Christian Minimalism

House Hunting (Part 2) & the Minimizing Continues

Well everyone, it has been a week. We had our Preaching with Power annual week-long event at the seminary, which I’ve decided is basically Holy Week for seminary Admissions staff. And some big things went down at the seminary, which I won’t get into here. So just work alone was super busy and emotionally-charged this week.

If that wasn’t enough, the house that I wrote about a few blog posts ago is no longer. I mean, the house still exists. But it is no longer the one we are buying—long story short, the inspection did not go well at all and we ended up pulling our offer. Sad face.

Which means…we have a second installment of House Hunting as a Christian Minimalist. Yaaaaaaaaay.

Last weekend, my husband Will and I went to go see 7 more potential houses. The interesting thing about house hunting in Philadelphia is that every house is both similar to every other house we’ve seen, and yet very different. It’s fascinating to me how most of the houses we’ve looked at (in our price range, in the location we want, etc.) are one-half of a twin and they look almost exactly the same from the outside—but have such different layouts and looks inside.

And they also have widely-varying square footage. We looked at everything from a 2,500 square-foot stand-alone house to a 1,400 square-foot condo….and pretty much everything in between, including many twins. I have never seen so many different housing options in one day.

Ultimately, we fell in love with a 1,700 square-foot twin with 3 bedrooms—and our offer was accepted! Here’s hoping this one sticks.

Assuming this house actually happens, here is our plan for how to use the space:

One bedroom will be Will’s office (since he works from home), one will be the guest room (Book your visit now!!), and one will of course be our own bedroom. The twin uses space really well—it is three modestly-sized floors, with the first/main floor having the kitchen, eating space, and living space, the second floor having 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, and the third floor being the master bedroom with another bathroom. There is a half-bath on the main floor as well.

All in all, I am excited for a home that feels small enough to be minimalist-type house, but big enough that Will and I (along with family and friends staying over!) won’t be struggling for air and space all the time.

In other news, in between all the trips to Philly for work and house stuff, Will and I have continued minimizing the apartment.

And I’m going to warn those of you who are thinking about minimizing your possessions and starting your own minimalism journey….

…minimizing stinks. It truly does. Spending hours upon hours going through everything you own and getting rid of at least half of it can be tedious and exhausting. We have even broken it down by rooms, sections of rooms, and parts of storage units, so that we don’t get overwhelmed (which is what I suggest to folks starting this process as well)—and it’s still pretty tiring, when you’re in the middle of it.

But when you’ve minimized a drawer, a section of a closet, or a whole room, though… when you stand there looking at what you’ve accomplished and how you can live with so much less than you though you could… it makes it all worth it. Simplifying our possessions has changed our lives. Maybe it could change yours, too!

While minimizing this weekend, I was thinking about the Bible passage where Jesus tells the Parable of the Rich Fool, who spent all his time, energy, and money accumulating stuff (Luke 12:13-21). And then the man ends up dying—and where does all his stuff go? Not to him, that’s for sure. He was focusing on accumulating and stock-piling possessions way more than focusing on his relationship with God.

And before telling the parable, Jesus tells the crowd: “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

I think we know what Jesus is saying in theory. But when we are told otherwise by the thousands of ads we see each week… when we compare what we own, what we live in, what we wear to what others have…when we continue to chase the next purchase high… when we engage in retail therapy to celebrate or make ourselves feel better or just pass the time…it gets hard to live the way Jesus wants us to.

Christian minimalism breaks through all of that and tries to rewire our brains to think about material possessions in a way that is more in line with the life Jesus wants for us. Will and I are on this journey to do just that. What would your life be like if you focused less on consuming and accumulating/maintaining stuff? What would you use the leftover time, energy, and money for?

 

 

About 
Becca Ehrlich, AKA The Christian Minimalist, is striving to be a Christian minimalist in a consumer society. She currently lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband Will. You can read more about her story and how her blog came to exist by clicking the website link above.

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