Saturday, January 2, 2016

HOW DECLUTTERING AND MINIMALISM HAVE CHANGED ME

For the last 10 years, Drew and I have been experts at having garage sales to get rid of stuff. The running joke in the family is, "don't give that to Drew and Kimberly because they will sell it in their next garage sale lol."...which is very likely true. haha! However, I knew I still held on to WAY TOO MUCH....thinking "I may need this." or "I'm not sure if I can let go of this." My house proved it. It was ALWAYS cluttered and never organized. Now i KNOW I don't have the gift of organization...my house is still unorganized... I still need somebody to come by and do something about that for me...but just last January, I learned that my BIGGEST problem was not my inability to organize, but my inability to let go of STUFF. STUFF requires maintanence. STUFF requires our attention. STUFF requires being put away. STUFF requires cleaning. STUFF requires energy. And with STUFF beckoning me constantly one way or another, I realized it was robbing me of things that mattered...time with my family and other things i enjoy doing.

Settling for less, we have always lived pay check to pay check. For me, sharing used to be hard...it had always been hard for me all my life. But living one pay check to another definitely brought out the hoarder in me. Left-overs and hand-me-downs were treasures. I would hold on to what I could, and then some. I kinda envied people that could give so freely. People that could just let things go without feeling the need to sell them or make money off a single item to afford the next thing. Once i didn't need an item anymore, I felt the need to sell every little trinket, rather than freely let it go, in effort to stay afloat financially.

The change God made in me last January (2015) has forever changed everything. The great purge of possessions began. This initial purge was so ginormous that I sold the items in a consignment sale and made about 2K for our family missions trip to Haiti! (about 75% of it was stuff I had waiting for use around the house). I don't think the timing was a mistake. God, in His sovereignty had that all planned out. My sweet little 7 year old at the time, caught a glimpse of what matters and also wanted to sell all her toys to go be friends with the little kiddos in Haiti. Now God has set me free. Free from the feeling that I need to make a penny off every item  that leaves my house. Free to give it away to someone else in need who can use it more than me.

Lately, I have realized that I don't feel the need to hold on to things "just in case" anymore. The more I declutter, the less attached I feel to my belongings. Today i was thinking, wow, if something happened that completely destroyed all of my earthly possessions, I would NOT be devastated. If i have my family and friends (and of course God;), that is ALL i truly need. I am content. And it is a great place to be. 

God has grown my heart HUGE in this last year. He has replaced my selfishness (hoarding) with a huge desire to give and serve and invest in others however I can...however He leads. And it started with decluttering to live minimally. living minimially doesn't mean living with nothing. You define your own minimalism. Minimalism to me is living with what we NEED and USE and that's it. If we don't play with a game or a toy or don't use a utensil then it needs to go. We still have some left overs that need to head to charity. But we have made huge progress as a family in the last year. And I see God working at my children too with their willingness to hold earthly treasure loosely. It's easier for one than it is the other two....but it's God's timing! And they are learning!

Stuff and clutter takes up mental space. It creates visual unrest and keeps us from fully relaxing. It robs us of peace of mind. It robs us of time spent on what matters. If I could change one thing about my life it would be that I would've realized this a long time ago. I do my best to teach this concept to my kids. Less is more. Stuff doesn't satisfy. Contentment is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ and with investing in right relationships and serving God down here.

I have not arrived...but I sure have come a long way. And i have a vision for where i am going in this declutter/minimalism process...and I plan to get there in 2016 :).