About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. As my husband and I prepare for (military) retirement in three years, it’s becoming overwhelmingly evident to me that we really need to pare down. We pare down every time we move, but it still seems like just too much stuff.

  2. I completely agree! We are in the process of moving and having tons of “stuff” packed up in storage for about 6 months now and we don’t miss it either! I couldn’t believe it, but it’s true.

  3. I have been in the process of purging from my life for about 3 years now! Most of that ‘stuff’ has been emotional baggage from years past that I felt a need to hold onto thinking it was those things that defined who I am! I couldn’t have been more wrong in my thinking! Those things that I held onto may have defined how I became the person I was but they do not define who I am now! It was certainly time to stop living out the past and live for the NOW because really that is all we have right?

    I have also had my condo on the market and have only had 2 people look since February πŸ™ the 3rd person is coming today so I could use some prayers that God send the right person to buy my condo. I understand also about having things put in storage and thinking that I will miss all that stuff. But I haven’t, my kids have at times but not me! I think when we do move or if I take the condo off the market I will be making a big trip to one of the places that can use some of my stuff for others! Why bring it back into the house if we’ve not missed it!

    Lisa

    • Praying for your home to sell, Lisa. And if not, for you to know that God has the best timing.
      And I agree, why open the boxes if you haven’t needed anything?
      Many blessings for your decisions, your family and your relying on God,
      Jan

  4. A year ago, a friend and I radically cleaned out our homes and held a garage sale. Our kids are school-aged now, so it was easy to part with so many toys and mountains of brightly colored plastic things. The real test, though, was getting rid of darling items from Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn that I was holding on to simply because they were cute and good quality. I never used napkin rings and cookbook holders and place card holders, so I parted with them.

    It’s a great feeling to open up closet and see them 1/2 to 3/4 empty. I already feel like I need to hold another garage sale, though! The plight of being American… so, so easy to accumulate.

    Thanks for your post.

  5. Ever since I read ORGANIZED SIMPLICITY and AMISH PEACE, I find that I am giving away, throwing away and desiring a lot less stuff. You are right, it is just “stuff”. I have a feeling I could still box away many things and not miss them.
    Blessings on your move! This post may put me on another “find it, give it away” sweep around our house. And that would be a good thing. Always. Thank you for this post.

  6. Great post! I will never go back to living the way that I did before! Selling all of our “stuff” before moving into the RV changed my families life. We are now back in a house but our view on “things” has changed forever.

  7. So true! Motivates me to continue trying to do the same … cutting back and getting rid of things not needed. Simplifying life. Thanks for your thoughts!

  8. I am a constant purger. I’m always taking clothes, or other household items to GoodWill.

    I can not stand a house full of “things”, especially if I’m not using them. There is someone out there who could use it & I know this pleases God!!

  9. Yes! I can’t wait until summer break starts so I can begin throwing things out! Anything that isn’t necessary will be trashed or given away! I am so excited….it is encouraging to hear how freeing it is!

  10. Thanks for your post. What I need is an okay from someone on getting rid of things from my past. My mom died when I was 23 and my Dad is now remarried. I boxed up a lot of her collectibles that she cherished and I’m storing them. Porcelin dolls is so not my style. I have 4 boys so I doubt they will be wanting them. I have this nagging feeling that I will be hurting her feelings if I get rid of them. What to do?

    My other struggle is my husbands perspective on things. “we might need that for this, and that for that”. The other day is wanted to keep this huge stick in case we needed it to stir paint. I made him aware that we would get some free stir sticks when we purchase paint next time! Thanks for your post. It’s a great reminder!

    • My husband and I have a similar issue: we hold on to things for the sentimental value. What helps me is looking at my mom’s house and Brian’s grandmother’s house. Their possessions have overtaken their lives and trapped them, and I don’t want that to ever happen to me. That helps motivate me to let go of things, but I’ve also found it helpful to take pictures of the stuff before I get rid of it. I can then put the pictures in a scrapbook or photo album, and I don’t feel like I’m throwing away the memory.

      Your story about keeping the stick made me smile, just because I understand that frustration so well. It can be very difficult and frustrating! There’s lots of helpful information online about hoarding, and I think that Christian counseling can definitely help in more severe cases. Sometimes all it takes is accountability and a good friend to motivate you!

  11. We moved in to our house 15 years ago. Many boxes went in to the attic to be dealt with later. Later never came….though many other things joined those original boxes. A year and a half ago I gave myself the best Christmas present ever. We rented a dumpster, had it backed in to our driveway and off loaded the attic. Anything deemed reusable went in to the back of my car and directly to Goodwill. At the end of the day we felt LIBERATED! My OCD son declared it the happiest day of his life! πŸ™‚

    I have not missed anything we threw away!

  12. What a great post! I believe we haven’t accumulated a lot of stuff because we haven’t lived anywhere for more than 15 years at a time. Three years ago we wanted to sell our home but it wasn’t in God’s timing. But I purged it before I knew that and maybe that is why we had it for sale – for me to get rid of more stuff.
    We have it on the market again – so another time of making decisions – asking the question – do I really need this?
    The only problem is we buy again – and fill our homes with more “stuff”. How can we stop this? I heard one day that when you buy something new in clothing, give away something in your closet. I try and do this.
    Thanks again and many blessings,
    Jan

  13. my sister and i were just talking about how we make numerous trips to salvation army or goodwill but STILL have too much in or homes….we’ve downsized a lot lately due to work situations, and it is changing our hearts – kids included. stuff matters so much less.

  14. Two years ago my sister and I moved into a new apartment only to find out the building had bed bugs! (This was the summer that bed bugs swept through NYC and took over the Empire State Building, etc). We literally had to leave almost everything we owned except clothing (which could be dry cleaned) and dishes (which we could soak in boiling water).

    It seemed so hard at the time, but in a lot of ways it was liberating. We saw how awesome God’s provision was when he found us a beautiful new apartment and friends gave us all the furniture we needed. And it made us realize that in some ways all of our stuff had kept us from making radical moves and changes to follow God’s calling. God used the next year to make big changes in both of our lives, which I don’t think we would have been ready for if we were tied to the perfectly decorated apartment or a ton of stuff that we would have to move.

  15. oh, Jessica, I could hug you right now! Perfect timing…moving in 3 weeks–only keeping what I value enough to send over the ocean. My son said yesterday when I asked if he wanted to take something to Hungary (where we’re moving) and he said, ‘no, I don’t need stuff in Hungary! I’m happy to move to Hungary!’ he’s 3.5–out of the mouths of babes:-) Praying, praying, praying I can just let go!!!!!!

  16. there were years after i graduated college where i moved apartments almost every year for one reason or another. and i was always amazed at how much, at the end of that year, i would find to give away. each and every time. it’s not that i even accumulated more, it was simply that i had too much.

    the best part of purging it all? the joy of giving it. i know you know that feeling πŸ™‚

  17. Amen, amen, amen! Before my husband and I moved our family to our new home (3 months ago) we purged. We got rid of 1/2 of everything we owned. And we’re still minimizing now. I think it’s so important to take what we don’t need and give it to some one who does. And we can just keep a few special things for ourselves that we cherish. Blogged about it today actually! πŸ™‚ http://unplugyourfamily.blogspot.com/2011/05/5-minute-friday-redefining-colors-of-my.html

  18. So true! It’s amazing how much you can learn to live without. I dislike clutter and purge my living space of “stuff” pretty regularly. Great reminder. thanks.

  19. We have been in the process of greatly purging our belongings. I also remember years ago, packing the majority of our belongings in a storage trailer outside while we remodeled our entire home while living in it. (including moving walls and bathrooms!) The stuff stayed outside more than 6 months, and MOST of it was never even missed! (Except for the library book I paid for and then found in the storage trailer!)
    The thing is, most of us have WAY more than we need to live with. Getting rid of some of it will make life much easier!
    Bernice
    Have you outgrown your pot?

  20. Great post! Cleaning house and getting rid of clutter or unnecessary things (physically and emotionally) makes room for new, fresh beginnings!

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