I’ve spent the better part of the last two days tackling a project that’s been on my To Do list for the last six months. As I started to pack up the little farmhouse to make room for Chandler’s stuff I sorted and stored all the things I knew I didn’t need in the new house. I continued to add to the pile as we moved and unpacked, organized and simplified.
Writing about simplifying with a house full of stuff seems a little weird to me. While we lived in the little farmhouse we discovered that we can live with a lot less. Items that have been in storage for the last two years have either been replaced if they were necessary or forgotten. Everything except what I lovingly refer to as the “keepsake” stuff. This includes a few boxes of my kids baby things, toys we want to keep for the grandkids, photos and photo albums and a ridiculous amount of boxes of goodies the kids made in school.
THE QUESTIONS TO ASK
Back to yesterday, I woke up ready to conquer that pile and give my daughter and her husband their garage. As I started sorting and going through it all I began to ask myself a few questions. I’m sharing them with you in hopes that every time you do a load of laundry, clean out a junk drawer, purchase something new for your house or hear of a need around you, you can think through these questions.
- Why do I have so many ______________? For me it was black t-shirts. My daughter came over and “shopped” my extra closet where all the “I don’t need this anymore” or “I’m not sure I like this” items end up. It’s the clothing purgatory. In my head I think “purge”. If I have multiples of something I probably need to purge. This applies to office supplies, books, kitchen utensils and especially clothing.
- Why am I keeping ___________? Why do we hold on to things we don’t absolutely love? It could be an orphan spirit or fear that if we let it go we won’t have what we need. Can I tell you there is no greater gift than letting go. It frees up time and space. When I have fewer choices, it’s easier to make a decision. When I sit down to do my makeup I know I only need the few items I need.
- Who needs ______________? When I realize I have more than I need, there’s always someone who needs what I don’t. i don’t want to miss the opportunity to be a blessing. When our heart is to be a blessing to others with our overflow the Lord is honored. I’m responsible for stewarding everything I have.
- Has this gotten out of control? It’s no secret I like to shop, I love fashion and feeling cute and most of all that I love giving what I can away. When I begin to hoard and hold onto things, there’s a potential stronghold trying to rob me and my intimacy with my Provider. You see, God provides everything from the bed we sleep on to the clothes we wear and the food we eat. He cares about all of it. I want to steward it well and walk in humility when I realize I’m not.
THE CHOICE TO MAKE
There have been times that assumptions are made about me and my family but I can guarantee that no one except Jesus has permission to question the motives of our hearts. When my daughter was in high school and he best friends house burned down, she lost everything. She grabbed her favorite gym bag and loaded it up with sports bras, workout shorts, sweatshirts and clothes that were in great shape that she still wore and loved and immediately took them over to her friend.
I share this story because there can be a misconception about simplifying, that I’m getting rid of and giving away my junk. I know we can all do that at times, we have to throw away the stuff that’s old. But the heart of simplifying is seeking the heart of God for yourself, your family and your home. Then walking in obedience with whatever he leads you to do.
So for the last two days I’ve been sorting and simplifying. Throwing away the junk, giving away what I don’t need and selling (at a fair price) things that are in perfectly good condition that will bless someone else. And when I sell things, it’s so I can give more things away.
FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
For the last two years my proceeds from online sales have gone to purchasing Bingo Prizes for the local senior center. When I was on staff at a church one of my last all staff meetings we were split into teams and given $20 to make the biggest impact you can with that money and the time allotted. My team went and purchased ice cream sundae supplies and served dessert at the senior center. Right before lunch they were playing bingo. There were tables full of older men and women playing and the winners picked prizes from a table of goodies.
The thing is, their prizes they loved were practical items like laundry detergent, macaroni and cheese, easy food or household items. The reason, many don’t have family taking care of them and their trips to WalMart are infrequent. This is a fun and easy way I can meet a need and bless others and you can too!
Will you join me on this journey to simplify? It starts with our stuff but as we dig deeper it’s more than just the “things” we acquire in our homes. It’s also the things we allow to be emotional baggage or worrisome weights we carry unknowingly. I’m ready to simplify my life, my heart, my home and everything in between. And I get to do this one step at a time. Today’s step, the piles of stuff that are finding new homes.
Yesterday was the first day in the #write31days challenge that I didn’t write. Primarily because something else had to be my focus. So here’s to grace, starting again and celebrating the win. I’m not quitting on myself or my commitment to you, just took a break for a minute to do hard things.
What hard thing is God asking you to do as you learn to simplify?