Limits

Limits

Losing my keys was one of the most common and frustrating occurrences I would experience before simplifying my life. My wallet, shoes and even my belt would join the ranks of items that would get misplaced. On top of that, my laundry would get out of control with enough clothing to go two months without needing to do laundry.

Setting parameters on where my money was allocated, where my items lived and how much space I had for my clothing helped me discover how I could live with less stress and more time.

By themselves, limits can be restrictive, aggravating and even arbitrary. But when we measure them against our values they can be intentional, liberating and relieve stress. Determining limits was an important step toward living a more deliberate and contemplative life.

Examples: 

  • Budget: Calculating our monthly expenses, Rebecca and I determined how much money we needed to meet our basic needs, tithe to our church, give each other a small allowance and save up for a vacation. The rest of the money goes toward debt. Starting with what it meant for us to have enough gave us a set limit on how much we needed to bring in each month. Beyond that, everything else was extra.
  • Wardrobe: All of my clothing fits in one drawer and on 15 hangers. This is not a hard and fast limitation, but it has helped me determine what articles of clothing are used on a regular and seasonal basis. You can read more about how my journey toward simplicity started with my closet.
  • End Table: I have one end table with a drawer next to my bed where most of my items live. This little table is also where I keep my phone while I am at home. If I find a need to use it, I must move from where I am in the house and walk over to it.
  • Office Cube: There is an office cube where all of my office items live such as my laptop, charger, clipboard, prayer book, and pen. Any item not used for writing, spiritual practices or for my laptop are put in another home. If an item does not have a home, I find one. If a home cannot be found the item is donated or disposed of.

These limits help me find balance and freedom from clutter. It is important to note that these limits are based on my current needs, pursuits and lifestyle. As my family grows my lifestyle will change along with my limitations.

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