Recently on my Instagram Story, I gave everyone a small peek into our home and some changes I’ve been making. What’s so special about that? We own a 928 square foot condo. In the process of operating a home and a wakeboarding business out of this space, I’ve had to make room for some unconventional things: bulky wakeboards, workout equipment, business merchandise and supplies, wakeboarding students, bunkbeds and other hosting items for said wakeboarding students…things can get a little tight and potentially overwhelming!
It’s been a journey, one that I’m still on, learning my design style, having confidence in my decisions, and learning to make the best use of our space. I have been especially LOVING the challenge to simplify and declutter, which has been my mission for the past two years. It’s a fun, strategic puzzle figuring out what the essentials are to make our space cozy, clean and functional.
Growing up, I had the mentality that I needed to save EVERYTHING. When I say everything I mean Valentines Day Match Quizzes from sixth grade, sub par second grade math worksheets, paper fans, pens and papers from the state fair freebie bag in fourth grade, barbies, beanie babies, McDonald’s happy meal toys…you name it. I stored all these treasures in my parent’s basement. It was easier. Anytime I cleaned my room, I took all of the special things I didn’t want to live with, but couldn’t bear to part with down to the basement. By the time I had graduated high school, I had acquired SO. MUCH. STUFF.
In college, I had some major revelations about ‘stuff’ and it has since lit a blazing fire under my rear to go through everything – and I mean EVERYTHING. One of those, was a vision I had of my dad unloading all of my stuff from the basement onto my front porch someday when I was married. (Can you imagine what Kirby would think?? Yeeesh, talk about humiliating…) It was then I realized it was time for something to change. So, I began learning to simplify, declutter and purge. To do that, it required a change inside myself. It didn’t happen overnight and I honestly don’t know that I’ll ever fully arrive.
Before I get down and dirty into the specifics though, lets start with the keys that freed me up to tackle this project. I learned that at it’s core, it wasn’t really a ‘stuff’ issue after all, but rather a heart issue. Here is what made all the difference in shifting my perspective.
- Stuff is just Stuff. You can’t take a U-Haul to heaven.
- I had fun getting it, I’ll have fun getting it back if I need to.
- God loves a cheerful giver, and anticipates our needs. He doesn’t want us in bondage to stuff. He came to set the captives free. He loves when we are givers in all areas of life because it’s a reflection of Him. Giving is an act of sacrifice (of time, things, energy, control, of your idea of significance and stature, finances) that yields eternal rewards, returns in this life, and freedom from the bondage of ‘things’. If you trust Him with your finances, how much more should you be able to trust Him with your stuff?
- Do you have a poverty mindset you need to be free from? Did you know you can be wealthy and still maintain a poverty mindset? Do you remember the story of the rich young ruler in the Bible? Jesus called out his heart issue, that he was too attached to his ‘stuff’. Ok, before you get all worked up, this isn’t saying that you can’t be a Christian if you have stuff or that you have to be poor to be a Christian (that’s completely false btw…we are called to be prosperous, that our cups would overflow, and that we live in the blessing. There are a lot of verses on that). It is simply an example that sometimes a heart issue like this can hinder you from seeing clearly. It’s as though you’re wearing beer goggles. You aren’t able to see what God is offering you or doors he’s trying to open to you because you’re blinded, making the situation blurry and scary and the future unknown. Things are great, but the love of things and holding onto every little thing can be destructive, same as the love of money. Money and things are necessary and blessings, but they are just tools. “My” money and stuff belongs to God. It’s His stuff and His money. It’s always easier to give/spend/save someone else’s money, isn’t it lol? Think of it like a dam. God lets stuff and money flow to us when we need it and through us when it’s time. BUT, if we don’t release enough (or ever), it actually can cause destruction and turmoil where there should be peace. If you are stuck in “what if” or “someday” or “it’s mine” or “what if I’ll lack without it” and have trouble allowing the blessing to flow from you, then shoot me an email and let me pray with you. Don’t live a second longer in a haze of confusion and bondage, it’s time to take the beer goggles off and see things as they truly are.
- Less is more. Here’s an amazing message about this.
- A home clear from clutter helps a mind to be more at peace. If you have a cluttered home you’ll have a cluttered mind. A clear, clean, orderly home will allow you to experience less stress, and more peace. You’ll be less overwhelmed; more open and free. Free to allow yourself to think of others, to experience quality time with loved ones, feel good, and be happy!
- Find a good example. Find someone who is further down the road than you in this area and learn from them. One of my best friends has done so much to teach me in this area without her even realizing it. She’s taught me by example how to be a lifestyle giver, not a one hit wonder. How to live a life of serving and giving from a place of love, not selfishness. She’s also taught me how just pitching the junk and moving on gives you the ability to create an inviting, cozy space that feels like home for every soul welcomed inside. My sister is another person in my life that’s a good example in this area. She has taught me that you don’t have to be afraid, that you don’t have to do it alone; that this process can be really fun!! My dad has taught me to be generous and intentional in my giving and in thinking of others in the process. All of them together have been a great example of what being a giver looks like.
- If everything is special, then nothing is. Yes, this is a quote (that I’ve altered slightly) from the Incredibles. It’s always stuck with me. If we think every item we own or receive is special, then none of it is special. Special means that it’s set apart and given unique treatment, so the fact that it’s buried with the rest of our belongings means that it may not be as special as we once thought.
If you’re not struggling with accumulating ‘stuff’ this message is probably not for you – and way to go for getting a handle on this! Seriously! This is for those that struggle with holding onto things and like with anything, there is balance! I am NOT saying to throw your hands up and get rid of everything you have angrily and grudgingly, because if you don’t do it from a heart of love, then you won’t gain a single thing. You’ll trade the peace and freedom God intended for you for resentment and anger. It’s tight, but it’s right. And if you aren’t able to tackle the heart issues behind stuff, then you’ll find yourself perpetually in a place of frustration, mess and clutter.
Once my heart and perspective began to shift from learning what I’ve described to you, my beer goggles, contacts rather, melted away. For the first time, I saw the of the stuff I’d accumulated for how it truly was..stuff.