Last December, when our family prepared to move from a home with a large, unfinished basement to a home with no basement at all, we knew we had a lot of purging to do. Our older children left boxes behind when they moved out on their own, and we’d accumulated in a way that reflected our seemingly unlimited storage capacity, which in the end felt more like a curse than a blessing.
We donated over 300 boxes, including lots of hand-me-down clothing we no longer needed. We rented a dumpster and filled it to overflowing with things that held no real value; it was more than our weekly garbage service could handle. We loaded a U-Haul with desks, furniture, and exercise equipment we had quit using and dropped them off at a local charity, hoping they’d find new homes.
Sometimes it felt like I wasn’t just purging my house; I was purging my soul. All that stuff had become an emotional burden.
In a perfect world (my children say I use this phrase a lot), we would have disposed of everything we no longer needed before the move. It was certainly the goal. But painting bathrooms and baseboards, calling in contractors, attending home inspections, and scrambling to find another house when we terminated the first contract we signed took too much time.
I wanted a fresh start in our new home, a chance to break habits that created more chaos than comfort and to discover if less really was more.
In January, I reflected on my relationship with stuff here at (in)courage and how I was starting to use sentimental objects as they were intended instead of treating them like sacred objects. By February, I saw that clutter could hijack my goals and steal my inner peace. Lately, I’ve been working my way through the final and most difficult items left to sort.
One of our new (in)courage contributors, Kathi Lipp, is an expert on decluttering. Recently when I couldn’t decide what to do with a sentimental object, she asked me, “Will you ever go looking for it?” It’s a powerful question that continues to help me filter what should stay and what should go. She said that everything I get rid of makes space for growth in my life and teaches me to trust that God will bring what I need in the moment. It’s both wise and biblically sound advice.
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
Matthew 6:26 (NLT)
I’m learning to put quality over quantity. When we had too many children’s books, they stayed in a box (our youngest child is sixteen). We’ve weeded down to a few favorites and put them out on a shelf. Now our grandchildren have discovered family favorites like Good Night, Little Bear and Madeline.
While trying to decide where to put cases of old music CDs, my children pointed out that we don’t even own a CD player anymore and that I can stream music now with apps on my phone, computer, or TV. I looked through them, rediscovered some old favorites, put them on my current playlists, and then gave the discs to charity.
My sister and I sorted through a box of figurines our mother had collected. We each kept two or three favorites and put the rest in the donation box, smiling because we knew they’d make someone very happy. A couple of tiny treasures that had spent years in a box in my basement now sit on a shelf in my home.
By keeping less, we experience more.
Do you, too, find yourself bogged down by possessions that no longer bring you pleasure? Let’s look for ways to enjoy what we treasure and bless others with what we no longer need, trusting that God will provide for us.