Distraction of Decluttering

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19A

We’ve all heard the phrases, “Keep it simple,” “Less is more,” and even “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” These expressions refer to the various ways we need to unclutter our lives from too much stuff, activities, expectations, and even emotional baggage. Decluttering and downsizing are essential steps toward cutting back on all this stuff.

After downsizing my parents’ belongings to smaller households and even cleaning my home of 32 years, I realized that I hold onto more “STUFF” than I need to keep. However, deciding to throw anything away proves to be very difficult for me. Organizing and discarding rather than hoarding and storing is healthier. But some items hold emotional connections, special memories, or the potential to be used later, making it overwhelming.

The decluttering process may be simple to describe, but it takes work to implement if you are like me. I marvel at my adult children and how they can make decisions to minimize clutter. For me, it is more complicated. It’s not the decluttering that is the distraction but the presence of clutter. Decluttering is the process that liberates me to focus on what truly matters.

I have some friends who excel at helping others declutter and simplify their surroundings. They have critical eyes and use three categories for decluttering: discard, donate, or organize and keep. For the items to discard or donate, she advises me to ask: Have I used this item in the last year? Does it have the potential to find purpose in someone else’s life? If yes, give it away. If not, discard it.

As for the unique things filled with cherished memories, she suggests taking a picture, writing down the memory, and starting a book or box of special memories. This takes up significantly less space than the physical items themselves. Alternatively, making a digital file and storing it on the computer eliminates clutter entirely!

For the items I choose to keep, she recommends organizing them orderly and logically, using boxes and labels if necessary. Even donating duplicates if I have too many of one thing.

I did well with this process when I moved to Colorado. Now, after five years, it’s time to do this again. Sometimes it requires me to decide on the area to declutter, set a timer, and work in small chunks of time. Either way, I want to honor God by valuing a relationship with You more than earthly treasures.

Dear Lord,

I have discovered one of the distractions that keep me separated from You – my clutter. Please help me uncover where my true treasure lies. Is it in the chaos? The material things? Or does it lie in serving You? Please guide me in finding ways to clear the clutter in my surroundings and mind. Reveal to me what I need to release from the storage rooms of my surroundings and the closets of my heart, opening up space to discover Your presence, love, and calling. Amen

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