25 Awesome Things: 5. Declutterizing

2010/07/clutter.png Photo ©Copyright/Courtesty of Phoenix AZ Valley Real Estate

25 Awesome things intro links: Inspired by 1000AwesomeThings.com, I will be doing my own list of 25 awesome things for the rest of this month. Enjoy...

Miraculously, the more I get invested in the things of God (like orphans), the less I feel attached to the things of this world. But this wasn’t always the case for me. Most of my adult life I have been trapped in the phenomenon of “stuff gravity.”

Stuff Gravity: The more I own, the more it owns me. I found that accumulating a messy buildup of possessions weighs a person down mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It all becomes such a burden, taking care of stuff, worrying about losing it, getting it stolen, or watching it get ruined. The more you own, the more you have to clean, store, and move.

Since leaving home for college, I can recall 23 major moves. You’d think I would have caught on a little sooner to the gravity thing, but it’s only been in the last 3-4 years that I have finally begun to learn the secret joy of de-stuffing.

When we sold our house three years ago, my husband and I realized we had enough belongings to deck out a small country. I still carried around stuff in boxes from high school, college, and even my first wedding over 20 years ago. “Hey,” I thought, “someday, I might need that.” My husband, surveying a whole basement full of boxes—boxes that we had already moved several times since we got married—said, “Honey, do you think it’s time to do some weeding out? It’s not worth moving all this stuff around only to sit in boxes forever. Someday it’s just going to become a burden to your kids. Let it go.”

Though I was initially resistant, I thought about his words over the next few days. I thought about all the energy and effort it had taken to move that stuff around so many times—stuff we weren’t even using. I thought about how bogged down I felt, knowing my basement was so full.  My husband was right. It was a total lie that I had let this stuff become so important to me—stuff I didn’t even use. When we moved out of our house that summer, we had three garage sales and made about $2,500 on STUFF. And even after all that, we hauled away a whole big trailer full of fairly nice stuff and left it outside a local donation spot for those in need. By this time, watching my whole basement clear out, I was beginning to feel so great; I was ready to give everything away.

Since then, we have moved three more times and, each time, I take the opportunity to ditch more stuff. How in the world does it accumulate? I feel like a giant stuff-magnet! But the more I get rid of, the better I feel about life, and the more I want to get even more simple! So this summer, guess what I’m doing? Going through everything that’s left, and if it is not something I use NOW, it’s going away. And I feel so great about it!

Consider Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Don’t you think God knew how much stuff would weigh us down with cares in this world? Jesus’ admonition was all about trying to help us keep life simple, carefree, and weightless.

What about you? Are you ready to clean out those closets with me? Have a big garage sale. Donate the money to orphans or your favorite charity. You’ll feel a lot lighter in spirit while also knowing you did something to make a difference! Truly an awesome feeling!

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  • Steve

    Now that you've decluttered everything else in sight, how about if you finish up with your side of the bed. :-)

    • jferwerd

      Yeah, right, whatever! How about that garage??

  • Roena

    Great reminder, Julie! I remember when I returned from China, I was made aware of how much "stuff" I have gathered. I seem to become too emotionally attached to the "things" when I need to remember that I have the memory, and don't need all the clutter. I really don't want to be like those really sad folks on the TV show "Hoarders". It isn't easy, so I do covet your prayers as I take the De-Clutter Challenge!

  • jferwerd

    Hey Roena! So good to hear from you. It is so freeing to cut the strings to stuff, but I agree. It's hard not to get all sentimental, especially about stuff our kids made!

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