It was time to declutter!! While I drove to pick up my laptop from the computer shop, Don opened the glove compartment.
Napkins, plastic forks, ketchup and honey mustard packets, vehicle ID and insurance papers and auto manuals … all a jumble. Then, surprise, he pulled out a white paper bag. Inside was $146.00 in postage stamps! The very stamps I thought I’d purchased before the last set I bought. I couldn’t figure out where they’d gone. Hiding in plain sight, as it were.
We laughed as Don pulled out one thing after the other, ending with the bag of stamps.
“I knew I’d bought those,” I said.
There is value in decluttering.
You never know what you might find. Whatever is there may be ready for the trash, or may be a forgotten treasure, as our stamps were!
Decluttering takes time. Sometimes the hardest part is starting!
- “Where do I begin?”
- “Where do I store those things I want to keep but am not using regularly?”
- “If I start, I’ll open a pandora’s box and won’t be able to get everything put back in place!”
Marie Kondo’s best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, tells us how to declutter. She says if something doesn’t bring you joy, ditch it. Make three piles–one to toss, one to give away, and one to keep.
While there is wisdom in her method, our culture often keeps us so busy that trying to be super organized may cause us additional stress, rather than the relief we expect from it.
Interestingly, Kondo has backed off on her “organizing perfection” since having her third child. An article at https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/30/entertainment/marie-kondo-stops-tidying-intl-scli/index.html says, “Speaking at a recent media webinar and virtual tea ceremony, Kondo said: ‘My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life.’”
She has realized that at this season of her life, her joy is to spend time with her children, and often that means letting the tidying go…or determining in what areas decluttering is most important.
Do you ever feel, like I do, that your life is too full of clutter? Between handling finances, writing deadlines, Bible studies, times with friends, trying to walk Paigey, shopping … how did I ever work a full-time job? (I’ve heard that from other retirees as well!). I sometimes feel overwhelmed. And, as I’ve told other friends struggling with the same thing, “no” can be a very good word.
Sometimes we need to say no to good things in order to make time for the best.
So where do you and I need to declutter?
Is it in your car, your home, your mental, emotional, or spiritual life?
Do you have drawers that overflow with unused objects, vitamins, or dishes? When you buy a new pair of shoes, for example, do you pass a used but still in good shape pair on to someone else who might need them?
When Don and I married, I think we had at least ten sets of dishes between us. When we moved to a smaller home, we gave away or sold at least seven sets. That felt good. We still have enough that we can use special plates for meaningful events, but without leaving excess dishes around, unused.
Decluttering emotionally and mentally
A walk in nature somehow removes mental clutter. We focus on the beauty right around us; the various shades of green on the hilltops; the deer munching grass and plants in yards around us. (Well, yes, that can be stressful if they’re eating your plants. But they are beautiful creatures.)
Don and I love to sit in our wooden rocker on the back patio. My husband has worked his green thumb magic to produce a cornucopia of vivid pansies, Johnny jump-ups, azaleas, chive flowers, daylilies, and more. Our community is quiet and we enjoy the beauty of the flowers in our little yard, as well as the view of the hills beyond. It’s peaceful, restful to soul and spirit.
Listen to peaceful music while resting.
Write down the concerns that weigh you down. Then let them go, knowing you won’t forget them. They needn’t take up mental real estate. I just did that today with three commitments, the first being to finish this post. I can look at my list to remember the other two.
Decide on your priorities and stick to them. Let other things go, without guilt. This one is hard for me. Interruptions tug, and sometimes bump other priorities. But the task is a work in progress.
I talk about this in my post, “Search Me O God,” at https://www.carolloewen.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2259&action=edit
Keep short accounts. Ask, and give forgiveness quickly, whether of God or of others. Don’t let guilt and pressure keep you from enjoying the fullness of life God has for you today!
Focus on who God calls you to be rather than what you think he wants you to do. The “doing” will follow the “being.”
Praise God. Count your blessings.
Do you have a husband who loves the Lord and you? Praise God.
Do you have friends who love you and stand with you in good and bad times? Praise God.
Do you have the assurance of forgiveness through Jesus Christ? Praise God.
If you suffer with chronic pain, can you still pray for others in need? Praise God.
Are you hurting? Ask for help, especially from your pastor or elders. Thank God for their care.
And if you’re in a very difficult situation, a death, a divorce, a custody battle—bring every care to the Father who loves you. And thank Him that He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Never. (Hebrews 13:5).
Our God knows all our ways. Psalm 139 says He created us in our mother’s womb. He knows what we do, when we do it, and with what motive or purpose.
I want to declutter my life to make more room for His purposes. How about you?
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Psalm 139:1-6, ESV