This is the last post for the series!
Today I want to talk about being all dressed up with a dirty neck, also known as clutter or ‘stuffitis.’
When we moved into our first apartment as newlyweds, all I brought with me was some clothes, a couple of books and shoes. Today, almost a decade later, I have two bookcases filled with books and teaching CDs, a netbook, a desktop computer, a television, two cribs, two beds, and clothes to outfit a family of four. Some of these things are necessary.
But some things have to go.
I occasionally get this urge to purge the house of stuff. I become a woman on a mission: toss, toss, toss. But later, as time passes, I collect more stuff. Other times, I don’t toss. I simply shuffle stuff around or hide it from myself in a poor attempt to fool myself into think I got rid of it.
Because I just can’t let it go.
In our society, the need to gather things can easily rule us. We are consciously bombarded with thousands of marketing messages each day. We are told that we are somehow inadequate and having this or that item will make us better in some way. If we aren’t on guard, we’ll believe those marketing lies, spend money and end up in debt.
One day, while I was pondering all this, I felt the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit ask me: “How much stuff do you really need?”
When I thought about what I actually needed, I nailed it down to four simple things: food and water, a few outfits and shoes that can be flexible for different occasions, a clean, peaceful place to live, and some toiletries like deoderant, soap and toothpaste . That was the bare minimum. If I had a great family to share that home and food with, that would be a blessing. I then realized that I already had all these things. The rest of the stuff was clutter. Clutter that was shuffled around, tossed and/or dusted to no end. Time wasters.
Being all dressed up with a dirty neck is about confronting the inner need to collect stuff, and it’s about examining the reasons behind this need. After doing those two steps, we embark on a gradual process of clearing out our living space to make room for the important things: like family.
Fly Lady says “You can’t organize clutter.”
Today, I spend about a half hour each week going through my things and seeing what I don’t need. I then give it away or sell it. During this process, my husband has warned me against collecting more stuff to fill the open space. He suggested I keep things as they are and don’t buy more. I can follow along with his line of reasoning but resisting the need to buy on impulse is a habit I am working on. For now, I’m clearing away for thirty minutes a week and learning ways to curb the need to collect more stuff.
Do you have too many things in your home that you don’t use or need? Does all this stuff weigh you down emotionally? Try de-cluttering for a few minutes each week and then examine why you collect, collect, collect. You may want to journal about it, you’ll be surprised at the solutions you discover for yourself.
On Monday, I’m starting a new series. This one will be about teaching our children at home. I have a two year old and a four month old, so I may be a little early but I’m the type of person who likes to be prepared, especially when I don’t have a clue about what I’m doing. Homeschooling is one of those areas.
Have a great weekend.