5 Life Lessons From Gardening

Gardening will teach you everything important about life if you just listen.

This is why it is such a shame that people are so removed from getting their hands in the dirt. Let’s dive right in:

1. You cannot stop growth or progress.

The fascinating part about visiting old, abandoned places is to see that the vegetation has taken over most of the constructed parts. It is a great reminder that the world will continue on no matter what. When things need to grow, they will, no matter what is in the way.

2. You need to get your hands dirty.

I have always enjoyed gardening without gloves. There is something therapeutic about cold dirt. This is a reminder that sometimes you have to get your hands dirty in order to build something beautiful. This applies to all areas of life. You have to get in the nitty gritty, experience successes and failures, in order to make something grow.

3. Be observant.

If there is a problem, your plants will tell you. This requires you to pay attention to the leaves, the stems, the fruit, the dirt, and everything else. How true is this for our own lives? Is there something bothering us or someone we know, and we are simply not paying attention to the signs? We all have our own ways of showing that something is getting in the way of our growth. Pay attention.

4. You reap what you sow.

You have to put the seed in the ground to reap the harvest later in the year. How many dreams do we have where we haven’t even planted the seed? If you don’t plant the literal or metaphorical seed, you can’t reap the harvest. You can’t have a dream come to life if you don’t start the process.

5. Self-reliance.

Knowing you can grow your own food provides a level of self-reliance few other hobbies can. When I see basil at the store for $5 for just a few dried leaves, I can laugh knowing I just have to head home and cut some off the plant on my windowsill. Gardening keeps you aware of what the food marketers are trying to pull on all of us.

What have YOU learned from getting your hands in some dirt?

Spring Decluttering (While Helping the Planet)

While the spring brings about a desire to get outside, it can also bring a desire to clean the house.

I love purging in the spring. It’s been a habit ever since growing up watching Martha Stewart.

The problem I keep encountering on my decluttering journey is that now what I know happens to a lot of our plastic that is thrown away, I hate the idea of just tossing things in the trash.

It’s even hard for me to watch those decluttering shows where they take a TON of crap and just simply throw it away without trying to recycle or donate it.

To avoid this, I’m finding new ways to reuse everything. Currently on my desk, I have old plastic Easter decorations that hold my pens, index cards, and spare headphones.

In the past, I followed the general advice: “Get rid of everything you don’t need!” only to feel like kicking myself months later when I needed some of those things and now have to go buy them again. Ugh.

So, my goal for this spring is to simply declutter while minimizing my impact on the planet.

Here is my general plan (with updates to come!):

1. Pack away my winter stuff.

If you have a big enough closet, it’s easy to just store your winter stuff in the back. However, I live in a pretty tiny apartment, so it’s easier for me to just pack all my winter stuff away. Keeping out all my winter clothes and sweaters just makes it all look messy. The warm weather is here!

Of course, if there is anything I am going to pack away that I haven’t used in a long time or I no longer want, I will be putting it up for sale on Craigslist/eBay or simply donating it.

2. Focus on maximizing the things left.

While I love the idea of minimalism, there have been a lot of posts about the problems with it. One being that when you need something, you have to go out and buy it again.

For me, one of my goals this year is to buy less and fully maximize the things I already have.

3. Consume less.

Throughout college I fell into the “Stuff = worth” trap. I simply spent too much and owned too much in an attempt to prove who knows what to the world. Throughout this year, my goal is to only as little as possible. If I do buy anything, my goal is to buy it either already used or something that I will use for a really long time.

This spring cleaning will be different than ones in the past, but these are changes I’m looking forward to making instead of just throwing everything away to fit in with some minimalist crowd. Cheers to the warmer weather!