A Simple Approach to Living With Less

It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint

I’ve never been much of a runner. I remember snagging a few ribbons from my elementary track and field days at school. I was competitive enough to push myself to be faster than the guy running next to me. I’ve just never been very good at learning how to pace myself for longer distances. I think it has something to do with the fact I’m not coordinated enough to even know how to breathe right. My throat gets completely dry and I feel like I’m going to pass out.

I’ve always been in awe of people who run marathons. Knowing how to pace yourself for such a long distance like that is totally foreign to me. It’s such a huge accomplishment to finish a race of that length. It’s no wonder people crowd along the side of the road cheering the runners along.

The thing is, if you saw a single runner on the side of the road training for their next big marathon, it might not look all that impressive. The speed at which they trot along typically isn’t all that fast. Based on a first impression you might not think it was a big deal at all. On those training days, no one is handing out cups of water or shouting, “Great job! Keep it up! You can do it!!” But with each stomp of their feet and swing of their arms, they are getting closer and closer to their goal and the finish line they see in their head.

Today, I’m tired. My knees hurt from sitting on the floor going through bins of toys. My brain is tired from making more and more choices of what to keep and what to get rid of around the house. And I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get control of the amount of clothes we have around here. Even though we’re making progress, there is still so much to deal with everyday. I certainly don’t see the finish line in sight yet. I’m still in training I suppose.

But this morning I watched my husband smile as he looked around our bedroom and admired the progress we have made together. And I felt a smile creep across my face when I saw the cleaned off counters in the kitchen this morning. It was almost as if I could hear the crowd cheering me on.

A journey towards minimalism is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. It won’t happen quickly and it won’t be a one-time race. It’s important to pace yourself and try not to get discouraged when you see how much farther there is to go. Enjoy the little victories along the way.

Always keep your finish line in mind. You might even want to write down the reasons why you’re running this race. There are bound to be setbacks along the way, so having your objective and reasons clearly defined can be the sort of encouragement you need to cheer yourself on.

“You should run your first marathon for the right reasons, because you’ll never be the same person again.” – Bill Wenmark, running coach. Maybe I’m becoming a runner after all.


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Article originally published on 09/20/2010

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  1. Faith,

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey toward minimalism, and especially for this post! My family has moved once a year for the past two years and will probably continue to do so for the next two or three, so I am on a quest to reduce our household goods to only the things that we need (for either physical or sentimental reasons). I often feel that the stuff is bogging us down and keeping us from actually enjoying our home. So much time and energy goes into maintaining an acceptable level of clean!

    I particularly appreciate your blog because you ARE a mom, so you know about certain things you just can’t get rid of.

    May your journey be blessed!

    • Thanks so much, Jackie. Moving a lot is challenging for sure. As with most things, adding children to the equation adds an extra element of difficulty and things that must be considered. Choosing minimalism with children is definitely more challenging but I believe it can make a huge difference.

    • Karen (Scotland) says

      I second that – so good to read about a mum doing this and slowly but steadily getting somewhere.

  2. I agree with you, Faith. I is very difficult to be a minimalist when you have children. Mine want to re-decorate their rooms, buy new toys, gadgets, and other funky stuff they see in the shops. I always ask them to think about whether they REALLY need an item, and how much use they’ll get out of it. I suppose the key is to put a limit on material things – say, they keep their 10 most favourite items, or to choose to buy just one new toy/game/decorative addition. That way they learn to differentiate between the things that are genuinely important in life, as opposed to chasing and acquiring every whim and fancy.
    I also like to remind them that experiences are more valuable than items and that they’ll have many more, in the future, to add to their collections. Even so, it can be difficult for them to throw away items that carry happy memories. It’s a tough one 🙂


  1. […] Like anything worth pursuing, you have to make the time if you want to see results. Even baby steps will get you where you want to be if you keep putting one foot in front of the other. The journey towards minimalism is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. […]

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