Recently a friend was over and said my house always seemed so clean. I laughed and replied, “That’s because I didn’t bring anything with us from our old house!”
Sort of joking, but really sort of true. Last year when we moved into this home, we packed all we could into a 26 ft Uhaul (with the exception of outside furniture, tools, etc. that went separately) and that was it. If it didn’t fit in the Uhaul, it didn’t come with us.
Part of my desire to simplify has always been to have less stuff to manage and more time for things that matter.
Over the years, I saw that I was a manager of piles. I was a manager of stuff. I was always looking for a more efficient way to manage kids toys, kitchen counters, homeschool supplies, gadgets, and more. Yet the simplest solution of all has really been, just have LESS stuff.
Really. When we moved into our home, it was all new and empty. You could literally feel the weight and burden of stuff lifted. And I have every intention of keeping it that way. Our kids don’t have many traditional toys, except for Legos and such…but they have a few acres of property, woods, a creek, a barn, and all the toys that God’s Creation provides. And yes, they still have their electronics. That is a work in progress, admittedly. 😉
I like to keep my kitchen counters free of stuff. Thankfully, I have space to hide that toaster, blender, etc, when not in use and it helps things feel less cluttered.
I am also adamant to keep things off the table when not in use. Now, for anyone who knows me…I am NOT a neat freak and I like to let my kids “live in” the house and not tip toe around a museum. I am NOT about things “looking” perfect. I am all about making a mess in the name of fun! 😉 In fact, when we have friends over our house, you won’t see me cleaning up after kids or doing dishes…I want to enjoy my time with them and I will save the cleaning up until it’s all over!
But I do enjoy a level of freedom that comes from just having less stuff on a daily basis. I also work to respect our home and teach my children the same. God has provided a blessing to us, and we are to be good stewards of that blessing. We are to respect it, by keeping it clean and part of that, for me, is keeping it clutter-free.
There truly is more time to just enjoy each other and enjoy friends, and build relationships.
What I have enjoyed filling my home with the most since we moved is people. I have filled it to the brim with people as often as I can. We love to invite friends over, have prayer groups, Bible studies, and just plain fun with friends. Filling up each room with fellowship and laughter makes my heart full and makes me feel like there is purpose in our home.
I think about our society and we have become quite the collectors. In fact, we have so much we need to rent storage facilities to hold all of our stuff. It boggles my mind. How is that possible?
We spend hours and hours to organize stuff, yet we are never really content. Why is that? It is a question I think about often. And it always leads me to Matthew 6:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21English Standard Version (ESV)
Does it mean that we have a picture perfect life or that less stuff means we are always joyful? No. We still have our share of squabbles and things to deal with. And if I could just get my office and homeschool books under control! Yes, I even posted some pictures to Instagram about this lately..hey, I am all about keeping it real 😉
But I must say, that the tension lessened for sure when our home became less cluttered. My stress levels have definitely decreased, and there is something peaceful about orderliness.
Less stuff also gives you more clarity to see the things that remain and that really, truly matter.
So ask yourself today…what are you filling your home with? Where are you storing your treasure? And what exactly do you treasure most? People or things? Do you have clutter or purpose?
Are you feeling anxious because there are endless piles? Then just do something today. Set out to rid yourself of things that are weighing you down. Choose to have less, and do more…choose to simply live, for Him.
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This is so great… when we moved across country we pared way down, it felt great! It’s been a struggle to not build the clutter back up! Big families = stuff!
I hear ya! 😉 Once you get into the habit though of paring down, it gets easier. A work in progress though, yes 🙂