Learn a few lessons from our Amish visit that you can use to simplify your life just a bit.
One evening a few years ago my Hubby and I went to visit an Amish couple about an hour from our home. I just love driving through Amish communities, it takes me back to a time of simplicity and peace. Clothes hanging on the line, plows being pulled by a team of horses, and little Amish children running lunch pails out to the pasture barefoot with not a care in the world.
The way they are able to live such a unique way of life amidst our world of heavy technology is truly inspiring to me.
When we arrive at the home we were greeted by a pretty white farmhouse with flowers and plants all around. As we pulled into the long driveway, I noticed a good-sized blueberry patch on the left housed in a sturdy wooden frame. I noticed how that patch was neatly manicured and not a single weed could be seen.
It was at that moment I knew I was in for a learning experience.
As we continued down the drive we saw a large greenhouse sitting off to the left. Out came a barefoot Amish woman waving hello to us. She told us to park back by the barn next to the pasture which was just a few feet from their home. As we got out of the truck, up trotted a young goat and a buck ram behind her. They came right up to the fence to see who was there. You seriously could not have scripted a better greeting.
Out in the pasture were sheep, horses and few more goats grazing around together without a care in the world.
The farmer came out to greet us and began showing us around his barn. I have to stop and tell you just how much I love barns, especially older ones. The character of an old barn is so lovely to me and I enjoy seeing them both inside and out. Most barns are dark and full of clutter and cobwebs. This barn, however, was completely different.
It was pristine.
As my hubby chatted with the man I walked into the barn to have a look around. The floor was spotless and there wasn’t a cobweb to be found. I have never in all of my life been in such a neat and orderly barn.
Two little goats greeted me as they ate their dinner in a stall that opened to the back pasture. Across from them was a storage stall with everything neatly in its place and swept clean. I noticed a few horseshoes nailed above the door that just added to its charm.
As I walked around the barn and the pasture outside, I could tell this man loved what he did. As a friend told me once, if you love what you do, you should do it right.
This Amish farmer, in my book, was doing it right.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do too, but my barn is cluttered. There are cobwebs EVERYWHERE and piles of things scattered about. The difference between my barn and his barn was (as a stranger I could tell right away) that this man loved his farm. It showed in every inch of that barn and pasture.
And maybe a stranger would know I love my farm as well, that is if they could get past the clutter, cobwebs, and chaos.
Sadly, we did not go in the house that day, but I know exactly what we would have seen if we had.
A very neat, tidy, and orderly home. Things housed inside of that home would have been bought for a purpose and not on a whim. Pictures and nicknacks would not be everywhere and lost in the clutter, but rather a few treasured items showcased to be noticed every day. The Amish are very intentional when they buy or make things and it’s that intention that I need to have more of.
When we left that evening I marveled again at what I saw. Everything was well kept and neat. I did not see piles of junk stored around the yard or weeds overtaking flower beds or gardens. The barn didn’t have windows full of cobwebs or pastures littered with junk. This couple took care of their things and it showed. Their home looked so welcoming and it really inspired me to do the same at my own home.
I want my home to not only be inviting to others but to ourselves as well. That means getting rid of the excess, storing things in an orderly way, keeping up with the wear and tear of our property. If we can’t take care of what we have then it’s probably a good sign that we have too much.
Here are some lessons I learned from my Amish visit.
- Buy what you need and only keep what you use.
- Love what you do or don’t do it.
- The less you have, the neater you will be.
- Chores are easier to complete if you do not have clutter to work around.
- It is hard to be content when you are drowning in unnecessary stuff.
- Clutter is noise and when there is too much noise, it is difficult to be content.
As you may have noticed there is a theme here. The Amish do not own a lot of stuff. Their homes are not filled with clutter and things and because of this, it is easier for them to live a more simplified life.
I don’t want to have to work at being calm and content, I want it to come naturally.
Clutter is more than just messy, it is noise. And it’s that noise that can keep us from seeing the joy in every day.
After that visit with the Amish, Hubby and I had a long talk. We decided to change our home by cleaning out the excess stuff and cleaning up our barn and property in the hopes it would change us for the better. We were in awe of the simplicity of their property and their mannerisms and we longed for that in our own lives.
This was a turning point for us and our family and since then we began to remove the excess and the clutter that surrounded us. What was a struggle before was now surprisingly easy because we had our “why”. The reason we wanted to get rid of the excess and clean up what was left. And, the best part? As we simplified and removed all the extra stuff, we have not regretted a single minute.
There are many things about the Amish that I truly admire, and after that visit, I was reminded that how they live is a treasure and one lost in our culture today. From that moment on, we were committed to taking steps every week to get closer to our goal of a more simple life so we would notice what was around us rather than being stuck in what was around us.
The Amish are on to something and I for one admire them for that.