Nate and I aren’t minimalists…yet.
We’d like to think we’re inching towards minimalism though. This has been a long time in the making, but our efforts have accelerated since our pastor spoke on minimalism in February. He shared this from Luke 3:11- “John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
I have two shirts. In fact, I have a lot of shirts. I’ve got t-shirts, tank tops, camisoles, tunics, flannels, button downs, athletic shirts, sweaters, hoodies, long sleeve t’s, fleeces, business tops and date night shirts and that’s just for what’s currently in style. I’m sure I’ll get tired of those shirts soon and bag them up to drop off at the thrift store. Or maybe I’ll tuck them into the back of my closet to store just in case I “need” it. This way, I can feel good about myself when I run to Target or Marshall’s because I have “nothing to wear.”
Nothing about this mindset is in line with Luke 3:11 and yet as a Christian raised in the Church, I’ve never really been challenged to drastically do anything about it. I’m not just talking about donating a few items from my closet so I can feel better about my spending habits. I’m talking about radically changing the way I shop for my me and my family permanently because it’s Biblical, better for the Earth and lessens our worries about money.
Biblically: I already shared the verse that motivated us to stop playing around and get serious about our possessions. Nate and I are having a yard sale along with a few other friends. The money we make from the sale will be invested in micro-loans through a website called Kiva. When the loans are repaid, we’ll reinvest in another business. Think about it. The literal junk sitting in your home could fund a business and potentially help a person, family or even a whole community launch a business and improve their lives. Your junk could do that.
Environmentally: According to this article from Huffpost, a collective 85% of all clothing ends up in landfills. In the past, I’ve viewed clothing as disposable and that needs to stop. We’ve got a post planned for consciously consuming and how we intend to move forward with our clothing shopping so we are making more socially responsible choices.
Financially: This article from Forbes claims the average family spends $1,700 per year on clothes. That is b-a-n-a-n-a-s. In 10 years time, we’d have spent $17,000 on clothes. Clothes that are out of style, don’t fit, are stained or could be perfectly fine but we just don’t like them anymore.
Or we could have paid off our mortgage one year sooner, put money into Everly’s college fund, increased our tithe at church or had the money to respond in the moment to the needs of our friends, family, and community.
Or we could have a closet full of stuff.
On paper, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Buy less clothing! It’s not a one-time choice though. It’s learning to make the daily decisions that lead to a simplified life.
I mean, it’s a literal joke among women that we can’t go into Target and not spend $100.
We all laugh about how impulsive we are and reckless with our money when it comes to Target and their enticing Dollar Spot. All the while, Target is greedily counting their dollars as we click share on memes on Facebook about our Target addictions. As if it’s somehow cute or quaint that we’re not in control of our hard-earned money.
We watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism (highly recommend it) and they explained how retailers don’t have four seasons they market, they have 52. As in, every week they are pitching and selling a new style or trend they are convincing you is a MUST HAVE. When I heard that, I felt manipulated. It’s hard for me to put into words, but I’m picturing these executives sitting around a conference table coming up with ad after ad to bombard me with this message of New! Flashy! Why don’t you have this already?! Every. single. week.
I feel like I’m sticking it to the man. Like, not today Target! Not my money! Not this family! I see you over there…feeding me lies. (Dramatic, I know…but I have to stay strong because dang it, they’re good and I was in Target last week and so many cute clothes were calling my name). I’m a work in progress…
In a 2015 study cited in Adweek, 80% of girls surveyed between the ages of 13-18 indicated that shopping is their favorite pastime. 80 PERCENT!
I’m ashamed to admit that I could probably fall into that category as well. Well, I refuse to model that for Everly. We live less than an hour away from historic Philadelphia, near amazing local and state parks, two hours from the beach, a day trip away from New York City and yet statistics show she’ll most likely end up choosing to shop during her free time? Disgusting.
Luke 3:11 was the motivation we needed to take action. Hearing it that Sunday, it finally clicked for us. We’re not saying we will never buy a piece of clothing again, we’re just taking control of our spending and consuming in an intense way. We’ve got some “rules” for how, what and when we shop to help us from falling prey to consumerism that’s wasteful of our time, money and potential ministry opportunities. We’ve got plenty to share about the changes already happening in our mindsets and closets so look for that post sometime soon!