We live in a consumption-based culture, where many equate happiness with stuff. Never had I realized this more than when we drove from the airport after landing in the US after two years living as missionaries in France. Suddenly, our latent-consumer kids woke up. “Look, there’s Target! Oh, and Mattress Giant. Mommy, it’s Wal Mart!” On and on my children prattled in the backseat. I calculated how much room we’d have in our suitcases or in our small home in France, for that matter.
We are a cluttered people, drowning in stuff, surrounded by advertising telling us more stuff makes us happy. Eventually, though, our garages reach capacity at the same rate our kitchen counters explode with paper. How can we dare to de-clutter? And what if we feel utterly overwhelmed with the task? Here are three simple ways you can de-clutter today:
Fling unnecessary stuff. Take it one drawer at a time. Go through one drawer, perhaps a junk drawer, and get rid of anything you don’t absolutely need. Keep anything related to taxes as well as recent bills and school notices. Dare to ditch the rest. Shred banking documents and anything with personal information. While you’re at it, choose to let go of the bitterness you’re holding onto. It’s excess baggage. If you de-clutter your heart of bitterness by forgiving someone who wronged you, your heart will thank you.
Find a charitable organization you’re passionate about who takes donations. Call them. Ask them where you can drop off donations (or see whether they pick them up). Set a goal to donate 5 garbage bags full of items next week. To increase your gratefulness, consider giving something you own to a friend—something that will bless him/her. Once you’ve experienced the contagious freedom of generosity, you’ll want to give away more, thus de-cluttering your home and enlarging your heart.
Fast from advertising today. Turn off the TV. Listen to CDs in lieu of the radio. Hide magazines. Block the pop-up advertisements on your computer. The more content you become (by being less-bombarded by advertisements and choosing not to buy into their message), the less you will accumulate, the more you will want to rid yourself of excess clutter.
Want to have a less-cluttered home and life? Learn to be content with what you have by flinging, finding and fasting. Jesus said, “Life does not consist in the abundance of [a person’s] possessions” (Luke 12:15). A peaceful home and heart stems from personal sacrifice and a life lived simply for Jesus.