About the Author

Melissa Michaels is the NY Times Bestselling author of Love The Home You Have and The Inspired Room book. Her blog, The Inspired Room, was voted Better Homes & Gardens Readers' Favorite decorating blog in 2014 and 2015. Melissa is a church planter's wife and a mom to three human kids and...

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  1. Melissa,
    Confessions of a clutter bug here…I definitely had too much stuff. Being a very sentimental person, I held on to way too much stuff. The clutter did make me feel anxious and I dreaded dusting. My husband has been a terrific compliment to me. He keeps the stuff that really, really means something and is a great organizer and simplifier. Since our recent marriage we’ve been “redoing” the house and have shipped lots of useful stuff off to the Veterans and have disposed of the junk. I feel like a great weight has been lifted!! Lightening the load does truly allow me to concentrate on serving others. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. Interesting topic! As you correctly point out “stuff” is too broad a term. My shoes have strong soles and comfortable padding. It makes a big difference! My IPad is highly functional and enables me to stay in contact with those I love.

    Expecting that stuff will bring you happiness is where most people falter. The wells of happiness are more full in other areas: connection, prayer, meditation, leadership, a good project at work.

    With good balance in where to find fulfillment “stuff” can be a great addition. We get into trouble when “stuff” becomes the primary focus.

  3. I come from a family of pack rats and would consider myself an organized pack rat. I remember when I moved out of my parents house how amazed my mom was at how much stuff I actually had because it didn’t look like I had that much. Since then my stuff has seemed to grow exponentially. However, my soul craves simplicity. When I focus on how much stuff I have, it’s overwhelming. It is hard to find peace in a space that is jammed packed full of stuff and my home is meant to be my sanctuary from the world. My desk where my writing should happen is so cluttered that I cannot focus. I am determined one day to rectify this problem.

    Terrell Rhea

  4. I know what you mean about Pinterest! You can go on seeking inspiration and leave it feeling discouraged! There is such a fine line between balance and being off kilter and everyone is a little different 🙂 I’ve been trying to pare down the “stuff” lately – possessions and obligations-because too much of either and I feel a little crazy…!

    …and I think it’s upwards of 42 times… but who’s counting….! Love your style, your blog and your encouraging words. Thanks for all you do!

  5. Last Christmas I was struggling a lot with idols, and I realized that my idol was “stuff.”

    “It’s on sale, I should get it now.”
    “If I only had ____ then _____ would be better”
    “I’ll use _____ everyday and can get rid of _____ instead”
    “It’s such a good deal”
    “It’s my money darn it”

    Don’t get me wrong, we have a small house, and aren’t exceptionally frivolous people but I realized that my spending on stuff was dominating who I was. So I stopped. I took the credit card out of my wallet, deleted all payment information from my online sites and stopped surfing for deals.

    I took my biggest rule from Leviticus 19 v 9-10 “When you harvest your land, don’t harvest right up to the edges of your field or gather the gleanings from the harvest. Don’t strip your vineyard bare or go back and pick up the fallen grapes, leave them for the poor and the foreigner.”

    Buying something on sale, or for cheap, or with a coupon is all very well, but if you don’t need it in the first place…

    It has been a successful year. I placed 47 orders on Amazon in 2013 and only 14 in 2014, I think that is indicative of the overall state of my “stuff” with regards to Target, Christmas Tree Shops, Zulilly etc as well.

    I think 2015 needs to be about reducing what I do have. My three bedroom house would be a lot bigger, and a much nicer space if it wasn’t spilling over with stuff from the pre2014 idol years!

  6. I just recently downsized my home which included undoing and sifting through all the stuff collected by a family of 5 for 27 years. I expected it to be drudgery and difficult (and it was in some ways!). But along the way God showed me His amazing JOY and PROVISION. I became lighter and freer to be completely His! Amazing Grace!
    I am now living in an area I would have never thought of looking in, in a delightful home with fewer things, surrounded by beautiful nature created by God. I see Him everywhere, praise Him and give Him all the glory!!

  7. Karen L, doing the same here, 5 times over! I don’t have an awful lot left and while I’m still protective of all my stuff, I’m not feeling like part of me was ripped away anymore. A three year process so far. Then again, even my home then my job and health before that, so a lot of “dealing”. I ponder what is is that God can’t get through to me? I’ve lived for Him, I spent my life doing what I could to bring His joy and His word to people everywhere I went. What good is it to strip people of even their very health that will sustain them in being able to work to provide bare neccesities? I keep reading the verses where the disciples were asked to sell all of their belongings and give them to the poor, and follow Him. Most of what I had is gone now, my job is gone, I’ve moved 3 times in three years to better afford monthly expenses. What am I missing?

  8. What a lovely post! Thank you for putting “stuff” into the light of balance and perspective. We have been de-cluttering our nest that is void of adult children, but chock full of memories! it is hard to sort through their stuff, our stuff and the stuff we have inherited from our parents’ stuff….and sometimes I get overwhelmed. Well, often, I get overwhelmed…and I wonder why I can’t be like others who seem to be able to purge without pain. Your writing today helps me see – the trinkets in our home are reminders of the love and laughter of lives shared. Yes, I do need to prune out some stuff and not horde blessings that I am no longer using, but I feel affirmed today that it is ok to have the things around that make this house a HOME…God bless you for your insight! I did purge one thing today….GUILT!!!! =0)

  9. Yeah, I got too much stuff I need to throw out to make more space in my home here.
    Been throwing out a lot of stuff.
    🙂

  10. Melissa, what a well-thought post. 🙂 I find myself yearning to purge our home about once a year. We try to be careful about not having too much stuff, but let’s face it. With children comes stuff. Our boys both have a little bit of “pack-rat” in them. We’re working to teach them to keep quality things or things that mean something to them, rather than keeping EVERYthing.

    But, stuff also accumulates in the form of busy-ness. This is where hubby and I have to be careful. We become so busy doing stuff that we become worn out and don’t have the stuff we need to invest in our family. So, we’re often in a place of seeking balance with activities. Especially with the boys growing older and getting involved in their own stuff (sports, Boy Scouts, etc).

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

  11. I am always trying to find that balance of how much and what stuff is the right stuff, as I grow older I tend to be moving to the “less is more” and now the stuff I have is the stuff that means the most to me, I think I used the word stuff too many times, oh well!

  12. I completely cleaned out our house a couple of years ago and it was one of the most freeing things I’ve done. I feel like I can breathe and be. Whew. And I donated most of what I didn’t want because as you said, stuff that is too much for me can be just right for others. Thanks for this reminder! I think I’ll go through my house again this holiday season…

  13. While I admit I have to much stuff! Many of the things I have come with very special memories. Antique dishes from a grandmother I never knew, and others from my late husband’s mother. Angels that I have received as gifts that are not out just at Christmas but all year, people who are now with the Lord, bring a smile or a tear. Sometimes “stuff” is important, but if I did not have it, I would still be ok. Yes, I would be sad, but I would be ok, because I would have the most important thing, God and the blessing of the memories that go with the stuff.
    I believe God wants us to enjoy a balance in our lives, and if the things bring us joy and we keep them in their proper perspective then I believe we should enjoy them to the fullest!

  14. I confess I live in a house full of clutter. I wouldn’t mind changing, but after being married to my wonderful hubby for 27+ years I don’t see that happening any time soon. My husband is a big pack rat and it doesn’t bother him a bit. He does not understand why it bothers anyone. It is a little depressing every now and then, but He is still the best thing in my life and I love him dearly. He is such a caring person who builds up everyone around him. My cluttered life goes on. Blessings!

  15. Yes I have an issue with stuff. And my stuff becomes clutter and that makes me feel over stuffed. And when I am overstuffed I get tired. When I feel tired and overwhelmed I get lazy and creativity is no longer around. I am a very creative person and I love to have people over. Dust collects to stuff and clutter takes up room. My ministry to serve becomes doom. I might be going a bit overboard here. But, I look in my windowsill and I have some dead plants that I needed to throw away a month ago. I have become lazy. That’s what happens to me with too much stuff. So enough about my mess. Thanks for your post and I am now encouraged to do some purging. (Is purging the right word?)

  16. I don’t like a ton of stuff in my house. Periodically I will go through my clothes and what I don’t wear, like or fit goes to charity. I do that with other items also. Don’t like clutter or knickknacks. I believe in simplification. The fewer items I have the better.

    Too often people get bogged down with what they feel they “need” to have. When in reality it is just something they want. Sure there are things I want, but if I don’t need them, have space or money for them then they will just wait! 🙂

  17. When I got divorced in March, I collected stuff. Lots of it. I have realized why. To put between me and the pain. Obviously not a good plan.
    I called an estate liquidator. In one week, my house will be open to strangers looking for stuff. Good for them.
    In the meantime, I have one week to go room by room keeping that which speaks to my soul. Not that which runs block between me and reality.
    I feel sad, tired, and energized all at the same time. I realize now the past 6 months weren’t actually the new start. They were about hiding. Behind stuff.
    I’m ready to define my own life, not have my stuff do it for me.
    Thank you Melissa.