We all have stuff. I mean some of us have so much stuff it becomes, should I dare say it? — a burden. We’re not intentionally trying to be collectors, but tangible items seem to multiply in our homes like autumn leaves around our door on a blustery day. We keep sweeping the leaves off our porch, but the next day there seems to be even more!
It all begins in a somewhat harmless way. We receive a vase or a figurine from our child or a dear aunt for our birthday. We put it out on an end table or a shelf and admire it while thinking of their kindness. After a few birthdays and holidays, the special gifts from the people we cherish begin cluttering our rooms and taking over the place. But how can we part with them? They remind us of their love. That heirloom chair from our grandmother sits like a hallowed museum piece, never used, yet we say there’s no way we would part with it. Throw into the mix some wonderful decorative charmers that we knew were perfect for the room, and then we have a room that’s gone wild! Dusting it all is a nightmare chore, nevertheless we continue to save, save, save. Who knows, there might be some use for it later and it would be perfect! We become burdened with sorting, cleaning, protecting, maintaining yet continue to buy or collect more stuff, and subsequently, the item so special to us becomes lost and rather devalued.
If this scenario is your home, consider this tip — take a photo of the treasured items and have a designated photo album for them. Then, release them. You’ve enjoyed them, now give them away or sell them. It will be liberating! You’ll still have a photo to remind you of the joy they brought you.
I recently read a book by Kathryn Porter entitled, Too Much Stuff. It’s about de-cluttering your heart and home. Kathryn’s mother had a very serious collector problem. In fact, she was a hoarder. It caused much pain in Kathryn’s life — especially when her mother had a heart attack and died because the paramedics could not get the gurney into her bedroom to help get her out and to the hospital. In this book, the author gives somewhat of a formula for helping us let go of our treasures. She suggests that we assess whether a certain item adds to the look, feel and function we have for a certain room.
The look refers to the desired style we are attempting to achieve. Does the item add to the decorative style and attractiveness we have in mind (Old World, Shabby Chic, Southwestern, Country, Contemporary, Asian, etc.). Does it go with the color scheme or is it helping with the cohesiveness of all the items. Is the room too crowded? Is there too much furniture? Does the room look clean? Organized? Does it reflect your heart or values?
The feel refers to the atmosphere of the room. Do you feel relaxed? Peaceful? Anxious? Do you feel that all is well when you’re in the room? Is the room inviting? Does it smell good? Does it create a sanctuary for you away from the outside world? What kind of mood does it create?
The function refers to the way the room is being used by the people who live there. A computer desk or musical instrument may be in the room because they are needed. A treadmill, child’s toy box, or dog bed may be there because of frequency of use. Are there items in the room that are no longer used or needed?
This information is very simple but it’s been very helpful in my life. I repeatedly ask myself if what I have out in a room is the right look, feel and function. It’s helped me get rid of stuff as well as prevented me from buying more. It’s helped me keep my eye on the finish line — a pleasing place to dwell.
In Kathryn Porter’s book, she tells about some ladies in her church coming to her home and helping her sort through items she needed to let go. She was seeing that the illness of hoarding was creeping into her own life. She expresses how grateful she was to those women who lovingly helped her modify her ways. Perhaps you need some help in this way because you can’t make the changes on your own. Please contact one of the leaders of your Keepers Ministry and see if there is someone who can help you. Don’t be discouraged. Realize that all we have comes from the hand of our Heavenly Father and we are just stewards of those things. Pray and ask the Lord to help you know when to let go and when to hold on. He desires to help you with any type of burden.
Ecclesiastes 3- “For everything there is a season…a time to keep and a time to throw away…”
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