Life and Everyday

Things and Christmastime

I have to say that my perspective on things/possessions has massively changed in this last week.   I’ve realized that I “own” way too much. I could give so much more to those in need if only I would stop bingeing on unimportant things. I have gathered and collected my entire life, yet still seemed unfulfilled.

Another thing that I’ve learned lately is the utter joy in giving. I guess I’ve always thought to myself, “It’s just one pair of shoes…” or “It’s just a few dollars that I can offer to the homeless man…” or “What can donating my stuff and time really communicate to those in need?”  I think as Christians, we focus so much on trying to “evangelize” the poor when the first bit of “good news” that they need is tangible help.  

A fog somehow surrounds the Christian life sometimes. So much lurks to sidetrack us from the main point. People get caught up with the details.   The problems and rules, but when Jesus was pushed about what was really important, He said, “Love God and love people. That’s pretty much it.”  And we get to be a part of that love in the form of “stuff”. We have so much.

The question is, at what cost?  What does it mean to be surrounded by too much stuff? I mean, some stuff is fine, we all have stuff, but what about when it’s too much?

For many, myself included, there’s a sense of emotional attachment felt for possessions.  With a few items here and there, it’s no big deal, but as with anything, it could easily grow to be too much. Photos and a small token from a trip is one thing, but every single ticket stub, plane ticket, hotel room keys and “mementos” of every trip you’ve ever taken, could be too much. The dress your daughter wore home from the hospital or the blanket that her grandmother quilted for her is one thing, her entire wardrobe from the first year of her life, too much. You get the picture. A few things here and a few things there can take you back to a particular time and place that held importance, and that’s the priceless kind of stuff.

While there are books on simplifying your life, or workshops to clear the clutter, at the end of the day we all have our own point where we reach “too much.” So how to decide? How to know what to keep and what to pitch?

It’s simple.

A few years ago I was talking to a dear friend.  She said, “If it does not serve a purpose and it does not bring you joy, let it go.”

That’s right, if it does not serve a purpose and it does not bring you joy, let it go. I can go into my living room and see the pictures of family; the computer; the knick knacks….they all have some memory for me.  I also see a bunch of stuff that I don’t need as well.   Walk into the next room, and the next room, and repeat the process and you will be AMAZED with the amount of stuff that you can get rid of. And it’s EASY!

I cleaned out my closet, getting rid of the clothes that didn’t fit.  Stuff I didn’t wear anymore.  Old shoes.  Just lots of stuff that didn’t need to be there.  And guess what? I feel lighter, because I’m no longer bogged down by that closet full of stuff.

And that’s exactly what will happen. If you can go through your stuff and ask yourself, if it serves a purpose or brings you joy, and if you can follow through and let go of excess stuff something miraculous will happen. You will be clearing space in your life for new experiences.

Doubt me? Why don’t you go through one room in your house and let me know what happens!

One good thing about moving is getting rid of your stuff.  Many might see that as the downside of moving, and I have to admit, it’s not easy.  But I have done it soooo many times when I moved.

On the end of the day – not many items were things that I couldn’t live without.

I was on the right track when the thought hit me: what if I had to leave this house in an hour, what would I take?

Even if you are not moving, it’s a great idea to go through your home and get rid of things you might not need anymore and give them to people who would enjoy them. You will feel good about helping – and your home will feel refreshed with less stuff.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this… getting rid of the old stuff is great… because shopping for new stuff will be fun too…

You will realize that stuff sometimes keeps us from doing things in life we would like to. Or have you ever said or “I wish my home would look like from a design magazine, but it’s always so cluttered” or “I’d do more crafts if I had a place where to do crafts” (and because you have so much stuff, you can’t find place to do crafts)?

So, I am off to de-clutter my daughter’s bedroom too.  And another go ‘round in mine as well.  I can’t wait to feel lighter again.


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