suitcase books

Sooner or later, sifting through the weight of our possessions will face most of us. The “stuff” that fills our dressers, drawers, closets, and cabinets. If you’ve ever had to move your family, send a child off to college, or manage the estate of a loved one…you understand the weight of “things.” It’s not just the physical heaviness of it; there is an emotional attachment, too. 

If you want to lighten up your life, start with clearing out the clutter. 

My husband and I recently transitioned from living as empty nesters to a full house. While grateful for the opportunity to reunite the tribe for a season, this change meant we needed to make room for more “stuff.” To accommodate, we rearranged the home office and entertainment rooms and found new ways to use our space. We even crawled through the various “hidey-holes” where the boys had stored stuffed animals, built lego sets, bags of clothing, and more. 

It got me thinking, “if I had to move tomorrow, would I want to lift this stuff physically? Would it be worth paying someone to pack it up and move it for me?”

The answer was, “no!” And that question, right there, helped move us into action. We purged corners of the house that we had turned a blind eye toward for nearly a decade! We always knew it was there, weighing on our minds, but we ignored the signs. Once we got started, our motivation grew, and we ended up clearing out about 500 pounds worth of “stuff” that we didn’t need. It felt so freeing! (For more inspo, check this post, Clear Your Closet, Clear Your Mind.)

At the end of our lives, will our loved ones inherit the weight of our possessions?

I remember when my grandmother passed away- as if grief wasn’t hard enough, there was SO MUCH “stuff” to sort through. Each knick knack, dish, or piece of furniture held an unforgettable memory. Ultimately, most of it ended up donated, sold for pennies on the dollar, or tossed. It got me thinking, “How much do I actually need?” 

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to own possessions or even to enjoy them! I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Am I putting more joy into material things than the relationships or people I love?” “Could I have been a better steward of my Kingdom dollars?” 

While living in Silicon Valley at the height of the excessive ’80s, we were like everyone else…a big house, cars, and all the “things.” I remember when a priest friend of ours shared that he could fit everything he needed into a single suitcase. (This was before they had luggage with wheels!) That blew our minds! We couldn’t even fathom living so simply. 

Now that I’m older and wiser, I see the wisdom in “less is more.” 

Culture lures us into the illusion that material possessions make us somehow more important or influential. “He who dies with the most toys wins!” right? We know it’s not right, but the pull on our human nature is strong. Imagine if God called you to “GO” right now. It could be to the mission field, a job, or to care for aging parents. Would you be free to do it? Are your belongings holding you back from being available to be used by God? 

If you’re looking around your space right now and feeling overwhelmed and a bit freaked out at how much you’ve accumulated, take a deep breath. Release the all-or-nothing mindset. You can start small with something like a sock drawer and a 25-minute timer. Imagine if you spent just 25 minutes a day for the next 30 days decluttering the small stuff. By the end of the month, you will not only have cleared your physical space but opened up emotional space, too. That’s the start to freedom, my friend! 

Join the conversation with us in episode 14 of the Sacred Grounds podcast, where we share more about how to lighten up your life by decluttering your space. 

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