Friday, October 17, 2008

Clutter vs. Contentment

From Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer:

is not something
that accidentally happens to you,
it is something
you actively decide upon. 
And you lay hold of it,
every day
that enough
is actually

Amen and amen. Enough IS plenty. In fact, we have more than enough in this house, and it is more than plenty.  When does the blessing of prosperity become a curse? When you have so much stuff that you don't have enough storage space to put everything away.  When you don't want to get rid of it, even though you never use it.  When clutter steals your peace of mind!  When six people step over the same toy/piece of trash/clutter/thing repeatedly and no one cares enough about it to pick it up and put it away.

There was a day when our family of five lived on the road in a 30' travel trailer. All we owned was what we could carry with us, with the exception of some seasonal things that had been stashed in a warehouse somewhere. Even then we had too much. Then we moved into a two bedroom apartment, and we acquired a bit of furniture.  And then we moved into a two bedroom house with a full basement, and we accumulated more furniture and enough other stuff to fill the house up.  Five years later, we are in an 1700 square foot house with all our accumulation and ADDED accumulation over the years.  I think we had PLENTY about eight years ago!  Truly the Lord has blessed us, but we have not been very wise stewards.  You don't have to say, "Yes!" just because something is free.

So.  Does anyone have any tips for de-cluttering?  I am not talking about the three-bag method: keep, toss, and give away.  I am talking about how to do it and still maintain healthy family relationships.  I am talking about how to go through your children's bedrooms and throw away all the "precious" stuff that is really worthless, without them feeling violated. (It's simple to throw away someone else's junk.  I have my own closet full of "valuables"...)  And, do we really need stacks and stacks of scrap paper just in case someone wants to color or make a project? How long is it practical to hang on to old clothes that could be made over into something for my younger kids?  Why do I still have the entire set of PowerGlide Spanish books and cassettes, when we have never used it?  Why am I hanging on to an entire shelf of old A Beka books, just in case? And stacks of CD's we never listen to?  Why is my closet full of clothes that are too small for me, just in case I lose some weight?

When did I quit trusting the Lord for our DAILY needs??!?!

I do not want my kids to be held hostage by STUFF when they are wives and mothers.  Anyone have some good suggestions for training children to use stuff, but not love it?  Oh, I hear you.  I have to set the example.  Okay, but in the meantime, do I just  leave town with the girls and let Dad go through the house with a dumpster? (I know someone who did this. It's tempting, lol! And scary!)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Matthew 6:33,34


  1. Hi Sally, I was visiting here and thought this was such a good entry. Wow, so much of what you mentioned is the same here. I keep asking myself why are we keeping all these school papers, but what else do we do with it? Also all three of my kids are crafters. They are constantly drawing, painting, coloring, gluing, or just stapling paper together to make their own books. I throw some of it away secretly but catch myself thinking wouldn't they want to keep this to show their kids someday. Sometimes I do get tough and just start throwing all the junk toys away that they get at sunday school or vacation bible school and well-meaning relatives. But it doesn't seem to make that big of a difference. Anyway, all that to say you are not alone, LoL!

    I wanted to also let you know I deleted my blog. I was spending too much time at it and not enough time cleaning up the clutter :-) as well as my other obligations. I hope maybe to pick it up again someday when I feel I can be more disciplined. I'll be popping in every now and then though to say Hi and comment, as I've always enjoyed your wisdom and wit!

    Blessings to you and yours, Julie (oldschoolmarm)

  2. Hello there! Alison just told me about your family of blogs, so I've been in here peeking at everybody. :) what sweet girls!! I read your blog as far as Pete Falcons' injury :( :( but the pic didn't show up just like the pics don't everywhere else I've been, but that sounded pretty bad. I've seen some bad ones in our farming days.... I was tickled that you mentioned 8 yeasr ago when you were traveling around....its been that long since I've seen you, adn I can hardly get over the change in the girls. Oh well, Ive changed alot too!! Time to run, God bless!! Love you! I'll definately be back!

  3. I/We are soooo guilty of that too. Well, actually I'm a tosser, but I could toss a lot more. It was so much easier when Jeff & I first started out and we had very little in a little tiny house that I kept hoping would self-destruct so we could build new. lol Back then, I didn't care about much of anything material-wise because we didn't have anything of value. I guess I still don't except a few things. Now I keep daydreaming that we build a little cabin and what I would move with us, and what I would sell - cheap.

    But yes, I've cleaned out one little girls room more than once while she was at a friend's house playing. I just don't dare do that with DH's stuff if I want to remain in marital bliss.

  4. I have been fluttering for 8 years now. I am getting uh hummm better at decluttering. The 27 fling boogie with flylady has really helped me become less attatched to STUFF. But I have a ways to go still. I think when God helped my friend the contractor design our floor plan that He ( God ) had a plan to make me NOT hold onto so much stuff. Soooo I am trying to get rid of things so I can eventually have my bathroom. If you start and keep working with the girls it will be something that will happen as time goes by. Teach about blessing others with the excess and as you said. Trust God will provide when you slim down. Now I am saying this to myself too !! lol

    Really read through flylady's website and really let it sink in and make it a atmosphere in the home. Ask the girls what can we bless others with that we aren't using ??? And maybe it will catch on. [0=

    Blessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC

    In Him<><


  5. How to teach ourselves, and by extension our children, to de-clutter painlessly. The age-old question of every mother. I think the answer lies in the emotional importance we put on everything. And I do mean everything. We have been sorting over here, and the question I'm asking myself and my children - do we want to pay to move __(insert item here)___?? Overwhelmingly the answer is NO. That's working for us right now. Without moving, my motivation becomes joy. Life is void of joy and meaning if we're slaves to our STUFF. Then we have to clean and maintain it, instead of doing things we really love, like crafting, walking, schooling, playing. It begins to control us, instead of us controlling it. That's the true struggle - which do you want for your family? Well, that and getting our lazy bums in gear. LOL!!!

    Gotta run - you're over at my cbox - have a great weekend!



  6. Great post today!! Hmmm, how to help declutter. For us, we shared with our kids our heart towards a place called Homes of Refuge. It's where battered (or otherwise) single moms or families in great need go to get on there feet. We got the boys involved in 'cleaning' and then taking it to the campus and unloading it all with dad.

    Fortunately for us my older one's youth group did a Christmas outreach there last year and his heart is now for the kids there. (thank you pastor Kerry! : } )

    I think it helped that they could put faces on those receiving their 'stuff'. It wasn't just nameless faceless people. They could tangibly see who was receiving it!!

    I hope this helps. Keep it in prayer. I'm sure the Lord will bring something to mind. He ALWAYS does! : }



  7. Hey! i am so happy you are finally taking the plunge and purging your home! you will be so much HAPPIER when you are done! it is so...liberating.

  8. Wow! It has been awhile since I have been here. As you know, the kids and I are stateside, so we only make it to the library twice a week. I must say that withdrawal from the computer hasn't been that bad. I find that I am able to do more since I must go to the library inorder to be on the computer.

    As for clutter, I was touched by celticmom's statements. How true!

    We are moving again. And this time from one continent to another. So... before I left I went through all my "stuff" and found places for it. I didn't want to have to pay the extra for shipping it all the way to Arizona.

    Everytime we have moved I am amazed at all I have collected. I live with a packrat for the garage. Also, my daughter is a pack rat. My son is only a hot wheel rat. I used to be a bad pack rat, but when I must deal with all that "STUFF" I decided to find nice homes for it or just give it to the thrift shop. I did a yard sale and had real cheap prices on everything just so it would move. That was helpful. The change we made we just went out and did a fun activity.

    I remember seeing on tv (a long time ago) a show where they would clear out the room and then only what fit on this square would be allowed back into that room. I thought that was an interesting show. Could try that option. Clean out a room and mark a spot of what only can go back into that room. Only those things that relate to the room. The rest... sorry.. it must find a new home. That way you only have to do one room a week and then purpose to keep that one room up until a new room is added. Like Daniel "purposed in his heart" which could be a motto for that room. One room will be clutter free.

    There are many great ideas, but I think it just comes down to purposing in our hearts what we really want to do.

    Well, my time is short here. Best hush and get going.



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