Sunday, June 12, 2011

Family or Stuff

I was recently asked by a reader if I could give more incentives for purging stuff from one's home.  The reader stated that it is hard to know what to let go of and what to keep.  I can totally relate to this as I have a tendency to pitch and donate things pretty easily.  I've also been bitten by this on a number of occasions when I have come to need the thing or things after parting with them.  This usually leaves me feeling frustrated with myself....for a few moments.  Here's why.

I like to live with my family in our home.  I don't really care to get out of bed in the morning and say, "Good morning!" to a pile of stuff in my room.  I'd rather greet Daddy happily and serenely.  See if I have piles of stuff around it makes me anxious.  That's just me.  Don't get me wrong.  I do have piles around my house, but they are piles in transition either to be moved to their locations of which I may have to make new ones or to be pitched or donated.

I've also found that parting with things, even things that other sibs could still use, allows others to use them right now.  Let me repeat that...right now.  See most of the things that cause me stress and anxiety are those piles of things that are "piles in waiting."  Do you remember that part in the book Oh The Places You'll Go that talks about the "waiting place?"  Well, these piles are waiting for a sib to grow, a new baby to know, a mended knee, a little Febreze, a washing day, or a chance to play.  I'm sure you have those piles, too.

I've noticed, though, that inevitably I still come to need more stuff for each child.  And miraculously things appear either donated, given as gifts, handed down from other families, or spied on Craig's List as a great deal.  I acquire what I need when I need it.  Let me repeat that again...when I need it.  You see, there are people who probably could use my things right now.  There's that "right now" again which leads me to the concept of living in the moment.

When I am able to live in the moment, I'm able to make decisions about what we need as a family right now.  We may presently need more space, or a bit of money, or a different thing that could be obtained if we were to rid ourselves of something else.  The peace we all receive from living in a clutter-free home where we can surround ourselves with and focus on things that enhance our lives like good books, good music, and each other is immeasurable.

Does this make me a bad steward?  Well, I think we may have to define steward.
steward:  a person whose responsibility it is to take care of something.
It is my responsibility to take care of the "home" things in our family.  This means creating spaces, redefining old ones, organizing, and sorting in order to keep aesthetic harmony.  Just because I make a decision to get rid of something that can be used later doesn't mean I'm abusing my responsibility.  I'm simply making a decision about what we need as a family right now.  I have to put my trust in God that the deal, the money, or the gift will be there if and when we need it in the future.  I think that's the tough part especially for Moms who want the best for their families...all the moms on the planet!  We have a tendency to think we can control all the aspects of our homes; necessities included.  Well, we can't.  Who's to say we will not have a fire that consumes all of our belongings?  It could happen.  I can't take myself so seriously that I begin to thing I can control every outcome.  Playing God isn't in my job description.  Is it in yours?  If it is, I'm here to tell you that it's ok to cross that off.

These are pictures of our new reef aquarium.  This little ecosystem includes 2 damsel fish, 2 hermit crabs, sand snails, 2 marguerite snails, live rock, and live sand.


  1. I enjoyed reading this blog entry and found it very helpful. Letting go of "stuff" is about living in the moment, trust (we will have enough when we need it) and understanding the role and true cost of "stuff". And then we have to teach this to our children. I wonder if we aren't the first generation, who, on the whole, has to deal with this. It seems there was a lot of scarcity issues for previous generations but our generation thinks a 1600 ft square home is "small". interesting...

  2. I'm glad you stopped by. Ginny's post made me go back and read it. It's a good reminder. Blessings, grace


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