By Erica, Contributing Writer
I have a quest for less, it has become my focus in the last few months. I am learning to let go of stuff so that I can have peace in my heart and mind.
I am a homeschooling mother of four in ministry that loves to craft so just these factors alone are a recipe for clutter disaster. We have people who shower us with gifts each year and honestly it gets overwhelming very fast. I keep seeing articles about decluttering and so it has been my goal to do with less so I can have a handle on running our home for God’s glory.
Lessons Learned in my Quest for Less
I am the biggest mess maker in my family
It isn’t my husband or my kids, it is me! I hate to admit that I will leave projects half-way finished and piles of papers scattered around our home for a long time before I get back to them.
I have to take responsibility and clean up my messes and throw away my junk in order to have what I like to call visual peace and order. It is amazing how just putting stuff in its place will make it look like you have less.
It is okay to drastically cut back on what your kids have
I went through drawers so we could have less mess and less laundry and made my children choose which t-shirts, shorts, etc. they wanted to keep. I gave them the choice so that they get accustomed to getting rid of things themselves.
Then we went to our toy closet and we spread their toys out and I made my boys choose 10 cars each out of 40 and so on through the rest of their toys. There was some crying but I comforted them and explained why it was necessary. Extra stuff we were not willing to part with went into the garage and we will rotate those toys. I am working on this with my things too.
We can bless others
God can use us as the go-between to pass things along to other people with genuine needs. People give us so many girls clothes for our daughters that they cannot wear them all. I will ask the Lord who He would like me to give them to and wait for an opportunity to be a blessing to someone.
One time we were able to give bags of clothes to a missionary on a Navajo reservation so people in their church could have clothes to wear. God will speak to your heart about what to give to whom. I never recommend just passing junk to others. If it is not any value to the person then throw it away yourself instead of making them throw it away for you.
Do not be afraid to throw away, recycle, or repurpose things that have meant a lot to you in the past. When I look down the road long-term I look at a sentimental object and ask myself, is this something I want to have 5, 10, 15 years from now? Realistically evaluating things helps me make a good choice about the item. If I can admit that I will not use it again then I have to decide to throw it away, recycle it, or repurpose it.
Although we are blessed, having lots of things does not mean we are spiritual
It can be easy to fall into the idea that because we are blessed enough financially to have a lot of stuff that it means we are automatically in good standing with God. I am not so sure that this idea has merit when we can be consumed and distracted by our stuff keeping us from reading our Bibles, loving our husbands, and teaching our children consistently about the Lord.
If I can get rid of things in my quest for less that will help me have a better relationship with God then I should do it happily and willingly.
Unwanted useful stuff can equal good cash
If it is of good quality and you are no longer using it then try to sell it so you can make use of the money by putting it in savings or purchasing something you really need now or even be a blessing to your church or someone you know.
We have had two garage sales and put things on eBay and made about $500 in the last two months. Yes it took a lot of work, but this has helped us to fill some of our financial gaps.
Be a better steward
I buy too many things that I just like whether it is clothes, craft items, homeschool stuff, etc and they go unused or they get trashed and wasted because our kids have become used to having so much stuff that caring for what they have does not matter as much to them.
I have a responsibility to take care of our money wisely and I have a duty to teach our children to take care of what we have. In having less I believe we can be thankful for what we have and teach the value our things without abusing them. God wants us to be a good steward of what He has provided so that He can continue to bless us.
There are so many more lessons to be learned when I look around my house. I am not happy with feeling obligated to clean all of the time because of the mass amount of stuff strewn around the house. This needs to get in control, but it begins with me and is able to be accomplished only through God’s help just like any other task.
So if you look around and you are discouraged by all the stuff, then I challenge you to go on your own personal quest for less clutter and do whatever it takes to bring peace to your heart and mind so you can serve God in your home for His glory!
If you are already on your own quest for less clutter, please share your tips in the comments. We would love to read them!