I’m a child of the 50’s, who wore ribbons in my hair, smocked Ladybird dresses, Clarks sandals and Start-Rite shoes. My mother was a wonderful cook but unusual in having a full-time job outside the home. I’m also an heir to the “it will come in useful one day” post-war philosophy, meaning I hate to throw anything away.
Over the years, I’ve filled my small home with more than it can comfortably hold. My handle on Amazon used to be “product junkie”, a wry, ironic description of the dilemma I was in and how easily low self-esteem has lured me into a cycle of buying more than I need.
Last year I had a tendency to overspend while seeking the elusive, wonder skin care solution to calm my reactive, hypersensitive skin. It went from oily to dry, with a sideline of spots, persistent peri-oral dermatitis rash, eczema and flakiness, which drove me to desperately seek the magic formula to put things right again.
Life was busier and far more stressful than usual, so my skin reacted violently as I pushed myself beyond what is normal for me. I tried various new products. Some things worked well for a while, prompting me to stock up, only to find the good response didn’t last and the quest for success was resumed.
Cupboards and drawers, already bulging with stuff, have had to make room for this excess as well. Now, as we’re forced into a major sort out, tidying and decorating marathon prior to new carpets and furniture arriving soon, I’m having to decide if all the stuff I possess sparks joy and is really useful or not.
Should this or that be kept, given away or discarded? Do I have sufficient mental and physical energy for the task in hand, or to live surrounded by so much stuff? Because this is just the start of a journey toward living a less cluttered existence. Maybe you can relate?
We’re facing the pain of letting go of things we’ve unthinkingly kept. Having struggled tremendously with daily life for years, we will need supernatural equipping, practical support and prayer to get us through the sorting processes ahead.
My hope is to journal the journey here. I want to share the spiritual lessons I will learn over the next few weeks in the art of releasing things, and how learning to live clutter-free helps me to discern what is truly needful and useful to keep.
The clearing of physical clutter also challenges us emotionally and spiritually. An unearthing of foundational truth happens. We ask ourselves: Why do we hesitate to release? What has a hold on me? What’s really useful to hold on to?
How do we differentiate between want and need? How do we move forward to receive the new while we cling to the past? Rest can seem elusive when we’re surrounded by stuff, unless we learn to live a discerning, uncluttered, pared back life.
I’ll be examining these questions as I go through the decluttering process with God as my guide and a few helpful books to steer me in the right direction. I’d love you to join me. Feel free to share your own tips and stories. Deep breath…we can do this, friends! 🙂
I have a long story of de-cluttering I’ll tell you sometime. I’ll be praying for you through this time of letting things go. I just tried to post a longer answer but I lost it. I wanted you to know that RIGHT NOW I am on my 2nd round of doing the same thing you are. 5 years ago I got rid of 80% of my stuff, new, old, memory laden, saved, found etc. We downsized and moved but I still had too much. I was down to the 20% that was the hardest to let go. I am dealing with that at this moment – I started yesterday. Please pray for me. I’ll keep you posted. We are doing this together. God is good, looking after his daughters and giving them companions on the journey. Much love, Bev. ❤
Dear Bev, I really appreciate you responding and am sorry you lost your longer comment. Maybe you’d like to email it instead? Goodness me, what a downsizing journey you’ve been on over the last few years. I am seriously impressed by your ability to get rid of 80% of your stuff! I sympathise with your need to remove the last 20% if possible and can only guess how hard it must be after the major purge has already taken place. Oh yes, I will pray for you, my friend, and I am so very thankful for your prayers for where I am situated, looking at just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Do keep me posted any way you prefer to. It’s so lovely to have your compassionate and wise companionship on the journey toward a less cluttered lifestyle. ❤ It looks pretty daunting from where I'm standing!
Hi Dear JOY! I so understand the “daunting” feeling – I’m with you!
I’ll try and send the longer one along sometime soon. ox
thanks for your understanding and prayers for 20% .
Hi Dear Bev, it’s a relief to know that feeling daunted and overwhelmed is only natural during the early sifting and sorting process! I look forward to receiving more news about your personal journey into downsizing and what tips you might have picked up along the way. May God give you His discernment, wisdom. insight and guidance as you seek to release and discover how best to dispose of that final 20%. Keep going, my friend! Love, Joy xo 🙂 ❤
Awwww….my momma’ name was Bev (Beverly) Wilson! Seeing her name here made me smile. 😊
Lynette, seeing you and Bev made me smile! It’s good to hear from you, my friend. Hope you’re keeping well. 🙂 xo
forgot to tick the boxes below 🙂
Don’t worry,Bev, it happens to the best of us! 🙂 xo
Oh, I love this: “The art of releasing things.” It truly is an art to learn to let go into our Father’s hands, isn’t it? This encourages me as I too pray about the continual journey of letting go that this path of chronic illness is. To think of it as an art, something that He is creatively blessing us with, in order to see more of HIM in our daily lives–thank you for this! May God continue to give you the strength, both physically and spiritually, to continue de-cluttering! Love and Hugs my friend! xoxo
Dear Bettie, it really is an art, because we can learn and improve in our ability to release what doesn’t suit our lives or fit us anymore, while we slowly grow into greater Christ-likeness. You and I are having to put this into practice living with chronic illness and we know just how hard it can be to develop a nature tuned to willing surrender. But the result? As you so beautifully say, it’s “in order to see more of HIM in our daily lives.” It becomes part of the joy set before us as Jesus’ disciples, followers and friends. Thank you for your prayers, sweet friend. Our progress is slow and mess multiplies while sifting and sorting stuff, but we can already see signs of a house that will breathe freer in the days and weeks ahead! Love and hugs to you. xoxo
I love your family photos! Those are great and you all look a little like Britain’s royal family! 🙂 Oh I can relate to clutter and holding onto keepsakes because I treasure them, but a few years ago I all of a sudden saw my house through the eyes of a visitor who was staying with me and I saw that maybe I had too much stuff. I slowly started rearranging and donating items to a thrift store and even went through my books and I was surprised how much I could really live without. I am excited to read what you discover on your journey of releasing, because I think it will be a rich, sometimes hard, but eventually beautiful journey! xoxo
Hi Valerie, thank you for your sweet words about the photos. Maybe it’s the ribbons in our hair reminding you of the royals? Or the idea of me wearing smocked dresses? The royal family do tend to stick with tradition and love the more tailored, classic looks for their children as well. I can assure you there is no resemblance otherwise, especially in lifestyle, although it has been said I look a bit like Princess Anne. I think it’s the aquiline nose, ha ha! I love the way you changed your perception of your possessions when you viewed them through the eyes of a visitor. Maybe I should try that tactic? It doesn’t take much to work out that I have too much stuff but the thought of a visitor seeing it might remind me to remove some and tidy up. Our stuff can begin to possess us, especially when we’ve held onto it for years. The releasing can be hard but I hope it will teach me things about my life and priorities and the richness of a less cluttered existence. Bless you for your valued contribution here! xoxo
I’m a 1952 baby. So much of what you write has resonated. We have recently moved house and have been ‘sorting out’ for about three years. People assumed we were downsizing as we are both semi retired (self employed so that just means being picky with projects we take on). Yet, no, not smaller, just a change to a house designed for ease of living rather than a 300 year old rambling place.
I haven’t decided what my new season of life will look like, so any further pruning is on hold until I know what will give me joy, be very useful and meaningful … Or joins the pile in the garage for passing on to someone else. Thanks for your post,
Any new season of life and experience looks so raw and unexplored at the beginning, doesn’t it? But as it slowly takes shape, we start to find our place within it. I hope and pray you will discover hidden joys and richness you hadn’t anticipated. It helps us reevaluate all we’re holding onto as we sift and sort. Thank you for visiting. You are very welcome to drop by again! Bless you. 🙂
Thanks Joy! Bless you too.