When my husband and I moved a few months ago, I began to realize how much we had accumulated over the past three and a half years. I also realized how much of our stuff we really don’t need. We had boxes full of odds and ends that I didn’t want to part with, yet it sat collecting dust, just in case one day we came up with some great use for it. I had clothes in my closet that I just couldn’t bring myself to part with, even though certain items had been there for years and only gotten worn a handful of times.
I began to question why we felt the need to hold on to so many things. I started to really reflect on what God’s Word teaches about materialism and apply His Word to our ‘stuff’.
“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, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Luke 12:33-34
When I read these passages, it really put things into perspective for me. Letting these Scriptures soak in, made it easy to begin to part ways with the things that we really don’t need.
It’s important to decipher what items are just taking up space and what items might actually be beneficial to keep (we try to reuse and re-purpose everything we can). I find it more challenging to get rid of household items than clothes. But even still, I’m continuously trying to go through things and decide what we really need. I’m big on sentimental items and have had to learn to weigh out what’s actually of great sentimental value or not. Creating small memory boxes has helped me keep some of my most sentimental treasures safely stored away
At one time, women had their everyday dress and their Sunday dress, and this was plenty. Once the dress was thoroughly worn out, only then was it replaced. I can’t recall many times where I waited until a piece of clothing was actually ‘worn-out’ before getting rid of it.
In my mind, I liked to open up my closet and see a nice selection to choose from. But in reality, I would end up continuously choosing the same articles of clothing (about 1/3 of what was actually in my closet), while the rest of the clothing just hung there day after day.
While the idea of a big selection seems nice, it can also be overwhelming to have too many choices. How many times have you weeded through all of your clothes saying ‘I have nothing to wear!’ I’ve said this plenty of times, and I’m realizing how selfish and silly it sounds. There are some people who aren’t able to choose from a large selection of what they’d like to wear each day.
I’m tired of the American mentality that we always need more. As a Christian, I need to look at everything with a Christ-like mentality before looking at my surrounding culture. Our culture says it’s silly to only own the bare minimum of what we need.
I’ve recently been really inspired by capsule wardrobes, where you basically have just a few solid colored shirts, maybe 2-3 sweaters, a jacket, a coat, 2-3 pairs of pants, 1-2 skirts, and a dress or 2. Everything can be mix and match! You end up with a wide variety of outfits from just a few articles of clothing. This is a drastic change and obviously isn’t for everyone, and I’m not even completely there either. But it is what I’m moving towards the more I pray and really think about what I value in life (my relationship with the Lord, serving my family, and then serving others).
As I began giving things away from our closet as well as the rest of our household items, I realized how freeing it is to simplify our possessions. The hardest part is physically putting items into that donation box. Once it’s sealed up it becomes a lot easier to get rid of. I quickly forget what I put in the boxes since the items haven’t been getting used anyway.
I’m not suggesting that we deprive ourselves either, but that we find a balance, and be willing to part with certain items that someone else could get use out of. But before jumping up and tossing items into a box, pray and go through God’s Word. Get the right perspective on why you’re simplifying your possessions.
“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” -1 John 2:17
I’d love to hear the ways that you’re simplifying your home. 🙂