When I was a girl, my family would make several trips to Eastern Washington to visit our relatives. We knew the routine, bring your stuff out to the garage and dad will load it in the car. I was always amazed how my father could pack the car and get all our stuff in the back of the small hatchback. Even an area the size of a mouse was used. As I got older, I too put these learned skills of packing a car to use. Over the years I have perfected my talent and now I can do the same in a house!
Throughout my life I have discovered something about me, I like to keep things especially stuff with a sentimental tie. You know, gifts, letters, cards, past Kids items, photos.
Let me put it in simple words, I HAVE A LOT OF STUFF!
When you live in one place for a while, closets, rooms, nooks, and crannies become holding places for stuff. When I find a space that is unoccupied, well, I use it by packing it with something. So, I decided to do some downsizing in my house. Oh my goodness!
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions” ― Barbara Hemphill
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this but when I started pulling items out, I found birthday cards, Christmas cards, thank you cards, and letters from when I was a teenager. I have some thirty plus years of cards! I discovered toys, art projects, awards, and old school stuff from my son’s childhood. I have clothes that I no longer fit in. I found a large stack of empty filing folders in a closet waiting to be used some day. A fun moment was when I found past gifts that got shoved into a closet that I forgot about. Good grief.
“I often ask myself, Will anyone I know be happier if I save this?”
― Margareta Magnusson
I cleaned out two bedrooms and a total of three closets. There was a lot of items tagged to go to Goodwill and others for the trash. I still have a lot of stuff, but I did manage to decrease the amount and organize it better with high hopes to further organize my cards and photos at a later date.
I felt giddy and light knowing I had done something big in my life by off loading a bunch of STUFF! If I feel this good after cleaning out my house, then how would I feel with a good clean out of my life.
“I wonder,” I thought. “What does a life clean out or a downsize look like?”
Just like my closets, my life can get filled up with clutter. Where there is spare time, I fill it with things to do forgetting that I need to save some time for myself.
Few years back I began to annually take a good look at my life by writing a list of all the stuff I do and the responsibilities I have. I am a visual type of gal, so I wrote all the items down on paper making it easier to see everything. Each year I do this, I am always shocked at how busy I have become since the last Life Clean Out session and I wonder where the heck I had time to do all this stuff.
“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.”
― Nathan W. Morris
So, like digging into my closets and pulling out items, I look at the things I do in my life and ask myself, “Is this a positive and productive thing in my life that I must keep?” At times it can be hard determining whether to remove something from my life or not. This is when I thoughtful take time to pray about it, then I decide, do I cut this from my life or not. When I am done cleaning out activities and responsibilities that I no longer need to do, I feel like I can breathe. I discover that I can slow down and smell the roses. It’s amazing how I have time to just be quiet and hear what God has to say to me.
How about you? Are you running around with your head cut off like a chicken trying to get all this stuff done? How rung out do you feel at the end of the day? If you’re thinking, “Hey! That’s me, I need some time!” Well, maybe this is your opportunity to do some serious cleaning out.
My suggestion is to start writing a list on paper of what is important in your life. Then add another column of items that is fun in your life. This will give you a base to start with. Now, start listing all the stuff you do and are responsible for. Trust me, when your done you will probably feel a bit overwhelmed and wonder how in the world you acquired so much in your life!
“What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it’s in your home, your head, or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”
― Peter Walsh
Now, pray about the items on your list then thoughtfully start cleaning out the stuff you no longer need to do. Commitments can be difficult to let go but if God says, “your done with this,” then He probably already has someone else ready to fill the spot. I don’t think God intended for us to be so busy that we can’t stop for a bit and breath. Yeah, you may be Super Woman or Super Man but even our superhero’s take time for themselves.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.