We have too much stuff. And we've always known this. But last Christmas (as in 1+ years ago) I was walking up in the hills behind my in-laws' house when I felt thoroughly convicted by the amount of 'stuff' we have, and how it is hindering us in serving God, serving others, and even in the messages we are trying to teach our children. I returned home motivated to literally get rid of half of what we own. Andy was in whole-hearted agreement, too!
But life got in the way. We had five children at the time...then seven...then five again. We were in survival mode. I decluttered a little from time to time, but it was never the big push I really dreamed of.
More than a year later, I am still very aware that our things own us. We spend so much time caring for stuff, organizing it, moving it around. What a waste of the time God has given us! Lately, a Flylady quote has been turning around in my head. "You can't organize clutter." By this, she means you just have to let it go!
When we lived in our old house -- the fun little 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 860 sq. ft. home that we spent the first 7+ years of our marriage in (with 2 kids, no less) -- we had a saying. "Need it, or love it." That was how we identified each of our belongings. If we found something laying around that we didn't either NEED or LOVE, out it went. We had a small house, small closets, and this was what saved us from 'needing' a bigger house once we started our family.
Bigger houses are a trap for things. Suddenly you don't have to be so picky. Many people live with WAY less than we have -- or with nothing but the very bare basics to survive -- yet with our bigger houses we easily collect stuff here and there, with no regard for whether it's necessary to own these things or whether we really use and enjoy them.
The last couple days, I've been working in the bedrooms with the kids. Their bedrooms are clutter havens. Their drawers, closet floors, under their beds, and everywhere else you can stuff things, is full of their 'treasures'. Party favors, broken toys, bouncy balls, rock collections, shell collections, ripped papers that came home from preschool or Sunday School...the list goes on and on. It has been wonderful to have time to just sit with them and look at what they own, listen to their thoughts on what is worth keeping, and watch them take in the message of stewardship and gratefulness and get rid of LOTS of stuff that was taking over their rooms. I am so proud of them!
Destany's room was a work in progress already, but here is a bit of a visual for what we just tackled today. She is loving the new look, and we're looking forward to decorating and getting ready for baby sister now that there's room to walk in there. :)