Stuff

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Since reading Abundant Simplicity in March, I’ve been thinking a lot about various areas of my life I wish to simplify. The most obvious one is of course material things.

When we moved house last summer, it became quite obvious to us that we had far more things than we wanted to. God gave us the hidden blessing of a lower salary and higher rent, which actually meant that we have been unable to buy many ‘things’ since the move, but we quickly discovered in our smaller flat that it takes more than that to simplify.

After reading Abundant Simplicity and Miss Minimalist, we’ve started implementing some more proactive measures in our home in order to help us simplify. As Joshua Becker puts so well in Clutterfree with Kids:

Clutterfree with Kids - Joshua BeckerSo, we have been taking it slowly and started de-cluttering (or, better yet, as Joshua Becker suggests: de-owning) our house one room at a time, ensuring that we don’t just re-arrange our clutter, but actively seek to get rid of unnecessary items in each room. We rotate the rooms so that we come back to them all at a later date and make sure that this is a continual act, not simply a once-off or once-a-year thing. When we come back to a room, we are often amused by the fact that we can always find more to get rid of, even if it’s the same stuff we kept the last time around!

Our other proactive measure has been to place a box in our hallway which is our designated “Give Away” box. Whenever we come across something in our home that goes unused or unnoticed and realize we no longer need it, it goes in the box. It’s amazing how quickly it fills up!

We set up these particular measures because we decided that this is not a process we want to rush. Some things are easy to part with and we rarely regret giving anything away. But sometimes we need that extra little bit of time with an item to ensure it is something we really want to get rid of, especially at a time when we may well not be able to afford a replacement.

2 Corinthians 1:12So how do we decide in the long run whether something is worth keeping or not? I have found two factors to be fundamental for me:

1. Is it worth the time it takes away from me?

Whether that’s cleaning it, watching it, looking after it, using it… is it perhaps taking time away from me I’d rather be investing elsewhere?

(I also find considering the space it takes from me and my home and whether that is worth it useful.)

2. A simple phrase I discovered a while ago that struck a chord with me was:

William MorrisWe are still a long way off where we want to be with our stuff, but this is a long-term goal, and we are taking it step-by-step. I hope, if you are trying to simplify your life and your home, too, that you will also find little steps to be most useful.

It’s so easy to wrap so much meaning and importance and hypothetical ‘foresight’ around objects, but in reality, often what we are searching for in that object is something deeper – relationships, time spent meaningfully, love, real treasure. As The Bible so beautifully reminds us:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

— Matthew 6:21

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