Love Your Stuff or Get Rid Of It
I consider myself to be a sentimental minimalist. Which at times contradicts itself.
I hate clutter because it consumes so much of my mental and physical energy. Too many items around the house need cleaning and dusting, which takes way too much time! If I have knick knacks or “chachka’s” all over the place, I can’t help but think, well, maybe if I move it over there, it will look less cluttered.
Being the mother of sons and a house full of boys (their friends), one can not have a great nerf gun battle or marshmallow fight with all those breakable things. So, out of caution for not want a casualty with my Grandmother’s Irish Girl Music Box, I chose to wrap carefully and put into boxes all the sentimental things I owned. In doing so, I found our home more comfortable, easy to clean, less to worry about being broken, and a place to show hospitality to many.
Now that my sons are grown (except when they get back together and revert to 8 and 4 years old all over again), I still find solace in less stuff. I still have boxes of sentimental things, but I swap them out every couple of months. It’s like shopping for my own house. One of the biggest areas I have a difficult dilemma is getting rid of my kid’s old artwork! I took pictures of the best ones and I made a plastic bin for each of them of their most sentimental things. (They are guys, so who knows if they will care, but it makes me feel better.)
Shopping at Target
When my husband and I were first married, we made a habitual ritual of hitting Target on the weekends. It was always to buy one thing. We would come out with bags overflowing with things we absolutely didn’t need. One could say, well, at least we were at a discount chain, except that we could easily do this at high-end department stores too.
We were consumerism at its worst! This went on for years and years. It was like a sport to us. Entertainment if you will. Our home was filled, Not in a hoarding kind of way, but clearly, we had issues!
Over twenty years ago, I was introduced to the extreme poverty in Haiti. A friend of mine asked me to lead The Haiti Committee at church. I said, “Sure. Where’s Haiti?” That was the start of my very long journey with stuff. Now everyone has heard of Haiti. (Guess what? They are still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.) I began to realize how much I was REALLY spending on things that don’t matter.
Overspending was the drug, and the momentary high was that new area rug or the wall art that would transform our home into HGTV status. After watching a show, somehow, the house you had was less than adequate. Funny how one day, we can be so content with the home we have, the clothes we wear, and the car we drive. The next day, one social media post can make us begin to question why we don’t get to go on vacations like that.
Learning about Haiti got me thinking about our community. I still have a heart for Haiti to this day, but guess what? We have suffering people here in the DC/ Baltimore area. In fact, quite a bit of it. I bet near where you live also does.
Matthew 9: 37-38
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
There is so much help needed everywhere. Head to a soup kitchen near you. Or right now, pack bags of EXTRA cans of food you have sitting in your pantry to relieve hunger from job losses. Volunteer to help virtually tutor children or teach English as a second language. CALL someone that lives alone. (a text is not the same, but if that’s all you can manage. Go for it!)
Love Your Stuff or Give Things Away
Years ago, I started giving a lot of my stuff away. If someone liked my necklace (no, I don’t have expensive jewelry), they got it. The same went for artwork on the wall of my salon. If we got new furniture, I thought about friends and family that really liked what we had. We had so much excess, and like clothing and hair trends, we were getting things that were home trends. That gets expensive (!!) and guess what? It wasn’t even our style.
Now I am purposeful to purchase only things we intend to keep for a long time. Not something trendy or cheaply made that will wear out. If you are sitting on a kingdom of stuff that is unused or unloved, give it to someone that truly will love it!
If you are holding on to it with the belief “I may need it.”, the truth is if you haven’t worn it, or used it in a year, give it away. I believe that too much stuff keeps us stuck in old thought patterns that steal our energy.
A home should be functional to help each member thrive in their academics, work, creativity, fun, and relationships. A home is for showing hospitality to others and should be filled with more love than things. If you have an item that you look at and it doesn’t bring joy, but you’re holding on to it out of obligation, give it to someone that will love it. Is your home cluttered with unused furniture, there are families that could really use it!
If you are unsure where to give items, think Habitat for Humanity, Purple Heart, Salvation Army or ask around your church or synagogue.
Need More Money
If you need money, post your unused items on Facebook Market Place, Offer Up, or eBay, and pay some bills. If you have clothing you are not wearing, post on Thread up or Poshmark.
While we work towards getting healthier and really making lasting changes. We have to deal with our physical surroundings. Make your home as pleasant as possible to be in for you and your family to thrive.
**Note- If you are a bit of a hoarder or a full-fledged hoarder, this will require the help of professionals or others willing. You will have to commit to and choose that your stuff is not more important than your relationships or life and then take the appropriate steps towards change.