Gratitude Day 620
Luke 12:15 – Speaking to the people, Jesus continued, “Be alert and guard your heart from greed and from always wishing for what you don’t have. For your life can never be measured by the amount of things you possess.”
Do you control your stuff or does your stuff control you?
This is a mantra that I have thought about the last number of years. And especially more since the beginning of 2021.
It’s not a new topic for me. It’s one that I’ve struggled with for YEARS. I love being able to walk through our home and feel at peace. Settled. Appreciative for what we have.
On most days, this IS how I feel. But there are also the days when I look around and I see too much stuff.
I remember the year that I lived in Kazakstan. My initial items were confined to two suitcases and a carry-on bag. This is what I had as my possessions for a year. And one of the suitcases? Had mostly teaching materials! I did get a few more things as the year went on but basically, I left Kazakstan with a large backpack of my things. And that was it.
Fast-forward to today. Hubby Rick and I live in a 3,000 square foot house. Just the two of us. I know. Way too big. I LOVE our home. I love the way we have made it our own. It feels like a big hug when I walk into the house, which I adore. I have been very mindful that it is easy to expand and grow to the space that you have. And I do not want to fill every square inch of this house. Instead, I want space. Room to breathe.
I am also very much aware that the more a person has, the more time it takes to manage it. The cleaning. The going through. The sorting. It’s really all too much. Every time, I tackle going through some more things, I swear to myself that I’m really going to eliminate more. This time. Once and for all.
What I have discovered is making these dramatic shifts isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have good motivation and make progress. But I find myself hanging on to a lot more than I feel I should. I do believe that time is one of those things that has helped me let go of more things. When I haven’t used or referred to something for a period of time, then why hang on to it? It’s time to let it go.
As I work on having less, I really see it as a spiritual exercise for me. All this stuff? It keeps me from putting energy and time into the things that I see myself as called to do. If I have less, then I have more time and energy for the things that really do bring me joy.
Today, I’m sharing my 7 best tips of how to have less this weekend. Things you can do today and tomorrow to help clean out a little clutter in your life. While I’ve done these things before, I’m going to challenge myself to do them again this weekend.
Remove 5 items from your closet. Ten if you are daring.
Start easy. Start small. Pull 5 or 10 items out that you have not worn in the last year, no longer fit you or should really be used as a rag. What to do with them? Well, you can donate them to a thrift store. Or recently I did this and donated items to our local school. The school has opened a clothing closet for students that need clothing. Of course, I was intentional about what I gave to the school. Remember these are kids. But I found things I know will be of value at the school. Even if your local school doesn’t have a clothing closet, I’m quite confident the school counselors know what families could use them.
Gather all of the mail laying around and deal with it. Right now.
This is one that I’m quite particular about. I do not like random mail laying around for days on end. As I go through our mail, I sort immediately. Any junk mail or paper that can be recycled, I put into our recycling bin IMMEDIATELY. In fact, I often stand near the bin and open the mail right there. Rick’s mail goes on the island, which he knows to deal with. The rest goes to my office where I sort it into appropriate follow-up files. Done. Create a simple habit like this to manage the paper flow in your house.
Create a landing spot for those things that often get lost.
Keep it simple. A basket. A container. Something easy. Now, share with family members that this is where keys, chargers, masks, etc. goes. We have a place right inside the door where we put these things. It’s nothing fancy. This spot saves us lots of time from running around trying to find things when we’re walking out the door.
Go through your old medications and put those that need to be recycled in a bag.
May communities have take back drug days in the spring. Get those that need to be recycled into a bag and label it. Now, find out when your local take back day is. Put someone in charge of delivering the bag.
Grab a box and walk around your house. Put anything into the box that you do not LOVE.
Most of us keep way too many things out in our houses. We do this for a variety of reasons. Something is sentimental. We thought it was cute once. It reminds us of something or someone. I’m not asking you to get rid of all those things. It’s your choice. I’m confident we all have things that aren’t as interesting to us anymore. Let someone else enjoy them and donate them. Or share them with someone else. I had a couple pillows that I no longer wanted. My sister is recovering them. Win-win for both of us.
Go through the dreaded stack of magazines and newspapers.
For some, you may not have a lot of these. Yeah! For those who do. Set a timer for 10 minutes and go through your stack. Only keep back the ones that you REALLY are going to read and will do so soon. The rest? Recycle.
Spend a little time in the one place where everything seems to get cluttered.
This is the spot where too many things end up. Repeatedly. Maybe it’s your office. Right inside the door. The kitchen. A filing cabinet drawer. Wherever. Now, set your timer for 30 minutes and work your way through the clutter. Make piles: throw, keep, donate. (Put the donate in the box with the décor items you are getting rid of.) After 30 minutes, you can decide if you want or need to continue. Then, take the next 15 minutes and create a method for less clutter in the area. Do you need a container for shoes? A container just for bills? Some other way to keep everything from piling up? I have often found that if I give myself 30-60 minutes to clear the deck in an area, I can really get a lot done. Something that I’ve been dreading for quite a while really isn’t that bad once I get started.
Why is having less something that I think about? Because I’m convinced that if I have less stuff in my life, then I will have more space for things that are important to me beyond “stuff.” One of my goals for this year is to let my stuff control me less. As I am paring down what I have, I feel lighter. Freer. More confident that I’m putting my time and energy into those things that are more important than what I possess. At the end of the day, we won’t be measured by how much stuff we have. So, let’s put our energy into the things that really are more important.
For a perspective on my stuff, I am grateful.
Good Morning God – too often, I allow myself to be defined by what I own. I allow stuff to take too much time and energy. Help me to keep perspective of this and know where my treasures really lie. Amen.
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