’t get moved around very often. But I’m trying to change that because I realize how fun it is to be creative with what you already have….to see it differently, re-imagine it, buy less or buy nothing. And to freshen our home for spring this year, that is exactly what I did. We took thirty minutes and moved the bedroom rug out into the living room. While the colorful Persian we had here is my favorite rug I own, I just needed a freshened change. And moving rugs means we got a good spring cleaning in under the couch and places that are rarely touched in this house. I loved this rug in our bedroom and it’ll likely find its way back there again. But for now, this spring, I’m loving the light and airy feel it gives to this space. For now, we have a cowhide in the bedroom and much more bare floors and even the bare floors feel lightened and right for this season where I crave clean and less cozy. For the couch, I took a throw from Dax’s room that wasn’t being used that pulls the mint and blue out of the curtains and a cream textured pillow I had in another chair. And instantly, it felt fresh like I’d wanted…not a completely different room like my purchases used to result in, but just what I was hoping for right now. In the kitchen, I celebrated spring by taking my absolute favorite floral picture and placing it above the hood. I found it at a thrift store years ago and I love everything about it. The colors, the chippy imperfect frame. And I love it in this room with the tile and rug. It gives me the hint of spring I was after and makes me smile whenever I look up. I moved some green plants around so I had pops of growth and green in new spots to be delighted in. And it felt lighter. It felt fresh. It felt like enough. I realize for each of us this looks different. While we love using the gifts God has given us to renovate and it’s become a big chunk of our income as a family, I realize not everyone can do a renovation. I hope that sharing our story as we make home doesn’t just make others crave an overhaul. I hope sharing how we renovate, decorate, cook, and do life with purpose encourages others to look at their own life and see unique ways they can do the same. I hope that sharing our story reveals the beauty in both a simple Ball jar of flowers clipped from the yard or a pretty, functional, and thoughtful kitchen reveal. Regardless of what our homes or homemaking journeys look like, I know that we can each do it with purpose, giving intentional thought to how we consume and I know from experience that all of our hearts will find rest when we embrace enough.