Simplifying Your Stuff

Packing, relocating, and unpacking has been a constant of my summer. Moving from college home, living out of two houses almost every other day, and moving back from home to Orange City has created many nagging thoughts on what I own and the value it has.

I am a person of structure and routine so when the belongings in my life are in a state of flux for three months things start to get a little hairy, no pun intended.

The boxes that continued to line the garage of dorm decorations I didn't have a place for, the clothes I knew would not suit the next stage of my life but couldn't disappear from my closet, and the unused decorative love seat I bought impulsively a few years back created an impending anxiety that failed to subside.

Those who know me best can attest that every so often I go through this somewhat freak out day or two in which I want to purge everything I own. I get so fed up with the power stuff has over my life, I feel guilty for having so much stuff, I want to leave all this stuff behind and no longer claim it.

Slowly but surely I am talked back into how I live a fairly simple life in other aspects and it doesn't always amount to the belongings I have. There I am again hopping on the train leading straight toward materialism for another few months until the process begins afresh.

Two weeks back I finally decided enough is enough. I went to town on sorting through and clearing out all the stuff in my life. And when I say all, boy you better believe me I mean all.

Embarrassingly enough I worked my way through the 80 t-shirts I had collected over the years, countless boxes of old craft supplies that surely wouldn't be touched for a few more generations, and cut up magazines I had saved just in case I needed to make a collage. Stuff, so much stuff. 

A long weekend garage sale and four huge trash bags full of donations to the Epilepsy Foundation later and my anxious heart burdened by the plague of materialism is finally pure.. at least for awhile.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -Matthew 6:19-21
I am not blind to the fact that a few months down the road I quite likely experience similar feelings of suffocating from my way too many possessions but for now I feel rich, rich in Christ, not in what I own.

1. Do it regularly. This is my biggest pitfall. I tend to let everything build up until it seems overwhelmingly urgent and too much to handle at once. Start small. Work on that junk drawer of yours or the pile of old mail sitting on the counter top. Keep up with this regularly and the daunting task of purging all belongings at one time will become less frequent and simplifying more natural. 

2. Ask yourself honestly. So I tend to get emotionally attached to many things including belongings. I have this idea that makes complete sense in my head saying why yes you do need 80+ running shirts because you run everyday and they get dirty so fast and each shirt has a memory behind it. False. Even though it makes sense in my head, I know in my heart this is deceiving especially because I only wear the same ten regularly. Ask yourself honestly whether things are necessities or regularly used in your life. If not it is likely falls under the category of just stuff and can probably be donated to a good cause. 

3. Pray. I hope you're not sick of me calling for prayer on my blog again because look it here, I'm doing it. What alleviated a decent portion of my anxiety was quite honestly the power of prayer. Praying that I would store up my treasure in heaven, praying for the people who received what I donated, praying that the Lord would simplify the desires of my heart. In all things prayer provides. 
In what ways have you sought to simplify your life lately? Tell me I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that you accumulate. 

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